More than 20 Middletown High School students trudged through standing water at Doubs Meadow Park on Monday to plant about 500 trees.
Sloshing through the 2-acre site, students dug holes and planted saplings of sycamore and cedar trees. Then, they covered the trees with tubes to allow them to grow upward, and braced the tube with a wooden stake.
“It fits in perfectly with our curriculum in the Next Generation Science Standards,” teacher Sharon Steger said. “Almost an entire term of our curriculum is based on ecology, which this falls into, and it’s a great way to incorporate something active for them.”
The students joined Becky Wilson from the Maryland Environmental Service, and Brandon Boldyga, planning and zoning administrator for the town of Myersville, to execute a second tree planting in the area.
In 2014, the town collaborated with the Maryland Forest Service to plant trees in the same area, but many of the trees were hurt by voles — small rodents — within the first year. So the students, as part of biology and physics and earth sciences classes, are working to replant young trees as a second try.
This time around, steps are being taken to ensure the trees aren’t harmed by voles, Wilson said. Posts have been placed around the park as potential habitats for hawks, and the tubes around the trees will hopefully prevent the voles from getting to them, Wilson said.
The student involvement adds a sense of caring about the park, Boldyga said.
“They put the work in, so they are invested and they care,” Boldyga said. “And then they go home and they tell their parents, and that makes their parents care. And when you’re invested, you’re more likely to look after it.”