Middle and Upper School Students Help Save the Bay at the Brock Environmental Center

Upper and middle school students took their classrooms outside and on the Chesapeake Bay as part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) One-Day educational program. Held at the CBF‘s Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, students took to the land and bay to learn more about the waterways surrounding the area.

CBF’s environmental education program introduces participants to the wonders of the watershed and works to heighten sensitivity, increase knowledge and empower citizens to take positive action toward the bay's restoration.

Students started the day with a scavenger hunt for conservation facts. Once they gathered their facts listed throughout the education center, students presented their newfound knowledge to their classmates through skits and songs about saving the bay.  

Next, they took to the water with canoes creating a floating classroom where everyone discussed the role the bay plays in Hampton Roads’ ecosystem.

The canoes then broke up into teams of two to test the bay water for things like salinity and pH, which the foundation records and closely tracks to keep an eye on the bay’s health.

Students finished the day collecting abiotic creatures like small fish and crabs using large nets. They identified and eventually released their catches.

“We had a perfect day on the water,” says upper school science teacher Frank Thomson. “The mild temperatures and sunny skies were a far cry from the conditions of Hurricane Jose on the original date of our trip. The collaboration between middle and upper school students was fun to watch, whether it was in the canoe or during their skits."

Sophomore Braeden Thomson also feels the trip was a great success: “As an AP chemistry student, I really enjoyed testing the water quality for nitrogen and phosphorus. I got to see some of the chemistry we talk about in class used in real-life applications."

CBF is a private, non-profit conservation organization dedicated to saving the bay with watershed-wide programs in environmental education and resource protection. From one-day canoe and workboat experiences to week-long stays at one of our learning centers, the philosophy is the same: To care for the environment, you must love it. To love it, you must know it. To know it, you must experience it.

For more information on the trip, please contact Claire Fornsel at cfornsel@norfolkcollegiate.org or Dr. Frank Thomson at fthomson@norfolkcollegiate.org.