Monday, July 6

Rain Gardens for the Bays in Dover Delaware Schools

On Thursday I got to install a school wetland rain garden I designed.  We had 45 volunteers show up for the planting from small children to adults and professionals, all wanting to see the planting, learn what it is about and get their hands dirty and their feet wet!

It started raining about an hour into the set up and we waited out the hardest downpour, then got busy moving plants and laying out pathways.  We placed 450 plants including all native to Delaware Coastal Plain species including rushes, sedges, grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees that will provide habitat for bees, birds and butterflies (as well as some frogs and salamanders).

The rain garden filters water running off of the roof of the school building, picking up pollutants along the way, as well as oil from the nearby parking lot.  The storm water will collect in the rain garden and settle before infiltrating down into the soil, getting cleaned as it goes.  Having a local place for rain to go is better than it running into a street drain where it sometimes ends up polluting a waterway.

The school principal was all about getting her hands dirty and she stayed out through the rain and bugs because she's a hiker and knows how important being close to nature is for kids today. As puddles formed from the rain, kids started splashing and kicking as well as digging holes in the dirt. Everyone left soaked but excited for the plants to grow to form a living classroom where everything is constantly moving and changing.

 Blue flag Iris


 Swamp Milkweed

 Possumhaw Viburnum

 Lizard Tail

 Softstem Bulrush

River Birch

Mussels in Local Rivers Video

Now that I'm working with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary,
I've been getting up close and personal with freshwater mussels in our local waterways.

In the first video on our Facebook Page I'm walking around in the background looking for mussels in the Brandywine River and finding lots of live ones.  These are not the edible kind that come from the ocean, but they are cool little mollusks that are living creatures in our natural areas.

The second video I shot while searching for mussles in the tributaries of the Schuylkill near Reading and Kutztown in PA and they are a rarer species.  The mussel in the video was full of personality and as I was carrying him along, he was spitting and making noises and had his foot out on my palm.  We collect a few to photograph and then put them back where we find them, usually in sandy creek beds with some refuge from flash floods and heavy sediment.

Who knew freshwater mussels are all around us and such cool creatures!