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Annual Fund Appeal Letter, August 2016, by Jill Ferris

Dear Museum Friend,

I am thrilled to join the staff of the Chesapeakcbmm_ferrisjill_2016e Bay Maritime Museum, after teaching middle school Social Studies in Queen Anne’s County for the last five years. From fall to spring, I delighted in watching my students grow as they faced new academic challenges, developed their own opinions, and began to chart their paths as young adults. Faced with a rigorous curriculum, I found that my students were most inspired when they could leave the classroom to explore the world around them. My students were proud of their community, and committed to improving and preserving the Chesapeake Bay, an integral part of their identity.

Likewise, CBMM has committed to reaching more students through an expansion of its school programming. In 2015, we reached 3,500 students, and now aspire to double that figure over the next five years. Through expanded outreach efforts we can impact a far wider range of students to help them better understand the Chesapeake Bay watershed which either surrounds them, or impacts them in a meaningful way.

To assist in this initiative, I recently surveyed educators in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware school districts on their expectations for getting their students out of the classroom on school field trips. In the world of Common Core, these kinds of experiences are highly valued as authentic learning opportunities that support classroom instruction.

Overwhelmingly, teachers described their interest in the kinds of programs that we offer at CBMM: standards-aligned field trips that integrate science and social studies content through hands-on learning. As one educator explained, “The museum program provides an awesome opportunity for our students to engage in hands-on activities and learn about the Chesapeake Bay.”

26019186610_a923827010_oEducators also identified their biggest hindrance to getting students out of the classroom: field trip costs in a time of tight budgets. Through a first round of generous donor support, CBMM has launched a new bus scholarship program to help teachers offset the burdensome cost of field trip transportation; the response from educators has been overwhelmingly positive.

As the school year revs up, we stand poised to welcome a diverse array of new and underserved audiences to CBMM, as more teachers bring their classes to explore the Chesapeake Bay’s history, environment, and people.

dsc_0121With your donation to the Annual Fund, we can reach and inspire more students. Your gift will help us reach our goal of doubling school visitation by allowing for expanded outreach to new schools, support the continuation of the Bus Scholarship program, and maintain our high-quality exhibitions and programming. The Annual Fund is an important part of funding these out-of-classroom experiences for all students, and your donation is key.

With your contribution, you can help us foster the next generation of Chesapeake stewards, shaping our community, environment, and culture in a truly meaningful way. Please click here to make your gift to CBMM’s Annual Fund before February 28, 2016.

Thank you,
Jill Ferris