Beach restoration project offers authentic outcomes

Chesapeake Academy science students are getting excited about a beach restoration project at Lancaster County’s public beach at Windmill Point.

Middle school science teacher Robin Blake, collaborating with Ian Cheyne of the Master Gardeners Shoreline Evaluation Program and Brian Barnes, Lancaster County environmental codes compliance officer, evaluated mechanical erosion patterns and drafted a plan for beach protection.

The Friends of the Rappahannock, a Fredericksburg-based ecological group which works with other watershed stakeholders through the tools of dialogue, education and consensus-based action, has both funded the project and committed to share expertise and tools with Chesapeake Academy student researchers.

“We are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Richard Moncure, tidal river steward and the Friends of the Rappahannock organization,” said Julianne Keesee. “With such similar goals, there are so many possibilities.”

“This sort of authentic learning allows students to become highly motivated because their inquiry, process and resulting product serve an important role in the community,” said Blake.

“This project involves an activity that mimics the work of professionals and involves presenting findings to audiences beyond the classroom,” she said. “It uses open-ended inquiry, thinking skills and metacognition as students work in a community of learners. And, best of all, students direct their own learning in project work. This is hands-on learning at its best.”

In order to restore and preserve the public sand beach, students will plant intertidal wetlands vegetation after clearing and cleaning the site. Students will establish a water quality testing site at the beach that will provide useful comparisons with two other Chesapeake Bay Foundation water quality stations that will continue to assess the health of local waters.


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