Fourth-graders at Byrd Elementary School recently embarked on a large-scale project to develop bayscapes on the school’s property, offering an environmentally friendly makeover to the Hadensville-Fife Road campus.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a bayscape uses native plants to both improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and also provide a habitat for local and migratory animals.

The Byrd students’ project was generously funded by an innovation grant from the Goochland Education Foundation and other community partners such as BrightView Landscaping, Yard Works, and SiteOne Landscape Supply.

Last summer, Byrd Elementary received a facelift that included new blacktop, more parking spaces, and a new parent drop-off loop. The renovations also created a unique opportunity to turn the updates into a learning opportunity for students, with fourth-graders learning about the impact humans have on the environment and the importance of watersheds.

Students also investigated environmental issues unique to their school’s property, their county, the James River, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Students worked in teams to research the benefits of bayscapes developed with native plants and created a plan for their plot within a budget. BrightView Landscaping ordered the plants from SiteOne Supply, and students worked with their team to install the planned bayscapes, spreading mulch from Yard Works around the landscapes to promote the health of the plants and give the project a finished look.

Throughout this project, students also had the opportunity to learn about careers in the green industry. Guest speakers helped students to better understand the importance of a healthy environment, and how to plan for and plant a bayscape.

The meaningful watershed experience for Goochland students would not have been possible without the help of the Goochland Education Foundation and the local community partners who worked with the students at Byrd Elementary School to truly leave their school a more beautiful place.

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