Grant to help students head outside for hands-on education

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, with the help of a Green Grants award from the Delaware Nature Society and Delmarva Power, will bring classrooms outside for local students this fall through the James Farm Education Program.

Started in 1999 as a partnership with the Indian River School District, the James Farm Middle School Education Program offers outdoor, hands-on learning opportunities for local students. Essential funding for the fall 2018 semester is generously provided by a Green Grants award from Delaware Nature Society and Delmarva Power. Grants and private donations like these are critical to the continuation and expansion of this program.

The James Farm program, managed by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, serves about 1,000 students from the Indian River School District each year. For some of these students, this is their first visit to the bays located right in their backyard.

“Experiencing the unaltered forests, meadows, and sandy bayside beaches at the James Farm is a great experience for students,” said Amy Barra, CIB education and outreach coordinator. “For them, the program is often inspirational as well as educational. It’s a chance to see science in action!”

The James Farm program is an extension activity aligned with the schools’ science curriculum. After learning concepts in the classroom, students head out to the James Farm Ecological Preserve to participate in hands-on activities, conducting many experiments done by professional and citizen scientists. The program is expanding this fall to include students from The Jefferson School, who will visit the site to learn about animals that rely on the Inland Bays habitat.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization established in 1994, one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays, the water that flows into them and the watershed around them.

This article originally appeared in the Cape Gazette on Oct 17, 2018. Read it here.