Past and Current Chesapeake B-WET Projects
Past and current Chesapeake B-WET projects reach students and teachers around the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed in support of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences.
Chesapeake B-WET has funded projects in all Chesapeake watershed states since 2002. This funding enables both student learning and teacher professional development to support Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). Current projects focus on one of three priorities:
- Systemic—helping school districts deliver MWEEs that reach an entire grade of students and their teachers;
- School district capacity building—working with school districts to build their capacity to embed MWEEs into curriculum and to advance environmental literacy planning; and
- State capacity building—supporting the policies and structures needed to advance environmental literacy at the statewide level.
Building District Capacity for Environmental Literacy and MWEEs in Delaware
This University of Delaware project will strengthen school district capacity to integrate environmental literacy and Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences into learning for Delaware students. An environmental literacy plan framework will be developed which will set the groundwork for the creation of plans at Caesar Rodney Public Schools, Appoquinimink Public Schools, and Sussex Montessori. Teachers and administrators in each of these schools and school districts will engage in professional development following the Delaware version of the Facilitator’s Guide to the MWEE. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $70,693.
Since 2019, the Mussel Power environmental education program has been a unique partnership between the Anacostia Watershed Society, Prince George’s County Public Schools, William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center, and National Park Service National Capital Parks‐East. The goal of the program is to reestablish healthy mussel populations while engaging high school students in meaningful watershed education experiences. The program includes professional development workshops for teachers, introductory classroom work and mussel care by students, a field study on the Anacostia River, and participation in authentic hands‐on mussel restoration work. AWS plans to add five schools per year to get to full systemic implementation in all 29 high schools by spring 2026. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $114,500.
Oysters as a Keystone Species in the Chesapeake Bay
This Phillips Wharf Environmental Center project will revive an education program that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this grant, the Center will provide in-depth oyster education to all fourth-grade students in Talbot County, Maryland. The program will teach students about the role of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, the importance of oyster reefs, water quality and how it relates to oysters, oyster anatomy, and will introduce students to the concept of fisheries and fisheries management. The project goal will be to encourage students to design projects that support a healthy Chesapeake Bay and a healthy oyster population, which ties into the Center’s oyster restoration work. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $88,500.
Thirteen Moons: Indigenous Knowledge and Culturally Responsive Pedagogies for Conservation, Sustainability, and Stewardship
This project will enhance capacity-building efforts for environmental literacy, sustainability, and climate change education in the Chesapeake region. It will establish a new partnership-based network for fostering competencies in conservation, sustainability, and stewardship identities in students through the elaboration of indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogies into Next Generation Science Standards-based curricula. The partnership team consists of University of Maryland and Ohio University scholars, Piscataway Conoy tribal members, teacher educators, curriculum specialists, environmental literacy experts, school district leaders, classroom teachers, and nonformal environmental educators. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $149,400.
Environmental Literacy Capacity Building in the Chesapeake Region: A Regional Outdoor Learning Network Initiative and Equitable Youth Environmental Education Program in Partnership with NOAA
Through this project, the Chesapeake Bay Trust will increase regional capacity for environmental literacy planning and implementation. A great deal of progress has been made over the course of the last decade to increase understanding, ability, and collaborative infrastructure to advance environmental literacy initiatives at the state and local level, but significant leadership, technical, and sustainability challenges still exist. This project will address these challenges and increase both state and local capacity for planning and implementation by convening partners and providing funds and training to build capacity. It will empower state-level networks comprised of state agencies, school systems, and non-profit partners to either develop new strategies to accelerate the adoption of environmental literacy best practices and/or update, design, and implement environmental literacy plans. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $750,000.
