(BALTIMORE, MD)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is celebrating its 35th year using the Inner Harbor as a classroom, teaching environmental education to students from the deck of the authentic Chesapeake workboat Snow Goose. About 65,000 students have been through the program. Many city and area schools are scheduled to participate this spring.
"This is hands-on education. But the point is to turn on minds, to stimulate critical thinking, to help students connect the dots of their world," said Don Baugh, CBF Vice President, Environmental Education.
CBF's Baltimore Harbor Program started in 1979. Students from city and area schools spend the day on board the Snow Goose to understand how the urban environment interacts with the natural ecosystem. Students conduct water and biological sampling; they dredge for oysters, investigate salinity, and measure turbidity. They compare and supplement their findings by using on-board computers.
CBF staff demonstrate the importance of the Port of Baltimore as an economic lifeline for the state of Maryland. They also help students appreciate the life cycles and needs of birds, fish, crabs, oysters and other organisms. Students reflect on the various issues confronting the Bay and its users, and some of the necessary compromises which must be made to ensure the survival of both.
The Baltimore program shares the mission of the CBF Environmental Education department—to use innovative teaching to help students understand the value of the Bay and its watershed as a living, connected system.
"To promote stewardship of the Bay, CBF field experiences are the key. Students exposed to the wonders of the Bay by educated and passionate teachers go on to act and educate others," said Patti Child, Outdoor Education Coordinator at the Baltimore Lab School.
Baugh helped start the Baltimore program as a young man when the program was started. He is available for an interview.
CBF also can help interested media to accompany students for part or all of a one-day field experience.