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Higher Education in Maryland

St. John's College Green Initiatives

Among its many sustainable practices St. John’s College purchases credits for wind power and has two dormitories that use geothermal power and were constructed using energy-saving windows as well as flooring and walls made of recycled composite materials. In addition, St. John’s College has a Living Shoreline, one of the largest on the Chesapeake Bay, that is used as a demonstration model site (See article below for more information).
Living Shoreline contributors and partners include: Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Chesapeake Bay Trust; Restore America’s Estuaries; Maryland Department of the Environment; FishAmerica Foundation; the Vernal W. and Florence Bates Foundation.
For more information on St. John’s College visit: www.stjophnscollege.edu

St. John’s College’s Living Shoreline

St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. is home to a model Living Shoreline that showcases St. John’s role as environmental citizen, educator, and partner with regional environmental organizations. The 885-foot shoreline restoration, completed in 2006, is one of the largest projects of its kind along the Chesapeake Bay. Along the College Creek shoreline, which was once a bulkheaded seawall, there is now is a sloping, ecologically restored wetland protected from erosion with bio-logs and native species of marsh grass. The Living Shoreline has all the zones that occur naturally --an upland riparian buffer of trees and shrubs, tidal wetlands, an oyster reef, and underwater grasses. It serves as a demonstration project for shoreline landowners throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. In addition, its proximity to state legislative offices in Annapolis provides legislators with a readily accessible “living shoreline” demonstration site.

A volunteer corps including students and local residents (many of them Chesapeake Bay Foundation members) provided several work days to help restore the area to a more natural state, thanks to support from several foundations.
In July 2006 more than 100 volunteers spent the day working at the site. Ron Schnabel, watershed restoration scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is one of the CBF staff members who have donated time and expertise to the project. “I am thankful that St. John’s College was willing to lead by example, and allow CBF to hold workshops on campus highlighting the benefit of a ‘living shoreline,’” says Schnabel.

Seven years ago the shoreline restoration was begun as a pilot project to restore 125 feet between the college’s boathouse and King George Street. The project involved grading the shoreline to a natural slope and planting native species, such as spartina, bayberry, and bulrush on a prepared planting terrace constructed on sand and dirt fill imported to the site. The terrace is held in place with bio-logs, rolls of natural fiber material that act as a buffer and allow vegetation to take hold. The pilot project won an award from the Annapolis Preservation Trust and has served as a model for similar restoration programs.

Planning and design for the second phase of the project began several years later --thanks to a $200,000 challenge grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Contributors and partners include: Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Chesapeake Bay Trust; Restore America’s Estuaries; Maryland Department of the Environment; FishAmerica Foundation; the Vernal W. and Florence Bates Foundation; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Technical assistance was provided by Maryland Department of Natural Resources; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

The creek is also an important part of the college’s academic program. Students at St. John’s take three years of laboratory classes, and the first half of freshman laboratory focuses on careful observation of the natural world. Students read works by ancient thinkers such as Theophrastus, Aristotle, and Galen, and conduct laboratory experiments drawn from such readings. Every fall, students head down to the creek with seine nets and buckets and carry back fish and other creek creatures to tanks in the science labs.

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