We are excited to announce the recent annual award of $140,082 in grant funds over a three year grant period from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). This continues part of NOAA’s and our mission to expand environmental literacy through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program.
This grant will fund the implementation of a sustainable Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) program over three years in Culpeper and Fauquier County Public Schools reaching students at several grade levels. FOR hired a full time education manager in the Headwaters office in Culpeper, who will oversee the NOAA B-WET grant and MWEE programs.
FOR’s new Upper Rappahannock Educator Manager, April Harper, will be working with local partner organizations, teachers and public school staff to integrate MWEEs into the schools. April started her working with Environmental Education at the North Carolina Aquarium in 2014 and made her way to Virginia working at Maymont Foundation. She has led community science opportunities from FrogWatch USA to monitoring Eastern Bluebird boxes and contributing to the growth of environmental education in Virginia by serving on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association for Environmental Education. April will play an essential role in building our environmental education programming in the headwaters.
One of many organizations helping make the MWEE program possible in Fauquier County Public Schools is the Goose Creek Association.
“We are looking forward to working with FOR and the teachers to coordinate a comprehensive approach to the Environmental Literacy Model based on the Chesapeake Bay Education Program,” says Holly Geary, Executive Administrator of Goose Creek Association.
This funding from NOAA will allow FOR and partners to work directly with teachers to develop a MWEE program within their curriculum that will be sustainable for years to come. “Every year hundreds of school children visit our property to learn about Virginia’s plants and animals, but we don’t usually get to spend a lot of time with their teachers,” says Dr. Eleanor Harris, Managing Director The Clifton Institute. “We’re excited to work with Friends of the Rappahannock to teach teachers about watershed conservation and about how to engage their students with this important issue.”
Students will be inspired to become future river stewards by learning through creative hands-on and classroom style MWEE education material. “This is an amazing opportunity to provide memorable, authentic, hands-on experiences with our local watersheds and bring science lessons to life.” explained Linda Corell, Fauquier County Public Schools Instructional Supervisor for Science, Health, & Physical Education K-12.
The grant will be renewed annually by NOAA over a three year period. Culpeper County Public School Math and Science Curriculum Specialist, Sue Jenkins is enthusiastic to see how this multi year opportunity will strengthen Culpeper County Public School’s current MWEE program. “I am excited that Culpeper teachers and students will have an opportunity over the next 3 years to work with the Friends of the Rappahannock and enhance their knowledge of MWEEs, the human impact on water resources, and other Chesapeake related issues. ” said Jenkins.
Friends of the Rappahannock is pushing for environmental education in all parts of our watershed creating rising stewards out of all our students. For more information about our Upper Rappahannock B-WET program, email April Harper at [email protected]. If you are interested in learning about our MWEE programs watershed wide, contact FOR’s education team [email protected] or visit riverfriends.org.