The Fort A.P. Hill Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) celebrated Earth Day week with Caroline County High School’s (CCHS) freshman environmental science class by educating 70 students on tree identification, tree health, and forest management concepts on 22 April 2022. ENRD personnel set up learning stations at CCHS’s recently established Mattaponi Arboretum, and along the edge of a wood line on school grounds, where staff engaged students on timber harvesting practices, stages of vegetative succession, measuring tree height, biodiversity, and the benefits of tree cover to watersheds.
Students had the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get hands-on experience through fundamental arboricultural practices such as tree pruning, trimming and laying mulch around new saplings in the developing Mattaponi Arboretum. Fort A.P. Hill staff encouraged students to complete a tree identification worksheet, and become familiar with using a tree field manual.
Throughout these experiences, ENRD personnel demonstrated the synergistic relationship between forest cover and the health of the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds, whereby tree stands help decrease and minimize the detrimental effects of pollutant and erosion runoff into watersheds. In support of the education cornerstone of Executive Order (EO) 13508, Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed, staff reinforced the interdependent cycles and processes found in forests and watersheds to students, who were able to engage in experiential learning skills they can take with them into the future.
Article and photos by:
Fort A.P. Hill Environmental and Natural Resources Division