A Watershed of Trees: A MWEE to Engage Students at the Intersection of Forest, Water, Climate, and Environmental Stewardship
This Paleontological Research Institution project's overarching goal is to get children outside in their own community to observe, record, monitor, and build understanding of the importance of water and climate on the quality of life in their communities, and to empower them to act on that understanding. They will do this by studying the impact of trees on the movement of water through the watershed and the subsequent changes in microclimate and water quality that arise from water-vegetation interactions. Trees have been chosen as the central player in this proposed district-wide MWEE because (1) they are present in schoolyards in each of the diverse ecosystems that comprise the county, from urban to agricultural; (2) the presence or absence of trees profoundly affects water movement and water quality, with additional impacts on ambient temperature, habitat, and air quality; and (3) student understanding of the role of trees in the environment encourages meaningful community actions, such as tree planting, that have a significant effect on building resilience to climate change and reducing social inequity. These processes are accessible to students with very simple tools, with additional opportunities to incorporate regional and global data. The Watershed of Trees MWEE will be integrated across three years into the Prince George's County Public School System environmental science curriculum, currently under revision by the Paleontological Research Institution/Prince George's County Public School System team to build in MWEEs as an essential curricular element. The capstone experience is a Schoolyard Data Jam, where students share their work with the entire community. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $299,468.
Maryland Environmental Literacy Advisory Network
The Maryland Environmental Literacy Advisory Network is a group of formal and nonformal education professionals from a diversity of perspectives dedicated to the advancement of environmental literacy. The vision of the Maryland Environmental Literacy Advisory Network is to build the capacity and increase collaboration of existing state-wide environmental literacy networks to ensure all students in Maryland are environmentally literate upon graduation. By graduating environmentally literate students who are knowledgeable, skilled in making informed decisions, and able to take actions to address the complex environmental issues influencing human health, natural resources, and communities, we enable the future success of our society. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $200,000.
Developing a State Framework for Incorporating Environmental Literacy in Career Technical Education
Advance CTE will partner with the Delaware Department of Education and Delaware Environmental Literacy Community of Practice to develop an environmental literacy framework that can be used alongside the National Career Clusters(R) Framework to embed environmental competencies in career technical education programs and pathways as well as other interdisciplinary academic areas at the middle and high school level. The Framework will identify a set of environmental literacy competencies that are applicable to each of the 16 Career Clusters and that support students in developing their unique environmental identity, are essential for the workforce of the future, and can be easily integrated into career technical education programs. Advance CTE will work with state leaders to integrate the framework into state administrative policy and to develop and deliver a professional learning program that supports implementation of the framework in the classroom and in out-of-school learning programs. Advance CTE will also share the findings and lessons learned with other states across the nation to inform their own work in this area. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $193,450.
Chesapeake Linked: People, Skies, Water & Place (LINKED)
The Chesapeake Audubon Society’s LINKED will engage teachers and students systemically in Dorchester County, Maryland through investigative outdoor experiences, student-driven stewardship action projects, and synthesis and conclusions to find solutions at the community level to address issues facing the Bay and Atlantic Flyway. Through 30 hours of professional development each year, LINKED will improve teachers’ ability and comfort level with outdoor investigative learning and increase their knowledge base about Chesapeake Bay Watershed systems and wildlife, the issues they face, and the work being done by conservation professionals and community leaders to restore and protect the habitats that are critical to wildlife and water quality. LINKED will work with Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park to provide additional context of the historical and cultural significance of Dorchester County’s natural resources and how it relates to climate change issues facing the county. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $79.980.
Climate kNOWledge: Student Research and Action to Reduce the Impacts of the Climate Emergency
The Howard County Conservancy (HCC) will develop and implement a district-wide climate change curriculum with a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience, to engage every sixth grade HCPSS student and teacher in robust hands-on climate science. To meet this goal, HCC will: host in-depth professional development opportunities for sixth grade teachers on climate science and environmental justice; develop climate curriculum including three unique field investigations with real life data collection opportunities; and will pilot and test the program with small cohorts of students and teachers. Each teacher will be provided with 30 hours of professional development and the program will reach more students and teachers each year. By the third year, HCC will work with all 20 middle schools, all 45 HCPSS sixth grade teachers, and all 4,500 sixth graders. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $128,155.
Regional Outdoor Learning Network
The Chesapeake Bay Trust will help educators learn from and support one another via “Environmental Education Capacity Building in the Chesapeake Region: A Regional Outdoor Learning Network Initiative and Mini-Grants Program Effort in Partnership with NOAA.” The Chesapeake Bay Trust will provide mini-grant funding and training to build capacity and support regional school districts and nonformal educators as they design and sustain systemic MWEEs and will also help formal and nonformal educators facilitate student-centered MWEEs. The Trust expects to engage at least 900 formal educators, 135 nonformal educators, 110 school administrators, and school districts in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $241,858.
