A Wonderful Day on the Chesapeake Bay -STEM Learning for Teachers


On May 2, 2015 a group of teachers participated in a Discovery Educational Network workshop. Teachers learned onsite references to share with their classes from Discovery, and participated in the study of the use of the links.

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We learned the state of the Bay 2014. We were given resources for our classes. But the learning of the state of the bay helped us to learn why we needed to help children learn about the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay (/ˈɛsəpk/ CHESS-ə-peek) is an estuary lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounded by the North American mainland to the West, and the Delmarva Peninsula to the East. It is the largest such body in the US.[2] The northern bay is within Maryland, the southern portion within Virginia, and is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the bay’s 64,299-square-mile (166,534 km2) drainage basin, which covers parts of six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia) plus all of the District of Columbia.[2][3]

The bay is approximately 200 miles (320 km) long from its northern headwaters in the Susquehanna River to its outlet in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) wide at its narrowest (between Kent County’s Plum Point near Newtown and the Harford County shore near Romney Creek) and 30 miles (48 km) at its widest (just south of the mouth of the Potomac River). Total shoreline including tributaries is 11,684 miles (18,804 km), circumnavigating a surface area of 4,479 square miles (11,601 km2). Average depth is 21 feet (6.4 m), reaching a maximum of 174 feet (53 m).[4] The bay is spanned twice, in Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point (near Annapolis) to Kent Island and in Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting Virginia Beach to Cape Charles. Known for both its beauty and bounty, the bay is becoming “emptier”, with fewer crabs, oysters and watermen in recent years.[5] Recent restoration efforts begun in the 1990s have been ongoing and show potential for growth of the native oyster population.

SOURCE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesapeake_Bay

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2014 State of the Bay report presents a mix of good and bad news. The Bay is improving. Slowly. But it is improving.

The great news: Water quality indicator scores have improved significantly. What we can control—pollution entering our waterways—is moving in the right direction.

The worrisome news: Blue crabs and striped bass are not doing well. These metrics indicate a system still dangerously out of balance.

We continue to have polluted water, risks to human health, and lost jobs—at huge societal costs.

The future is just around the corner; 2017—the year when 60 percent of programs to achieve the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint pollution reduction targets are to be in place—is in our sights.stelprdb1046486

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Graph showing improvements in water quality since 1983.

Educate

Students aboard the skipjack Stanley Norman. Photo by Loren Appel
Students aboard CBF’s skipjack Stanley Norman. Photo by Loren Appel/CBF Staff.

CBF Education - Learn OutsideFor 40 years, CBF’s award-winning environmental education program has been one of the cornerstones of our effort to reverse the Bay’s decline.

Teachers needed to experience the Bay so that they could be environmental stewards and be able to share their knowledge.IMG_6985

Teachers learned how to use Discovery Networks resources and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation experiences for students. We planned out lessons, we talked about resources and viewed ways of working and we shared experiences.

The captain of the skipjack escorted us to the dock for our field lessons.

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Opportunities included exploration of local wetlands by canoe or a day aboard a historic, 100-year-old skipjack, our traditional watermen workboats, or modern research vessels. In the heart of the bay.

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We surveyed maps of the Chesapeake Bay, and then we used Secchi disks to check the clarity of the water, we tested the salinity of the water and dredged for oysters.

As we traveled the bay, we learned so much.

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Students at a CBF field experienceField Experiences—We take students out on the Bay and its tributaries for hands-on investigation. (See a field experience in action.)

Teachers learn about the Bay on a Chesapeake Classrooms outing.Teacher Professional Development—”Chesapeake Classrooms” focuses on methods to incorporate environmental education into the core subject areas of reading, math, science, and social studies.

School principals planting grassesPrincipals Environmental Leadership Program —Activities, classroom curricula, and advanced water quality monitoring materials.

Dumping oysters overboardStudent Leadership—Offering students opportunities to expand their knowledge of Bay issues, improve their planning skills, focus on team building, and learn how to lead others to take action to improve water quality in their local communities.

Resources—Activities, classroom curricula, and advanced water quality monitoring materials.

Meaningful Watershed Experiences

All programs are designed to support state standards of education and are based from the official definition for a “meaningful watershed education experience” (PDF, 0.9 MB) as defined by the Chesapeake Bay Program. Programs are supported and created in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Geographic Society.

CBF’s environmental education opportunities link the natural environment and human culture of the Chesapeake. They enable students and teachers to conduct their own research through biological sampling, chemical analysis, and physical measurements. In addition to using critical thinking skills to evaluate the health of the ecological system, participants also gain a unique perspective in the relationship between water quality, fisheries, and economics. Our courses combine many academic disciplines, such as earth science, biology, history, art, English/writing, math, chemistry, civics, economics, government, and responsible citizenship. (See what students and teachers have to say.)

Innovative teaching methods and a knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff have put CBF at the vanguard of the environmental education movement. The result is an exceptionally informed and inspired constituency that values the Bay and its watershed as a living, connected system. Read what people are saying out our education programs.

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