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Soil and Water, BRASS join with local schools to plant trees

Dave Reckahn of the Essex County Soil and Water Department works with Westport student Josh Terry along with Black River on Ledge Hill Road.

Dave Reckahn of the Essex County Soil and Water Department works with Westport student Josh Terry along with Black River on Ledge Hill Road. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Students in a pair of environmental science classes had the chance to put learning into action recently in order to help reclaim riverbanks.

Students in the Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport science classes each spent part of their school days planting trees along the Little Boquet River (ELCS) by the Footbridge Park May 17 and the Black River (Westport) on Ledge Hill Road May 18.

Julie Martin, executive director of the Boquet River Association, said that the trees planted were part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tribs program.

“This will help to prevent erosion and stop more sediment from getting into the river,” Martin said. “There are also some trees that sprout berries, which is good for the wildlife.”

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Elizabethtown-Lewis students Zach LaPier and Josh Williams plant trees along the Little Ausable, near the Footbridge Park in Elizabethtown.

Bosley said the two projects allowed students from the schools to take an active part in helping their local ecosystems.

“For the students in Elizabethtown, the Footbridge Park is their park and they get a chance to help out in their town,” Martin said. “It’s a chance to get out in both towns and work with the students and give them a sense of some ownership.”

ELCS teacher Becky Bosley said her class has been involved with a number of community-related projects, including the planting activity.

“It puts the classroom into action and shows how what we are learning applies to real life,” Bosley said.

Westport teacher Jason Fiegl said the planting project was also a chance for the students to see what happened in their town as a result of the past year.

“We have talked about how weather conditions affect our surroundings,” Fiegl said. “They have now seen firsthand the effects of Tropical Storm Irene and the floods from the spring, and this was a way that the students felt they could help out and stop erosion. They were excited to come out and plant.”

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