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It's a family outdoor adventure! Join us at the Darrell Nature Pavilion for outdoor fun. Our faculty will be leading families through the low ropes course, gardening fun, kite making, recycled art creating, music, and MORE. Hot dogs, watermelon, and chips included! Get your tickets today.

It's a family outdoor adventure! Join us at the Darrell Nature Pavilion for outdoor fun. St. Paul's Lower School faculty will be leading families through the low ropes course, gardening fun, kite making, recycled art creating, music, and MORE. Hot dogs, watermelon, and chips included!

To get tickets, click here. 

The inaugural Tour de Fourth relay event allowed fourth-grade students to showcase their engineering knowledge during an innovative, hands-on community event. 

The inaugural Tour de Fourth relay event allowed fourth-grade students to showcase their engineering knowledge during an innovative, hands-on community event. 

This year, fourth-grade students worked in teams in The Hub, our immersive science and innovation center, applying engineering skills they've learned throughout their years in the Lower School. Students collaboratively designed and built bikes using Infento Education Kits. The kits include aluminum profiles of various lengths, modular connectors, wheels, steering wheel, brakes, driving belts and steering arms, block bearings, and axles – all reusable materials. This project culminated this morning when each team got a chance to test out their ride during the Tour de Fourth!

Nancy Dimitriades and Kristie Burkett co-teach in The Hub. "Students worked collaboratively, learned to read technical drawings, and built rides," Dimitriades said. "Today we tested the rides on an obstacle course where students encouraged each other as they enjoyed what they built."

"Our students have worked very hard to put this event together! It is the culmination of months of learning," added Burkett. "At the end of it all, they looked back and said, 'Wow! We built that!' and then got to ride their bikes through school hallways and outdoor obstacles. I don't think they will look at cycling quite the same way after this experience."

 

Our senior Sandbox Kids have been on the shared campus of The St. Paul's Schools for 12 or more years.

Our senior Sandbox Kids have been on the shared campus of The St. Paul's Schools for 12 or more years. Some started their educational journey at our St. Paul's  Preschool, and others at the St. Paul's Lower School. Each year these seniors come together to celebrate their journey through the St. Paul's Schools.  

Sophie Nasrallah '16 was featured in the Baltimore Sun for her work in our school's distinguished Scholars Program, a three-year independent study opportunity during which students design and conduct a research project and determine the local and global impact of the topic.

Sophie Nasrallah '16 was recently featured in the Baltimore Sun for her work in our school's distinguished Scholars Program, a three-year independent study opportunity during which students design and conduct a research project and determine the local and global impact of the topic. The program begins with a Research Methods course, includes extensive data collection and an internship, and culminates with a school-wide presentation. We congratulate Sophie for her outstanding contributions to our school and local community. The article may be found below:

Goats go green by eating invasive plants and vines in Towson area
Written by Larry Perl

Sophie Nasrallah, 17, a St. Paul's School for Girls senior from Lutherville, works with goats to clear porcelain vine, an invasive species, from an area of the school's campus in Brooklandville on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. Nasrallah brought the goats to campus from Harmony Church Farm in Darlington as part of a three-year project under the school's Scholars Program.
(Steve Ruark/For The Baltimore Sun Media Group photos)


Jack was in goat heaven Oct. 7. He was up on his hind legs, happily eating the leaves off invasive vines in a wooded area near Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s East Towson substation at East Pennsylvania and Railroad avenues.

"We call this goat ballet," said Jack's owner, Veronica Cassilly, of Harmony Church Farms in Darlington in Harford County.

Jack was one of 19 goats, all members of Cassilly's "Harmony Herd," who helped clear the future site of Adelaide Bentley Park by grazing there.

"Our job is to save the trees," Cassilly said. "The goats eat all the brush. They eat the leaves off the vines so we can find the vines at the bottom of the trees," and uproot them.

Cassilly, 51, has lived on her farm for 20 years and has owned goats for the past four years. She first brought them in to clean up her overgrown, 12-acre property.

