By Bridget Kubis Prescott, Director of Education
Save The Bay long ago recognized that if we are to fulfill our mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay, we’d have to reach deep into a new community of supporters—the hearts and minds of young people, school children, who would one day become keepers of our beautiful Bay. Our education program has since evolved from isolated classroom presentations into rich integrated experiences with entire grades, schools and school districts. The success of these programs is rooted in strong partnerships that begin with relationships with individual teachers and grow over time.
A New Friend in the Lincoln School
While our partnership with Central Falls has become like an “old friend,” we also make new friends along the way, like this year’s partnership with the all-girls Lincoln School in Providence. At the urging of Lincoln School board member and former Save The Bay executive director Curt Spalding, the head of Lincoln School Suzanne Fogarty and I sat down last year to discuss possibilities and worked with science teacher Anna Painter to build a program that fit perfectly into Lincoln’s mission and structure. The Lincoln School was looking for a program that could “enhance their science-themed curriculum and at the same time be strategic and deliberate.” The Middle and Upper schools at Lincoln School already had strong partnerships in the community, and now, with Save The Bay, they have a similar experience for their Lower School.
Lincoln students in kindergarten through second grade use our Bay Center and education vessels as extensions of their classroom to learn about marine critters, their habitats and adaptations, what Save The Bay is all about, and how they can make a difference to Bay health. “Through the educational experiences that Save The Bay education staff and Lincoln School staff develop together, the girls become associated, at an early age, with an organization that makes a difference. They have pride in their city and state and are empowered to make a difference in their world,” Fogarty said.
Lincoln Lower School Director Maureen Devlin said, “The literal excitement that this program generates is incredible. This past week one of our first graders was up and dressed for their Save The Bay program at 5:30 a.m. The program encourages our girls from an early age to explore and solve problems and empowers them to make a difference in their community. It really complements what we do in the classroom and allows learning to come alive in authentic, real-world experiences.”