A joint venture between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has taken root, literally.

Students participating in the “Bay Grasses in Classes” program learned the importance of submerged aquatic vegetation by planting wild celery seeds in their classroom that they later planted at Patuxent River Park in the Jug Bay Natural Area, south of Upper Marlboro, MD.

Different growing methods and tests conducted by students will be reviewed and used to refine the project. The students findings will be posted on the DNR’s website at: www.dnr.state.md.us

The CBF coordinates teacher training and contributes equipment, while the DNR provides the seed, growing instructions and technical assistance.

The curriculum for “Bay Grass in Classes” was developed by the CBF as part of its Choices and Challenges project. The program is part of the DNR’s Bay Grass Restoration Partnership, which enlists citizens, watermen, Bay researchers, universities and nonprofit organizations in an effort to restore SAV to the Bay.

Jug Bay was chosen because nutrient pollution, which kills SAV, has been greatly reduced there; historical photographs indicate SAV was once abundant there; and it is hoped that restoring plants upstream may act to seed portions of the river downstream.

The program, which began in April, was funded by a Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant and KCI Technologies. The program will expand to include more schools and a wider variety of plants.