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Monday, June 24, 2024

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Cape Tech Students Plant Native Vegetation in Avalon

Students spent a breezy spring day planting native plants on Seven-Mile Island – native plants attract pollinators and other species vital to local ecosystems.

From the Borough of Avalon

Students from the Cape May County Technical High School’s environmental sciences class joined the Avalon Environmental Commission and the Avalon Garden Club on a pilot project that transitions a portion of a traffic island on Dune Drive from lawn space to native, indigenous plants. The pilot project is intended to see how native plants perform and thrive in a busy environment with no irrigation. The plantings occurred on Thursday, May 30th at the Dune Drive traffic island on 70th Street.

“Environmental sustainability involves pilot projects such as these to make smart, science-based decisions in a developed community like Avalon”, said Avalon Mayor John McCorristin, who joined the students, helping to plant the vegetation. “Stewardship of our natural resources is an obligation that Avalon takes seriously and involves hands-on, educational opportunities, including this pilot project. I’m proud that our Avalon volunteers engaged local students who are the future of sustainability efforts”.

In February 2024, students in the environmental sciences class planted seeds that grew into the small plantings that were installed by students on the traffic island. The island was clearly marked out through a plan designed to enable the plants to thrive naturally. The appearance of the traffic island will be much different from other manicured traffic islands in the Borough as the plants take root and dominate the planting area.

“Native plants function brilliantly as an environmental asset while providing many important values to a seashore community”, said Donna Rothman, Chairperson, Avalon Environmental Commission. “Native vegetation creates biodiversity support, advancing ecosystem resilience through processes of water quality improvement and carbon sequestration”.

A group photo of the Cape Tech students.

The Avalon Environmental Commission produced a sustainable landscaping brochure for residents who wish to consider native plants on their private property. The Avalon Garden Club provided advice and funding for this pilot project. Previously, Avalon dedicated a lot adjacent to a local park to create a pollinator habitat for ecological function and educational purposes.

Craig Rothman instructs students before they dig in.

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