UNH and Plum Island Dune Restoration

UNH and Plum Island Dune Restoration


You can use a
shovel if you want, would you like to get
dirty with your hands? Yeah! You know what I do? I’m my own little excavator. There’s been quite a history
in Plum Island of major storms taking parts of the beach. As you can see,
it’s fairly eroded, and this site was a location
that the conservation commission was trying
to do some biomimicry, putting physical
stakes in the ground to mimic the effect of the grass
leaves catching and trapping sand. So today, we’re
fortunate enough to have a group of fourth graders who
are assisting in the effort by moving to the next step
from biomimicry, to planting the real thing, so they’re
planting American beachgrass. We already need
some more plants. I think it’s critical that
we engage the community, because as you can
see, this is literally happening in
people’s front yards, and so in order for
it to be sustainable, in order for this work to
happen, and happen over time, we need the people that
live here to value it and to support it. Ah, this is a really good
pair, see this green? Part of the curriculum for
the fourth and fifth graders was to learn about erosion. We’re always reading in the
paper about the erosion at Plum Island, and I have a lot
of students that live out on Plum Island, so I
put the two together, and I thought it would
compliment what the teachers were doing in the classroom. I mean using toothpicks
in a container, mimicking the ocean
waves was one thing, but when they were really
hands-on, doing it right here, I think that’s bringing it to a
whole other level of learning, and I think they were
excited, and it’s something they can watch
over their lifetime and see if it’s effective. I think that’s 28. This is very play
space, they live here, this is their community,
they come to this beach, they see it get
eroded, and so that’s why we think it’s important
to, not just bring them out here, but do kind of
an introductory lesson in the classroom, which we did
yesterday, to talk about beach dynamics and the
importance of sand dunes, and then talk about
the project itself. By our estimation, you
planted, in just over an hour, about 2,000 plants. [CHEERING] Our hope is that they’re
also a communication tool to get to their parents, and
to get their parents engaged in the project as well. You know, that was before
we got the second box. We had to bring in a second box
because you were planting so much faster than we expected. Yeah, we had no idea
what you were capable of. We know that a major storm
will take some of this away, maybe take all of it
away, but in the interim, it gives us time to build
as much sand as possible, to minimize the effect
of that type of a storm. So then that way really helps
the resilience of the system, and it helps communities
to see the types of efforts we can make, the types
of green approach, to preserve the system
that they all love.

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