Fixing Fisher from the Ground Up

June 01, 2019

The purpose of our project is to fix the drainage issues at our school. We identified three main problem areas and their probable causes. We labeled them and divided into teams. Some of the issues identified are that there are too many sediments blocking the passage to the gutter/sewer, an improperly installed drainage ditch, and elevation issues on one side of the school property. To solve these problems, we are going to try unclogging the drainage ditch by changing its shape and laying gravel to help water flow easier. Next, we will add plants to extend our existing rain garden. Then, excavating and regrading the slope of the hillside. We will also make recommendations to the Richmond Public Schools Facilities team, our School Board representative and/or our city council representative for fixing the gutter and sidewalk issues.
Our student involvement so far has been a core team of 13 students, 2 teachers and one mentor researching and planning the project. We have worked with our building principal as well who assisted with calling the City to Ms Utility. As we implement our project we will ask for student and community volunteers to help. At the projects completion, we will have established a pollinator garden for students and the surrounding community to visit as well as absorbing and diverting storm water runoff. We hope to work with the City to have the sewer/drainage issues cleaned and fixed.

The performance of our project will be determined after each rainfall. If our efforts are successful, we will observe that water no longer sits in these areas thus successfully diverting storm water runoff. We also hope to provide an example to other residents or schools in our surrounding communities of how to solve storm water/drainage issues. Our section of the city has historically had drainage issues such as these. We hope to inspire more rain gardens and creative solutions for our Southside community.


Students attended


Staff attended


Additional Volunteers attended


Students will be impacted this year

Intended impact of project

Reduced environmental impact

Impact of project

Educated on sustainable skills and practices
Educated on sustainability knowledge
Environmental restoration
Improved environmental & sustainability literacy
Beautification of school/site
Energy and/or water conservation
Waste reduction

More impact of project

Our project hopes to reduce and direct our storm water runoff, correct soggy areas of standing water after rain and attract pollinators with an extended rain garden. We would like for all of these to be a teaching tool for our students and staff. We also hope to encourage community members to utilize similar solutions on their properties.
To complete our project we needed the ground to be thawed out and reasonably dry. Our next steps will be to dig out and reshape the drainage ditch. We will add a layer of gravel to filter out sediments. We will then add plants to extend our rain garden. After obtaining the necessary permissions and permits, we will work with our community partners to regrade the hillside. We will present our total project to the proper authorities for help with the sewer/sidewalk issues we have documented. We will collect data from the cars in the school parking lot and approach owners as needed to reduce pollutants.
Our numbers of community volunteers and additional students involved are estimates based on past projects and interest. This project aligns with state standards on conservation and taking care of our environment. It also illustrates the life cycles of insects as well as plants which have their own standards in each grade K-5. It also sparked potential career path exploration for some of our core project team of students.
We are working with our mentors company for resources and funding. We are working with our local Lowes and a grant our school received for gardening supplies and plants. In addition, we have community volunteers helping with the physical labor. We met with Richmond Public Schools Sustainability Manager, Wendy Fewster, for help and advice on our project implementation. Our mentors company Hourigan Construction has given us a verbal commitment to help. We are also teamed up with Lowes through a grant given to our school. In addition, Lowes has volunteers who will come assist with the digging and planting.
We are planning a #fixfisher social media campaign to raise awareness and any additional funds needed as the project progresses. Our mentor has connected us with the company Zoomph and its creator Amir Zonozi who will Skype meet up with the student project team.