Teacher Professional Development
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program, in partnership with Assateague State Park, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, and others, offers professional development opportunities for Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset Counties. The workshops are planned in coordination with local Boards of Education, Science Supervisors, schools, and universities. By working directly with local Boards of Education to provide County-wide programs, Maryland Coastal Bays Program ensures equal access for all students, including minority populations. Workshops are offered throughout the year. To view the 2013 Environmental Education Training Schedule click here.
Environmental Educator Training Workshops
MCBP partners with the MD Park Service and others to provide training and resources for environmental educators who work with diverse audiences. Workshops including Project WET, Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Flying Wild are offered throughout the year. The workshops provide curriculum guides and a variety of activities and resources that can be used when working with diverse audiences.
Interpreting Nature and Heritage
Beginning in March 2008, MCBP has worked with Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE) and a diverse group of partners to offer a series of new courses through Wor-Wic Community College. The courses were developed to provide training for staff and volunteers of local cultural and natural heritage sites. The diverse group of instructors includes representatives from MCBP, DLITE, Assateague Island National Seashore, Assateague State Park, Crisfield Heritage Center, Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Sturgis One-Room Schoolhouse, Germantown School, and more. Topics include natural and cultural heritage, communicating with diverse audiences, and advocacy. MCBP Education Coordinator Carrie Samis serves on the course planning and curriculum development committee and is an instructor.
Click here for more information.
Environmental & Outdoor Educator Associations, Programs & Collaborations
There are multiple organizations that we partner with and are members of that help to reach out to Outdoor and Environmental educators along with teachers who would like more training in these topics. Some of these organizations include but are not limited to:
The Maryland Green Schools Award Program allows schools and their communities to evaluate their efforts in environmental sustainability. Participating schools empower youth to make changes to reduce environmental impact, encouraging sustainability and fostering environmental literacy.
Service Learning Opportunities
In Maryland most environmental or outdoor curriculums require a field day/experience to go with the classroom instruction and testing. Here are a few ideas for field trips, service learning projects and other activities that students might enjoy!
- Beach/Coastal Clean Up -There are two major beach clean up days, Coastal Clean Up day in early October & Earth Day in late April, where multiple organizations and thousands of volunteers and students go out and collect debris and trash. While these two days are specially allocated for coastal clean up, students and teachers can clean up the beaches, marshes and coast line at any time during the year for any recycling/ pollution reduction/ debris impact on marine life curriculums they might be doing.
- Native Tree/Grass Planting - Due to a variety of different reasons such as invasive competition, construction and sea level rise, we have lost significant portions of historically important native trees, shrubs and grasses. We are always looking for areas with high levels of invasive plants to remove and once that's done we then add native plants for stability and bio diversity. Students can help remove invasives, grow native plants/trees in the classroom or school yard, help plant native plants/trees and help to maintain and keep these areas nice. These activities are year round with most plantings occurring in spring, summer and early fall.
- Rain Garden/Rain Barrel Instillation - With all the new taxes and regulations, stormwater management has been a major issue in Maryland, especially here on the eastern shore. In order to help combat stormwater runoff and runoff pollution, there are a multitude of things that students and teachers can do to not only help their school reduce water pollution but also their community at large as well. Installing a Rain Garden in the school yard can help by properly draining water away from other areas and can increase bio diversity and help increase aesthetics as well with native plants and trees. Installing Rain Barrels at the school can help reduce runoff and pollution and can be used to help teach students about water management practices and conservation efforts. Students and teachers can also help by stenciling storm drains to show that these are not for dumping and trash and they should remain clean in order to drain properly.
- Bird/Bat box installation - As mentioned earlier, there has been a decrease in the number of native trees/ shrubs and plants here on the eastern shore for many years. This means species of birds, bats and other animals that need these trees to nest in have to find other places to live. Apart from planting native trees and shrubs, students and teachers can also help by installing bird and bat boxes around the school yard and neighborhood. These boxes can be simple or complex but they should be focused on drawing only a few types of birds, for example a blue bird box which is placed on the fringe areas of forests and meadows to target birds such as the blue bird. Student and teachers can help by creating these boxes, painting them, installing them and maintaining them from season to season to make sure they are still usable.
- Classroom Nursery - One of the best ways to get students engaged with environmental learning is to have a year round project. While these projects can be difficult to do, due to length, some of them only require a minimal amount of time each day. One great example of this is the classroom nursery. Students and teachers partner with an organization such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation or National Aquarium in Baltimore to help raise native animals and plants, such as Diamondback Terrapins, Monarch Butterflies, Horseshoe Crabs, Spartina grasses or Atlantic White Cedar Trees. This kids help by taking care of these organisms throughout the school year and then during the spring they take a field trip to a location to either release or plant their organisms. While on the field trip they can further learn about the habitat these organisms live in and possible ways to help and maintain these crucial ecosystems.