Make a Seed Bomb and Much More at the WatershedPalooza!

Seeds have a tough life. They need to hide for long periods in moist soil while avoiding strong winds, the blazing sun, and hungry birds and other critters.
Coming to the rescue is the ultimate oxy-moron: the seed bomb. Combine a bit of clay, compost and native seeds, form a ball and then toss it into your garden or yard. These small protective orbs, packed with the energy of new life, will harden on the outside and lie on the surface until the seeds sprout. Given this head start, the seeds are more likely to take root. Then a new plant will be in place, absorbing moisture, helping to prevent erosion, giving off oxygen, and absorbing carbon dioxide. This is just one of the engaging projects children can make and learn about at the WatershedPalooza, a free event that the River Hill Watershed Committee has set for Saturday, September 16, from noon to 2, at Claret Hall. The Palooza seed bombs will nurture native plants – such as Black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, Eastern Red columbine, and butterfly weed – that attract pollinators and look so beautiful in the process.
Children at the WatershedPalooza will also be able to make birdfeeders out of toilet-paper rolls. This will involve getting sticky with honey and bird seed. The payoff will come this fall and winter, when birds start flocking to your feeder.
“I wanted to get children interested in the watershed, so I looked for projects that would be fun,” said Chloe Hoffmeister, who is helping to organize the WatershedPalooza to earn her Girl Scout Silver Award. The award requires 50 hours of work on an issue of concern to the scout. Her mother, watershed committee member Heidi Hoffmeister, is one of the key organizers for the event.
Chloe, who will be in 8th grade this year, is quite knowledgeable about watersheds, having given her first seminar on the topic in 5th grade. She remembers studying how stormwater run-off contributes to deadly algae blooms far away in the Chesapeake Bay. She says she was also inspired to learn about watersheds by her “very eco-friendly” 6th grade teacher, Sandra Vinje at Clarksville Middle School.
Another craft Chloe has planned turns old t-shirts into reusable bags for groceries and other shopping. That’ll be one more bag to use many times over instead of reaching for single-use plastic. Chloe Hoffmeister displays a T-shirt she recycled into a reusable bag, one of the crafts planned at the WatershedPalooza. Each plastic shopping bag, made from byproducts of fossil fuels, is used for about 20 minutes but lasts in a landfill or oceans for at least centuries, breaking into smaller and smaller toxic pieces.
Only a fraction of the bags are recycled. So, help keep plastic off our streets and out of our trees. You are welcome to bring a t-shirt to the event, or we’ll provide one for you.

Many other activities are planned, including:

  • Craft tables where children can make toad houses and little bamboo lodgings for our local solitary bees – who don’t live in hives;
  • Displays and handouts about stream buffers;
  • The Watershed Committee’s always-popular water table and wheel of questions; and
  • Talks and handouts for adults about conservation landscaping and rain gardens that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

Here’s what won’t be available at this event: single-use plastic water bottles. These omnipresent so-called conveniences are decidedly inconvenient for the health of our watershed and even ourselves. Please bring a reusable water bottle – or use the drinking fountain. The WatershedPalooza promises to be full of fun and learning.

Preregistration by Monday, Sept. 11, is recommended. Email or call 410-531-1749.

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