Posted on October 28, 2020 by AACPS Communications Office
Virtual learning has caused changes at all levels and in all subjects, and environmental science is no exception.
Carrying a tremendous longtime partnership to another level, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Anne Arundel County Public Schools have teamed up to provide high school environmental science students with a live online environmental speaker series.
Throughout the year, CBF staff will deliver virtual presentations on topics such as photosynthesis, chemistry, air pollution, and biodiversity. The lessons will link scientific concepts to ongoing issues in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
“In a year where traditional field trips and auditorium guest speakers are not possible, this partnership helps ensure that our students still have meaningful, opportunities to learn from experts in the field,” said Vikki Romanoski, AACPS’ Coordinator of Science. “Having CBF in our own back yard makes it a natural fit, especially since the foundation’s mission is aligned perfectly to our environmental science efforts.”
In a typical year, CBF educators would take thousands of AACPS students on boats, canoes, or to remote islands to explore the watershed and learn about estuary science. Given the restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the speaker series provides a new avenue for CBF to continue to help students understand how decisions made in their communities affect the health of the environment.
For example, the photosynthesis lesson will focus on the ways in which pollutants in the Bay cause algal blooms that prevent sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, thus impacting the larger ecosystem.
“We want to support schools and teachers however we can, especially in this difficult time,” CBF Vice President of Education Tom Ackerman said. “We know teachers are looking for exciting presenters and topics to engage students who are learning virtually and that’s what we aim to deliver with this series. Above all, we hope to help students identify ways they can contribute to improving the health of the local environment and, by extension, the Bay.”
Speaker series events will take place once or twice each month and videos will be recorded so students and teachers can access them afterwards. The series is also intended to help introduce students to different career paths in the environmental field.
CBF has partnered with AACPS to provide student experiences for 47 years. The partnership is supported by funding from the 21st Century Education Foundation and CBF.