Improving North Star Inside and Out
By Emalee Henning
In 2003 when North Star opened, the high school received its own wetland located on the west side of the building. Buying that land was essential because science teachers use it to teach as well as research.
Due to erosion, $324,568 is what it’s taking to help repair our wetland. This project is expected to take six weeks, so there’s about a month or less to go.
There were many problems that needed to be addressed within the six weeks they were given to repair the wetland. Stream banks have eroded, channels and holes have appeared in the wetland too. These holes, also know as head cuts, drain water out of the wetlands sooner and more quickly than they should. These head cuts appear all over the wetland, which can be dangerous to students and staff because of their depth and location.
However, solutions have been created to solve these problems; workers are changing the slopes of the pond banks to slow the cat-tail growth. Grade control structures are being built in streams, which act like damns to slow water flow. Berms are being built to help direct the flow of water across the wetland. Widening the streams and slopes of banks will help reduce erosion. Planting bear-soil ensure it won’t wash away as soon. They’ll also be placing rocks (rip raps) to slow down water so it won’t erode soil as much.
Repairing the wetland will improve its quality and help prevent further damage. The wetland will also be more accessible to students. A ramp will be built so students with injuries or disabilities will be able to join the class in the wetland.
Since 2004, Mrs. Chapo has been convincing the NRCS to raise money to repair the wetland. It wasn’t until this year that they raised enough money to begin the project.
Chapo uses the wetland as much as possible, so this project will definitely benefit her and her students. It will allow them to learn as much as possible with hands-on activities in North Star’s own wetland.