Sturgeon Discovery Program
ShoreRivers is working with Talbot and Dorchester County Public Schools to provide third-grade students with a meaningful watershed educational experience (MWEE) through which they will investigate endangered Atlantic sturgeon in the Chesapeake Bay. Students research the importance of sturgeon and explore how human actions on land affect sturgeon habitat in their local rivers. Throughout this year-long program, participating teachers receive professional development focused on MWEEs and strengthening local partnerships. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $209,930 for this program, and there is a $31,260 nonfederal match.
Harbor Scholars is a professional development program run by Towson University designed to increase the capacity of all fifth-grade science teachers in the Baltimore City Public School system to effectively facilitate and support student engagement. A major focus of the Harbor Scholars program is building teacher capacity to facilitate student-led inquiry. All students of Harbor Scholars participants will visit the Inner Harbor on a field trip to explore how actions in their schoolyards and communities are connected with and affect the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $448,345.
Upper Susquehanna Watershed Project
This project will establish MWEEs in middle and high school grade bands in two school districts. Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) educators will provide 17 hours of professional development to teacher teams in each school, support teachers with monthly follow-up meetings, and be available to provide support activities directly to students. OCCA will also work with the Creating Rural Opportunities Partnership (CROP) in three schools to reach 70 students in third through sixth grades. OCCA will provide in-depth training and will serve as MWEE facilitators for CROP educators between visits. CROP programming continues through the summer, allowing stewardship and civic action projects to be extended through the summer months. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $60,400.
Chesapeake Bay Headwaters Educational Ecosystem
The Otsego County Conservation Association’s three-year project is designed to engage and educate teachers on how to integrate and perform Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences in their classrooms throughout the New York State portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. OCCA will create and manage professional development sessions, including summer institutes and one-day training sessions that will reach 200 teachers, 75 MWEE outreach “envoys,” and two curriculum specialists. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $70,080.
Williams Valley School District Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Project
The Williams Valley School District and members of the Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy Task Force will develop a districtwide, sustainable environmental literacy plan that includes embedding systemic MWEEs (at least one per grade band) into the curriculum at the Williams Valley School District. Short-term outcomes will include providing teacher professional development on MWEEs, enhancing outdoor learning opportunities on campus, and developing a Green Team to improve networking, promote the value of environmental literacy, and ensure sustainability. The Williams Valley Schools District’s Environmental Literacy and Sustainability project will address Pennsylvania science standards K-12 by enhancing outdoor learning opportunities, providing teachers and staff professional development on MWEEs and environmental literacy, and developing a district-wide Environmental Literacy Plan. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $298,400.
Pennsylvania Environmental Action Teams
This Chesapeake Bay Foundation project will build and strengthen effective MWEEs into sustained and systemic student-led environmental action. This project will establish three local teams within the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) service area, composed of teachers and community members who will collaborate on building and maintaining successful and full MWEEs. PEATs will engage participating teachers in field-based pedagogy and curriculum writing, as well as train preservice teachers who will support the teachers in their MWEE implementation. PEATs will also grow local networks including nontraditional partners such as garden clubs or library staff to support different aspects of their local MWEEs. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Shippensburg University, and the CAIU will support participating teachers with the most challenging parts of a MWEE—ensuring that authentic field investigations and student-led action projects are implemented with fidelity. This design of creating local networks for MWEE design and implementation will create a model for working throughout CAIU and the state. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $272,359.
Get ‘OUTSIDEE’ (Ongoing Understanding through Science Inquiry and Diverse Environmental Experiences)
This is a BLaST Intermediate Unit #17 (Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga County region) project. As Pennsylvania looks to adopt new Environmental Literacy and Sustainability, Technology and Engineering, and Science Standards for the 2022-23 school year, the shift in science education, especially environmental science education, is significant and a need for Sayre Area School District, which currently is revising their Science curriculum. Sayre sits on approximately 33 square miles and can use school grounds for environmental experiences. Sayre is located in Bradford County, Pennsylvania and is identified as an environmental justice area with about 21% at the poverty line. By building sustainable and systemic meaningful environmental education experiences in partnership with Sayre Area School District and community partners, learners will be able to experience growth of new, innovative learning opportunities in environmental education. The program will strengthen community partnerships, build awareness around environmental needs and local support, and build a consistent systemic approach to hands-on student experiences in science. Specifically, Sayre will work closely on partnerships with the Bradford Conservation District and Satterlee Creek Environmental Center. In the first year of implementation, the program will reach 375 students in the fourth- to eighth-grade band. The second year will reach an additional 336 students in grades 9-12 for a total of 711 students. By the end of three years, the project will reach 1,040 students (375 students in grades 4-8, 336 students in grades 9-12, and 329 students in grades K-3). Chesapeake B-WET is providing $83,102.
