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Green School Coordinator and Science teacher Janice Millard led recent tree planting efforts at Dumbarton Middle School.
Green School Coordinator and Science teacher Janice Millard led recent tree planting efforts at Dumbarton Middle School. (Susan Harris)

Planting trees is a terrific activity for helping the environment and beautifying our neighborhoods. Fall can be a great time for planting trees, as Dumbarton Middle School recently learned.

On Oct. 15, Dumbarton partnered with local environmental champions Blue Water Baltimore (bluewaterbaltimore.org) to plant 21 trees on the school grounds. To do the job, DMS Green Club faculty advisers Janice Millard and Justin Kampes were joined by 60 student volunteers, who were recruited through posters and morning announcements. The group of students consisted of 52 student volunteers and eight Green Club student members.

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Millard had applied for a $10,000 grant through Baltimore County and received all the Baltimore County Public Schools approvals needed to move forward with the project.

She knew planting more trees on the campus would provide a great benefit to the environment, improve the aesthetics of the property and offer the students authentic hands-on learning.

Planting on the property was an important part of the DMS Green School agenda, but was in a holding pattern due to extensive renovations that were finally concluded at the end of the 2018 school year. The tree plantings offer a valuable finishing touch to the improvements.

The new trees will be maintained by Blue Water Baltimore for a minimum of three years prior to being turned over to BCPS grounds crews. The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) has approved and supports the planting plan.

A variety of 1.5-inch caliper landscape-grade native trees were selected for the site, including hackberry, Eastern redbud, hawthorn, black gum, sycamore, swamp white oak, scarlet oak and Northern red oak. Principal Susan Harris hopes to continue the partnership with Blue Water Baltimore and have the opportunity to plant more trees, beyond the 21, in the future.

DMS Green Club students also will go out to check on the trees periodically, to make sure the stakes and protection rings are in place.

Principal Harris is sincerely proud of all of the school’s green efforts.

“Our Green Club students also maintain the gardens on our property," she said. “We have a no-mow area, a wild flower garden, two rain gardens and two pollinator gardens. Four of the six gardens have been planted since the renovation.”

She added: “I really enjoyed watching the students plant the trees. They really took it to heart and wanted to do a good job. Many of the students named their trees and took selfies with them. These are the experiences they will remember.”

Those trees, and those environmentally conscious student helpers, are destined to grow and thrive and bring joy to our community for years to come. They are a breath of fresh air for us all!

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