Students cultivate marsh grass for Choctawhatchee Bay

Marsh grass

Laurel Hill School fifth-graders Charley Beck, Spencer Whitten, Logan Lowery and Noah Heath pose by two of their class' marsh grass cultivation ponds.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Monday, May 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM.

LAUREL HILL — Marsh grass is growing in Laurel Hill, but it has nothing to do with saltwater intrusion. Instead, it's a fifth-grade project called Grasses in Classes.

Under the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance program, students from Laurel Hill School, Antioch and Riverside Elementary Schools are tending large flats of smooth cordgrass, a marsh grass used in erosion control.

The hands-on program "gives students a direct role in the restoration of Choctawhatchee Bay," the alliance's website states.

The alliance provided the schools with equipment and materials required to grow the shoreline grass, Laurel Hill School fifth-grade teacher Deborah Welsh said.

"The kids are learning the importance of keeping the bay and tributaries clean," she said. "They're learning about the ecosystem."

Since October, alliance education coordinator Brittany Tate has taught a monthly class at the schools in conjunction with the project.

"It really jolts their excitement in science," Tate said. "They can apply what they learn in the classroom and see that science has real-life applications."

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