BES Woodland Ecosystem Stewardship
- Be responsible stewards and ensure ecologically healthy wooded school grounds are available for future generations.
- Be a good neighbor; contain Non-Native Invasive (NNI) woody plants to the grounds and keep them from further seeding the wider community.
- School grounds that enable and inspire student environmental learning opportunities.
- Demonstrate to BES teachers and staff that our community values the school grounds.
Current State of BES Woodlands
As with many of the fragmented urban woodlands of the DC metro area, the ecological value of our school grounds is diminishing. Biodiversity is almost certainly declining, as significant and increasing NNI (learn more about NNIs here) plant populations kill natives (trees, shrubs and herbaceous), change the wooded ecology, and establish monocultures. These NNIs have established an extensive seed factory, which are actively being spread by birds and other wildlife throughout our wider community. To add to the stresses on these ecosystems, the overabundance of deer make it very difficult for young native plants to get established and provide the needed next generation of plants.
Without our intervention, the trees in the wooded edge along Bannockburn Dr would most likely all have died from the effects of the invasive plants; with minimal-to-no opportunity for natural succession. The rest of the wooded grounds surrounding BES face a similar threat (albeit slower); with possibility for more rapid change if large trees die. The wooded edges are thick with invasives and make the woods mostly inaccessible by students, staff and the community.
To stabilize the BES grounds, we will take action through a sustained combination of the following:
- Recurring and sustained BES PTA sponsored workday events (register for an upcoming event!) to stabilize of woodlands through removal of NNIs from the entire grounds. Follow Montgomery Co. Park NNI removal strategies that utilize volunteer effort.
- Partner with local organizations who help facilitate this work (e.g. Little Falls Watershed Alliance) and volunteer labor groups (SSL Hours, Boy/Girl scout troops, neighborhood organizations, etc)
- Use workday events as opportunities to share with our community the damage NNIs are doing and how we can stop it. NNIs are vulnerable and we have advantages to exploit. They are successful in our community, due to our inaction.
- Support next generation native tree and shrub growth
- On-going PTA collaboration with school administration
- Provide training and support for school maintenance personnel
- Align PTA workday event tasking
- Enable student learning opportunities
- Assist school maintenance personnel