Education and outreach are essential components in the fight for healthier, cleaner rivers. MRC is dedicated to investing in future generations of river stewards through education and teaching the value, importance, and fun found on our local rivers.
MRC’s education program spans multiple grade levels. It provides students with Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences as outlined in the “Stewardship and Community Engagement” Commitment of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement and assists teachers in completing the Environmental Literacy Standards set by the Maryland State Department of Education.
This is the first river experience for some of our students–some cannot identify the river nearest to where they live. MRC educators strive to light a spark in students by imprinting memories that will have a lasting impact on what they value and how they relate to their local rivers. We inspire them to get outdoors and enjoy the natural world around them. MRC’s Education Team consists of young, passionate, and gifted educators who are successfully engaging with these young people.
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- We work with elementary and high schools to teach students the importance of our waterways and how to care for them
- We write about and speak out on many river issues
- We regularly inform our members and the community at large: three time per year, we publish the River Champion printed newsletter three times per year, and we compile the “Ripple Effect” monthly e-newsletter that is emailed to our membership
- We release a State of the Rivers River Report Card in April
- We produced Let Our Rivers Flow, a 24-minute film that aired on public television and was selected for the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, a program that screens across the country
- Each November we host an Environmental Film Festival at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, screening informational and motivational films. In 2015 we added a second program in Cambridge.
Waste in our Waterways
Waste in our Waterways is a third-grade program that uses environmental education to empower students to make a difference in their communities. MRC’s program engages students through two activity-based, interactive classroom lessons, a recycled art project, the children’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival Children’s Program, community clean ups, and a field trip to a wastewater treatment plant and landfill. Throughout the year, students learn the concepts of waste, the effects it can have on our local rivers, and the three “R’s” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). All participating students attend our annual Wild and Scenic Festival Children’s Program to view films that inspire young generations to take action and make a difference in the environment. Classroom lessons are led by MRC educators and volunteers, but are dependent on student dialogue and small group discussions.
Students for Streams is MRC’s high school environmental education program. This year-long program may include multiple in-class lessons led by MRC staff, a field trip to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Lab, and a student-led action project that focuses on local water quality. As part of the Governor O’Malley Stream Restoration Challenge Grant, our students helped plant 10,000 trees on over 18 acres of streamside buffer (so far). The goal of this program is to connect students to their local community and environment, introduce environmental career opportunities, and provide Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences for all participating classes. Lessons taught include: Chesapeake Bay history and ecology, water quality parameters and testing, oyster significance and anatomy, issues and threats to our local rivers, and stream restoration and solutions.
Nurture by Nature
MRC has a new partnership with Channel Marker, Inc. Channel Marker is a non-profit organization providing community-based rehabilitation for adults and children living with mental illness. Thanks to a grant provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, MRC will provide Channel Marker youth clients with outdoor summer experiences and after-school programming focused on connecting human health to time spent playing outside.
Throughout the school year, MRC will work with Channel Marker staff to provide after-school programs that promote healthy eating, playing outdoors, and environmentally friendly practices like recycling. The goal of this program is to get kids to step away from computer screens and video games and promote healthier lifestyles through a connection to their local environment.
Join the Outreach!
For further information on MRC’s education and outreach programs or to find out how your school can get involved, please contact MRC Education and Outreach Coordinator Elle O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.