Home on the Chesapeake Bay
Every year, the Washington School for Girls 7th grade makes the trek across the Bay Bridge and down the coastline of the Eastern Shore for a three-day stay at the Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center (KNC). Run by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the KNC is home to residential environmental programs focused on the ecology of the bay, including the nearby Hooper Strait Sanctuary (protected oyster habitat) and the marshlands that surround the Center.
Over the course of the trip students learn about the wildlife that calls the bay home, including oysters, crabs, and fish, and the ecological systems that impact the greater region. They practice waste reduction strategies by playing interactive electricity and water usage games, enjoy nature walks, get up early to watch the sunrise, and learn about all the ways that humans both benefit from and can damage the fragile ecosystem of the bay. The activities tie in to the 7th grade science curriculum, which is focused on Physical and Earth Sciences.
This annual trip has been a cornerstone of the WSG middle school experience for years, and is partially supported by the Connelly School of the Holy Child (Potomac, MD). Karen Noonan, for whom the center is named, was an alumna of Holy Child who was passionate about education and was studying to become a teacher when she was tragically killed.