Group celebrates Cambridge-South Dorchester meadow restoration

Freshmen biology accelerated class leads student-led action project

CAMBRIDGE — Perhaps Cambridge-South Dorchester freshman Samuel Padilla will grow up with a green thumb. He certainly learned an important life lesson this year at C-SD — weeding is hard work.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Students from Mrs. Lauren Blades’ biology accelerated class from left are, Joseph Romero, Leslie Lievano, Helen Hutchinson, Drew Warfield, Sarah Condon, Sarah Lewis, Katie Roberts, Brooke Windsor and Sarah Brooks.

A large group, including state delegates Chris Adams and Johnny Mautz, members of the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, and City Councilman Dave Cannon of the Banner, joined students to celebrate the recently completed meadow restoration project at the high school. The lush green meadow is along the drainage ditch on Maple Dam Road between the back of the high school and entrance to the DCTC greenhouse.

The restoration work was conceived, planned, designed and completed as a student-led action project. Lauren Blades ninth-grade biology accelerated class did the majority of the work, with help from other C-SD students. Freshman Helen Hutchinson, a member of Mrs. Blades’ class, explained the meadow’s benefits.

“The ditch behind the meadow, that leads to a stream in the back of the school that eventually leads to Blackwater,” Ms. Hutchinson said. “This meadow helps trap runoff and other forms of pollution so that they don’t end up at Blackwater.”

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
A large group gathered to celebrate and cut the ribbon Friday on a meadow-restoration project at Cambridge-South Dorchester. The project was led by Mrs. Lauren Blades’ ninth-grade biology accelerated class, with help from other C-SD students.

The freshmen in the biology accelerated class tested water in the ditch. They also traveled Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge by kayak, where they took more water samples. Through testing, the students discovered high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which can cause low levels of oxygen in the water. The meadow should help filter out some of that nitrogen and phosphorus, and has other added benefits. It contains pollinator-friendly plants that will attract honey bees and butterflies.

“It also creates a lot of habitat,” Ms. Hutchinson said. “We put up birdhouses for birds to build their nests in. There’s also little cages full of yarn and twigs, and other things, for birds to build their nests out of.”

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Samuel Padilla, a member of Mrs. Lauren Blades freshman biology accelerated class, points Friday to the painted pavers he helped place in the newly restored meadow at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School.

Along with other students, Mr. Padilla took some of the guests on a short walking tour of the meadow. He helped place a path of custom-painted pavers that runs through the meadow.

Mr. Padilla was asked what he thought was the hardest part of the meadow restoration.’
“The weeds,” he answered. “The weeding was pretty hard.”

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