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Summer 2010 Chesapeake Bay Academies

The Virginia Resource-Use Education Council (VRUEC), in cooperation with several state, federal, and private agencies, will conduct four Chesapeake Bay Academies this summer. 

The week-long experiences vary depending on the location, but all are a summer learning experience for middle and high school science teachers and are designed to closely support the implementation of the Science Standards of Learning. The Academies will provide detailed training, field experiences, print materials, and hands-on resources supporting the science standards content and skills. Special emphasis is being given to provide instructional resources that will support the science standards related to watersheds and the Chesapeake Bay in sixth-grade science, Life Science, Earth Science, and Biology. Instruction will also integrate classroom and field teaching demonstrating effective meaningful field investigations.

Click here for registration.

Applicants will be selected based on subject areas taught, geographic representation, and prior attendance in a B-WET funded Bay Academy. Priority will be given to individuals who have not attended an Academy in the past, however, all eligible teachers are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is April 2, 2010. It is anticipated that all applicants will be notified by May 1, 2010 as to whether they have been selected to attend an Academy.

If you need additional information about the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Academies, please contact Paula Klonowski, science coordinator, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 371-0249.



Chesapeake Coastal Academy

View tentative agenda.

The Coastal Bay Academy will focus on the coastal portion of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed and will be held in Tappahannock, Virginia, and Port Isobel Education Center near Tangier Island, Virginia. Topics covered will include natural systems, water quality, and field investigations of Bay habitats (including wetlands, oyster reefs, and underwater grass meadows). Participants will learn how to lead a “meaningful watershed educational experience” with their students. Virginia natural resource professionals will participate and assist in conducting this field-based course.

Goals of the Course
  • Teachers will learn to integrate authentic scientific investigations and stewardship actions into existing classroom curriculum, specifically focused on SOLs. 
  • Teachers will create and submit a unit plan that describes how the information learned in the course will be integrated into their classroom curricula. 
  • Teachers will plan how to implement at least one MWEE, which can be conducted through CBF’s Outdoor Field Education Program, another environmental education provider, or independent

Grades of Target Audience
middle school and high school science teachers: 6-12, with priority admission awarded to teachers of grades 6, 7 (life science), earth science, biology, and environmental science/ecology.

Desired Outcomes/Learner Objectives

  • Support teachers as they engage students in meaningful Bay or stream outdoor experiences
  • Create and complete standards-based lessons and investigations that meet SOLs
  • Implement schoolyard or community-based projects. 
  • Provide skills, experience and knowledge to teach environmental issues through hands-on projects and outdoor experiences
  • Learn ecology, culture, history, and water quality issues of the Chesapeake Bay

Academy Type
Residential or commuter residential

Detailed Agenda
click here

June 21, 2010 10 a.m. – June 25, 2010, 1 p.m.

Academy Sponsor
Chesaeake Bay Foundation, 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis, MD 21403

Academy Coordinator
Randy Shank
Phone: home (804-769-2968 


  • Classroom location (inside instruction): St. Margaret’s School, Tappahannock, VA 22560
  • Field location(s): Rappahannock River Valley Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, Mattaponi River at Walkerton, Chesapeake Bay and Tangier Sound, VA.
  • Lodging location, including address and phone # St. Margaret’s School, PO Box 158, Tappahannock, VA 22560      Phone 804- 443-3357
  • CBF’s Port Isobel Environmental Education Center PO Box 241 Tangier, VA 23440 757-891-2512

Bill Portlock is the Senior Educator for the Bay with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He joined CBF in 1981 as Virginia Field Director, beginning CBF’s full-time education efforts in Virginia. He uses canoes, skiffs, research vessels, and CBF’s Island Education Centers as tools for engaging others in learning about the Bay. He has worked with thousands of teachers, students of all ages, and the public to make Virginia’s natural history and ecology understandable, meaningful, and accessible to all. He regularly monitors Virginia’s tributaries as water quality and living resources specialist for CBF, and documents the ever-changing Bay photographically.

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in New York gave Portlock its national award in 2008 in recognition of his lifetime work in nature education. In 2009 the Peterson Institute premiered his photography in an exhibit titled ''Nature Revealed: The Photography of Bill Portlock,'' that featured photographs documenting species and habitats of eastern North America. Portlock received the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science Education in 2005 from the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Virginia Coastal Ecosystems Field Course

View tentative agenda.

Participants will be introduced to selected marine science topics and field techniques in the distinctive surroundings of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Activities will take place over five consecutive days in late June, 2010, with additional pre- and post-Academy activities conducted via various modes of online and verbal communication. There will be a minimum of 40 hours instructional time in the classroom, lab, field and online. The classroom and lab portions will include content that supports Virginia Standards of Learning and integrates online resources and existing environmental education curricula. The field component will provide basic marine science content, current scientific research information, field research methods and classroom applications for middle and high school science courses. Participants will receive information and educational resources, including online resources to: improve their content knowledge; specifically in marine science; natural resources and social studiesrelevant to a specific area of the Chesapeake, i.e. Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the Bay mouth. Academy staff will also provide participants with teaching resources and laboratory and field activities directly transferable to their own students. Participants will also receive guidance and resources to assist them in planning and conducting their own Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences.

