OXFORD – Thirty-seven freshmen and sophomore students from Kathy Hockman’s classes at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School joined on June 1 to implement a service-learning erosion control project on the Old County Road to prevent soil and other pollutants from reaching Green Pond.

Service-learning is a method of teaching/learning that challenges students to identify, research, propose and implement solutions to needs in their school or community as part of their curriculum. Hockman collaborated with Terri Marin, Green and Mirror Ponds Association president, to apply for a $1,000 grant offered by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Throughout the school year, Hockman weaved watershed education into her classroom science curriculum. Carol Haskins DEP SERVE/Maine environmental educator, went to the school and demonstrated a watershed model – a visual tool that demonstrates the flow of water within a lake’s watershed.

Students learned about the watershed, the importance of erosion control measures to curb nonpoint source pollution and the art of culvert stabilization.

The groups teamed up with Peter Marcinuk, Oxford Soil and Water Conservation District conservationist, and Oxford’s road foreman and crew. Marcinuk provided technical advice and budgetary needs and was instrumental the day of the project. He led educational discussions and guided the students from job to job throughout the four-hour implementation process.

The students placed 88 yards of geotextile fabric and worked as a cooperative team to place the 12 tons of stone rip-rap around the inlets and outlets of two culverts. Students stabilized the roadside bank with 50 pounds of grass seed and placed 140 square yards of straw mulch to complete the erosion control measure.

The town of Oxford was key in the success of the project as well.

“If not for the town agreeing to assist with the stone rip-rap, replacing the culvert and grading the bank that needed stabilization, the project would have taken on a significantly different outcome. Their contribution and willingness to participate in the project proves that community partnerships are an integral piece of the community puzzle. Steve Brown, road foreman, is to be commended for this partnership. In addition, the educational component made a positive impact on the town crew.”

Terri Marin, invites people within the watershed, other local lake associations or anyone interested to see the project on the Old County Road, done in honor of her father, Stanley F. Coolidge, who worked for lake protection and pioneered the efforts to improve maintenance on the Old County Road. Call her at 539-8194.

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