Last weekend I had the privilege to attend the Chesapeake Watershed Forum at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown West Virginia, on the Potomac River.
A while back when I decided to take on the green school coordinator position for my school, I went into research mode so that I could find opportunities to learn more about what it means to be a green school. I found the forum through the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. It sounded very interesting and there was a scholarship being given so I registered and applied. I received the acceptance email on my birthday!
I was very excited to be attending something new and getting to learn more about how I can help our water and our land. I never expected what the weekend actually had in store…learning, networking and new perspective on my life’s path.
I have always been drawn to the water, and earth. My grandmother was a woman of the earth… Ojibwe are plains Indians and spend a lot of time with the land so it runs in my blood. This weekend I really began to understand how land and water conservation is vital to protecting the ecosystems around us.
The NCTC has a beautiful campus, great facilities and delicious food! The staff was friendly, helpful and polite.
The forum is presented by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay along with many other amazing non-profits such as Chesapeake Bay Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Park Service.
I received my scholarship from the Chesapeake Bay Trust,
The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit grant-making organization dedicated to improving the watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Coastal Bays, and Youghiogheny River. Created in 1985 by the Maryland General Assembly, our goal is to increase stewardship through grant programs, special initiatives, and partnerships that support K-12 environmental education, on-the ground watershed restoration, community engagement, and the underlying science of these three realms. Through our grants, the Trust engages hundreds of thousands of students and volunteers in projects that have a measurable impact on the natural resources of our region. Grantees include schools, local governments, community groups, faith-based groups, watershed organizations, and other not-for-profit entities.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to grow as an educator and as an earth conscious individual. I learned about testing water with ALLARM, surveying the areas around the water to look for specific things that tell if the water quality will be balanced. I also learned about MWEE’s, Environmental Education, and a lot of grants that are available! Shore Rivers and Anacostia Watershed were also there sharing their journey and progress with educating citizen scientists to amazing projects happening in Washington D.C.
The people who attended the forum were all very inviting and accepting. Everyone was really kind and open to sharing and helping. The networking at this forum was so beneficial and I think I’ve even made a few new friends.
There was a LOT of art here as well, which made me super happy! They had a “poster contest” to show off information about successful projects.
The forum started out with art, and cognitive mapping. We were each asked to create a map of the place that makes us want to work with conserving the land and water. I drew the blue heron I see at Gunpowder Falls.
There were other small installations such as the #bethelight and #postsecret.
This was a great experience, there should definitely be more teachers in attendance, and it will be great to see more educational sessions next year! Thank you again to everyone for hosting and presenting such a wonderful forum.
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