Goals of the Course

  • Increase the participants' content knowledge of selected Chesapeake Bay concepts and topics (e.g. estuaries, currents and tides, coastal geology, tidal marsh habitats, marine invertebrate and fish biology, ecology, human impacts and current environmental issues)
  • Introduce participants to tools and technology used in field data collection, and provide basic field equipment and strategies for use with their students
  • Provide standards-based models of field, lab, and classroom activities
  • Increase participants’ awareness of online and other existing resources for teaching about the Chesapeake Bay using scientific data and hands-on activities
  • Increase the participants' contact with practicing scientists
  • Increase the participants’ confidence and capacity to conduct Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences

Grades of Target Audience
(middle school and high school science teachers)
While the content and methods of the Academy are aimed primarily at current Virginia classroom teachers of Earth Science and Biology, the Academy staff will work with all participants, no matter the course they teach, to integrate the information into their curriculum.

Desired Outcomes; Learner Objectives
After completing the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Academy: Virginia Ecosystems Field Course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe high and low tech methods for conducting water quality testing, fauna sampling and beach profiling
  • Characterize each observed habitat typical of the Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic region via the biotic and abiotic parameters measured, collected and observed
  • Differentiate the chemical and physical parameters at each habitat
  • Describe how the chemical, physical, geological and temporal parameters (salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, tides, currents, sediment transport, etc.) shape, and are shaped by, the biological communities of Virginia's Eastern Shore

Mid term

  • Plan and conduct Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) with their students
  • Integrate online and print environmental education resources obtained at the Academy into their existing curricula

Academy Type

June 27 – July 1, 2010

Academy Sponsor
Virginia Sea Grant/Virginia Institute of Marine Science, School of Marine Science, College of William & Mary
P.O. Box 1346, Route 1208 Greate Road
Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062

FEIN: 546001802

Academy Coordinator
Christopher J. Petrone
Phone: 804-684-7175Locations Seaside Hall (classroom & laboratory)
Virginia Institute of Marine Science-Eastern Shore Lab
Wachapreague, VA 

Field location(s)
i. Cape Charles and/or Fisherman’s Island, VA
ii. Tidal, brackish water creeks near Onancock and Harborton, VA
iii. Nickawampus Creek, VA
iv. Burtons Bay, VA:

Wildlife in the Bay

View tentative agenda.

The Wildlife in the Bay Watershed Academy will focus on wildlife in the watershed as one indicator of watershed health. Instructors from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and VCU will highlight the interdependence of several species within the Bay ecosystems; how wildlife serves as indicators of environmental quality, and what impact human activities have on wildlife and the watershed. Teachers will spend the week at the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area near Williamsburg learning about Virginia’s wildlife species through field investigations. Training, materials and certification in WildlifeMapping to conduct monitoring of wildlife and how to report data to state systems will be provided. 

Focus and Outcomes
Wildlife in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems serve as indicators of the health of the watershed. Environmental conditions such as water quality affect populations of species, their presence, absence and condition and wildlife influences the local ecosystems and water quality down stream. 

For example:

  • The American Shad, an anadromous fish in the Chickahominy watershed is a major prey species. When the river was dammed the shad could no longer make it to its historic spawning grounds and populations dwindled over time. The construction of a fishway at Walker’s Dam in Lanexa in 1989, opened 30 miles of water for spawning of shad and striped bass and helped restore balance in the food web. Shad provide food for striped bass, herons, osprey and bald eagles.  
  • An over abundance of the Virginia White tail deer, a keystone species, will consume all plants and leaf litter in a forest. Ground nesting and feeding birds, amphibians and reptiles are absent from forests with high densities of deer. The absence of leaf litter allows soils to wash away carrying nutrients needed to keep the forest healthy.   

This academy will focus on wildlife in the watershed as one indicator of watershed health. We will conduct surveys that can be duplicated in local communities where students may have access to forest and fields as well as streams. The only citizen monitoring data collection program available to teachers to record wildlife observations including the aquatic species that are taken in seines is the DGIF WildlifeMapping program. Other programs record macro-invertebrates which are hard to measure in tidewater potions of Virginia, with WildlifeMapping teachers can record vertebrates as well as invertebrates, providing a more complete picture of the watersheds diversity.

Teachers will have a thorough knowledge of the interdependence of wildlife and their watershed. Being immersed in field investigations during the week will provide the confidence needed to conduct similar investigations at their schools with their students. Data collected by the teachers and their students will be used by DGIF in the management of wildlife species. Information on all species observed or collected during the week will be entered into the WildilfeMapping data base.

