GreenVest Ecologist Bobby Miller Inspires Another Third-Grade Class

Bobby Miller, a Project Manager at GreenVest, recently presented to a local third grade class about stream restoration and how GreenVest innovates methodology within the field of environmental restoration. Bobby’s wife, Jessica Miller, a third-grade teacher at Chesterbrook Elementary School, has been teaching her students about the water cycle and its importance in maintaining life on Earth, highlighting its key role in sustaining ecosystems. After completing the lesson, the kids were tasked with developing a group action plan to restore a local stream called Scotts Run.

“It is extremely rewarding to see elementary school students working together on real life issues, and generating creative ideas to solve problems.”

– Bobby Miller
Bobby Miller presenting at Chesterbrook Elementary School
Bobby Miller presenting at Chesterbrook Elementary School

After listening to all the students present their creative restoration actions, Bobby discussed various stream restorations projects that he has completed at GreenVest including Tinkers Creek Stream Restoration Project in Temple Hills, MD, Waynesboro Stream Restoration Project in Waynesboro, VA, and Bacon Ridge Stream Restoration Project in Crownsville, MD.

Bobby began his presentation in the same way that many GreenVest projects commence: site identification. He showed the students various examples of failing stream channels and explained the various inputs that can cause these failures.

The students learned how stream bank erosion from urban development causes widening and incision of channels leading to the decline of native plants, disconnection of the stream from the floodplain, and the transport of sediment through the system. Bobby explained that all these factors go into choosing a project and emphasized the importance of working as a team to develop a plan to fix the issues.

The next portion of the lesson focused on the construction aspects of restoration, where Bobby has over 7 years of experience with GreenVest. The students learned how GreenVest and our project team use design plans and mechanized techniques to stabilize streams by reshaping the channel to emulate natural shape and function. Bobby used examples of wood toe bank stabilization structures, rock grade control structures, and constructed riffles. Sharing photos of these design elements gave the students a visual representation of how improving bank stability has a positive impact on floodplain connectivity and the overall functionality of the system. Bobby also explained how native vegetation and trees can help strengthen waterways and prevent erosion.

While the construction topic kept the students intrigued, the discussion of flora and fauna made them jump out of their seats. Bobby shared photos of wildlife and native vegetation he encounters on a daily basis while in the field, and it was clear this was the students’ favorite part of the presentation. The students learned about the benefits of biodiversity and how each part of an ecosystem is important – not to mention they thought the snapping turtle, salamander, and snake photos were pretty cool!

It was a very rewarding day for all involved. We got to share our mission with the next generation and guide them through an exercise to punctuate the importance of creativity, teamwork, and dedication. These young students got to learn how important and fulfilling it is to work with, restore, and protect the environment. Way to go, Bobby!