Chesapeake Connections conducts school outreach and environmental action projects for all sixth grade classes in AACPS. Each middle school participates in one of the following action projects as part of their Chesapeake Bay investigation: Grasses in Classes (submerged aquatic vegetation), American Eel raise and release, oyster restoration, and stormwater management planting. Environmental action takes place at many different sites throughout Anne Arundel County. Chesapeake Connections staff visit classrooms for outreach education. Field experiences are led by Chesapeake Connections staff. Classroom teachers recruit volunteers to assist with field experiences. All volunteers undergo background checks.
Grasses in Classes
In conjunction with Department of Natural Resources and Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Grasses in Classes Program, students grow and propagate redhead underwater grass in the classroom. Teachers and students set up experiments, record growth rates and record data. Students learn about the care, propagation, status and importance of underwater grasses to the Chesapeake Bay. Underwater grasses raised are planted at the soft shoreline restoration project at Arlington Echo.
American Eel Raise and Release
The American Eel Raise and Release Project is conducted in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Students raise American eels from the "glass eel" stage to "yellow eel" stage in the classroom. Students learn about the life cycle, care and migratory patterns of the American eel. Students also study water quality and the human impact on eel habitat. Eels are released back into local streams in spring.
The Oyster Program links four middle schools with the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Students explore life in and around the Chesapeake Bay past and present. They identify oyster spat, measure growth and plant the oysters on a local reef.
Stormwater Management Planting
In partnership with the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works (DPW), students participate in regenerative stormwater conveyance projects. Chesapeake Connections staff visit classrooms and initiate an investigation of the issue of stormwater. Students learn their “watershed address” and use GIS technology to identify storm drains, outfalls, and impervious surfaces near stormwater projects. Students then participate in planting native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees at new stormwater projects to restore habitat, promote nutrient uptake, and stabilize soil.
Chesapeake Connections also supports the first grade environmental literacy program, “How Can We Help Monarch Butterflies?” They assess the condition of Monarch butterfly gardens at schools and support selected schools annually, installing new gardens as needed and providing planting support for existing gardens.
Amy Greif firstname.lastname@example.org
Arlington Echo 410-222-3822