The Rappahannock River has an unusual new group of protectors: a class of 6th graders pioneering the way for future generations to safeguard local waterways.
For the past few months, Lowery Pemberton, Education Coordinator for Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), and Richmond County Science teacher Patty Ptucha have partnered with groups such as the Menokin Foundation, Belle Isle State Park, the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, the Northern Neck Land Conservancy, 4-H Extension and others groups that have come together in the region’s first ever program designed to teach area youth how to respect and protect one of the most important rivers on the East Coast.
“Every single child in the commonwealth is supposed to go through a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE),” Pemberton said in a recent interview. “We chose Richmond County’s 6th grade because of their willingness to participate.”
It is an innovative program that incorporates educating students about protecting their local habitat while also translating those studies into state mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) studies.
The fledgling program has met with great success, due in part to both the four-tiered system that allows students to fully develop a sense of the Rappahannock River’s importance to the region as well as the unexpected drive of the children, who have developed a passion for ecological preservation and knowledge.
The program has multiple components that incorporate classroom studies with outdoor and real-world activities that enhance the curriculum.
It begins with the first phase, Professional Development, where instructors…
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