Howler Partners: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Posted on October 11, 2012

We at Howler are proud to be associated with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and their work to preserve and steward one of the nation's most important water resources.  Our friend and Howler Ambassador John Rodenhausen contributed this account of how CBF is educating the next generation by "Learning Outside".  No better way.  Thanks guys!

The sun was just cresting the horizon on what would be a steamy summer day on Tangier Sound.  A pelican strikes the water as a seventh generation waterman is scraping the grass beds in search of blue crabs while Guns n Roses blares from a small speaker a few feet from his head.  Just a couple hundred yards away are 18 middle school students plying the same waters with the same fishing gear.  The harvest comes aboard the boat with a dull thud but is greeted with a shrill cry of excitement from the kids.  Crabs of all sizes scurry about the deck as youthful eyes scan the large clump of wet grass is emptied onto the engine box.  Katy reaches her hand into the slippery pile of life and pulls out a small puffer, a Striped Burrfish.  The crowd goes wild!  The hunt continues.  As young hands work through the catch, they produce a small flounder, 3 dozen blue crabs and 2 seahorses. For these kids from the big city this will be a memory they will not soon forget.  How many of them could have known there are seahorses living just 90 miles from the nation’s capital?

This is how a day can start on just one of 15 education centers operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Scattered across Chesapeake Bay watershed these hands on experiences are how more than 30,000 kids each year are learning about the impacts our lives have on critters living in the 100,000+ rivers, creeks and streams that feed the fertile fishing grounds of the Chesapeake. In spite of being nearly 200 miles long, the average depth of the bay is a shallow 21 feet. It really is just a puddle at the bottom of a big hill that is 64,000 square miles.  This fact alone makes the choices of its 17 million residents even more critical.

Each day, from March to December, students and teachers are in the field with CBF educators throughout the watershed.  They are catching grabs, testing water quality, investigating the inhabitants of an oyster reef and exploring fresh water streams.  This is how they learn what is going on and it is how they see their impact on local waterways.  We have been doing this for over 40 years and have provided these experiences for over 1.5 million people.  Our motto is “Learn Outside” and it helps boost student achievement in the classroom.  Who says you can’t have fun while learning?

We at CBF heed the call and this is how we are teaching the next generation to do the same.

For more information, feel free to go to