IB Environmental Systems | Native Water Retention Garden

By Karen Miller & Bradley Webster
School-wide Spotlight
May 09, 2022

students-plantingOur IB Environmental Systems Science Classes led by Science Teacher, Bradley Webster, have received a grant from the Public Works Stormwater Department to create and manage a Bioretention Garden through their R3 Grant Program.  R3 stands for Revitalize, Restore and Replant. Ground breaking, tilling and planting began on May 10th, 2022.

Once complete, the construction will provide Robinson Secondary School with a garden that will not only beautify the area and bring habitat to native pollinators, such as birds, bees and butterflies. This garden also acts as a water management facility to improve water quality in the local watershed and will be used as an educational demonstration site. In addition, smaller mammals will be able to find cover when the foliage matures.

The Bioretention Garden is located in front of the A wing, just east of Door 3.  Come by and take a look at the wide variety of plants.  The garden contains Common Rush, Blue Flag Iris, Coreopsis, Yarrow, Swamp Milkweed, and Bee Balm.  You will notice that the Common Rush is close to the drain because it has a better soil retention capability in a high sloped area.

students-plantingAs part of the R3 grant, the Public Works Stormwater Department installed an education sign to highlight the purpose of the garden.  Students and the community members can learn about strategies to help better manage storm water run-off and the use of native plants to assist in managing soil retention.

Danielle Wynne took some time out of her day to talk to seventh grade students, whose science teachers brought them out to learn about the garden being installed. The seventh grade science teachers hope to use the garden next year as part of their watershed unit. Danielle Wynne is a stormwater ecologist for Fairfax County.

IB Environmental students creating the bioretention gardenYou can learn more about the Public Works Stormwater Department at fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/stormwater/watershed-education-and-outreach.