The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has launched a new online environmental learning series designed to be a resource for teachers, parents, and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Washington, D.C., announced schools would be closed until May 15. Virginia and Pennsylvania schools are closed through the end of the school year, while Maryland’s school closure is likely to be extended.
Since the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) founding in 1967, CBF’s education work has focused on a simple motto: Learn Outside. But due to restrictions related to coronavirus, for the first time CBF has cancelled all educational field experiences this spring on CBF boats and outdoor education centers across Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
That’s why CBF is undertaking a new effort to bring outdoor education experiences to teachers and students tasked with learning remotely. This new remote learning series, called “Learn Outside, Learn at Home,” features videos of CBF’s professional educators discussing environmental science topics from around the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The online resources are carefully crafted to align with school curriculum and state learning standards.
“These are tough times for everyone. We realize many parents are juggling work and life responsibilities while also caring for children at home due to school closures,” said Tom Ackerman, CBF’s Vice President of Education. “Meanwhile, teachers are grappling with the best ways to educate students remotely. CBF is ready to help. Several new education videos, investigations, and activities are already available and during the next several weeks we’ll add many more. They’re all designed to bring our award-winning Bay education programs into your homes and get students exploring nearby nature.”
Each video is paired with an investigation for students to complete. Students can also explore nature journaling activities to document the environment around their homes and backyards. Schools and teachers both locally—such as in Alexandria, VA, and Harford County, MD—as well as from as far away as Oregon are integrating the Learn Outside, Learn at Home series into remote learning efforts.
For adults restricted by stay-at-home orders, CBF is creating educational and entertaining webinars, videos, and blog posts related to news, wildlife, and the environment along local rivers and the Bay. The wide variety of topics include a webinar on dolphins in the Bay, a video and blog post on how COVID-19 is affecting oyster farmers, and an Ask an Expert video series covering topics from oysters to regenerative agriculture.
Over the next few weeks, CBF’s team of educators and scientists will continue creating new material that anyone can benefit from during the pandemic. The new environmental videos and activities are being compiled on our new Bringing the Bay Home page. To get CBF’s weekly e-mail roundup of engaging new resources, subscribe to the special Save the Bay e-newsletter.