April 16 and 17 mark two major days students throughout the Governor Mifflin School District have been working towards for the past several months. Next Monday and Tuesday, students from all school levels will be breaking ground on a riparian buffer, as part of a Rabbit Run stream project done in partnership with Berks Nature. A riparian buffer, or stream buffer, is a vegetated area near a stream, usually forested, which helps shade and partially protect the stream from the impact of adjacent land uses.
Following months of planning their project, students will venture out into their local watershed and take matters into their own hands. The project has been a combined effort at the elementary, middle and high school levels, with hundreds of students set to take part. Rabbit Run winds through the Mifflin campus, by Cumru and Mifflin Park elementaries and Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. The buffer will run from behind the baseball field, from the parking lot entrance to the intermediate school and Mifflin Park Elementary.
As part of the project, middle school students will dig holes to plant trees on April 16th, with elementary students set to fill them in on the 17th with over a hundred plants. High school students have also been and will continue to be involved with the removal of invasive plants from the stream area. The school district hopes this is merely phase one of the Rabbit Run project and wishes to see many more like this in their future.
“A healthy riparian buffer will not only help to improve water quality in the Angelica Creek Watershed, but will provide an outdoor classroom environment for students of all ages at the district,” said Governor Mifflin Assistant Superintendent Bill McKay, who has been an instrumental force in coordinating this important project for Governor Mifflin. Berks Nature is particularly excited to work with the dedicated students as it promotes a lasting relationship of stewardship for local watersheds at a young age.
Providing students with a hands-on appreciation for their environment is a hallmark of Berks Nature’s mission. Berks Nature Senior Ecologist, Larry Lloyd, has been involved in the implementation of the project and supports the efforts of the GMSD.
Rabbit Run acts as a tributary into the Angelica Creek, and since preservation and protection of local watersheds is the key mission of the Angelica Creek Watershed Association -a program of Berks Nature- the organization was more than happy to lend a hand with the project.