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MLA 6th Graders Help Restore Cortland Creek

In the best traditions of expeditionary learning, both sixth and seventh grade students at Melrose Leadership have begun to use scientific principles and learning in the service of their community this year. Thanks to some seed money from the MLA administration and a generous donation from the PTSA, these middle schoolers have been able to consistently work with Humberto Bracho from the East Bay Academy of Young Scientists (EBAYS) and the Lawrence Hall of Science in and around our local Courtland Creek. Mr. Bracho’s curriculum includes everything from testing the creek for signs of healthy life by checking for benthic macroinvertebrates, the tiny insects whose presence indicates healthy, non-polluted water source, to learning about the importance of native plants and animals in the restoration of the creek habitat.

We have been able to meet Mr. Bracho out at the creek regularly over the school year and we are making a difference at the creek as well as in the classroom. Students have removed invasive plants and planted native species in their place along the banks of Courtland Creek. They have made careful observations of the presence of the living things that contribute to the overall health of the area. In class students are each finishing a  section of a field guide which will be published and will become available to the public to help identify the plants and animals at Courtland Creek. We even turned out about 20 students and their families for an Earth Day action on a Saturday

Mr. Bracho’s stewardship and restoration project at the Creek began some years ago and includes students from Fremont High School, neighbors and concerned citizens, and now our own students from Melrose Leadership Academy! Thanks to the funding we have received, we have developed and stabilized our relationship with Mr. Bracho and EBAYS and we are hopeful that we will be able to continue this exciting project in the years to come.

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