Environmental Literacy Project
Oak Hill Academy environmental science students made a difference in their world by participating in a habitat restoration project right in the Academy’s “own back yard.” In partnership with the New River Conversancy, students spent a full day bringing new life to our corner of Southwest Virginia. The students worked alongside conservationists and landowners to plant trees along the banks of the New River. And the group surpassed all anticipated goals–what was expected to take two days took only one! And in the end, the group planted more than 1,000 live stakes and saplings!
For the Academy, the project was part of its Environmental Literacy Initiative (ELI). Aaron Grubbs, OHA teacher and environmental educator, heads the program. The Academy introduced the initiative in 2019 as a means for students to engage productively with the natural environment. Four elements make up the program: academic instruction, field study, experiential learning, and service.
Coming this fall, ELI students will participate in the Monarch butterfly count. Then they will assist with the annual Audubon Bird Count. Students will have the opportunity to supply information for a national database, enabling biologists to understand species evolution and migratory patterns of local birds. Students also will take part in a brook trout habitat project in conjunction with the Blue Ridge Discovery Center, another of the school’s partners.
Oak Hill students continue their efforts here on campus, too. They are enhancing their recycling program and will perform restoration work around our own Lake Samuella. Truly, Oak Hill Academy students are in a great position to develop their appreciation for the natural world.