MANCHESTER — Fourth-grader Tiffany Murphy didn't mind getting her hands dirty Thursday as she planted a tree with her Ebb Valley Elementary School classmates.

The school, which received a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, celebrated Earth Day with the help of the Carroll County Bureau of Resource Management in part by planting trees.


"We're learning about how to keep our school green and how to keep our plants healthy," Tiffany said.

Watershed Grants analyst Theresa Amoss coordinated the event, during which about 80 fourth-grade students participated in a tree planting with guidance from forest conservation specialist Jim Bowman. In addition, the students checked out the nearby stream's insect activity with help from water resource supervisor Byron Madigan and water resource specialists Tracy Eberhard, Rob Flora, and Pat Page.

"The students got to do a stream study at the Thomas Tree Farm. They captured insects with nets and identified how they were beneficial to the environment," fourth-grade teacher Dolly Mersinger said.

The students also planted native herbaceous plants like wildflowers in a bioretention facility near the school's entrance. This part of the project was led by watershed restoration engineer Chris Heyn and watershed management specialist Myron Frock.

"It's like big bathtub," fourth-grader Carsyn Miserandino said of the bioretention facility. "I learned that the soil filters out things because it's made mostly of sand, soil and wood chips."

The group learned about stormwater management with stormwater engineer Martin Covington and flood plain management specialist Pat Varga.

"I like the rain garden because you can get dirty," fourth-grader Piper Cook said.

Fourth-grader Rowan Poth said the day was great because he learned how trees help the environment and what lives in the school's nearby stream.

"Planting the trees was fun," Rowan said. "And we found lots of worms in the stream."