Central Columbia School District Environmental Literacy Plan for Capacity Building and Curriculum Programming
This Central Columbia School District project will align K-12 Pennsylvania State Standards of Learning to high-quality environmental science curriculum and will provide environmental learning experiences in and out of the classroom as well as robust professional development opportunities for teachers across the district. The project will build capacity and enhance the school district’s ability to offer high-impact environmental literacy programming for students, teachers, and the surrounding community. The school district’s commitment is to implement the aligned curriculum (with ongoing professional development for all 27 teachers) that consistently employs the highest standards of environmental literacy education for every student-learner, allowing each student at least one MWEE at each level (elementary, middle, and high school). The Central Columbia School District will also develop and deploy an environmental literacy plan for the entire district to guide them with ongoing, sustainable environmental literacy activities, designed to improve the environment both in and around the school. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $57,337.
Partnership for Adams County Environmental Literacy (PACE)
Pennsylvania recently approved new science standards to be implemented over the next three years. Surveys and forums recently conducted by Advancing Science revealed educator concern with the new environmental literacy and sustainability components. The project goal is to overcome this barrier by establishing an environmental education community of practice that will build, implement, and sustain an environmental literacy plan for Adams County K-12 schools. This will also contribute to the understanding and stewardship of the watershed. The Partnership for Adams County Environmental Literacy (PACE) will achieve several objectives: align curriculum with the new Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy and Sustainability standards, establish “network weavers” to scale best practices, generate and fully document a county environmental literacy plan, lead rollout of the plan, and disseminate the plan to other Pennsylvania school districts. Professional development for 18 teachers/year will be an estimated total of 150 hours over three years with additional opportunities for non-partnering teachers to attend seminars and substantial community outreach. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $296,032.
Building Sustainable and Equitable Capacity Support Systems toward Environmental Literacy for All K-12 Audiences across Pennsylvania
This is a project of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Stroud Water Research Center Inc., and Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program. The Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy and Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience capacity building efforts have progressed to the next phase, which necessitates a restructured organizational flow. Regional hubs and liaisons, along with the standardized processes and resources to distribute environmental literacy and MWEE professional development, will be established and refined as structures and processes to strengthen networks and enhance communication strategies to sustain efforts toward the vision of systemic MWEE implementation in all Pennsylvania school districts. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $200,000.
Expanding Capacity for Environmental Literacy at IU13 (ExCEL@IU13)
Through ExCEL@IU13, Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 will develop a K-12 Environmental Literacy Plan for IU13’s center-based emotional support classrooms. In addition to developing the plan, teachers will receive professional development to build the environment science content knowledge and pedagogy required to develop a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience at each grade level K-12. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $191,066.
Let’s Go 1-2-3 and Community Partnerships to Expand MWEE Education for Sixth Graders and the City of Lancaster
Let’s Go 1-2-3 will build on the School District of Lancaster’s current MWEE programming for sixth grade middle school students and teachers by enhancing the local relevance and ability for the full experience to occur within the schoolyard or surrounding community. An afterschool program that builds on the in-class component will be developed and instituted at each of the schools, leveraging the expertise of community-based partners. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $30,000.
Expanding Environmental Literacy
The Stroud Water Research Center will focus on “Expanding Environmental Literacy and MWEE Implementation Capacity across Pennsylvania.” Through this project, Stroud and the Pennsylvania Department of Education will work together to build capacity for environmental literacy and Chesapeake Bay watershed stewardship in the Commonwealth by expanding the inclusion of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences in Pennsylvania schools and in partner organizations. The project intends to reach 1,000 school administrators; staff and classroom teachers; pre-service teachers and nonformal educators from environmental education provider nonprofit organizations; parks; and related organizations. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $85,000.
