Education and Community Programs

NRPA NANSEMOND WATERSHED INITIATIVE: ‘Connecting the Classroom with the Environment’.  NRPA program in the city of Suffolk Public Schools and Nansemond Suffolk Academy.


Education Program Directors:  Karla Smith, Elizabeth Taraski, John Wass High School Student Program Manager:  Cindi Pinell
NWI Instructor:  Cindi Pinell, Mike Reiss, Karla Smith, Elizabeth Taraski
Marshfield Study Volunteers:  Fran Jones, Marie Roosendaal, Suffolk Parks & Recreation, Suffolk Public Works Department
PROGRAM: The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance is working with teachers  in providing students with a hands on Meaningful Watershed Environmental Education experience.  NRPA introduced the program in September 2013 and as May 2017, 4,500 seventh grade students have completed the program. The three-module program takes a hands-on approach to education, allows students to execute authentic science, is based on scientifically sound strategies, and meets multiple Virginia Standards of Learning. Students take from this program not only comprehensive knowledge about bay ecology, oyster biology and water quality, but they also gain a connection to Suffolk waters and the Chesapeake Bay.  The students conduct a series of water quality tests using scientific instruments.  An important component of the program are the outdoor experiences–environmental boating exercise  and marsh field studies
 
CITIZEN OYSTER RESTORATION PROGRAM
Education Program Directors:  Karla Smith, John Wass
Program Manager:  Cindy PinellPROGRAM: Compliments the School Oyster Growers Program.  Citizens construct Taylor Floats, plant baby oysters, collect data.  Floats are located at citizen-owned docks.  Two oyster reef sanctuaries have been created along Chuckatuck Creek.
 
CITIZEN WATER QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAM
Chair:  Brian Martin
Committee: Bob Crocker (Volvo Penta), Bob Foley, Philip Ford, Pat Hillard, Bob Johnson, Steven Kirkpatrick, Brian Martin, Geoff Payne, Joseph Verdirame, Nick Worth, Pam Courtney,  Boo Van Straten, Jack Van Straten, Cyndi Pinell, Elizabeth Taraski
PROGRAM: Citizens collect water samples at 9 sites along the Nansemond River, 4 sites along Shingle Creek,  3 sites along Bennett’s Creek conduct scientific tests, collect and analyzeenter data VA DEQ database.
SHORELINE PROGRAM
Chair:  Jim Winters
Committee: Dick Barry, Jim Batterson, Byron Carmean, Jack Eure, Paul Fisher,  Heather Martin,  Bill Old, Jim Shirley.
PROGRAM: Restoration and protection of the shoreline. Public Education of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and related regulations and policies.
LIVING SHORELINE PROGRAM:  Plant marsh grasses and other vegetation, coir logs to restore and stabilize the shoreline.
100 Buffer Enhancement Projects
Sleepy Hole Park and Bennett’s Creek Park Demonstration sites - ongoing.  Nearly 300 volunteers have participated in the projects Planting native trees, shrubs, grasses and placing mulch.
RIVER TALK ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
Program Director:  Elizabeth Taraski -Environment   Karla Smith -HistoricalPROGRAM: Public Forum-style Environmental EducationSession: 3/year.  Past speakers include: Walter Priest, NOAA; John Davy, VA Dept of Conservation and Recreation; Robbie Johnson, Suffolk, Waterman; Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, Elizabeth River Project;Karen Duhring, Senior Scientist, VIMS, Summary of Survey of Suffolk’s Tidal Wetlands., Keith Skiles, Director, Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation.

INCREASING PUBLIC ACCESS FOR KAYAKING AND CANOEING COMMITTEE
Chair: John Wass
Collaboration with the City of Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department.
PROGRAM: Increasing public access for kayak and canoes.  Most recent completed project – Sleepy Hole Park, Contant’s Wharf

 COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND VOLUNTEER RECEPTION

DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING COMMMITTEE
Chair: Dick Barry

Committee: Lissa Cash, Heather Martin, Andi Parodi, Boo Van Straten, Alvis Winslow

RIVER CHAT NEWSLETTER
Designer/Editor: Elizabeth Taraski
Copyeditors: Heather Martin, Jan Gates, Pat Merica
Photographers: John Wass, Jean Johnson, Elizabeth Taraski
PROGRAM: Published 3/year. Environmental education programs and activities.