A CBF educator looks for sources of pollution in her neighborhood for one of the foundation's new OWL virtual classes. Image: CBF

Bay Foundation Launches Live Online Classes for School

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is ready to spice up distance learning with a new program of live environmental classes schools can use.

CBF Online Watershed Learning (OWL) provides schools with a team of educators who lead 45-minute interactive lessons about different Chesapeake Bay environmental subjects. Teachers and administrators can choose from topics like Bay ecosystems, oysters, and land-water connections.

The classes launch for use in classrooms throughout the Bay watershed on October 5.

“This new program gives us the ability to continue to educate students during the pandemic and we think it has greater potential as well. We hope to reach new classrooms and schools we haven’t been able to welcome into the field in the past, using technology and resources we’ve developed over the past year,” says Tom Ackerman, CBF’s Vice President of Education.

CBF Educator Kellie Fiala is looking forward to bringing a similar interactive education experience to students learning from home as the one she typically delivers in-person at the Merrill Center in Annapolis.

“While we won’t be physically leading students into a marsh, helping them paddle a canoe, or passing out binoculars on the boat, we still plan to engage students in a way that’s similar to how we interact in the field. This new program will allow us to, quite literally, meet students where they are, which allows us to use artifacts, demonstrations, data, living organisms, and relevant discussions to connect students to their local environment.”

Teachers and schools can sign up for an OWL class by reserving a date and time on CBF’s website, and an educator will review lessons in advance with the teacher. The $50 reservation fee supports CBF’s education program, but waivers are available for qualifying schools.

-Meg Walburn Viviano