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For Families

Restoration and conservation projects


There are a number of projects that schools and families can participate in to help restore, protect, and conserve the Chesapeake Bay’s resources.

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a great organization that offers grant money to Maryland teachers to do Bay-related classroom projects. These projects can include: oyster gardening, tree planting, cleaning up trash, planting native plants in the school garden, and more. Teachers must apply for grants, but the Trust offers lots of support material, as well as ideas for projects to help teachers through the process.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers many opportunities for school groups to be involved with Bay restoration. Some are listed below, but check out their Fragile: Handle With Care site for more.

  • Bay Grasses in Classes
    This program is a collaboration between the DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It provides teachers with instruction, curricula and equipment that allow students to grow bay grasses in the classroom. In late spring students transplant these grasses in select areas of the Chesapeake Bay. Students learn the ecological importance of bay grasses and gain a sense of environmental stewardship. For more information on Bay Grasses in Classes, visit their website.
  • Rain Garden Program
    This program gives students and teachers the support they need to create rain gardens on their school property. The native plants in the rain gardens collect storm water runoff so that it isn’t sent to gutters. The gardens also provide a habitat for butterflies and small animals. Call 410-260-8813 for more information.
  • Green Schools
    All Maryland schools are welcomed to try to attain “green” status. To be a green school, a school must demonstrate its achievement in three areas:

    • The environment is an integral part of the school's instructional program.
    • Environmental best practices are modeled at the school facility.
    • The school extends its learning about the environment into the community.

For more information about the Green Schools program, e-mail Carol Towle at ctowle@dnr.state.md.us or visit the Green Schools website.

  • Be Part of Something BIG!
    Be Part of Something BIG! is a teacher's guide to help educators give their 3-8 grade students the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences with water quality monitoring. The activities are designed to help classes learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Activities include learning about the water cycle and nutrient pollution; doing community mapping; and cleaning up local streams. All of the activities and information are available to download from their website.
  • Treemendous Maryland
    Treemendous Maryland is the DNR’s program to get citizens to help plant trees around the state. Schools, community groups, clubs, and families can participate. Groups help the local DNR foresters plant native trees on public land. Their website offers information on how to plant a tree properly. It also gives more contact information.

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a great resource for many different kinds of restoration, conservation, and advocacy projects for schools and community groups. They offer detailed guides for “do-it-yourself” projects. These projects include:

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The Chesapeake Bay Program can offer assistance to teachers and community members who would like to get involved in planting more riparian buffer forest. Contact:

    Sally Claggett,
    US Forest Service, Chesapeake Bay Program,
    410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109
    Annapolis, MD 21403
    (800) YOUR BAY x.706

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Other organizations offer opportunities for families and community groups to do oyster gardening. Oyster gardening involves growing oysters for non-commercial purposes.

The Anacostia Watershed Society offers programs specifically about the Anacostia River, one of the most polluted rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and in the country. Students and community groups can take part in storm drain stenciling, river clean-ups, and river tours. See a complete list of their offerings on their program website.  Their Watershed Explorers program might be of particular interest to teachers.

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The National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Aquarium Conservation Team has many events throughout the year for wetlands restoration and underwater grass planting. Generally these projects are open to families and school groups, as well as other community members. Participants must arrange their own transportation. Check their website for specific dates and opportunities.

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Arlington Echo is the Anne Arundel County Public School district’s environmental education organization. They offer many projects, from planting bay grasses, to building rain barrels, to restoring shorelines. A complete list of projects can be found on their projects webpage.

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Type of project


Building rain barrels

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Grant money for projects

  • The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a great organization that offers grant money to Maryland teachers to do Bay-related classroom projects. These projects can include: oyster gardening, tree planting, cleaning up trash, planting native plants in the school garden, and more. Teachers must apply for grants, but the Trust offers lots of support material, as well as ideas for projects to help teachers through the process.

Back to top

 

Native plant/rain garden planting

  • The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Rain Garden Program gives students and teachers the support they need to create rain gardens on their school property. The native plants in the rain gardens collect storm water runoff so that it isn’t sent to gutters. The gardens also provide a habitat for butterflies and small animals. Call 410-260-8813 for more information.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers many “do-it-yourself” guides to environmental restoration. They have a printable guide to building your own rain garden for teachers and community organizations.
  • Arlington Echo offers Anne Arundel County students the opportunity to become involved in many projects, including planting native plants to fight erosion and foster restoration of waterways. A complete list of projects can be found on their projects webpage.

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Oyster gardening
Quite a few organizations offer opportunities for families and community groups to do oyster gardening. Oyster gardening involves growing oysters for non-commercial purposes.

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Planting Bay grasses

  • Bay Grasses in Classes
    This program is a collaboration between the DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It provides teachers with instruction, curricula and equipment that allow students to grow bay grasses in the classroom. In late spring students transplant these grasses in select areas of the Chesapeake Bay. Students learn the ecological importance of bay grasses and gain a sense of environmental stewardship. For more information on Bay Grasses in Classes, visit their website.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers volunteer opportunities for families and community members through the Bay Grasses for the Masses. It is similar to their Grasses for Classes project, but geared towards adults, as opposed to students.
  • Arlington Echo is the Anne Arundel County Public School district’s environmental education organization. They offer many projects, from planting bay grasses, to building rain barrels, to restoring shorelines. A complete list of projects can be found on their projects webpage.

Back to top

 

River/stream clean up

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources facilitates the Be Part of Something BIG! project.
    Be Part of Something BIG! is a teacher's guide to help educators give their 3-8 grade students the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences with water quality monitoring. The activities are designed to help classes learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Activities include learning about the water cycle and nutrient pollution; doing community mapping; and cleaning up local streams. All of the activities and information are available to download from their website.
  • The Anacostia Watershed Society offers programs specifically about the Anacostia River, one of the most polluted rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and in the country. Students can take part in storm drain stenciling, river clean-ups, and river tours. See a complete list of their offerings on their program website.  Their Watershed Explorers program might be of particular interest to teachers.

Back to top

 

Storm drain stenciling

  • The Anacostia Watershed Society offers programs for young people and community groups specifically about the Anacostia River, one of the most polluted rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and in the country. Students can take part in storm drain stenciling, river clean-ups, and river tours. See a complete list of their offerings on their program website.  Their Watershed Explorers program might be of particular interest to teachers.

Back to top

 

Tree planting (including buffer restoration)

  • Treemendous Maryland is the DNR’s program to get citizens to help plant trees around the state. Schools, community groups, clubs, and families can participate. Groups help the local DNR foresters plant native trees on public land. Their website offers information on how to plant a tree properly. It also gives more contact information.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Program can offer assistance to teachers and community members who would like to get involved in planting more riparian buffer forest. Contact:

    Sally Claggett,
    US Forest Service, Chesapeake Bay Program,
    410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109
    Annapolis, MD 21403
    (800) YOUR BAY x.706

  • Arlington Echo offers many projects for young people in Anne Arundel County, including planting white cedar trees. A complete list of their projects can be found on their projects webpage.

Back to top

 

Wetlands restoration

  • The National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Aquarium Conservation Team has many events throughout the year for wetlands restoration and underwater grass planting. Generally these projects are open to families and school groups, as well as other community members. Participants must arrange their own transportation. Check their website for specific dates and opportunities.
  • Arlington Echo offers many projects for young people in Anne Arundel County, including shoreline restoration. A complete list of projects can be found on their projects webpage.

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