A Brighter Future
Professional Learning for Maryland
Teachers at CBF’s Smith Island Center
On a windy October morning, 24 teachers gather at a marina in Crisfield, Maryland.
They wait for a ferry to Smith Island, a remote
island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.
Thanks to the generosity of Northrop
Grumman, these teachers will spend the next
three days at CBF’s Smith Island Environmental
Education Center, learning to incorporate outdoor learning into their curriculum.
They are a diverse bunch. The teachers hail
from counties across Maryland, from Baltimore
City to rural Allegheny County, and teach
everything from pre-Kindergarten to high
school biology. What they share is a passion for
teaching; each has been selected as Teacher of
the Year by one of Maryland’s school districts.
People learn best by doing, which is why CBF
offers professional learning opportunities like
this for educators. By allowing teachers to
experience the Bay first-hand, they gain the
skills, experience, and knowledge necessary
to integrate environmental education into
their lesson plans. As each teacher has the
potential to touch the lives of thousands of stu-
dents over the course of his or her career, pro-
fessional learning for teachers is a valuable
investment in the future of the Bay.
Outdoor experiential learning benefits students as well. It prepares them to be the next
generation of environmental stewards, who
appreciate the natural world and can respond
to the environmental challenges of the 21st
Century. In addition, studies show that students who have had the chance to learn outside do better academically.
During the next three days, the teachers
explore wetlands, set crab pots, and dredge for
oysters. They meet people who live on Smith
Island, a traditional watermen’s community
where people’s livelihoods are dependent
upon a healthy Bay. Although the weather
doesn’t always cooperate, the teachers’ spirits
never falter. At the end of the trip, they emerge
from the ferry smiling.
“We support these programs to help the teachers get their students excited about learning,”
says Melissa Sandlin, Manager of Corporate
Citizenship at Northrup Grumman.
And the program does just that. “Now I see the
Bay very differently,” says Anne Cross, an elementary school teacher from Baltimore
County. “I feel a much greater sense of commitment [to the environment] and realize
that I must pass this on to my students.”
u CBF is grateful to Northrop Grumman for
their support of the Maryland Teacher of the Year
educational experience. More information about
CBF’s environmental education programs is
available online at cbf.org/educate.
Our Giving Community
Teachers learn about rivers, streams, and the Bay through hands-on experiences, which they can then pass on to their students.
As each teacher has the potential to touch the lives of thousands of
students over the course of his or her career, professional learning
for teachers is a valuable investment in the future of the Bay. “ ”