Streamside Trees in the Classroom - Virginia

by Dan River Basin Association
Activity Type: Stewardship
Region: Southeast

Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) is a hands-on environmental education program for elementary students in the basin.

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Please describe your project in more detail.

Through a partnership, the Dan River Basin Association and US Army Corps of Engineers launched Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) in 2012.  STIC is a hands-on environmental education program that educates students on the importance of streamside vegetation, referred to as a riparian buffer, primarily for the positive impact it has on water quality.  Riparian buffers keep our rivers and streams healthy by reducing runoff and bank erosion and they also provide habitat for wildlife.  Streamside vegetation not only benefits water quality and wildlife, but also people.  Streamside Trees in the Classroom encourages each of us to become better stewards of our most valuable resource, water, starting by planting trees along streams.

Elementary students throughout the Dan River basin participate in the STIC program by rooting Black Willow cuttings in the classroom, while monitoring and recording their root and limb growth.  After about four weeks, students take a field trip to a stream or lake in need of restoration to plant the trees.  Students are grouped in 3-4 students to a tree and they plant the tree together.  A wooden stake is placed near their tree with their names on them so they can visit them again in the future.  

High school students also participate in the program by helping the elementary students through a mentoring relationship to plant their trees and teach them about other environmental topics.  The high school students select activities that they want to do with the younger students during the school year and develop them for the "Planting Days" associated with the program.  Partner natural resource organizations are also invited to the Planting Days to hold informational booth and activities with the students.  The young students rotate through the activities and learn about things like recycling, reusing materials, erosion, and water quality.

How many kids (grades K-8) will be directly engaged in this project?

800-850 students in elementary schools (particularly 4th grade) will be participating in this project.

What is the name or school district associated with the project?

Students from Franklin County, Patrick County, and Martinsville City schools will be participating in the project, and potentially Henry County.