The Kalmia Creek Project

Enhancing Our Environment and Investing In Outdoor Education

One of the many dynamic features of Lowell’s campus is the creek that runs through it. Children play in it and daydream next to it, teachers and students use it for science classes and other learning experiences.

Our beloved Kalmia Creek, which empties into Rock Creek, is in need of some TLC. Working in close partnership with Lowell, Natural Resources Design, an ecologically-focused landscape design firm, has developed a plan that will significantly expand student opportunities for learning, observation, and access to the creek’s ecosystems.
The Kalmia Creek Project is made possible by friends and family of Cathy Creech, an accomplished lawyer, lover of nature, and longtime supporter of Lowell, who passed away in May 2020. Mother to Lowell alums Blair ’09 and Robert ’14, Cathy gave countless hours to Lowell, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees and leading the search committee for our fourth head of school. The project will not only expand learning opportunities for future generations of Lowell students, it will honor Cathy’s joyful dedication to Lowell and the environment.
Increasing student access and engagement with the creek is an important part of the project. A series of large boulders that mimic the natural rock outcroppings found along the stream valleys leading to Rock Creek will be installed as intentional student learning spots. Taking advantage of the naturally sloping landscape around the creek, the project will create durable amphitheater-style seating, which will supplement Lowell’s existing outdoor classrooms. A bridge constructed of split logs and other natural materials will cross the creek, providing space for observation and quiet reflection, as well as an additional classroom platform.
A key part of the project is eradicating invasive plants by establishing plants native to the Rock Creek watershed. Removing invasive plants will also help restore a small wetland at the bottom of the creek that will become a central spot for student learning.
The project will include a tadpole hatchery for frogs indigenous to the Rock Creek watershed. Frogs are an indicator species for ecological health, and students will play a role in protecting and expanding the native frog population by setting eggs in pools and eddies, tracking their hatching and transformation, and eventually relocating them downstream.
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.