There's BIG news for two of Chincoteague Bay Field Station's Member Universities who have been recognized as best value colleges for Bachelor's in Oceanography degrees. This year College Values Online identified Kutztown University and Millersville University as #1 and #2 respectively in the best bang-for-the-buck. The study considered tuition, financial aid, and other program information. Both write ups for KU and MU cited the field-intensive experiences at Chincoteague Bay Field Station that leave students "well-prepared for entry-level careers in oceanography and marine science as well as for graduate study."
Chincoteague Bay Field Station has a new partner that is making an impact right here on the Eastern Shore in a BIG way. Yesterday Sam Sellard and Ken Schultz visited CBFS on behalf of the Eastern Shore of Virginia's Anglers Club to present a check of $3,000 to support our Kids to Camp Scholarships in the summer of 2017. This scholarship fund helps to offset the costs of summer camp for families who otherwise wouldn't be able to send their children for such an experience.
Summer camps at CBFS are more than your traditional camp experience - our students are immersed in formative field experiences where they get their feet wet, hands muddy, and minds engaged in marine science. They're educational, inspirational, and empowering experiences that often times encourage students to pursue higher education and careers in the sciences.
Going forward, the Anglers Club will use proceeds from its annual Onancock Bay Challenge fishing tournament, held in September, to fund these scholarships, and CBFS will administer the program and select recipients from Accomack and Northampton Counties. Check out these links for more information about summer camps and our Kids to Camp Scholarship.
Learn more about the great work that the Anglers Club does by visiting their website and following them on Facebook.
From mosquitos to midges, many biting insects love to feast on the blood of vertebrates from all over the world. The Eastern Shore is no exception. The area’s marshes and sandy shores provide the perfect habitat where the bugs can lay their eggs, resulting in the large increase in numbers residents see every summer.
But the question remains: why do the little pests take our blood in the first place?
The answer? Anautogeny. It’s a big word for a relatively simple concept, but like many biological words, it makes more sense when you break it up into parts:
A = “no” or “not”
Auto = “self”
Geny = “generation”
When you put it together, it becomes “not able to self-generate.” But this is still sort of vague. Generate what? And if they can’t do it by themselves, what do they need?
In mosquitoes, the greenhead fly, and no-see-ums, only the females are equipped to draw blood. The males get all of their nourishment from other sources, usually flower nectar or other juices.
The females can support themselves that way, but not their eggs. They don’t produce enough of certain nutrients – generally protein – to have enough energy to develop eggs on their own. The female mosquitos, greenheads, etc. take blood from vertebrates so their bodies can form eggs. This extra caloric intake goes straight to the yolks, which the insect’s embryos then use as a food source as they develop. This process of requiring a particular meal (such as blood) in order to lay eggs is called anautogeny.
Next time you are mauled by mosquitoes, gobbed by a greenhead, or gnawed by a no-see-um, know that your blood is going on to nourish the next generation of anautogenic monstrosities.
If you've been to the Field Station before or even perused through our website you probably know that we're a science-education driven organization. Our programs primarily focus on the marine and coastal sciences and we interpret information for groups of all ages and interests. Sometimes that means observing bird behaviors from behind a camera during the Delmarva Nature & Wildlife Photography Summit taught by esteemed faculty like Jim Clark and Nikhil Bahl, or it might mean seining in the intertidal zone at Tom's Cove with Educator's Derrick and Sam with twenty Sea Squirt summer campers. Many of our college courses are research driven, with faculty like Aaron Haines who leads his Conservation Biology class of undergraduate students in conducting Rapid Biological Assessments for U.S. Fish & Wildlife at Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge each summer. These hands-on and practical experiences are second-to-none when it comes to inspiring the next generation of stewards of the environment but we also gain a wealth of data from each of these programs that is recorded, shared, and examined for long-term patterns.
Science has been a hot topic in the news and on social media this week – something of course that makes us biology nerds pretty excited. PBS has released a timely piece on Rachel Carson's essential contributions to science and public health, articles like A Pioneering Woman of Science Re-Emerges After 300 Years is popping up on Facebook newsfeeds, and hashtags like #climatefacts are trending on Twitter. Science is the driver for innovation and we realize that our viewers are hungry for more of this content. In 2017 you're going to see our online presence shift to incorporate more of the essential science going on here at the Field Station and in the world in general. Whether you're a homeschool parent, an undeclared college student, or a life-long learner, we're committed to communicating some of the most interesting science through our channels. This is our resolution for 2017. Stay tuned.
