Saturday Environmental Academy
Introduction to the Saturday Environmental Academy
The Anacostia Watershed Society's Saturday Environmental Academy (SEA) is a free, weekend-based, out-of-school-time environmental education program for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. The goal of the program is to stimulate interest in and provide a fundamental education about the environment, and specifically that of the Anacostia River Watershed.
SEA offers two multi-week programs each year -- one in the fall and one in the spring. Classes are held on Saturdays from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at outdoor sites throughout the area. Students learn about their river—its history, health, and ecology—while developing their skills in team building, critical thinking, and scientific investigation.
SEA involves students in a wide variety of outdoor learning opportunities, such as riverside cleanups, visits to museums, and canoe trips, which provide children with a deeper understanding of the Anacostia River, the watershed community, and the impact that people have on the natural world.
Each semester, there is an overnight camping experience to introduce the students to new experiences and expand their knowledge of the interaction between the Anacostia River and the rest of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The overnight weekends emphasize team building and problem solving exercises that help the students build their life skills, as well as broaden their knowledge of science concepts.
The multi-week format is designed to build on the students’ experiences from week-to-week, strengthening their grasp of the material and reinforcing the connections between lessons. SEA maintains a 5:1 student/adult ratio, which allows for consistent, individual attention and the building of personal mentoring relationships. Additionally, because the students come from a range of schools, the program fosters relationships that cross neighborhood boundaries, strengthening the students’ appreciation for their wider community.