Headwater Investigations for Kids and Educators
The Pennsylvania State University Center for Science and the Schools and Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center are partnering with Bald Eagle Area School District to develop and pilot curriculum for second-grade, fifth-grade, and high school students through Headwater Investigations for Kids and Educators to Promote Watershed Research and Stewardship (HIKERS). Teachers and students will build their understanding of watershed dynamics by connecting activities and action projects in the headwaters (Bald Eagle Creek watershed) to conditions located downstream. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $296,236.
Our Elizabeth River, Our Responsibility
In this project, the nonprofit Elizabeth River Project will work with partners to provide inquiry-based, hands-on, DEI-focused, systemic Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) and teacher professional development. These efforts address STEM sciences and provide local context through culture, history, and art with the help of three Black university professors in a new partnership. The goal is to transform science education across Portsmouth’s fourth grade, so that all students going forward implement inclusive, systemic MWEEs, increasing their understanding of the Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay ecosystems while taking action to create a resilient ecosystem. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $225,000.
Essex Environmental Literacy Collaborative
Essex County Public Schools will partner with Friends of the Rappahannock and The Center for Educational Partnerships. This project will create a systemic and sustainable environmental literacy education program that will reach students in the elementary, intermediate, and high schools through targeted grade levels. Courses will embed quality teaching and learning focused on environmental education, the impact of climate change, and modern science and engineering practices. This collaborative will sustain teacher capacity to build, develop, and implement Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) into the existing science curriculum. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $117,900.
Northern Neck MWEE Program
The main goal of this project is to implement sustainable MWEE programs in school divisions in the Northern Neck region of the Rappahannock River watershed. To meet this goal, Friends of the Rappahannock will achieve three objectives: provide professional development to teachers and administrators on content knowledge and MWEE design; work with teachers to implement MWEEs at their schools; and work with school districts to embed MWEE in curriculum maps and guides. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $262,900.
River History and Watershed Science: A Community-Based Approach to MWEEs
This project will support Friends of the Rappahannock in their effort to implement sustainable MWEE programs in Fredericksburg City Schools, within the Rappahannock River watershed. In order to meet this goal, Friends of the Rappahannock will reach all of the fourth-, sixth-, and ninth-grade students in the City of Fredericksburg. Four administrators and 25 teachers will participate in professional development activities in order to fully understand all the components of the MWEE and have a deeper understanding of the local watersheds and how to better protect them. MWEE resources including Bay Backpack, the Educator’s Guide to the MWEE, and the MWEE 101 and 201 online courses will be used. The ultimate goal of this program is to embed MWEEs into the district’s curriculum in order to achieve sustainability. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $186,931.
Petersburg Environmental Activities and Regional Learning (PEARL)
This Virginia Commonwealth University project will provide transformational learning about watershed education in the Petersburg City Public Schools district, which is located along the Appomattox River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEEs) are used as the contextual theme connecting students to their community through an ecological lens. Students will engage in MWEE investigations, supported by approximately 29 teachers who receive periodic professional development using NOAA Education Modules and other training materials that are informed by aligned research from scientists and graduate students from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Life Sciences, the VCU School of Education, and the Science Museum of Virginia. Students will make maps of their watershed using drone photography, participate in abiotic and biotic water quality analyses and bioassays, collect and analyze air quality data with the assistance of monitors and drones, learn citizen science techniques, participate in on-site field days with elementary schools, and will engage in internships within community workplaces that promote ecological stewardship. Students will share their findings from their site-based or community-based MWEE projects with their school’s PTSA, and their teachers will share with other MWEE teachers in Virginia’s Region One district through the first Virtual Region One MWEE Teacher Share-a-Thon. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $299,764.
Fostering Bay Stewardship by Building Capacity to Lead Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs)
The goal of this York County School Division program is to increase academic performance in science by enhancing teachers’ professional knowledge and immersing students in authentic learning experiences while focusing on stewardship of the local watershed. Through a cohort professional development model, fourth- and fifth-grade teachers will develop the capacity to engage students in meaningful watershed experiences that deepen students’ understanding of environmental issues that affect their local watershed. Over this three-year program, the York County School Division will partner with the James River Association to deliver rigorous professional learning for approximately 60 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers through a combination of classroom and field experiences so they may systematically integrate MWEEs into the curricula and design and implement performance-based assessments that require students to demonstrate proficiency of scientific skills through their engagement in MWEE activities. More than 1,900 fourth- and fifth-grade students will be reached by this program. To support teachers’ implementation of MWEEs in instruction, 40 building-level and district administrators will be provided a field-based training experience focused on instructional leadership and implementation of MWEEs at the school and district level. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $225,000.
