With 73-degree days as December came to a close, CBF's Education team soaked in every moment of the end of a gorgeous fall season. Whether they were investigating wetlands at Port Isobel Island, surveying biodiversity in Virginia Beach, or exploring the streambanks of the Susquehanna, our field educators immersed themselves in their passion, which fortunately for CBF and the students of the region, is also their job.
A passion for teaching the next generation through environmental education, however, can have its limitations thanks to Mother Nature. As educators spend the next two months preparing for the spring season to begin in mid-March, they must deal with the now below-freezing temperatures, a potential stumbling block for maintenance, painting, and scouting new locations.
A passion for teaching outdoors also demands rigorous safety protocols, top-notch facilities, and research-based teaching methods. That takes time and hard work. So the winter is the ideal season to focus on Wilderness First Responder medical recertification; to remodel an island center kitchen; to study the latest Bay water quality and fisheries science; or to update one's skill set for inquiry-based lessons in the field. And just as classroom teachers need to reset and restore themselves during the summer, field educators use the colder months to rejuvenate their energy for the busy spring ahead.
The seasonal swings that CBF's Education team endures are part of what fuels their dedication to bring new material, new energy, new stories, and the ever-present authenticity to the field programs. Cool spring mornings are the ideal time to talk about new life in the Bay watershed. Summer is ripe to find shedding crabs in the mid-Bay and visit thriving farms in the highlands of the watershed. This past fall we witnessed clearer water than the Bay has seen in years. But winter brings a sense of peace and accomplishment as CBF educators reflect on the past year and prepare for the coming seasons, revisiting the many facets of how they live their passion on a daily basis: working with students and teachers across the watershed to Save the Bay.
--Allyson Ladley Gibson
CBF's Education Outreach Coordinator