Kids head outside for hands-on education, assisted by Green Grants


The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, with the help of a Green Grants award from the Delaware Nature Society and Delmarva Power, will bring the classroom outside for local students this fall, through the James Farm Education Program.

Started in 1999 as a partnership with the Indian River School District, the James Farm Middle School Education Program offers outdoor, hands-on learning opportunities for local students.

CIB representatives said essential funding for the fall 2018 semester was generously provided by a Green Grants award from the Delaware Nature Society and Delmarva Power. “Grants and private donations like these are critical to the continuation and expansion of this program.”

The James Farm Middle School Education Program, managed by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, serves approximately 1,000 students from the Indian River School District each year. For some of these students, it is their first visit to the bays located right in their “back yard.”

“Experiencing the unaltered forests, meadows, and sandy bayside beaches at the James Farm is a great experience for students,” explained Amy Barra, education and outreach coordinator for the CIB. “For them, the program is often inspirational as well as educational. It’s a chance to see science in action.”

The James Farm program is an “extension activity” that is aligned with the schools’ science curriculum. After learning concepts in the classroom, students head out to the James Farm Ecological Preserve to participate in hands-on activities, conducting many of the experiments done by professional and citizen scientists.

In addition to students from the Indian River School District, this fall the program is expanding to also include students from the Jefferson School, who will visit the site to learn about animals that rely on the Inland Bays habitat.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994, one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays, the water that flows into them, and the watershed around them.