"It was in really bad shape," she said. "The vines were pulling the trees over."

Now, Cassilly, who was born in Havre de Grace and grew up in Bel Air, brings her traveling goats in a trailer to schools, environmental groups and governments that hire her to help restore forested areas in the region to their natural habitats, free of unwanted brush and vines that can suffocate trees and deny them sunlight. She charges fees ranging from $350 to $5,000 depending on the size of the lot and how much work needs to be done.

The goats have been everywhere from Bel Air's Rockfield Park to the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center in downtown Baltimore, and have done work for the Maryland Department of the Environment, Cassilly said. On Oct. 7, she and her assistant, Ethan Godfrey, set up a portable, solar-powered electric fence as a pen to keep the goats from wandering off the half-acre wooded BGE property in Towson and into the neighborhood.

"People have been using goats to clean areas for hundreds of years," Cassilly said. "It's not a new idea."

She said the goats graze for up to eight hours a day.

"They can eat more than pretty much any other vegetarian," she said, adding that she leaves them pretty much to their own devices, except for picking up broken glass and bottles in the woods. She doesn't pick up their poop, because it's good fertilizer..

Residents whose houses back up to the woods didn't seem to mind that goats were in the area for several days last week.

"The first day, it was like a petting zoo," as families gathered in the woods to meet Jack and his friends, including Olive, Elmer and Leroy, Cassilly said.

"I thought it was great," said Jimica Darby, noting that her 6-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, quickly bonded with Jack. If Darby was worried about anything, it wasn't the goats, but the potential effect of the planned park on the neighborhood.

"That's going to be a lot of foot traffic through our neighborhood," she said.

Have herd, will travel

Cassilly and her goats have been busy in Baltimore County lately. They've grazed in an arboretum at Towson University and helped the environmental group NeighborSpace of Baltimore County clear the land for the park. On Sunday, the goats traipsed through the woods near the St. Paul School for Girls, as part of a school project by senior Sophie Nasrallah, of Lutherville. It was a return engagement for the goats, who visited St. Paul last November.

"It's like plant-zilla," Nasrallah, 17, said at school earlier last week, describing how difficult it was to pull up invasive porcelain vines by hand.

"We've been trying to clear that property for a very long time," said Barbara Hopkins, executive director of NeighborSpace, which helps local groups and neighbors protect and improve open space for parks, gardens and trails. NeighborSpace used volunteers from the Jones Falls ward of the Church of Latter Day Saints to pull out tree limbs and other large debris. But when it came to the small stuff, NeighborSpace turned to Cassilly and her Harmony Herd, and got BGE's blessing to bring in the goats.

The goats make quicker work of it, and, "it's a lot more (environmentally) sustainable," Hopkins said. "Goats aren't in there burning gasoline."

Nasrallah has also been using the goats and their feces for her ongoing school project to test the potential of invasive vines as a sustainable, alternative energy source, with the idea of putting them to good use, rather than simply pulling them up and throwing them away.

She began doing the three-year independent study project as part of the school's prestigious Scholars Program, after her former biology teacher took students outside to show them a tree covered in vines, and told them, "Someone needs to do something about this."

Nasrallah and a partner harvested a 5.22-kilogram bag of vines by hand and fashioned a homemade calorimeter out of a soup can to burn porcelain vines that grow on campus and measure how much heat they contain. They concluded that the plant could theoretically create enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for about 19 days.

A big problem, however, was that it took her an hour to pull enough vines for her experiments, so she began using goats last year.

"Goats have a lot more fun pulling vines," she said.

The project has won several accolades, including receiving an honorable mention at the Baltimore Science Fair and being named a national finalist in the Siemens Foundation's "We Can Change the World Challenge," a science competition.

Now, Nasrallah is burning privet hedge and goat feces, too, to determine what would make the best energy source.

"What I get out of (the project) is how to science and help the world. 'Science' should be a verb," said Nasrallah, whose father, Dr. David Nasrallah, is chief of the division of general surgery at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore City.

