Mar 12 Learning About Conservation on the Chesapeake Bay
Mysa students went on a three-day trip to study the Chesapeake Bay at the Karen Noonan Center (KNC). The Chesapeake Bay Foundation ran classes and explorations that focused on conservation and the surrounding ecology. The KNC sits on a peninsula, or a “tide island” as the foundation staff affectionately calls it, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The house, a refurbished hunting lodge from the turn of the century, provided dorm style rooms and a large sustainable kitchen where we took turns cooking meals in small groups.
We didn’t just study conservation, we lived it! We tried to use fewer than 5 gallons of water per person per day, and were pretty successful with the help of composting toilets. We played a game to keep energy usage low by turning off lights and keeping doors closed. The cook crew helped us limit waste by acting as “portion police” and “SLOP (stuff left on plate) cops.”
But the real adventure took place outside. On our first day, we took a boat to the Tangier Sound where we set crab traps and learned about the important role that Menhaden play in the local ecosystem. On Friday, we dredged for oysters, pulled our crab traps, and tested the water quality for PH level, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, and turbidity.
On the last day, we took experiential learning to a new level by playing Charades and Camouflage in the marsh. We learned about the important job that marshes have of protecting land from storms and providing habitat for animals that are vital to the health of the ecosystem. We also got pretty muddy!