Sustainable Springfield Initiative
A partnership for restoration-based education and urban stream restoration in neighboring urban areas
The Restoratin Ecology Program is part of a multi-organizational partnership funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. The partnership aims to engage Springfield, Massachusetts, in stewardship-related activities with two central goals: increasing awareness and sensitivity of residents to watershed-related issues, and fostering a sense of place and citizen stewardship within the Connecticut River watershed. Urban stream and forest restoration will occur at the Abbey Brook Conservation Area, and students from the adjacent Renaissance School will participate in habitat restoration efforts and engage in curricula that applies stream monitoring, invasive species management, and wetland restoration concepts at the field site. Renaissance School students will also be supported to participate in Mount Holyoke College's Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program. The overarching vision is to build long-term collaborative partnerships between schools, community organizations, public agencies, and private organizations committed to restoring Springfield's natural areas.
Sharing with the local community
Restoration Ecology students share their work and the field of restoration ecology with the community
For eight weeks each summer, Restoration Ecology Program student interns set up an interactive booth at the South Hadley Farmer's Market. In addition to printed information about the Project Stream site and restoration project, the booth serves as a launching point for student-led site tours and a forum to talk about ecological restoration and the importance of wetlands for ecosystem function. Students also share displays about the stages of algal growth in Lower Lake throughout the summer season, maintain a list of community volunteers interested in taking part in restoration efforts, and give away free REP stickers and brochures.