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Calvert County, Md. Students Will Benefit from Two Environmental Education Grants

Release Date: 7/29/1999
Contact Information: Donna M. Heron 215-814-5113

CALVERT COUNTY, Md. -- Oysters and ecology will be part of the fourth grade curriculum when school starts in September as a result of two EPA environmental education grants.

The Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia, Pa., was awarded a $5,000 grant for a pilot program to be conducted at its Estuarine Research Center on the Patuxent River.

Battle Creek Nature Education Society, Port Republic, Md., received a $4,916 grant which will expand the fourth grade oyster monitoring program begun last year.

The Academy of Natural Sciences will present their program to 200 fourth graders at the St. Leonard and Mutual elementary schools. Teachers at both schools will attend a training workshop and during the school year students will establish an aquarium with a living oyster habitat. Students will also conduct experiments at a natural oyster bar located in the Patuxent River.

The Battle Creek Nature Education Society will conduct a day-long teacher’s workshop and approximately 27 fourth grade classes of approximately 550 students will study the mortality and growth rates of oysters from the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River during field trips. In the program’s first year, students learned about the importance of the oyster in the chesapeake Bay ecosystem and the significance of their decline.

"These programs will teach students about the processes influencing the Chesapeake Bay estuary. It will emphasize the importance of the oyster, which plummeted from 15 million bushels in the mid 1880s to under 75,000 bushels a year," said W. Michael McCabe, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

EPA’s education grant program is designed to stimulate grass-roots environmental education. In the mid-Atlantic region, 25 grant recipients include schools, civic groups and non-profit organizations. Nationally, $3 million was awarded in 1999.

For more information on this grant, contact Ellen Wentworth at (215) 814-2034. EPA’s regional Internet home page also has general information on the grants: