On Friday, January 16, 2015, Program Coordinator, Amy Robins and intern, Emily Clary, spent a day at Byrd Elementary School in Goochland, Virginia to discuss the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the importance of keeping the watershed healthy. Amy Robins presents to Byrd Elementary School class on the value of the Chesapeake watershed. (Photo courtesy of Glenda Hawk)Throughout the day, Amy and Emily met with each grade for at least thirty minutes. The children were shown the entirety of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by reviewing all seven jurisdictions and the major subwatersheds. The James River was emphasized, because the school is located within that subwatershed.  The many resources that the bay provides, such as international ports, fisheries, and recreation, were discussed to accentuate the significance of a healthy watershed.

Everyone within the watershed can make small changes to improve the health of the bay, even elementary school students. By recycling, conserving water, picking up trash and properly disposing of trash every child within this age group can make a difference.

To emphasize the issue of trash pollution, a short “mockumentary” directed by Jeremy Konner called “The Majestic Plastic Bag” was shown to each grade level at the end of the presentation. This short film documents the voyage of a plastic bag through cities, parks, and rivers on its way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The video provides laughs while also offering a great message: “Plastic bags are not indigenous to the Pacific,” or any waterway on our planet.

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Byrd Elementary has already done so much to inform their students about the significance of the Chesapeake Bay, its watershed and the environment. Enrichment Resource Teacher Glenda Hawk stated that it is the school’s “goal to raise environmentally aware citizens and to encourage [their] students to be problem solvers as they face the future.”

A number of guest speakers have visited this school to discuss these topics in the past, such as the James River Association, Monocan Soil and Liegh Dunn – Goochland Environmental Planner and GARC Coordinator. In November, the staff and students were philanthropic by holding a Fall Farmer’s Market and donating all the proceeds to a watershed organization. The school has also utilized rain barrels to conserve water and prevent runoff by collecting stormwater from the school’s roof.  As well as planted indigenous plants in the Outdoor Learning Lab located in the courtyard. Amy Robins presents to Byrd Elementary School class on the value of the Chesapeake watershed. (Photo courtesy of Glenda Hawk)The second grade will be completing a project that will add to the Outdoor Learning Lab. Hawk stated that “[t]he presentation from Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay was a perfect kick-off for the 2nd grade project.” For the next few weeks, the students in this grade will be researching topics revolving around the Chesapeake Bay watershed and filming commercials to share their research. Their work will be added to a courtyard mural dedicated to the Chesapeake Bay for everyone to see. It is impressive to see a school working hard to stress the importance of the Chesapeake Bay and keeping the watershed healthy.