Note: Activities 1 through 3 constitute the preparation phase of a service learning project. Activity 4 can be considered an action phase. If students decide to plant a riparian forest buffer at the site they visited, or another site, they could complete the action and reflection phases. By appropriate completion of all three phases of the service learning project, students could earn hours for credit.
Distribute Student Booklets and read the Introduction with the students.
Activities 1 & 2.
Distribute individual student copies of the Stream ReLeaf brochure excerpt found in the Teacher's Resources.
These activities require the students to gain new information about riparian forest buffers by accessing the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Web Page on the Internet. Your directions to students will depend on the availability of computers with Internet access. Options include:
Divide the class into groups of 4. Copy and distribute to each student the Fact Sheet found in the Teacher's Resources. Students will use the information they have learned and the Fact Sheet to create a checklist. As an option, you may also wish to show the video, Riparian Forest Buffers: The Link Between Land and Water. After the groups have constructed their checklists, share the sample checklist found in the Teacher's Resources (see Materials Required). Then you and the students may select from the following options.
The students will visit the site of a proposed reforestation project and use their checklists to evaluate the suitability of the site for a student service learning project. You will need to make preparations for the site visit as necessary. The following options are offered in selecting an appropriate site.
In planning the site visit, contact the landowner, plan for student safety, and consider special instructions the students may need to follow.
After the students have visited the site and completed their evaluations, each group must make a decision as to whether or not this site should be replanted as a service learning project, and present it's decision to the class. The class must then make a decision based on the evaluations of each group.
Students complete this activity individually.
Other Teacher Resources.
Riparian Forest Buffers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Stream Corridor Protection and Restoration
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (1996, June). Report seeks 1,200 more miles of streamside forests. Bay Journal, 6 (4).
To request a copy of any of the above three documents, contact:
Riparian Buffer Initiative Coordinator
Riparian Forest Buffers: The Link Between Land and Water. Prepared by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service (1996).
This 21 minute video serves as an introduction to the concept of forest buffers and how they benefit the environment. Copies of the video are currently available from the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service or from your local forester.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust provides grants to community groups and schools to help them complete Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration projects. Their web site is:
They may also be reached by telephone at (410) 974-2941.
For each student, individual copies of:
Copy of Sample Riparian Forest Buffer Checklist
Access to computer and Internet
Measuring tape or ruler for each group
Tree key or field guide that identifies native trees and shrubs (optional)
Forest Riparian Buffers: The Link Between Land and Water (optional video, see Other Teacher Resources)
The total time required for students to complete this task is 4 hours. This estimate does not include transportation time to and from the reforestation site in Activity 4. The time required for specific activities is as follows:
You may want to focus on particular activities to evaluate student progress on a certain indicator and outcome. For the purposes of this exemplar task, sample scoring tools are provided for Activities 1A, 2B and 5B. The scoring tools should be shared and discussed with the students prior to and at the end of the activity.
Activity 1, Step A. Use information from the Stream ReLeaf resource to describe ways the local environment will improve as a result of a riparian forest buffer planting.
Activity 2, Step B. List the address of the Internet site you think provided the best information about riparian forest buffers. Then, use information from the web site to explain why you would recommend it to another student.
Activity 5, Step B. On the lines below, state your decision and provide at least two scientific facts from your chart and checklist to support your decision.