Originally published in Watershed Voice
CBF Education Takes the Gold
By Chuck Epes, CBF Staff
CBF's environmental education programs reach 30,000 students each year.
Photo credit: CBF Staff
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF)'s Virginia environmental education programs have won a gold 2011 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The award, announced in early April at the Environment Virginia Symposium in Lexington, Virginia, annually recognizes the state's top environmental and conservation leaders, businesses, organizations, and initiatives.
CBF won a gold medal for its extensive outdoor environmental education programs for students and teachers in the Commonwealth. The programs include daily on-the-water student field experiences in canoes and workboats, multi-day experiences at CBF island education centers, classroom curricular and enrichment materials, and professional development and training for teachers and principals.
The programs, operated by a professional staff of CBF outdoor educators, boat captains, and support staff, seek to connect Virginia students and educators to the Chesapeake Bay in order to heighten awareness, increase knowledge, and encourage stewardship to protect and restore the Bay and its rivers and streams.
"The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is honored to be awarded the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award," said Don Baugh, CBF Vice President for Environmental Education. "We salute our partners, the thousands of teachers and principals who integrate CBF field investigations into their classroom curriculum and help prepare the next generation for the twenty-first century."
CBF has operated environmental education programs in the Old Dominion for decades and last year served more than 8,800 students and 850 teachers and school administrators from public and private schools across the Commonwealth. Through local watershed exploration and hands-on experiences, students engage in standards-based field studies and data collection, using scientific methods to analyze water-quality issues. These techniques complement and reinforce science, mathematics, and technology standards while helping students develop critical thinking skills they can use to take action to improve water quality in their hometowns.
Through its Chesapeake Classrooms program, teachers and administrators deepen their understanding of Bay issues and the importance of environmental education. The program provides educators with professionally developed curricular activities and materials and connects them with a broad network of environmental professionals and resources. They also receive training in conducting their own outdoor lessons to enhance the field experiences for their students. Teachers and principals can earn graduate credits or receive state accreditation points through the program.
"CBF is privileged to serve Virginia students and teachers, and we work extremely hard to provide them the very best environmental education," Baugh said. "It is most gratifying to receive this distinguished award and the state's highest recognition for our efforts to enhance environmental literacy in the Commonwealth."