Watershed 101 at Jackson Middle School with Westside Watersheds

Watershed 101 at Jackson Middle School with Westside Watersheds

This spring, Tryon Creek Watershed Council teamed up with the Westside Watershed Resource Center to provide watershed science education and facilitate stewardship for all of Jackson Middle School’s 7th graders. Each classroom was visited twice. On the first day, after an overview about watersheds and brief exploration of the on-campus creek connections and discussion about native and invasive plants, students participated in an activity to evaluate different plants’ characteristics to determine whether they should be added to or removed from a restoration landscape. 

The second day, each class spent the time outside – we looked at where Falling Creek flows into the pipe conveying it underneath the Jackson Middle School campus. This reinforced the learning from the prior day, as we asked students to look across the field: “Do you see Falling Creek?” (“No…?” “Wait, isn’t it underground?” “It’s in the pipe!” “Let’s go look at Falling Creek before it flows into the pipe!”)

Each student was able to get hands-on. The rest of the period was spent by planting sword ferns and removing invasive plants, namely shining geranium and English ivy. Sword ferns were planted throughout the natural area along the community pathway, and invasives were removed from the edge of a lawn underneath the trees by the staff parking lot which is a natural extension of the community pathway. There were a lot of wiggles to get out! Some students poured their energy into pulling ivy; others chose to spend time in the wooded area finding the perfect spot for plants. 

Mrs. Barnes’ students followed her suggestion to name their ferns. Some of the memorable ones included Ferndinand, Patrick Mahomes, Asparagus, Tyler, Piggly Wiggly, Bill, Binglebum, Sean Dinglenut, and Jacob. Sounds like seventh grade to us!

It was great to be able to provide hands-on and in-class education for Jackson Middle Schoolers, and we’re looking forward to ongoing partnership with the JMS teachers to keep this up! Some of these students, as well as Mr. Reed, had volunteered at our Watershed Wide Event the month prior. 

Check out the buffer back from the lawn that the students opened up for future planting with their ivy removal!