This spring, a group of 18 Plaza Middle School eighth-graders joined a Chesapeake Bay Foundation team on the Jenny S and spent the weekend in Port Isabel, an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.
Students prepared their own meals, used a compost system with no running water, used a three-sink dish-washing system, and “lived life” in the Bay as part of a Living Green Challenge against other schools in the United States.
The students went crabbing, marsh-mucking, canoeing, dragging for oysters, and explored deserted islands in the bay. They learned about sustainable living, and life as a waterman.
The students we given a scavenger hunt on Tangier Island that required them to get from the dock to the museum at a specific time without a watch – meaning they had to get help from the Tangier locals. They each had a specific list of questions to share later that night. Because of the cold temperatures and high winds, they spent majority of the time on Port Isabel. They observed a bald eagle’s nest, invasive species on the island, went “progging” (beach combing), and had to construct a bridge from drift wood to get across a stream in the marsh. The students identified 76 species on the island and did a water quality analysis that will be reported to Virginia and Maryland’s state departments.
Before leaving, they donated all of their leftover food and materials to needy families on Tangier.