SOLs covered
Teachers will be provided content for science standards; 6.7, LS.7, LS.10, and LS.12 which all serve as building standards for biology standard Bio.9. The teachers will receive the Science and Civics curriculum guide that also supports Civics and Gov’t standards CE.1, CE.7, and GOVT. 16.    US History content will include watershed decisions made by the colonists and the effect on their survival.  

Detailed Agenda
coming soon

Middle School Life Science teachers

July 12 – 16, 2010
Commuter Academy from 8:30 – 4:30 each day
Accomodations are on your own if you choose to travel to this one.

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, P O Box 11104, Richmond , VA 23230-1104 

Suzie Gilley, Wildlife Education Coordinator 804-367-0188

Chickahominy WMA, near Williamsburg Virginia. Teachers will be commuting from the surrounding area. Lodging for teachers coming a distance will be on their own. Some lodging will be available for presenters coming from a distance at the management area house. Lunch and breaks will be served in the house at the management area which has full kitchen. This area is unique in that it supports species in the tidal zone between fresh and salt water. Additional field experiences will take place at the regional headquarters of DGIF at the Rice Center. Services provided: Instructors, field trip transportation, on the water transportation, lunch, breaks, and curriculum materials.

From the Mountains to the Ocean

View tentative agenda.

The "From the Mountains to the Ocean Chesapeake Bay Academy" will introduce middle and high school teachers to environmental science research and policy development that is relevant to understanding and teaching about the interconnection of the northern Shenandoah River watershed with the Chesapeake Bay estuary ecosystem. The Academy will draw on the expertise of University of Virginia Department of Environmental Science faculty, Blandy Experimental Farm education specialists, Virginia Commonwealth environmental agency educators, and Potomac Conservancy policy and land-use professionals to provide professional development training in current environmental science content knowledge and skills necessary for providing place-based, authentic and meaningful watershed experiences for the teachers’ students. Teachers will gain knowledge in hydrology, biogeochemistry, geology, and aquatic and marine ecology and will be exposed to new technologies that can be used in the field and the classroom to investigate watershed science topics. Each day, participants will engage in investigative activities that model the processes of science outlined in the appendix of the VA Science Standards of Learning. Teachers also will examine the connections between their daily knowledge and skills gains with several content strands in the K-6 Science Standards including Matter, Life Processes, Living Systems, Inter-relationships in Earth Systems, and Resources as well as applicable standards in Physical Science, Life Science, Biology, Earth Science, and Chemistry. The interdisciplinary nature of watershed science will be emphasized.Goals of the Course

The goals of the From the Mountains to the Ocean Bay Academy are to: 

  • expose teachers to science knowledge and research relevant to understanding how the watersheds within the northern Shenandoah region are inextricably linked to the Chesapeake Bay estuary hydrological system
  • introduce teachers to student-friendly scientific field equipment for the study of aquatic ecosystems
  • assist teachers in integrating their new science knowledge and skills into grade-level
  • appropriate lesson plans designed to provide field- and classroom-based MWEE lessons with an emphasis on inquiry learning and a focus on regional hydrology and aquatic ecology that meet Virginia Science Standards of Learning, integrate with the science and math curriculum currently offered in teachers’ respective schools, and that draw upon current scientific data and NOAA and VA agency educational resources

Grades of Target Audience
Middle school and high school science teachers

Desired Outcomes/Learner Objectives
Teachers Gain: 

  • Deeper knowledge of watershed science and comfort in teaching watershed science content
  • Field research skills, specifically wetland ecological site survey and analysis; water chemistry testing and analysis; aquatic macro-invertebrate collecting, identification, and analysis
  • Awareness of new technologies that can be used in the field and classroom for MWEE investigations
  • Increased skill in developing and presenting student-centered, inquiry-based MWEE science lessons
  • Expanded resource tool kit (including web, print, personnel, and grant resources)
  • Commitment to providing outdoor based MWEE experiences for students
  • Lesson plans developed by themselves and other Academy participants for use with their students that integrate their new watershed science knowledge, investigation, and analytical skills

Academy Type

Information for participants.

August 9-13, 2010 (5 days)

Academy Sponsor
Foundation of the State Arboretum (FOSA) & Blandy Experimental Farm/The State Arboretum of Virginia (BEF), University of Virginia
400 Blandy Farm Lane
Boyce, VA 22620
FEIN: 54-1268275 (FOSA)

Academy Coordinator
Candace Lutzow-Felling, Director of Education, Blandy Experimental Farm, University of Virginia
(540) 837-1758 ext. 230

Academy Locations
Classroom Location (inside): Blandy Experimental Farm/The State Arboretum of Virginia
Field Locations: Blandy Experimental Farm, Shenandoah Valley karst areas, and tributaries to the Potomac River including the Shenandoah River and one other such as, the Opequon River, Cedar Creek, or Abrams Creek
Lodging: Blandy Experimental Farm/The State Arboretum of Virginia, dorm rooms observations)


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