Trays of wild rice growing in the AWS office
It's been quite a winter (and now, basically, spring!) for these wild rice seeds, which have come a long way from when we harvested them last fall. Looking at what we've done to store and propagate them, it's really interesting to compare it to the normal cycle of life for a wild rice plant in our watershed.
Let's start with the seed. The wild rice around our watershed usually are ready to harvest around September, all the way through October. Around that time, as the fall weather gets colder and turns to winter, the wild rice seeds that remain are either eaten by the birds or lie dormant in pockets of mud.
The AWS education and stewardship teams were fortunate to have sixteen students from Georgetown Day School over on February 28 for a morning of watershed education, hard work, and even a little bit of fun. These students spent most of their time planting rice sprouts in preparation for a wetland stewardship project in several weeks. So far they have been responsible for creating a healthy sand and soil mixture, filling several flats with this mixture, and then very delicately placing the germinated seeds just under the surface of the soil. All told, we now have 512 new rice “plugs” under grow lights here in our office. It is obvious that these students did an excellent job, as many of these rice plants have sprouted stems of a couple centimeters and a few even have tiny leaves already! This was our first Rice Rangers planting activity of the season and it has set a great precedent for our work to come. Thanks to the Georgetown Day School students for all their hard work!
AWS Rice Rangers ready to restore the wetlands!
The North Face has awarded a $2,500 grant to the Anacostia Watershed Society to help children explore the outdoors through our Rice Rangers program. AWS was selected from hundreds of applications because of our commitment to innovative hands-on watershed education. In the final grant cycle of 2011, The North Face awarded $125,000 Explore Fund grants to 51 projects helping more than 30,000 kids to connect to nature.
“We believe in the importance of bringing youth together from diverse backgrounds and providing them with opportunities to get outdoors,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We support organizations that work to create these opportunities for youth because we’ve seen firsthand how these programs can ignite a passion for the outdoors and teach them the importance of protecting the places we play for generations to come.”
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