Building Capacity for Environmental Literacy in Virginia’s Middle Peninsula
Caroline, Essex, and Middlesex public school districts are diverse communities in Virginia’s Middle Peninsula. The Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District and its key partners, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Friends of the Rappahannock, will bring an innovative approach for advancing environmental literacy to the region. In Year One, partners will use results from community engagement activities to create community networks and facilitate the formation of local workgroups serving as a backbone to support schools. In the second year, school administration and teachers, Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Rappahannock Community College, and the local workgroups will assist key partners in writing flexible and locally relevant environmental literacy plans that leverage community-based resources for Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. These living documents will guide future decisions regarding environmental education for each district and serve as a blueprint for sustainable planning in surrounding counties and cities. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $158,737.
Virginia Teachers Innovating and Designing Experiential Science (VA TIDES)—Phase 2
This is a Virginia Marine Institute of Science project. VA TIDES—Phase 2 will provide accessible, aligned resources for faculty at institutes of higher education to use in courses taught for pre-service teachers. The Pre-service Teachers’ MWEE Education Hub will increase access to resources for teacher preparation programs to use when teaching about meaningful watershed education experiences (MWEEs). The project will also provide many opportunities for feedback from environmental education providers, VA TIDES faculty alumni, and teacher educator faculty across the nation. The Hub will also serve as a connecting point for these different audiences to build partnerships for continued environmental education within institutes of higher learning. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $50,476.
A Community-Connected and Curriculum-Embedded Environmental Literacy Program
This project will support Prince William County Public Schools in creating a comprehensive environmental literacy plan that will integrate in-person and virtual environment, climate, and energy education, as well as civic engagement and stewardship of natural resources. Beginning with a needs assessment and a community engagement process, the plan will be developed in collaboration with partners in the community. By the end of the project, a strategy for supporting MWEEs to all 96 schools will be created as well as a plan for inclusive and sustained teacher professional development. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $122,784.
It’s All Connected: Together Three School Districts Investigate the James River
James River Association staff will connect middle schools in Amherst County, Hopewell City, and Surry County Public Schools through systemic MWEEs designed to engage every seventh grade life science teacher and student within each of the school districts. The overarching question that students will investigate throughout the MWEE will be, “How can we protect aquatic ecosystems in the James River and Chesapeake Bay Watershed?” Students and teachers will not only investigate local environmental issues but also learn how local issues connect to the issues that their cohort schools are experiencing in other parts of the watershed. The result will be a series of community engagement projects in each of the three locations students will share with their cohort schools through a virtual watershed symposium at the end of each school year. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $150,000.
The Mariners’ Environmental Co-op
The Mariners’ Museum’s project, The Mariners’ Environmental Co-op, will bring together expertise from Christopher Newport University, the James River Association, NOAA Monitor Sanctuary and The Center for Educational Partnerships, to implement an initiative combining critical classroom skills, alongside engaging outdoor experiences, with the goal of creating sustainable, and curricularly integrated MWEEs, for ninth-grade students in Newport News Public Schools. Students will develop an understanding of why clean water matters to their community and how they can create innovative, nature-based solutions for cleaner and healthier waterways in the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, these skills, combined with the ability to problem-solve around issues affecting this coastal community, will increase the opportunity to build young environmental stewards. Over the course of the project 4,500 students will be engaged in MWEEs and 25 teachers will receive 30 hours of professional development. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $139,749.
The Richmond Environment: Students as Teachers in their Watershed
The City of Richmond and key partners will create a district-wide Environmental Literacy Plan rooted in environmental justice. To ensure investment and true local relevance, students and teachers will help to shape goals for the plan through a series of listening sessions, focus groups, and teacher and student advisory groups. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $149,437.
