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Cecil County Life

Fair Hill Nature Center receives grant

Jan 01, 2015 02:58PM ● By Kerigan Butt

The Fair Hill Nature Center and Environmental Foundation has been awarded a grant from the National Audobon Society. The award is to be used to fund a “Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE). This project is supported by NOAA B-Wet, the Maryland State Department of Education and Audobon. The overarching issue students will address at FHNC is the effect runoff has on the watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. Together, this can help build a brighter Bay through environmentally literate students.

The project will be an outdoor experience for students in grade 5 for Cecil County Public Schools and available to students in the nonpublic schools between grades 4-8 depending on the individual school’s curriculum. This outdoor experience will include an assessment of stream health in the Big Elk Creek at Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area in Elkton. Students will investigate stream quality through physical observation, chemical testing with probeware, and biological assessments which will include a microscopic investigation. “This proposed project is in complete alignment with our mission and the environmental education outreach program here at the Fair Hill Nature Center” (FHNC), said Holly Hannum, Education Director of FHNC.  Students will use the assessment techniques learned at FHNC to conduct either their own schoolyard assessment or a local stream assessment. Based on their findings, the students will develop their own question/problem/issue they want to address at their school. Based on their findings, the students will design an action project that is a restoration project in nature or results in a positive change to the environment on or near their school.

Hannum added, “We are happy to share this exciting new program with the public, and nonpublic schools in the area, it’s a great opportunity for them to experience first-hand scientific techniques for assessing the health of our local streams and drinking water”.  Thanks to the Delaware Geographic Alliance, we can provide results of our testing on the Fieldscope website so that students can access all data from their classrooms.”

The Fair Hill Environmental Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit natural history and environmental learning center serving students and adults from the Tri-State area of Northeastern Maryland, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Northern Delaware. Its aim is to promote responsible stewardship through an appreciation and understanding of our environment.

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