Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) is an environmental education program that allows students to learn about water quality and the importance of streamside vegetation. The program was created in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Philpott Lake. The program serves Martinsville City, Franklin County, Henry County (Magna Vista High School), and Patrick County Public Schools, specifically targeting 4th grade students. This aligns with the Every Kid in a Park Initiative that USACE also works with.
The program has been funded through grants, but most recently supported through donations. The Army Corps of Engineers covers the cost of the trees. Therefore, no cost to the schools aside from mileage/bus costs to get to the planting location.
In the STIC program students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to Philpott Lake, or an approved location, and plant the trees along a creek or area that is in need of streamside restoration. Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer. The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.
The trees are delivered to the classrooms late August or early September and are typically planted in the fall on specific “Planting Days”. When the trees are delivered to the schools, USACE or DRBA typically provides a 20-30 minute presentation for the students. And, we usually have five Planting Days for the program – one for Patrick County schools, one for Martinsville City schools, and three for Franklin County schools.
Any materials needed for the program such as cost of trees, jars, and tubs to hold the trees will be covered through donations. Jars and tubs are used to transport the trees to the designated Planting Day locations and then returned to USACE to be used for the following school year.
Planting Days usually last from 9:45 am – 1:30 pm, but some schools may need to leave early in the afternoon to return to school for dismissal. We usually have partner organization that are natural resource focused like Reynolds Homestead, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency take part in providing activities and/or educational booths for the students during their Planting Days. During October 2019 Planting Days, 500 students participated by planting approximately 200 trees.
Reynolds Homestead – https://photos.app.goo.gl/VHs82gNhrLRXRCno9
Booker T Washington – https://photos.app.goo.gl/PtjvRsnAU49yA9Lu6
Martinsville Dick & Willie – https://photos.app.goo.gl/CJmGg4qm4r2Wsrdw7
Salthouse Branch – https://photos.app.goo.gl/2esV2u5yXRxmERF16