With this, we hope that you might consider making a resolution too: commit to giving yourself and the people in your life more experiences in the outdoors, get hands-on with science, dive deep into research, push the field forward. Doing this is easy and requires as little or much time as you can give. Support your local environmental education center through volunteering, join a Creekwatchers program, send your kids to science-focused summer camps, or encourage your local school board to prioritize field-based experiences.
Now more than ever the world needs people who are invested in science and the environment. After all, plankton make the world go 'round.
Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s SPARK program in Virginia named one of five winners in UL Innovative Education Award Program to Advance Environmental and STEM Education
In collaboration with North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), program champions excellence and innovation in youth programming that uses the environment as pathway to STEM learning
NORTHBROOK, IL and WASHINGTON, D.C. [August 17, 2016] – Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s SPARK program (Shore People Advancing Readiness for Knowledge) in Wallops Island, Virginia (www.cbfieldstation.org/SPARK), which fosters environmental science interactions outside the classroom between parents and children through an intergenerational and scaffolding approach (progressively incremental) to E-STEM learning, has been named one of the five winners in the second annual UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) Innovative Education Award program. The organization will receive a grant of $25,000.
By using science-based solutions to tackle environmental issues that affect the eastern shore region of Accomack County in Virginia, SPARK serves a diverse community in which participants range in age from five to 65 and often involve multiple generations of families learning simultaneously. A large majority of the population served by SPARK identifies either as Black, Hispanic, or Latino.
Developed in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the UL Innovative Education Award (ulinnovationeducation.naaee.net) was open to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada that serve to motivate K-12 students about science and research through E-STEM programming and education about the environment. The intent is to support innovative organizations that are inspiring future researchers, scientists, and problem solvers.
Four other grants were awarded, including a top prize of $100,000. An additional $25,000 grant was awarded along with two others of $50,000 each. All five winning teams from the UL Innovative Education Award (ULIEA) program will meet in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Aug. 17-19 on the UL campus for the second ULIEA kickoff meeting and leadership summit.
“We were impressed by how SPARK encourages youth to present the source of the problem and implications of the problem to various audiences and how they enabled youth to advocate for feasible solutions,” Cara Gizzi, Director of Public Safety Education and Outreach says. “The judges noted that this year’s winning programs demonstrated the lasting returns on investing in sustained contact with the learners over months as well as years. SPARK and the other winners are the ideal ‘deep learning’ programs that offer effective, meaningful, and measurable engagement in STEM learning that can be readily tracked over time.”
The UL Innovative Education Award proposals demonstrate the values of service learning and a bottom-up approach that includes as many diverse voices, among the core features of the goals for the NAAEE’s ongoing National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education, according to Christiane Maertens, NAAEE’s Deputy Director. “Building on the strengths of service learning, these projects show the impact of the ways people are experimenting with experiential learning,” Maertens says. “Youth are participating in projects that offer tangible benefits to their communities and that learning is directly associated with creating that benefit. These projects also represent many voices including urban, religious, indigenous, people of color, elderly, and women-led populations. For youth, this means achieving a more complex understanding of environmental issues, critical thinking, process and problem solving and seeing how STEM can meet the needs of the community.”
Meet Doris and Paul, owners and farmers at Turtle Pace Farm in Melfa. Turtle Pace will be providing potatoes for the Serving up the Shore dinner on August 19.
Doris and Paul grow potatoes using organic practices and a lot of craftsmanship. They take great pride in maintaining their vintage farm equipment. “We enjoy using these old tractors because they’re well suited to our operation,” said Paul. “They were designed at a time when there were a great number of small family farms, so they work very well for us.”
For more information about Turtle Pace Farm, you can watch the video above or visit the Turtle Pace Facebook page. Be sure to visit our Serving up the Shore webpage, and stay updated with the Facebook event page
Thanks for an awesome summer! Can't wait to see The Field Station grow even more than it already has!
What happens when you bring together middle and high school students, college students and researchers, local families, and community members together on a beautiful day along the Chincoteague Bay, in a town that lies just two feet above sea level? If you’re thinking a beach party, well, you’re not totally wrong.
