by Stephanie Smith
September 15, 2017
Dina DiSantis, center, a high school biology teacher in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, sorts blue crabs with other teachers participating in a Teachers on the Estuary workshop near the mouth of the Honga River in Somerset County, Maryland, on August 3, 2017.
Teachers on the Estuary, or TOTE, workshops are held at National Estuarine Research Reserves across the country, including Alabama’s Mobile Bay, Massachusetts’s Waquoit Bay and, of course, the Chesapeake Bay. The trainings give educators the opportunity to explore coastal habitats, interact with scientists and experience hands-on field activities. In Maryland, the week-long professional development course introduces teachers to scientific tools, data sources and social context for issues impacting the Chesapeake Bay.
“We remind teachers that there are many, many, many magical places in the Chesapeake Bay,” explains Coreen Weilwinster, education coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland. “To be able to come out here and dig around a little bit and get your feet muddy and your lungs full of the salt air, it’s going to affect, from a physical perspective, how they process the information that we give them as teacher resources.”
As part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, Chesapeake Bay Program partners are working to ensure students in the region graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to protect and restore their local environment. Through programs like TOTE, teachers are able to provide their students with meaningful outdoor education experiences along the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.