As part of the Maryland Stream Restoration Challenge, Dr. Bulmer hosted 90 sixth grade students from Brookland Park Middle School in Baltimore at his farm in Davidsonville. Tree planting and water quality activities were undertaken that were run by staff from the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. Eighty trees were planted at Roedown to increase a forested stream buffer on the Davidsonville Branch or Fish Run which drains into the Patuxent River. Tree species planted included Atlantic White Cedar, Black gum, Yellow poplar, River Birch and Sycamore.
During the water quality activities, students measured stream velocity, pH, turbidity as well as dissolved oxygen and nitrogen. They undertook an invertebrate study which found indicators of good water quality such as cadis fly and salamanders. Two American eels were released.
As the Director of Roedown Research R2, Dr. Bulmer introduced the sixth-graders to the farm explaining the value of science, engineering and mathematics to the farming and research being undertaken at Roedown with its focus on developing and testing climate change adaptation strategies. He explained the significance and value of the tree planting and water quality activities they were going to undertake and how it connected to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
For many students from the inner city, this was the first time they had been on a working farm and undertaken such activities. The event was organized by the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center in partnership with Roedown Research R2 and funded through a grant from Governor O’Malley’s Stream Restoration Challenge. The plan is for other middle schools in the region to be able to engage in other service-learning and environmental literacy activities hosted at Roedown.