Over the next two weeks, Tuckahoe State Park will welcome nearly 350 elementary school students from Caroline County for a series of educational and inspirational “all things Bay” activities as part of the park’s annual Bay Days environmental education celebration. Media are invited to take part in Greensboro Elementary School’s Bay Day on Wednesday, May 14, between the 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“Visiting a Maryland state park is one of the best ways for children to learn about our natural environment and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Maryland remains committed to ensuring that every school-aged child enjoys and learns from an outdoor environmental education experience.”
Through Bay Days, students learn from hands-on environmental activities. Through a presentation by the park’s scales & tales program, the children learn about the area’s native birds and reptiles and how their well-being is directly connected to the condition of the land and waterways where they reside. Seining in the Bay offers students the opportunity to identify and better understand the fish and other marine inhabitants living in the park’s lake and creeks. Students also work together to plant trees, which will help to reduce run-off of nutrients and other pollutants into the park’s waterways and ultimately benefit Bay health. Since it’s inception, thousands of tree saplings have been planted, further improving the park’s buffer zone and providing necessary habitat for the park’s bird and wildlife populations.
“The half-day field trip is designed Tuckahoe State Park rangers to impart upon visiting students the importance of our natural resources and how what we do on land ultimately affects the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Ranger Jessica Conley. “Our strong partnership with Caroline County Public Schools enables hundreds of students to learn about our environment through first-hand outdoor experiences every year.”
Bay Days also support Governor O’Malley’s new Children in Nature Initiative, which was established last month via an Executive Order that charged a partnership state, local, private and non-profit with promoting the well-being of youth by accelerating environmental learning and expanding opportunities for outdoor experiences. The Partnership is tasked with creating an environmental literacy plan for Maryland students, increasing opportunities for structured outdoor learning through programming on state parks and other conservation lands, enhancing school and community natural areas to provide for structured and unstructured play, and tracking program progress.
Tuckahoe State Park which has organized the program for the last seven years, has hosted more than 2,800 schoolchildren during its annual Bay Days. Funding for Bay Days is provided by a generous grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.