Upper Rappahannock MWEE Program
This Friends of the Rappahannock project will implement sustainable MWEE programs in two school districts in the Rappahannock River Watershed - Fauquier County Public Schools and Culpeper County Public Schools. To achieve this goal, Friends of the Rappahannock will provide professional development to teachers and administrators on content knowledge and MWEE design; will work with teachers to implement MWEEs at their schools; will create a mentor program with teachers and administrators from Spotsylvania and Caroline County Public Schools to support integration of MWEE into curriculum frameworks; and will create a website to support MWEE sustainability within the region. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $140,802.
Virginia Teachers Innovating and Designing Experiential Science
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will spearhead this project. This two-year effort will be led by educators from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. VIMS and partners will provide MWEE professional development opportunities including workshops, summer institutes, and webinars for approximately 120 Virginia pre-service teachers and 6 faculty at several schools of education in Virginia. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $83,437.
Project Blue Crab
The Elizabeth River Project and Chesapeake Public Schools will engage all fourth graders in Chesapeake Public Schools in intensive study of the Atlantic blue crab. The goal will be for them to understand and find ways to address the impacts of sea level rise on river life, themselves, and their community. Watermen, folk musicians, and the Elizabeth River Project’s Dominion Energy Learning Barge and Paradise Creek Nature Park all will play roles in the project. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $314,993.
Bivalves as Ecosystem Sustaining Treasures
Virginia Commonwealth University is partnering with Charles City County Public Schools, Colonial Heights Public Schools, New Kent County Public Schools, and Newport News Public Schools to use bivalves as theme connecting inland riverine and coastal marine ecosystems. Students will engage in hands-on investigations using NOAA education modules informed by aligned research from scientists and graduate students from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Life Sciences and the VCU School of Education. Students will collect data on water quality to support bivalves in their watersheds and exchange data among schools. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $447,599, and there is a $32,638 nonfederal match.
Student and Teacher Experiential Environmental Learning
The Nature Conservancy and partners Accomack County and Northampton County Public Schools will explore key questions: The fifth grade focuses on “How do people affect the environmental health of the terrestrial ecosystems on the Eastern Shore of Virginia?” Seventh graders investigate “How do people affect the environmental health of the aquatic ecosystems on the Eastern Shore of Virginia?” Tenth graders explore “How do people affect the environmental health of global ecosystems, and what are the local impacts here on the Eastern Shore?” Chesapeake B-WET is providing $100,000, and there is a $56,408 nonfederal match.
Environmental Literacy in the Piedmont
The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District and partners Culpeper County, Greene County, Madison County, Orange County, and Rappahannock County Public Schools will develop and deliver weeklong meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEEs) to all sixth-grade students in five counties and deliver 45 hours of professional development to each participating teacher. Throughout the MWEEs, students and teachers will be trained and continually reminded of the scientific investigative process. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $38,730.
Anacostia Watershed High School MWEE
Living Classrooms National Capital Region will develop a high school MWEE for ninth-grade students in ten DC public high schools located within the Anacostia watershed for a total reach of 1,900 students and 20 teachers. The MWEE will focus on the question “What is the impact of polluted stormwater runoff on the environment and biodiversity in our community, and what can we do about it?” The MWEE will use schoolyards as well as the Kingman and Heritage Islands Conservation Area in the Anacostia River as outdoor field experience sites. Teachers will receive 30 hours of professional development to support them in implementing the MWEE. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $149,686.
Shared Waters: An Upstream-Downstream Collaborative
Millersville University and Virginia Wesleyan University will partner with Penn Manor School District and Norfolk Collegiate School, respectively, to develop and implement systemic Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences in elementary schools. This project highlights a shared responsibility by bringing together schools in an upstream-downstream collaborative to learn about local watershed issues and how students’ local actions impact the overall health of the watershed. The project will systemically impact students through classroom MWEE implementation and professional development for teachers, as well as simultaneously training the next generation of teachers by embedding MWEE instruction into undergraduate teacher education programs at MU and VWU. The Shared Waters project embeds MWEE professional development training and classroom implementation into existing university/school partnerships where teacher candidates work alongside classroom teachers in the implementation of the MWEE in the elementary classroom. This approach ensures the long-term sustainability of the project and its ability to institutionalize MWEEs at both the K-12 and university levels. Chesapeake B-WET is providing $125,178.