Jim Hull, professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University, has also used the Harmony Herd goats. Hull runs the university's arboretum, which he said is about 10 acres and contains 96 of the 125 tree species that are native to Maryland. But he said it has had several problems, including deer killing four of the species. But he said invasive English ivy and grapevines are an even bigger problem.

He found out about the goats from Cassilly, who taught a class on environmental biology at Towson University last year, and has brought in the goats twice since last year, with mixed success.

Hull said his sense is that the goats don't much like the taste of the ivy and are better at eating it from the tree canopy than they are at eating ivy on the ground. But he said the goats did a more effective job of eating plants and flowers, including multiflora roses — "thorns and all"— that covered up grapevines, and that allowed him and student workers to gain access to the vines to dig them up. The goats ate their way through three-quarters of an acre in nine days earlier this year, he said.

Hull said it was less expensive to use the goats this year, for a fee of $2,500, than it would have been to use weed whackers or other equipment.

"And the goats had more cache," he said, citing their popularity with students on campus.

Eat and run

For NeighborSpace, the goats are allies in its effort to build Adelaide Bentley Park, which was named in 2013 for the longtime East Towson community activist, whose house borders the site. Community benefit funding provided by the Towson Mews development is partly paying for the project.

Now that the goats are finished on the Railroad Avenue site, students from Morgan State University's graduate Program in Landscape Architecture will participate in a contest to design the park. NeighborSpace and the Northeast Towson Community Association will evaluate the student designs next winter and award a $400 prize to the student or student team with the winning design, Hopkins said.

For Cassilly, the traveling herd is a chance to help the environment by separating the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

"Not all green is good," she said.

As winter approaches, the goats will go back to their farm for a well-deserved rest from their travels to far-flung forests — and Cassilly will get back to tending her farm.

But come spring, they'll be eager to go back to grazing in far-flung forests.

"They don't really like getting on the trailer," Cassilly said. "But once they get here, they're very happy."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Imagine a central location, where students come to learn collaboratively through real-world applications and hands-on design thinking challenges. A place where they can make connections with their peers, faculty, and the surrounding community while receiving differentiated, individualized instruction. 

Imagine a central location, where students come to learn collaboratively through real-world applications and hands-on design thinking challenges. A place where they can make connections with their peers, faculty, and the surrounding community while receiving differentiated, individualized instruction. 

Cool Progency came to check out The Hub: Immersive Science and Innovation Lab in the St. Paul's Lower School. Click here to read about this innovative center! 

The St. Paul's Community Garden is a space for students from across campus to adventure every day.

The St. Paul's Community Garden is a space for students from across campus to adventure every day. Conceived in the fall of 2015, faculty, staff, and students worked together to transform the garden into a space that nurtures bodies and minds and foster educational opportunities for students in all divisions.  

"Children learn by touching, feeling, and experiencing. The Community Garden is a place where that and so much more is happening," said Nancy Dimitriades, Lower School Science Teacher.  

The Community Garden includes a greenhouse, native and non-native animals and plants, a chicken coup, garden beds, a composting area, and a pond with outdoor learning space. The space enhances our integrated curriculum, provide summer activities, welcome admissions tours, and further the Green Committee's goals. 

Lower School students plant, tend, and harvest the garden. Students from all divisions across campus use the garden for academic and service opportunities.  

"And it's not just about science," said Dimitriades. Students engage with the garden during art units, story walks, nutrition units, journal writing, modern language vocabulary, and more. 

The garden will also be a location for events such as potato, tomato, strawberry and blueberry picking days, where students are invited to hear a story, share a recipe, and pick produce.  

Harvest from the garden is donated to Manna House, a nonprofit organization that offers assistance and support to the homeless, poor, and needy of Baltimore. Lower School students donate monthly to the Manna House Lunches for the Hungry program.  

St. Paul's Pre and Lower School
11232 Falls Road BrooklandvilleMaryland 21022
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