In 2014 the school received a $25,000 grant to refurbish our wetland acreage. The area had been drained and farmed in the distant past. It remained damp, lacked species diversity and was gradually being overcome by the invasive plant species called phragmites. The grant paid for heavy equipment to come in, strip out the phragmites and dig a half dozen ponds and swales. It also paid for hundreds of native plants that our 4-6th grade team of students and staff planted into the area in the Spring of 2015.
Easy access to the wetlands was an issue of importance to the project from its earliest days. The Voyagers connected with staff in the HOPE (Hands On Practical Education) program to build two bridges for the wetlands in 2015. The bridges span a drainage ditch separating our soccer fields from the wetlands.
Pathways were cleared through the grasses by groups of Voyagers students working with Mr. Boldosser. They created two entry points to the wetland pathway system which then circle around some of the larger ponds and native plant sites.
East Coast Fish and Wildlife Specialists Visited
A annual gathering of Fish and Wildlife specialists (Fall 2016) from all over the east coast took time in their travels to tour our wetlands. They liked what they saw. They especially appreciated the history of the project provided by two Voyagers students, Bella and Liam, who showed them around in the damp conditions.
Minor Trespassing Damage
In 2016 several teenagers took a riding lawnmower into the wetlands for a joy ride. The result were an ugly new entryway into the wetlands, pathways mowed through recently planted areas, rutted spots. Fortunately that kind of trespass has not occurred again and the wetlands have recovered to near normal. It made us realize that while we understand the wetlands to be a valuable region of our property, they can be perceived as a wasteland vulnerable to off-roading or trash deposition.
Wetland Videos over the Years
Click on images below to watch a video
Wetland Property (Drone Image 2017)
Team Voyager's next task is to better establish narrow pathways through the wetlands. They are waiting for several truckloads of wood chips from Saint Albans public works to put down in the desired pathways. The school is contemplating purchasing a chipper to process some of its dense growth and to provide chips for the wetlands and the garden spaces.