Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Greener Neighborhoods Cleaner Streams in the news

Longfellow Elementary School students on their field trip to Capisic Pond Park.
Many thanks to The Forecaster for joining us on a walking field trip with Longfellow Elementary School students. On the trip, students follow the flow of runoff from their school to Capisic Pond Park to understand how water moves and how pollution can get into our waterways.

The field trip is part of the students' Youth YardScaping unit, which teaches students about healthy lawn care practices and highlights how our everyday actions can impact our local streams, ponds, and Casco Bay.

To learn more about the field trip, check out the article in The Forecaster

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Problem with Pet Waste

We love our dogs! Being a responsible pet owner means cleaning up after our pooch and properly disposing of the poo by bagging it and throwing it in the garbage.

This story from Canton, MA shows what can happen when pet waste bags are tossed into storm drains.

Unfortunately, this story could have easily taken place in Portland or a number of other Southern Maine communities. Our storm drains are not connected to the sewer system. The water and pollution that flows into the drains goes directly to our streams and Casco Bay. Help protect our water resources and save thousands of dollars in costly repairs by throwing Fido's poo in the trash!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Green Neighbor Family Fest

UPDATE: Due to Saturday's chilly forecast, we're moving the festival inside. Join us in the Deering High School gym for live entertainment, face painting, and other fun stuff! The entrance to the gym is located at the back of Deering High School.

Date: Saturday, April 21, 2018 
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: Deering High School, Stevens Avenue, Portland

Cost: FREE!

Our annual kickoff event, the Green Neighbor Family Fest, is just around the corner! We hope you'll join us again this year for tons of fun - live entertainment, face painting, family-friendly activities, giveaways, and more!

This year's festival will include entertainment by:

Activities and education will be provided by: 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March Brook Trout Update!

The Brook Trout eggs at Hall School are beginning to hatch, and we couldn't be more excited! The  students have been doing an awesome job raising the Brook Trout eggs, which first arrived in their classroom in mid-January. Check out the pictures below to see how the Brook Trout are developing from the eyed egg stage to alevin.

Top: Brook Trout late in the "eyed egg" stage of their life cycle, on the verge of hatching. At this point, you can see their bodies forming and eyes on either side. One of the trout is starting to emerge from its egg on (left hand side of photo).

Middle: A newly hatched Brook Trout in the "alevin" stage of their life cycle. After emerging from the egg, alevin look like tadpoles because of the yolk sac attached to their underside. This yolk sac provides the nutrition they need until they are strong enough to search for food.

Bottom: The top view of a newly hatched alevin and its yolk sac.

The students will release the trout in a local stream later this spring.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Fish Are In!

A volunteer helps set up the tank at Hall School, where the trout will live from
now through May. Insulation around the tank keeps it cold and dark,
 just they way the fish like it!
Hall School students were extra excited this week as they received 300 trout eggs from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's hatchery in Casco! From now until early May, the students will raise the trout in their classroom while monitoring their growth and the health of the water in their tank. To do this, students will make the following observations:

  • Daily Observations 
    • Temperature - The trout like COLD water! Students will check the water temperature in the tank to ensure that it stays between 34°F - 38°F.
    • Fatalities - Dead eggs can cause bacteria to grow and spread throughout the tank. Students will check for fatalities daily and have them removed.
    • Changes in appearance - Students will monitor the trout's growth by writing daily descriptions and sketches of what they look like.
  • Weekly Observations
    • pH Tests - Once a week, the students will test the acidity of the tank water. Trout prefer water with a pH between 6.8 - 7.8 (but can tolerate pH up to 9).
    • Out of tank observations - Students will have the chance to take a closer look at the trout once a week. Their teacher will carefully remove 2-3 trout and place them in a clean beaker for students to look at. 
Stay tuned to see how the Brook Trout develop! The students plan to release the trout this spring at the Mill Brook Preserve in Westbrook.

Staff at the ME Inland Fisheries & Wildlife's Casco
hatchery prepare Brook Trout eggs for Hall School.

Trout eggs

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Year Goals for 2018

Start the new year right by setting a goal to become a Greener Neighbor in 2018! Get started by taking on one (or more!) of the simple actions below:

Reduce your use of fertilizer and weed & bug killers.
Practice healthy lawn care this year! Weed and bug killers can harm our children and pets, and fertilizer can pollute our water. Click here to learn more about healthy lawn care practices that build healthy soil for a beautiful lawn without weed and bug killers and with reduced use of fertilizer.

Direct gutter downspouts to a rain barrel or vegetation.By directing your gutter downspouts into a rain barrel or vegetation, you'll not only conserve water, but you'll also stop water from running off of your property and into a nearby stream or storm drain, collecting pollutants along the way. For more information on rain barrels, contact the Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District at 207-892-4700.

Pick up after your pet and throw it in the trash or flush it down the toilet.Improper pet waste disposal can cause serious problems for our waterways. Pet waste that is left on the ground or thrown into a storm drain can enter our water after it rains or when the snow melts. Pet waste in our water can cause beach closures due to high levels of bacteria, increase weed and algae growth and use up oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Make sure to scoop it, bag it, and trash it when you're out with your pet.

Wash your car on the lawn or at a car wash.Washing your car on the lawn or at a car wash can help prevent soapy water from running into nearby streams or storm drains and ending up in our waterways. Many car washes also reuse their water, so you can feel good about reducing your water usage!

Never dump anything down a storm drain. 
Most storm drains empty out directly into the closet water body. This means they carry trash, oil, pet waste, and more right into our water! Always remember - only rain down the drain.

Tell your friends and neighbors what you hope to do in 2018, and challenge them to do the same! Let's work together to help keep our waterways clean and healthy.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Education Programs Set for 2018!

Hall School students celebrate the end of their service project in 2017.
The new year is almost here, and we're super excited for the start of the Greener Neighborhoods Cleaner Streams' school programs! We're partnering with educators at the Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) once again to bring clean water service learning programs to students at King Middle School, Longfellow Elementary School and the Many Rivers Program at Hall School. Check out what we have planned for each school:

  • King Middle School - Sixth grade students will take part in a Clean Water Stewards Service Learning Program. Students will receive classroom lessons, participate in field work at local streams or ponds, and implement a service project to help protect Portland's waterways.
  • Longfellow Elementary School - Fifth graders at Longfellow Elementary School will participate in the fourth year of the Youth YardScaping Program. Through the program, students will research healthy lawn care practices and their impact on our water resources, care for a section of the lawn in their school garden, and take a field trip to Capisic Pond Park. The program concludes at Longfellow's annual science fair, where the students will present their research to the community.
  • Many Rivers, Hall School - First and second grade students in Hall School's Many Rivers Program will participate in a Trout in the Classroom Program. The students will raise Brook Trout, while learning about their habitat, life cycle, and how their survival depends on clean water. In the spring, the students will release the trout into a local stream, after presenting what they've learned to friends and family.
Longfellow Elementary School students care for their test plot as part of the
2016-2017 Youth YardScaping Program