Monday, June 18, 2018

King Middle School Stewards Plant Back Cove

Students at King Middle School have spent several months learning about watersheds, water health, and polluted runoff to understand how actions and activities on the land can impact our water. 

Students explored thhow humans can impact local waterways during a field trip to the Presumpscot River (Windham, ME) and Capisic Brook (Portland, ME). They performed water quality tests and observed the area surrounding the River and Brook. Through these tests and observations, the students discovered that water tends to be more polluted where there are fewer trees and more buildings.

King Middle School study the health of the Presumpscot River.

Students completed a service learning project where they planted native trees, shrubs, and flowers along Back Cove. The new plants will help hold soil in place, filter pollution, and provide important habitat for pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

King Middle School students plant a native trees, shrubs,
and flowers to protect along Back Cove.

Students also put together public service announcements to share information about different sources of water pollution. Check out all of their creative videos here or view the top rated videos below.






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

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Trout are Out!

Students from Hall School's Many Rivers program first received their trout eggs at the beginning of February. They have since been watching them grow, making daily observations, and monitoring their tank environment. Students have also participated in interactive lessons to learn about trout life cycle, healthy habitats, and threats to their fish's survival in the wild.

Students traveled to Mill Brook Preserve (Westbrook, ME) on May 2nd where they were challenged to make sure this would be a great home for their trout. 

Students performed a series of water quality tests including:

Brook Trout do best with a pH between 6 and 7.
Brook Trout like it cold! They need water temperatures to be less than 65° F.
Dissolved Oxygen
Brook Trout use a lot of oxygen to breath in the water. They need more than 7 parts per million (ppm).
Macroinvertebrate assessment
Brook Trout will feed on critters that live in the water (called macroinvertebrates) when they grow a little bigger. Certain types of these critters cannot live in polluted water, so they are often used to determine if streams are clean and healthy.  

They assessed the site for:

Possible pollutants
Brook Trout need clean water to survive. Having sources of pollution near the stream could threaten the health of their habitat and the fish's chance of survival.
Ground type
Soil is Maine's #1 water pollutant. Having lots of vegetation and leaf coverage on the ground keeps soil on the land where it belongs and keeps our water clean.
Brook Trout need cold water. Having lots of shade around the stream helps to keep the water cool for them.
Water appearance
Brook Trout need clean clear water with lots of rocks and sticks to give them places to hide from predators.

At the end of their tests and observations, students unanimously decided that Mill Brook would be a great home for their trout! In a bittersweet moment, they released them into the brook with kind words and well wishes.

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