CBF of­fers on-the-wa­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions to stu­dents

The Progress-Index - - EDUCATION - Con­trib­uted Re­port

RICH­MOND — Time is run­ning out for teach­ers to sign up their mid­dle and high school stu­dents for on­the-wa­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions in Cen­tral Vir­ginia this spring with the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion (CBF). Ca­noe trips on lo­cal wa­ter­ways of­fer an un­for­get­table learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that sup­ports state stan­dards.

“Most of the stu­dents I bring on the field trip have never been in a ca­noe be­fore and have lit­tle or no ex­pe­ri­ence with the wa­ter. By the end they have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, have got­ten filthy, and are ready to go on an­other trip,” said Melinda VanDevelder, a teacher at Va­rina High School. “This is a con­nect­the-dots ecol­ogy les­son for stu­dents. CBF in­struc­tors art­fully de­scribe the com­plex con­cepts of ero­sion, food chains, ecosys­tems, buf­fers, hu­man im­pact, and the three main types of pol­lu­tion.”

While ex­plor­ing lo­cal wa­ter­ways on foot and by ca­noe, stu­dents test wa­ter qual­ity, sur­vey wildlife, and ex­am­ine sources of pol­lu­tion. CBF’s pro­fes­sional ed­u­ca­tion staff work with teach­ers to de­sign in­ves­ti­ga­tions that com­ple­ment their cur­ricu­lum. On these field ex­pe­ri­ences stu­dents col­lect au­then­tic sci­en­tific data, which they then in­ter­pret and an­a­lyze with CBF staff us­ing an age-ap­pro­pri­ate, stu­dent­cen­tered ap­proach.

“Out­door learn­ing is an op­por­tu­nity to forge a real con­nec­tion to Vir­ginia’s beau­ti­ful wa­ter­ways,” said Dei­dra Floyd, CBF Di­rec­tor of Field Pro­grams. “Stud­ies have shown that en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion im­proves aca­demic per­for­mance, in­creases civic en­gage­ment, and in­stills a be­lief that in­di­vid­u­als can make a dif­fer­ence.”

Space is lim­ited. Teach­ers are en­cour­aged to reg­is­ter by vis­it­ing www.cbf.org/ ed­u­ca­tion or call­ing CBF’s schedul­ing of­fices with ques­tions at 410-268-8816.

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