Chesapeake Bay Initiative Educates Hundreds of Virginia Students

The Takeaway: Chesapeake Bay Research Reserve-Virginia partners with local teachers to educate students about the country’s largest watershed.

Over three years, a project to expand Chesapeake Bay watershed education has reached 800 Virginia ninth graders in four counties and boosted teacher literacy in climate science through field trips, trainings, and use of real-time data. Public schools in Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, and York counties are taking part.

Participating teachers receive curriculum mentoring and stipends, eventually leading classroom and field experiences with guidance from educators at the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Virginia. They learn to use visualizations and data, including Digital Coast’s Sea Level Rise Viewer and Coastal County Snapshots.

All public-school students in Virginia must have a meaningful Chesapeake Bay education experience, as set forth in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, a multi-sector effort to restore the bay, its tributaries, and surrounding lands.

The Chesapeake Bay possesses the largest watershed in the U.S. and is home to more than 17 million people and 3,600 plant and animal species. It produces more than 500 million pounds of seafood harvest annually, and its forests and trees help filter and protect water for 75 percent of Bay watershed residents.

The Chesapeake Bay Research Reserve-Virginia leads this multi-partner effort with the support of NOAA’s Bay Watershed Education and Training and Science Collaborative grants. (2018)

More Information: Climate Education for a Changing Bay

Partners: Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Virginia, Gloucester County Schools, Mathews County Schools, Middlesex County Schools, York County Schools