The Rivanna River has new native plant buffers in Darden Towe Park, thanks to the efforts of a group of eighth-grade science students tasked with studying the river’s water quality as part of a University of Virginia-funded project.
The project wraps up next week with a tour of the students’ plantings, and a display of their writing and photography, on April 10 from 10-11 a.m. at Darden Towe Park. (Rain date: April 11 from 10-11 a.m.)
The Community Public Charter School students have been planting native plants to improve the natural buffers within the park.
U.Va. professors Sara Rimm-Kaufman and Eileen Merritt of the Curry School of Education received a grant from Youth-Nex, the U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, to study the effects of engaging the students in this service-learning program.
“Many students do not have opportunities to spend time outdoors engaged in solving real-world problems,” Merritt said.
“We wanted students to choose from a set of environmentally oriented projects and engage in those projects with supportive adults, and see the link between their actions and a change in their community,” Rimm-Kaufman said.
The project’s community partners are the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, Albemarle County Parks and Recreation, Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center, Wintergreen Nature Foundation and the Sierra Club.
Along with the students, parents, school staff and the research team, representatives from the community partner organizations are expected to attend.