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Perfect Place, Perfect Way to Learn About the Bay

What better way to learn about the environment and special places like the Chesapeake Bay…than to get outside and experience them?

And what better place to do that than Pleasure House Point Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Va., 108 acres of beach, marsh, and trees teeming with wildlife at the mouth of the Bay?

That’s the basic premise of a teacher education course conducted this summer by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) at Pleasure House Point. The course, one of many led by CBF every summer around the Bay, is designed to give Virginia Beach teachers first-hand knowledge of water quality, critters, habitat, and other Bay issues and to inspire them to lead their own outdoor field experiences for students (learn more here).

DSC_0157The classes are outside, hands-on, multi-day affairs; teachers typically get wet, muddy, and thoroughly enjoy themselves. But the coursework is grounded in hard science and coordinated with state learning standards and classroom curricula. The goal is to engage and inspire teachers so they can engage and inspire students so they can be become the Bay stewards of tomorrow.

Was this summer’s class engaging and inspiring for teachers? Watch and listen for yourself here.

Pleasure House Point is an ideal place to learn about the Chesapeake Bay. The natural area fronts on Virginia’s storied Lynnhaven River, a tidal Chesapeake Bay tributary full of birds, turtles, DSC_0309 fish, crabs, and oysters. The property just naturally draws wildlife, including the human kind, to enjoy its natural beauty and bounty.

A decade ago, it also drew the interest of commercial developers who sought to build more than a thousand homes and condominiums on the site. The Great Recession ended that venture, however, and allowed the local community, the City of Virginia Beach, and conservation groups to purchase the track in 2012 and preserve it for conservation, recreation, and education.

So ideal is Pleasure House Point for environmental education that CBF is planning to base its Hampton Roads outdoor education programs there in a cutting-edge, super-green center to open next year on a small corner of the property. The CBF Brock Environmental Center will annually host thousands of Hampton Roads students and teachers, allowing them to have many of the same “ah-ha” experiences that the Virginia Beach teachers shared this summer.

North View 8x10_v2The new center also will house offices of local conservation groups and provide community meeting space, making it an ideal forum for environmental brainstorming and collaborative problem-solving.

CBF is designing the Brock Environmental Center to be so green, so sustainable, so in harmony with the environment that it will have net zero impact on nearby air, land, and water. As such, it will be the first building of its kind in Virginia and among the greenest structures in the world.

Intrigued? Read more here.

Chuck Epes

Chesapeake Bay Foundation


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