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Students participate in EPA’s 40th anniversary

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Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School students got to meet the head of the Environmental Protection Agency at the Earth Day celebration “EPA@40” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Above, from left, are Grayson Johnson (Middlesex), Elena Procopi (Gloucester), John Mercer (King and Queen), Stephanie Hutton (Middlesex), Lisa P. Jackson EPA administrator, and CBGS teacher Sara Beam.

April 22 marked the 40th anniversary of both Earth Day and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

On Friday, April 23, a group of students and teachers from the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School (CBGS) at Glenns were one of only two schools in the country invited to participate in the “EPA@40” activities on the National Mall in Washington, D.C..

The delegation included students Stephanie Hutton and Grayson Johnson of Middlesex, John Mercer of King and Queen and Elena Procopi of Gloucester, and teachers Sara Beam and Sherry Pettyjohn. 

CBGS students were asked to present their environmental community service work with “Learn and Serve America” to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Through Learn and Serve, Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School students use the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to go out into the environment and conduct water quality monitoring, oyster reef restoration, and other community projects such as building a wetlands walk at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster. 

Outreach education has been another very important component of community service as well, where CBGS students are out in the community throughout the year teaching environmental education to local school children. CBGS students have donated thousands of hours of community service throughout the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region. 

Attendees at the April 23 presentation included numerous officials from EPA, Corporation for National and Community Service, Virginia Department of Education, NOAA, NSF, and National Center for Historic Preservation.

On April 24, the group attended and presented at the EPA@40 event on the National Mall.  CBGS students were the “Water Quality Kids” and they spent the day educating the public about the benefits of oysters for improving water quality. Hundreds of people passed through and enjoyed looking through the microscopes at oyster anatomy, feeding apparatus and epifauna on the oyster shells. 

The students also got to tour exhibits at the event, which included a national engineering competition called the National Sustainable Design Expo, where college teams competed with their engineering solutions to environmental problems of energy, solid waste, and transportation. 

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson toured the event and spent time talking with CBGS students about their environmental activities. Students were impressed with the range of information presented at the event with everything from pollution reduction to alternative energy vehicles to composting and organic agriculture. 

Students left the weekend with a new sense of the innovative technologies being developed to meet the environmental challenges that face us, and a connection to the people making it happen.

posted 04.28.2010

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