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.
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.
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.
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.