Forget malls, Tahoe students go to forest
South Tahoe High School students are doing their part to save the lake.
Tenth-grade teacher Jamie Greenough’s environmental science class is nearing the end of an erosion control project the students started in April.
About 26 students dig, plant and move dirt six hours a week to restore the barren area behind the school’s tennis courts to its natural state.
Representatives from most of the environmental agencies in the basin have provided guidance, knowledge and the tools and materials for the project.
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board wanted the school to revegetate the area to lessen the impacts of a science and technology building erected 10 years ago.
Greenough said revegetating the site was a great way for her students to learn more about the importance of protecting the environment and allowed them to network with scientists and agency officials.
Before work was done on the project, students visited Aspen Hollow Nursery to learn about native vegetation.
“I teach five sections of environmental science and you can’t learn this from a book. You have to be out in the environment. We don’t have malls, we have forests, and the students need to be able to appreciate them,” Greenough said. “This was a perfect project – no buses, no extra money needed to do it. Every agency in the basin came out to work with us. It gives the students a chance to talk to these people they normally don’t get to talk to.”
The project involved more than just the environmental science class.
Architecture students designed the vegetation plans and the woodshop class constructed stairs leading down to the site.
Several Tahoe Basin AmeriCorps volunteers led groups of students and helped with the labor.
In a continued effort to educate basin residents about Best Management Practices, environmental agency officials taught students how to retrofit property to decrease the amount of runoff into the lake.
“More people will come and see this and want to do it at their homes,” said 10th-grader Jenna Poell. “If we could educate everyone about what’s going on it could help the lake.”
Classmate April Krouskouph said working with her classmates to improve the environment was important.
“I like being out here with our class working as a team,” she said. “I think this should be done more often to make our school look better. It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it.”
Once the project is complete it will be used for a monitoring and demonstration site for BMPs and adaptive native vegetation.
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