Community Rallies to Restore Flattened Bioswale

The Environmental Science classes have spent the last year researching, digging, and planting the meadow in front of the science field to grow native plants, repair the soil, and stop the flooding of the East Lawn.  As of last week, it looked like this, but with more growth and native wildflowers:

This past Saturday, the school hired an excavator to prep the pathways students delineated through the swale.  The well-intentioned driver, thinking it was the obvious and helpful thing to do, spread the dirt excavated for the path through the whole lower meadow, flattening the hand-dug mini-swales.  Students returned to campus Monday morning to see their swale razed to a flat track of dirt:

Bioswale meadow flattened by excavator

In true Athenian fashion and spirit, the community united to repair the damage.   Faculty and staff organized communication to the students and offered up their classes to dig.  At Morning Meeting, Senior Andrew addressed the school, maturely reminding everyone not to dwell on the mistake, but to jump back into the work with renewed vigor.  Following Andrew’s lead, the students did not wallow over the destruction.  Under the guidance of teachers Ray and Daizy and additional student leaders Kavi and Sidney, the students took to the meadow in good spirits and started re-digging the swales.

Digging begins again on the swales

With graduation looming, the students feel the urgency in beautifying the swale area since the ceremony takes place on the adjacent lawn.  Student and faculty volunteers joined the core crew of Environmental Science students to re-dig the mini-swales in less than three days.

The contractor came to apologize in person on Monday morning and offered to help with the next Environmental Science project on campus.  The Permaculture group will discuss the options for the next project; possibilities include resurfacing an underground creek and creating a water collection pond.

Learn more about the bioswale project here.