Spring Restoration BioBlitz with Bellows Free Academy Students
Environmental science students at Bellows Free Academy - St. Albans returned to Black Creek in Fairfield this week to investigate connections between ecosystem restoration, biodiversity, and water quality. This trip built upon last October's field trip to the same location, a tree planting project in a former Magnan Brothers Dairy pasture alongside Black Creek in Fairfield.
Students started their day at the tree planting site, noting how different and greener the ecosystem looked in the spring than in the fall. They then split into observation teams and walked the newly completed Lamoille Valley Rail Trail along Black Creek to observe stream conditions, plant life, and signs of animals both upstream and downstream of the tree planting site.
Later in the day, Franklin County NRCD staff demonstrated differences between forest and pasture soils, prompting questions about how erosion and soil health are connected to broader ecosystems. Next, students identified and counted stream macroinvertebrates, a perennial favorite activity, and discussed the importance of both clean water and habitat for healthy aquatic life.
A huge thank you to Molly Magnan, FCNRCD Supervisor and BFA Science Teacher, and Paul Brown, BFA Science Teacher, for their collaboration in bringing this event to life. Thanks also to the Lake Champlain Basin Program, which funded this program through a Small Education & Outreach Grant.