Around the Park: Record turnout for Earth Day at Severna Park High School

Folger McKinsey Elementary School's Outdoor Classroom Club member fifth-grader Abby Jeffers, left, helps Earth Day attendees create new containers while second-grader Zach Nield, right, fills them with soil in which to plant "Fairy Garden seeds" to take home.
Folger McKinsey Elementary School's Outdoor Classroom Club member fifth-grader Abby Jeffers, left, helps Earth Day attendees create new containers while second-grader Zach Nield, right, fills them with soil in which to plant "Fairy Garden seeds" to take home. (Sharon Lee Tegler / Correspondent)

A record 60 schools, organizations and vendors participated in the Earth Day celebration at Severna Park High School on April 21. Within moments of the 10 a.m. opening, a crowd had formed that grew ever larger as the morning wore on.

Dozens of exhibits stretched across the school's front courtyard, down the sidewalk and into the cafeteria. Tables outside the cafeteria accommodated attendees wanting to grab a quick bite from Capiche, Park Deli, The Big Bean or one of the other food vendors.


Entering the celebration, one's eye was drawn to Severna Park Middle School Girl Scout Troop 2000's "Benefits of Trees for Animals" exhibit. The scouts' poster featured a tree with a list of benefits like food and shelter for wildlife, shade and soil fertility on one side and environmental threats on the other. They also sold tree-themed T-shirts and water bottles to fund the troop's preservation activities.

Opposite them, a dozen Severna Park Elementary School kindergarten pupils showed off the two-table Operation Osprey exhibit they created with help from teachers Rori Duke, Britta Osborne-Ward, Lindy Stansbury, and Carlie Taylor. The children drew and printed posters and mounted photos showing ways to help ospreys survive though simple measures like picking up trash and recycling fishing line and hooks harmful to the birds.


The 5-year-olds based their display on information they learned from osprey rescue and preservation experts who visited their classroom including Dr. Jessica Heard from Severna Park Veterinary Hospital and Susan Shingledecker from Chesapeake Conservancy. They also watched a live stream of ospreys on their nesting stand behind SPHS courtesy of an Osprey Cam set up by Mark and Heather Jeweler of Maryland Raptor Rescue in partnership with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Comcast and HDOnTap.

Severna Park Middle School students had the lion's share of displays within the courtyard. SPMS Model UN Club members Julianna Augustine, Trevor Boyle, Camille Wallace and Joe Lavallee were promoting environmental sustainability and selling colorful pinwheels to support the group's activities.

SPMS eighth-grader and Girl Scout Miranda Surrett was promoting and signing folks up for a free Eco-Friendly Backyard Garden Workshop she was holding at Severna Park Community Library for her Silver Award project. To her left, several more SPMS students and their parents handed out free saplings for attendees to plant in aid of forest restoration.

To the right, half a dozen men and women were hesitantly attempting downward dog poses during an open-air yoga class conducted by Elizabeth Johnson of Yoga Works.

Around the corner, Severna Park High students Elizabeth Westland, Jackie Juergensen and Peyton Brach were supervising a flower-pot painting fundraiser to raise money for a "Bayscape Garden" they're installing at Patuxent Research Refuge using native plants.

Shipley's Choice Girl Scout Troop 10132 was well represented by Julie Sciortino with an exhibit she created for her Bronze Award called "Save The Monarchs." Her photographic and informational display focused on native plants and flowers that attract and sustain monarchs and other butterfly species that are important for pollination. She also handed out seed balls made from soil and flower seeds

Oak Hill Elementary's third and fourth-grade "Green Team" members gave away containers of compost they made along with seeds attendees could plant and take home. Folger McKinsey Elementary's Outdoor Classroom Club handed out cups of soil and "Fairy Garden" seeds for deep-rooted flowers that control rainwater runoff.

Jones Elementary was among several schools focused on repurposing projects. They recycled CD's to make eye-catching light reflectors designed to deter birds from flying through windows.

A mix of outdoor activity-based groups like Bike AAA and Bayside Adventure were on hand as were environmental organizations like the Magothy River Association's booth manned by Karen Royer.

The varied exhibits revealed Earth Day's biggest impact was on students who learned from long-term projects in their classrooms how they can help protect the planet.

10th annual ‘Planet Walk’

On Saturday, the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails will present the 10th annual Planet Walk with daytime activities beginning at 10 a.m. on the B&A Trail between Glen Burnie and Severna Park. Evening activities include a Stargazing Party at Anne Arundel Community College's Observatory. Attendance and parking are free for all events. For information, visit www.friendsofaatrails.org.

Run4Rhythm to benefit music

Also on Saturday, Severna Park High's Band and Orchestra Boosters will host their third annual Run4Rhythm 4-mile run/walk on the B&A Trail to benefit the school's instrumental music programs. The race begins and ends at SPHS. To register, runners may visit https://runsignup.com/Race/MD/SevernaPark/Run4Rhythm.


The Band and Orchestra Boosters will also hold a mattress sale on May 19 at Mattress Warehouse in Park Plaza with mattresses discounted 30 percent to 70 percent. Proceeds from sales will benefit the high school's instrumental music programs.

For information on both events, visit www.sphsmusic.org.

Email Severna Park news to Sharon Lee Tegler at wingsorb@aol.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @SharonLeeSays.

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