Initially funded by a generous NOAA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant, this partnership between PEREC and Prince William County Public Schools has trained over 50 teachers and over 40,000 middle and high students. The program has won the Virginia Mathematics & Science Coalition’s “Programs That Work” award, as well as a Prince William County Schools Business Partnership of the Year Award.
Our program provides 1000’s of local youths with authentic field experiences within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. While working in teams at our partner field sites, Manassas National Battlefield Park and Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, sixth graders gather and interpreting data, such as water chemistry parameters including dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, nitrates and phosphates. Stream macroinvertebrates are collected, identified and tallied to determine whether or not the aquatic ecosystem is healthy.
PEREC hires and trains about 35 enthusiatic GMU students each semester to guide middle school students through these inquiry-based field investigations. Whether rain, snow or sweltering field days, PEREC Field Interpreters routinely spark interest in kids, inspiring them to not only understand and protect their natural resources but also to pursue activities and course work in environmental science.