Severn News

Severn Community Joins Together to Reforest the Stine Environmental Center

On the rainy, chilly morning of April 22 over 90 members of our community joined together to plant native species on our property behind Teel Campus that meets the Severn River. As part of a long-term project with Campion Hruby Landscape Architects and with a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Anne Arundel County, restoration of the site is a necessary step toward supporting a healthy ecosystem on our property and its surrounding areas.

Phase One: Clear and Build

As a part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and with our location directly along the Severn River, the actions we take to develop our school property have a direct effect on the health of our surrounding ecosystem. The first step in transforming the nearly 3-acre parcel of land behind our school into both an educational and ecologically healthy space was to clear out invasive non-native greenery such as bamboo and kudzu.

The Stine Family poses with the dedication plaque at the environmental center opening in the spring of 2014.
Thanks to the generosity of the Stine and Igler families, we opened the James M. Stine Environmental Center in the spring of 2014.

During this phase we developed the James M. Stine Environmental Center with a spectacular tiered-stone outdoor classroom, walking trails, a counsel ring, a low-ropes challenge course, and an artist reflection area. The center provides opportunities for our community members to collaborate and learn, while recognizing the value of the natural world and the vital resources of this distinct watershed.

Watch the Stine Center in action!

Our teachers and students use the area in clever and creative ways including theatrical performances, literary readings, staging WWII trench warfare scenes, learning outdoor survival skills, identifying plants and trees, and more.

Severn students use the environmental center for all types of projects including an outdoor performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Our Spring 2016 Upper School performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream began on the stone-tiered outdoor classroom.

Severn middle schoolers learn outdoor survival skills in our Outdoor Education elective.
Mr. Maloney’s 8th Grade Outdoor Education class uses their knot-tying skills to build shelters.

Phase Two: Plant and Grow

Through the combined efforts of Campion Hruby Landscape Architects and Upper School science teacher and Stine Center Coordinator Mr. Phil Lenham, Severn was awarded a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Anne Arundel County to reforest this area — encouraging the growth of native plants, stabilizing the soil to curtail erosion and protecting the river from stormwater runoff. The first leg of planting occurred in the fall of 2016 followed by an all school planting initiative on April 22, Earth Day.

Severn students, families and faculty gather to prepare for our Earth Day planting in the Stine Environmental Center
On a rainy Earth Day morning, Mr. Phil Lenham explains the plan for the day to a group of dedicated students, faculty and family volunteers.

An associate from Campion Hruby Landscape Architects teaches Severn students how to properly plant new native species in the Stine Environmental Center.
Campion Hruby Associate Meredith Beach teaches a faculty member’s children how to properly place the fragile new growth.

Working together, Severn faculty and students plant native species in the Stine Environmental Center.
Ms. Diana Talbott, John Andrews ‘17, Emily Huber ‘17, and others work tirelessly through the drizzle to complete the planting.

Our World, Our Responsibility

It is through the generous support of our community that we are able to build and utilize the Environmental Center to integrate the environment into our curriculum and way of life at Severn. We are grateful to have such a beautiful campus, lush with growing plants and wildlife right at our doorstep, along with opportunities to foster understanding of nature through authentic experience. The reforestation initiative is an opportunity to show our students that taking care of our property, and by extension the larger ecosystem of which we are a part, is a necessary component to having these fantastic facilities.

The James M. Stine Environmental Center is given by the Stine and Igler families in loving memory of James M. Stine. Learn more about the Stine Environmental Center.

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Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146