(Annapolis, MD- December 4, 2012) - Students from The Summit School in Edgewater experienced what it takes to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay through everyday living during a recent trip to Clagett Farms in Upper Marlboro. Chesapeake BaySavers, a non-profit environmental organization committed to restoring the Bay, funded the trip.
During the all-day field trip, the 22 sixth-grade students explored various parts of the 285-acre farm. They learned about land use, cover crops, sustainable organic farming and how these practices affect the Bay as well as the farm’s animals and where their food comes from.
“The farm experience teaches our students the relationship between the drain-off from the soil, how it affects the rivers, and then the Bay,” said Jane Snider, executive director of The Summit School. “They become stewards of the Bay by this first-hand experience.”
The field trip was full of real life lessons. The students learned about the connection between the treatment of the land and what runs off into the Bay. For instance, Melissa Barrett, an education program manager at the farm, talked about how important it is to be conscience of all our actions, both big and small. She discussed how something as simple as using too much fertilizer on the farm can negatively impact the Bay because of the potential runoff.
The students explored various maps of the Chesapeake including one that showed the Bay’s watershed.
“The Summit School is all about hands-on learning and this is the ultimate trip to learn about how we can do our part in helping the Bay,” said Mary Kay Altmann, a sixth grade teacher at The Summit School.
The students also learned about the animals at the farm — from what they eat, to what kind of food they produce and how the food gets to the students’ plates.
A 12-year-old student at Summit explained to his classmates why it is important to pay close attention to where the food is coming from.
“Whatever the cow eats, you’re going to eat too,” said the student.
Summit School students have visited Clagett Farms in previous years, occasionally staying overnight. Altmann said this trip is valuable because it touches on many aspects of the sixth grade curriculum including human development and the impact of natural resources.
“It is very important for children to be given this opportunity because there is a large disconnect between where our food comes from, the amount of work that goes in to it as well as the impact of our farming practices on the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Barrett, an instructor since 2007.
“We were happy to provide The Summit School with this opportunity because it is an important part of our mission to teach Maryland’s youth the significance of the Chesapeake Bay and the impact of the environment on the food we eat,” said Evan Thalenberg, president and founder of Chesapeake BaySavers.
About Chesapeake BaySavers Foundation
Chesapeake BaySavers is an Annapolis-based non-profit, environmental organization whose mission is to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay through legislative efforts, community outreach, and hands-on, environmental education programs for Maryland youth. Chesapeake BaySavers is dedicated to restoring all of the Bay’s natural resources and believes one key way to rebuild the Bay’s health is to revitalize its population of oysters — a species known for its water-filtering capabilities. Chesapeake BaySavers encourages a diverse population of Marylanders to become stewards of a healthy Chesapeake Bay. For more information about Chesapeake BaySavers, please visit www.chesapeakebaysavers.org