The meadow restoration will replace three acres of existing invasive species on a steep hillside with native grasses and wildflowers. The new meadow will enhance the outdoor classroom space by providing a place for students to learn about native plants, insects and other pollinators, and to study ecology and stormwater.
Funding from the meadow project is provided by generous support from the Martin Foundation and William Penn Foundation.
“The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has been working for several years to showcase how green infrastructure projects can help communities protect streams, manage stormwater runoff, save money and in some cases, reduce flooding,” said Patrick Starr, Executive Vice President. “Doing a project like this is especially exciting since it also provides opportunities to teach the next generation about how to care for the environment.”
The project will start this winter with preparation of the site. The existing vegetation, much of which is invasive, aggressive species, will be removed using herbicide and cutting. In the spring the meadow will be seeded with a native grass seed mix.
Over the next two years, as the grass meadow becomes established, wildflower seeds will be added to the site. Annual mowing will maintain the meadow and discourage invasive species from growing again.
PEC works to improve stream quality through better stormwater management in Southeastern PA, and meadows have become an important part of its portfolio of “green infrastructure” projects, that also includes basin retrofits, porous pavement, and rain gardens.
The meadow plant species slow down stormwater and allow water to infiltrate instead of flowing rapidly offsite. Reducing this volume and speed of the water as it flows to streams prevents erosion. Meadow plants also help to filter out sediment and pollution, and can absorb the water from most small storms.
This meadow will provide these stormwater water benefits as well as serve an important educational tool and demonstration project to promote the use of meadows on other surrounding sites. Another benefit of native meadows is providing shelter and food for many species of birds, small mammals and insects.