SPRING 2011 PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
The Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program, a collaboration between Providence Water and the Northern RI Conservation District announce the winners of their first annual high school photography contest. This year's theme was, Forests: A Working World in Your Backyard.
High school students within the Scituate Reservoir Watershed, comprised primarily of Scituate, Foster, and Glocester, were asked to submit photos accompanied by a short essay that related to either: Clean water as a forest product; depicting how forest management helps forests stay productive and protects forest ecosystems; or the inter-relationship between forests and wildlife and/or people.
Judges included two foresters, Christopher Riely of Providence Water, Paul Dolan, Assistant State Forester of RI DEM, and local photographer Sal Mancini.
The first place winner is Dean Pieranunzi, a 10th grade student at Scituate High School, for his photo titled, Scituate Reservoir Sunset. Dean will receive a plaque and a $200 cash prize. The second place winner is Beatrice Owen, a 10th grade student at Scituate High School, for her photo titled, The Scituate Reservoir: A Reflection. Beatrice will receive a plaque and a $100 cash prize. In third place, Karena Pezzullo of Scituate High School for her photo titled, Sunset on the Reservoir. Karena will receive a plaque and a $75 cash prize.
In addition, a special honorable mention is given to Scott Lynch of Scituate High School for a short essay titled, Scituate Reservoir, that accompanied his photo, since it really summed up the essence of the photo contest. It reads as follows:
The trees that surround the Scituate Reservoir look like they are not doing much but they are doing a very important job. They are continuously cleaning the water. That is why the water that comes from the Scituate Reservoir is one of the cleanest sources of drinking water in the United States. The forest surrounding the reservoir helps keep the water pure.
The process takes place when the water is sucked up into the soil. The soil is kept healthy by the surrounding trees. The soil then purifies the water before releasing it back into the reservoir. The water then makes its way to our homes so we can enjoy clean water.
Trees slow the runoff from storms. The forests help filter sediments and some nutrients that can downgrade the quality of the drinking water. That process is called phytoremediation. Most of the rain and melted snow will sink into the canopy and forest floor instead of draining into the nearest body of water. That gives the water time to be cleansed of any nutrients that can contaminate the water.
As you can trees are one of the most important factors in cleaning water. They filter sewage and runoff from farms. They also filter out animal waste from the soil.
All the photographs will be on display, along with the 15th annual poster contest winning entries, at the new Northern RI Conservation District Office, 2283 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919 during their open house, May 25, 2011 from 3 – 6 pm.
SPRING 2011 PHOTO CONTEST
Tree Farm Dedications Held in Scituate
See photo at right.
The school originally received Tree Farm status on November 17, 1976. Recertification is required every five years. The recertification will require students to identify property boundaries, research the history of the area, determine the species of trees on the property, identify invasive plant species, study applied forest ecology and develop goals for the property. Goals may include such opportunities as protecting wildlife, harvesting products such as wood, mushrooms and/or maple syrup, or even developing an outdoor classroom for the school. Local officials on the Town Council and School Board will be interviewed by the students to help determine priorities for the area that will be expressed in the final plan. It is important that the final plan represent unified agreement. The plan development process will continue through the spring and will culminate in a public presentation to the community in June of 2010.
During their first walk through the forest, identifying unique characteristics of the area, Mr. Modisette explained to the students the unique capability of trees to capture carbon, a by-product of burning fossil fuels. "One of you (the students) may decide to manage the school's woodlands so they can store more carbon and play an important role in mitigating climate change," he stated.
This project is coordinated and funded by the Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program, a collaboration of Providence Water and the Northern RI Conservation District. For more information, go to www.landwaterconnection.org or call Gina DeMarco at 401-949-1480. To learn more about how to obtain Tree Farm designation, go to www.treefarmsystem.org.
Scituate High School Environmental Science Students had a productive year in 2009 working with the Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program.
In May of 2009 they completed a plunge pool on Rockland Road in Scituate, just a short walk from the high school. The project will help alleviate stormwater issues associated with run-off from Rockland Road that had been rushing along a slopped area directly into a stream that led to the Scituate Reservoir. The stormwater was carrying a large amount of soil erosion and sediment from an embankment.
The plunge pool was designed and installed as a settling basin so that the stormwater is now slowed down and allowed to settle a while, allowing sediment to collect in the plunge pool before cleaner water runs off into the stream.
The project was completed on one side of the road in December of 2008 and students were able to observe the amount of sediment that was collected between December of 2008 and May of 2009. During that five month period, nearly a yard of sediment was trapped. The students removed the trapped sediment in the first plunge pool and constructed an additional plunge pool across the street. The plunge pool should be maintained once or twice a year in order to maximize its effect.
The students have chosen to be part of the RI Department of Transportations Adopt a Spot Program and will continue to care for the area, with the hope of removing some invasive plants in the area in the future and also planting native species of plants.
The students were directed by Fuss & ONeill Engineering the designers of the project, Angell Construction, Northern RI Conservation District, and their instructor , Ms. Shannon Donovan. This project was funded by Providence Water.
In May of 2009 these same students held a Water Festival in the Village of North Scituate. After studying the impact that non point sources of pollution can have on both ground and surface water quality, the students used models, demonstrations and games to teach the public how they can reduce nonpoint sources of pollution, which can include: leaky or faulty septic systems, litter, pet and agricultural wastes, pesticides and fertilizers used on lawns an gardens, household cleaners and chemicals, automotive fluids and road salts.
The Water Festival was held in conjunction with the opening day of the Farmers Market in the Village of Scituate, May 2.
Students also used the opportunity to teach the public about the importance of purchasing local farm products. The students sold heirloom organic plants at the water festival and continued to offer these plants to the public throughout the Spring. Why heirloom varieties? Heirloom plant varieties, as the name implies, were often passed down from generation to generation of farmers and gardeners. Many were uniquely adapted to the microclimate of the family compound, having been selected for their outstanding productivity, taste, or disease resistance. These varieties are open pollinated so that from generation to generation the characteristics of the offspring are very similar to those of the parents. This would not be the case if you were to try to replant seeds produced by hybrid varieties commonly found in industrial seed catalogs. To get more of the hybrid you have to buy more seed.
Since the invention of agriculture some 10,000 years ago, humans have consumed an estimated 80,000 plant species. For a number of reasons, the biodiversity of our agricultural crops has plummeted in recent history. In part as a result of the first "green" revolution which promoted monoculture, mechanized field work, an intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, an estimated three-quarters of all our food comes from only 8 species. This presents a dangerous situation.
The oil that we rely on to drive industrial agriculture will not last forever. The cultivation practices used in industrial agriculture deplete soils, pollute ground water, select for resistant pests, and kill beneficial insects. Especially in a changing climate we must hedge our bets and establish diverse cropping systems to reduce the risk of catastrophic losses due to unforeseen weather conditions, insect infestations, or disease outbreaks.
While the students realize their sale is not going to fix all the ills associated with industrial agriculture, it may help preserve some genetic diversity still available to us thanks to some forward thinking traditionalists like the folks at Seed Savers Exchange. All the seeds that we have selected for their sale were grown by Seed Savers members utilizing organic practices. Organic practices respect and utilize natural systems in promoting soil fertility and resisting pests.
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