Posts Tagged 'students'

Thoughtful Thursday: The Lesson of the Osprey

From National Aquarium Visitor Programs Coordinator Marnie Greig

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in osprey banding at the Patuxent River Nature Center with the National Aquarium’s Youth Programs staff and some Aquarium on Wheels students. As a seasoned staff member, I was reluctant at first to take the one empty spot, but I was encouraged by my younger colleagues to go, and so I did.

Why did I hesitate? I had forgotten what a rare gift a “field day” can be, and that when you combine nature and a rowdy bunch of delightful teenagers, life can really be very sweet. I had forgotten that our Aquarium connections are just as unique in the field as they are inside our pyramidal walls.

Aquarium on Wheels is an after-school and summer program for Baltimore-area high school students that combines science, conservation, job training, and the theater arts to promote environmental stewardship. I can now see why it’s an award-winning program. As these teens came nose to beak with a magnificent bird, there was an instant connection to nature.

Holding a creature that exudes beauty, power, and grace is amazing; seeing the bond that ignites a smile on the faces of these kids is even better. What, I wonder, was the osprey telling them?

I could not help but think that soon these teens, like their osprey counterparts, will be leaving their nests and soaring to new heights.

I’m glad for their brief encounter with the osprey, and I hope that the National Aquarium’s legacy to them will be to always understand, protect, and respect their natural world. I want them to succeed; but I also want to offer them one wish… and that is to always keep at least one day a year for a field trip. That’s really a lesson for us all.

Masonville Cove Grass Plantings

Baltimore Harbor shorelines are looking a little greener thanks to the work of local students and community volunteers!  The National Aquarium partnered with the Maryland Port Administration, Living Classrooms Foundation, Maryland Environmental Service, and BayBrook Coalition to restore wetlands at Masonville Cove, near the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay neighborhoods of Baltimore City.

On May 14 and 15, more than 6,000 marsh grasses were planted by 187 fifth-grade students and chaperones from area schools at the Masonville Cove wilderness conservation area.  This is one small part of a large-scale environmental restoration of the entire cove, which is creating waterfront access in an area that was once an industrial site.

On May 18 and 19, a second portion of Masonville shoreline was planted with 17,000 wetland grasses!  The Aquarium first brought volunteers to this fringe wetland in October of 2011 to plant salt bush shrubs, and this recent planting completes the shoreline by filling in all of the tidal zones with the appropriate plants.  More than 112 volunteers helped with this effort, including groups from Benjamin Franklin High School at Masonville Cove, Baltimore Maritime Academy, Canton Kayak Club and more!

Interested in further volunteer opportunities regarding Masonville Cove? Come to an informational meeting about the Friends of Masonville Cove group on Thursday, May 31, at 5:30 p.m. at the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center. Find out more information below:

Click here for more information about Masonville Cove, including community programming and additional volunteer opportunities. You can also follow Friends of Masonville Cove on Facebook for more information!

Thoughtful Thursdays: The Nature of Learning

In early May, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) spent two days at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge engaging students in activities focused on climate change and its effects on the diamondback terrapin.

Partnering with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, students were led through activities including a wetland planting promoting terrapin habitat, a GPS scavenger hunt to illustrate field monitoring techniques, and a nature walk along the butterfly garden, surveying the local bird population.

Prior to this field trip, Aquarium staff visited the students in their classrooms as part of an introduction to climate change, as well as terrapin characteristics and husbandry. Schools selected to participate are part of the Aquarium’s Terrapins in the Classroom program, a head-start program in which students care for and observe a newly hatched terrapin they will ultimately release into natural habitat at the end of the school year.

All activities were made possible through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Nature of Learning grant. The Nature of Learning grant encourages educators to “use National Wildlife Refuges as outdoor classrooms to promote a greater understanding of local conservation issues.”

In all, the Aquarium engaged more than 100 students in climate change activities, while educating students on how to be stewards of the Chesapeake Bay.

You can too! The Aquarium offers habitat restoration opportunities to promote a healthy Bay. Sign up for one of our free events today! Together our actions and awareness will create a healthy environment for Maryland’s state reptile, the diamondback terrapin.


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers