On Sunday, June 10, The Gunston School hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off its waterfront restoration project—a $200,000 overhaul that will see the installation of a natural living shoreline, as well as the construction of a new long dock on the western side of the waterfront. Earlier this year, the school was awarded a grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust program—a partnership of the Trust, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center, and the Maryland Department of the Environment. This grant came on the heels of a $100,000 gift the school received from a donor to renovate the school’s waterfront athletics complex. “Very few schools have direct waterfront access,” said Headmaster John Lewis, “and we now have the resources to transform our waterfront into one of the finest facilities on the East Coast.”
Upon completion, The Gunston School’s Living Shoreline will restore 770′ linear feet of eroding shoreline and create 16,183 square feet of wetlands. This stable habitat will benefit local fauna- herons, Maryland Terrapins, fish, crabs and other aquatic organisms that benefit from a typical living shoreline project. Plantings to be installed include Scirpus Pungens, Spartina Patens, and Panicum Virgatum. Other benefits include the enhancement of wildlife and fisheries habit, water quality improvements, and public education and involvement. The renovation of the waterfront athletics complex will provide modern facilities for the school’s crew and sailing teams, both of which compete with schools up and down the East Coast.
Welcoming attendees at Sunday’s ceremony was Gunston School Board Chair Stoney Duffey, followed by Amy Gross-Kehoe, Gunston’s Waterfront Director, who described the grant application process. Representing the Chesapeake Bay Trust was Jen Wijetungua, who touched on CBT’s funding partnerships with MDE, NOAA, and DNR. Headmaster John Lewis reiterated Gunston’s strong connection to the waterfront and concluded the ceremony by thanking all of the partners involved in the restoration project. The renovation is scheduled to be completed for the 2012-2013 school year.