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Watershed Warriors Restoring Wetlands

2014 Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Students transporting plants by canoe
Students in one of Mary Breslin’s seventh grade science classes at George Washington Middle School tested water quality in Alexandria and noted that because land in the city is so extensively developed, there are few wetlands to help filter runoff and absorb nutrients, sediment, and pollution before it reaches local waterways. They felt that a good way to improve watershed health would be to restore wetlands along the Potomac River.

The students worked with a horticulturalist from the National Park Service and the Alexandria Students planting Seaport Foundation to develop their project of raising wetland plants to be transplanted into local waterways. Their proposal took second place at the 2014 Caring for Our Watersheds competition in Virginia in April, and in mid‐June they were in the field implementing their idea. Using boats provided by the Seaport Foundation, and with guidance from National Park Service staff, they planted native wetland vegetation at Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, a tidal embayment alongside the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Student Ana Humphrey documented the project in a short video:

Originally having budgeted $360 for the project, they covered expenses using the Caring for Our Watersheds participation reward provided by Nutrien, as well as via in-kind donations.