Student Scientists Generate Ideas to Save the Bay

It's a sunny June morning and a group of 7th graders is aboard the Marguerite, one of CBF's "floating classrooms." Students measuring nitrate levels in the Bay's water receive a reading of 3.61 parts per million—more than three times higher than a healthy level. Many people would be surprised by this reading. Not these students.

"What happens to the Bay when there's too much nitrogen present?" asks CBF Educator, Sam Woolford.

"It makes the algae grow," says one student.

"Dead zones!" says another.

These students have spent the past six months studying Chesapeake Bay ecology and developing ideas to save the Bay, thanks to a partnership between CBF and the Ingenuity Project. The Ingenuity Project provides an accelerated curriculum to Baltimore City's highest achieving students, many of whom come from disadvantaged communities. Each year, the program challenges students to use science to solve a real-world problem. This year's topic: reducing nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Over the course of the six-month project, CBF provided books, maps, and trained teachers, while our scientists answered student questions via Skype and email. The experience energized students, who came up with ideas such as building man-made wetlands to soak up the nitrogen. Students also learned about ways they can improve water quality in their everyday lives.

Thanks to this partnership, CBF engaged 550 of Baltimore's brightest students and expanded our conservation message in the city.

Photo Credit: 1. CBF Staff, 2. Jay Fleming.