Field Trip Season- Spotlight on Education with One Hundred Shores on the St. Mary's River

One Hundred Shores Supports: This education program was sponsored by the St. Mary's County Arts Council and Chesapeake Charter School Alliance. Water collected from the same location on the St. Mary's River was used for this education program and will be used to create 10 additional shirts as part of the One Hundred Shores Project. 25% of the sales of these 10 shirts will be donated to support Chesapeake Charter School's Field Studies program, and 25% donated to support SMCAC High School Scholarship program.


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With Memorial Day behind us, the kids are staring down their last few days of school, which means it's time for a field trip. Of course, more importantly if you're a kid, it's time for field day! The One Hundred Shores project inaugurated the summer months of 2022 by sending out the first shirts of the season on June 1. With the majority of shirts now completed which were supported through the initial campaign (they're coming soon), the One Hundred Shores project is now shifting gears slightly to what has always been the dream goal for the project- supporting conservation and environmental efforts through the implementation of the project.


I've written about education as one of the central themes of the project in a number of places already. If I had to make a flow chart or organizational model of the 10 themes (maybe I should?), education would probably be near the top of that model. I think it's probably a safe bet to say that anyone and everyone whose work is directly related to conservation of the Chesapeake had foundational education experiences on the Bay.


With my own background in education, partnering with schools is a natural bridge for taking the One Hundred Shores Project to new places and possibilities. Unfortunately, I'm a bit rusty.


It's been two years since I left the classroom, but this past week I had the opportunity to step back in to the Chesapeake Public Charter School, with some of my old students who were still in Kindergarten when COVID hit in March, 2020. Being an artist-in-residence at the school where I used to plan artists-in-residence was a bit surreal, but with a team of dedicated teachers who were interested in planning a Maryland themed arts-integrated project, it was a natural tie-in to the importance of the Chesapeake in Maryland geography and culture.


We started the residency at school on a rainy morning. A very rainy morning. Field trips to the Elms Environmental Center were in fact cancelled that morning. Luckily our artist-in-residence included a bit of a virtual field trip. We started by looking at geographical regions of Maryland (the Appalachians, the Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain), and looked at maps (my favorite), which illustrate how the rivers weave into all those regions. Then we took a little virtual trip to our closest river access point at the school-within walking distance even- which let us dive in to making our own shirts with water straight from the St. Mary's River. Over 60 students were able to participate in the project to make their own Maryland regional models on their very own second grade version of the One Hundred Shores project.


Thank you to the Chesapeake Public Charter School for partnering with Bay Fibers Studio. I was a teacher yesterday, I'm an artist today. I was an artist yesterday and I'm a teacher today. Everything I am is because of who I was before, and every opportunity I've taken makes me thankful for the previous chances which made this all possible. Long story short, support public schools! Extra special thanks especially to Ms. Foor, Ms. Kurtz and Ms. Smart, all of whom could collectively create a demonstration school for what public education can be for students.