Working together to keep today's treasures for tomorrow slide image Protecting the natural heritage of this diverse estuary slide image Promoting water quality and land preservation slide image Supporting a rich ecosystem for our local economy and quality of life slide image Managing our natural resources through consensus building slide image

News and Resources

Getting Delmarva Teachers Up To Speed Outdoors - August 18, 2011

With wide-eyed wonder, Brittany Hulme, from Snow Hill Middle School, squealed as she fished a hermit crab the size of a softball out of Sinepuxent Bay.

Susan Kowalski, from Pocomoke Middle School, handled one end of a seine net, guided by her former student D'nera Taylor, who was tickled to demonstrate her newly-acquired knowledge of bay creatures.

Steve Whelan, a representative of Berlin Intermediate School, was smiling broadly and anxious to discuss practical applications for the experiences he had over the last couple days.

Christine Vargas-Smith, from Wicomico Middle School, was delighted to get an up-close look at an "adorable" carnivorous plant, the sundew. This native of Delmarva resides in acidic bogs where it attracts no-see-ums and other biting flies. Insects land in an enzyme rich liquid attractant, secreted by the sundew, and then dissolve, becoming food for the plant.

Formerly a formal educator, Tom Wimbrow, now a volunteer at the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum shared, with great wit, the story of the formation of the Life-Saving Service. Wimbrow's knowledge of Assateague Island began at a young age when, in the 1940s, his family had a vacation home on Old Ferry Landing before Assateague Island became part of the National Park system.

These "students" are dedicated teachers in Worcester and Wicomico County. Just a week before they're required to return to school, the teachers agreed to participate in a one-week teacher professional development opportunity, including a two-day "Coastal Bays Institute."

The program, organized by a partnership of education and interpretation professionals from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Assateague State Park, and Assateague Island National Seashore, provided 14 hours of instruction and immersion in local natural resources.

Field experts included Maryland Coastal Bays Program Science Coordinator Dr. Roman Jesien and National Park Service terrestrial ecologist Dr. Helen Violi.

Change was most certainly a theme -- with every speaker, every study, and every activity. Barrier islands are dynamic. Wildlife populations fluctuate. Plant communities shift. Every time we dipped toes or nets in the Sinepuxent Bay, someone discovered something new, whether a new species or a new perspective.

And why were we doing this? Changes are occurring in our school systems, too. At the federal, state, and local level, people are working to ensure an integrated, transdisciplinary approach to environmental education in our schools. Often times, people are uncomfortable with change. Worcester County Science Supervisor Marlyn Barrett is helping to facilitate those changes, locally. And, fortunately for local students, many enthusiastic teachers are embracing the change.

To learn more about opportunities to engage students in the outdoors, visit www.mdcoastalbays.org.

Samis is the education coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.


To view article click here

Archived News

More Archived News
View Current News

U.S EPA News Region 3

Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program