Home High-Sci The Sick River. Inspired by our trip to Clagett Farm by Parsa...

The Sick River. Inspired by our trip to Clagett Farm by Parsa Sedghi


Trees are very important to the environment. In our field trip to Clagett Farm, we learned how runoff affects rivers near us. When trees and other plants were placed by rivers, most of the runoff was prevented from going into the rivers which makes the rivers stay clean.

To give a good idea I will tell you a magnificent story. Once upon a time, a river named

Source: Canopy

Hazard was feeling sick. Just recently, a farmer moved near Hazard and the river started feeling badly. It would rain every three days and all the runoff would empty into Hazard. Hazard had a friend named Bob. Bob was an oak tree planted near the river. Bob started to notice that his friend was not feeling so well after the farmer moved near them. Bob could not think of many trees and other plants surrounding Hazard. The oak tree noticed that every time it rained all of the runoff going toward him never ended up in Hazard but all the runoff going toward the parts with no plants always ended up in Bob’s river friend. Bob was curious about what was in the runoff that made its way toward Hazard so he asked his friend Bleu the blue jay to fly near the farmer’s farm and see what was making the runoff so unhealthy for Hazard.

The very next day, Bleu came back and reported to Bob that he saw around three dozen cows and a dozen horses and lots of dung. Bleu also told Bob that he saw the farmer carrying sacks of fertilizer and spilling the fertilizer onto the dirt for the plants. From the information that Bleu gave Bob, he inferred that both the dung and the fertilizer was in the runoff that emptied into his friend.

At this point, Hazard was feeling extremely ill and the river had a dwindling population of animals and fish. His water was getting murkier every day. One day, a group of scientists came to observe Hazard for a couple of days. Using their complicated machines, they tested his water. Before the scientists left, they talked to the farmer who lived near Bob and Hazard. Bleu told Bob that the scientist gave the farmer a yellow piece of paper. That paper was a list of things that the framer could do to prevent runoff and restore the river’s cleanliness (like create a tree buffer around the river to soak in the runoff).

The next day, the farmer came to see Hazard. The whole time he was observing Hazard, he had a grim look on his face. Hazard was once a clear river with healthy water but now the river was brown, murky, and dirty. That night the farmer thought hard on how he should try to restore Hazard’s health and then an idea came to him! He was going to get help from middle schoolers.

Three days later, a group of hundred kids came from a middle school to the farm. With the farmer, the kids walked towards Bob and Hazard carrying over 50 trees and some planting tools! They planted the trees on the sides of Hazard and two children even planted another oak tree by Bob! When the kids were finished, there were trees everywhere. In just a couple of weeks, Hazard was already feeling better and you could see more animals and fish starting to appear in and around Hazard.

The moral of this story is, in order to keep the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers clean we need to prevent lots of runoff from emptying into the rivers. We can do that by preventing hazardous materials from going into the river. Just like in this story, we can plant a tree buffer around the river so the trees can soak in the runoff before it reaches the river.

Sixth grader Parsa Sedghi, Central Middle School, Anne Arundel County, learned about runoff at Clagett Farm.