Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries define our area. Unfortunately, the Bay is not healthy and hasn’t been for years. For 40 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has had as its mission to restore the Bay to a healthy state, both in terms of toxic contaminants and healthy oxygen levels for the benefit of the natural animal life and the jobs that depend on the health of that animal life.
Among its myriad of programs, the CBF has developed educational programs for the general public, school administrators, teachers, and students. These programs inform these groups about the history of the Bay, its challenges and solutions. The hope of these programs is that informed citizens, including students, will help to restore the Bay to 40% of its original potential.
One particular program, Student Wave, is intended for high school students. These students serve as ambassadors for the health of the Bay through their own projects and summer environmental leadership opportunities.
The CBF also supports a program of developing speaker representatives who will come to your organization’s event to inform the members about the purpose of the CBF and inspire your group into action. Their local mentoring support is another critical service of the CBF.
iEarn: Our Rivers, Our World
The iEARN Our Rivers, Our World interactive project reaches globally through an online forum. The overall purpose of the project is for students to be able to study the impact of humans on the health of rivers in participating countries and to gain the understanding that their actions can improve the health of the local water systems. Groups submit individual plans online. The plans must include collaboration between science teachers and students, professional mentoring, water analysis, videoconferences, and workshop presentations. This past year the following countries contributed either a video or slide show of their work to the forum: Algeria, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Canada, India, Lebanon, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, United States, and Yemen.
Colorado River Alliance
The Colorado River Alliance (CRA), based in Austin, Texas serves a similar function as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation does in Maryland. The purpose of CRA is to serve as advocates for the long-term health of the Colorado River. Their function is to dedicate time and energy to educating others about the symbiotic relationship of the river to the communities in the Austin area. They support any organization that is interested in supporting the River’s health.
Among other projects, CRA reaches over 5,000 Texas youth through hands-on learning experiences. Along with events to promote awareness that includes river clean-up activities, CRA organizes rafting trips to connect students to the fun and physical exercise opportunities the River can provide. They hold programs specifically for school-age students at the Redbud Center in Austin, a 5-acre riverside facility that teaches the history of the Texas Colorado River. They have an interactive flooding simulation to help advance students’ understandings of the interaction of humans with the water. They also have a program at the facility to investigate the impact of rainwater harvesting and storm water management.