The River Habitat Program is a service learning oriented program designed to support and enhance elementary curriculum standards. The focus of the program is on animal adaptation and their habitat needs in their environment. The program is comprised of three parts; in-class instruction, a field study experience on the Anacostia River, and a restoration activity. In general the aim is for students to develop an understanding - intellectual and emotional - of their relationship to the Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay.
The River Habitat Program begins and ends with interactive classroom sessions, chock-full of hands-on experiments and learning through interactive games. The sessions include topics such as healthy watersheds, challenges of the Anacostia Watershed, Anacostia heritage and how challenges facing the river can be met. This program supports science and social studies standards that require students to make the connection between school and community and to apply science in a “real life” context. Students learn about wildlife residents of the river and study their adaptation to survive and how land use practices in the watershed impact their river home. Other aspects of this program include map-reading skills, identification of common animals found in the Anacostia River, and how to evaluate lifestyle choices that human watershed residents can enhance or change in order to have a positive impact on the river.
This is a field study experience where students will learn how to identify wildlife and learn more about the historical and social aspect of what they see. The focus is to expose the students to the habitat they have been studying and to show them a healthy way (both for the river and them) to enjoy it. While on board, students are instructed to reflect on their experience by writing a poem or drawing a picture.
Students have the option for an off-site restoration that includes a wetland restoration project in the mudflats of the Anacostia River or removal of invasive plants in a neighboring park. They can also participate in a restoration activity on their school grounds, such as cleaning up trash and debris or a tree-planting.
If you are interested in involving your students in this exciting project, please contact us for additional information.