This past June Chincoteague Bay Field Station hosted its first of a series of Community Action Days, bringing these audiences together to learn about ways to adapt to environmental changes like sea level rise. The Action Days are student-run and learner-centered. During our most recent event, team members broke into groups to tackle three main projects:
Oyster Castle Installation: With 211 Oyster Castle© blocks made of concrete, the team constructed eight castles and nine walls in the intertidal zone of the shoreline. The castles and walls serve two main purposes: to attenuate wave energy, reducing shoreline erosion, and to create a substrate for oyster recruitment and growth.
Restoring Tidal Flow to the Marsh: Many hands and shovels were needed to carve out an old naturally occurring channel through the shell berm and beach area. CBFS’s Sea STAR high school interns and community members lead this “big dig” and reinforced the walls of the channel with bagged oyster shell.
Planting Native Grasses: Another crew of volunteers including members of the Field Station’s SPARK Living Shoreline Team, planted small and large plugs of a native marsh grass species, called Spartina alterniflora, to help stabilize the shoreline. The native plants help to trap sediments and also provide natural habitat for a variety of coastal species.
Through these contentious efforts, CBFS maintains Accomack County, VA's first-ever living shoreline. According to Maryland Department of Natural Resources, “Living shorelines are the result of applying erosion control measures that include a suite of techniques which can be used to minimize coastal erosion and maintain coastal processes.” Minimizing erosion in a community that sits just a few feet above sea level is pretty important. With extreme storm events like Hurricane Sandy and Super-Storm Irene, communities like Greenbackville, VA are most likely to catch the brunt of the damage. By using green techniques for mitigating coastal erosion, CBFS hopes to use their Living Shoreline as a buffer to the residential community and to model practices that can be replicated on other properties. But it's not just staff from the non-profit who are pushing this effort forward.
Many activities at the site are youth-led. All of the project listed above that were completed during this past Community Action Day were researched and organized by a group of undergraduate students and recent graduates. With the help of a few dozen high school students, local families, and other community members, all of the improvements were implemented. A cadre of local families known as the SPARK Living Shoreline Team will monitor the effects of these actions over the course of the next year to determine the success of the actions. A participatory model is at the core of the Living Shoreline; students and families engage in all facets of the project, using scientific methods to produce knowledge about the local issue of sea level rise to bring about change.
Over the course of the next year and a half, CBFS will host seven more Community Action Days and more than 800 students will visit the Living Shoreline to complete service learning projects and learn about building resilient communities in the face of environmental changes. This past spring, 82 students from Stephen Decatur Middle School took on a project to remove the invasive reed Phragmites australis from the marsh, hoping to open space for native marsh grasses to grow. These activities take students and families through the full continuum of environmental education – from critical thinking activities, team-based problem solving, and environmental stewardship.
It's not every Community Action Day that we have a cloudless, eighty-degree, and virtually mosquito-less afternoon, but the commodore and enthusiasm make it feel as close to a beach party as Greenbackville may have ever seen!
Projects at CBFS's Living Shoreline site are funded in part by EPA, NOAA, and Walmart.
Meet John, owner and farmer at Giving Tree Garden Market in New Church. Giving Tree will be providing produce for the Serving up the Shore dinner on August 19.
In addition to the wide selection of garden plants available at Giving Tree, there are also high quality organic vegetables. “We called this place a ‘garden market’ versus a garden center, because we wanted to create our own garden and provide the Eastern Shore with good, wholesome, chemical-free food,” said John.
For more about Giving Tree, you can visit the Giving Tree website, or stop in at Giving Tree’s location right off Chincoteague Road. Be sure to visit our Serving up the Shore webpage, and stay updated with the Facebook event page.
Meet Luis and Stacia, owners and farmers at La Caridad Farm in Parksley. La Caridad will be providing meat and eggs for the Serving up the Shore dinner on August 19.
Stacia – a “from’ere” who grew up in Parksley – and Luis – a “come’ere” originally from Cuba – started their farm in 2013. “I come from a background where we basically raised all the meat that we eat,” said Luis, “and that’s something I strongly believe in.”
Luis and Stacia find time out of their busy schedules – which include full-time jobs – to raise chickens, pigs, ducks and rabbits. They also have a personal garden, which they use to feed themselves as well as their animals.
For more information about La Caridad, you can watch the video above or visit the La Caridad website. Be sure to visit our Serving up the Shore webpage, and stay updated with the Facebook event page.
Everything you need to know about CBFS's educational programs, visiting Chincoteague Island, and more!