The Natural Roots Project

  • Location
    College Park, Maryland
  • Status

The Problem

In 2012, a K12-educator and suburban-DC area Maryland Watershed Steward trainee, initiated a service-learning partnership with the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) with which she’d been volunteering. Having completed Watershed Stewardship classes in Spring 2012, she approached leaders of said PTSA to offer youth service-learning credit for supporting her capstone project; installing and maintaining a conservation garden. Upon her gaining approval from both the PTSA and the school, proposed funding was granted by the Watershed Stewards Academy in Spring 2013. The garden was installed in one of the school’s courtyard-atria in June 2013; with all applicable students earning their promised service learning hours. This garden later played a key role in connecting student-volunteers from nearby University of Maryland and representatives from the Anacostia Watershed Society in supporting student and staff efforts to meet Maryland Green School certification standards (Awarded 2015-2019). Subsequently, the leadership of the school changed hands; resulting in a de-prioritization of the garden and Green School. In the present application, as an inspiring memorial to the prior mentioned cross-institutional efforts, The Natural Roots Project proposes to offer youth service-learning credit for installing the same conservation garden design in a nearby Cherry Hill Community Garden plot.

Our Plan

At bare minimum, the project will prove successful if local youth gain service-learning hours for installing the conservation garden in ways that spark meaningful prior Green School PTSA memorializing conversation and reflection. This success indicator is very reachable being that The Natural Roots Project’s (NRP’s) partner-organization, The Empowerment Center of Maryland, Inc, has agreed to both: a) host youth-preparatory sessions at their facility, and b) provide the 501c3 criteria necessary to grant service-learning credit. Furthermore, many Cherry Hill plot holders are elderly retirees, accustomed to seeing mainly food planted at their location. Thus, the conservation garden is likely to spark much curiosity, inquiry and conversation. The process of garden installation and community response will be documented via a youth coordinated video montage and short feedback surveys respectively.

Themes Addressed

  • term icon
    Clean Water
  • term icon
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    Community Enhancement

The Benefit

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