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Fall Eco-Tours Engage School Kids

Sponsored by NAPS, two Eco-Tours this fall took students to first-hand learning experiences of local waterways and local fish and water operations ashore.

The first tour, September 14th, was conducted by Captain David Rowe out of Lewisetta Marina. This Coan River tour was set up for a home school group and parent chaperones by Northumberland Children’s Librarian Jan Bates. The kids (and their parents) gained personal knowledge of oysters, crabs, and local fisheries from a true Chesapeake waterman. They learned how to hold a crab, how to tong, then open oysters, how to trawl for fish, and how to identify sea birds. Plus, it was fun.

The second tour was conducted by Captain Danny Crabbe for seventh and eighth grade students from the Northumberland Middle School. After weather conditions disrupted the schedule three times, the tour finally got underway on October 7. Pam Hagy, Coach, Community Problem Solving, Northumberland County Public Schools, set an ambitious agenda.

It started with a presentation on aquaculture at Purcell’s Seafood with Rich Harding, followed by a session on water quality by Dave Geeson of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and a trip to Omega Protein for a presentation on menhaden fishing by Andy Hall. Trips by a pound net and a view of the Smith Point light were on the return agenda.

In a thank-you note to all the “eco teachers,” Pam Hagy said, “Parents have been sending texts and emails saying their kids came home with great stories and a desire to do it all again. You are such an important part of our community and I am so glad students were able to see and experience why, first-hand.”

NAPS Vice-President Lee Allain, who arranged the tours, said, “We hope that our Eco-Tours have been successful in ‘infecting’ at least some local students with a love of our waterway environment. NAPS believes that improving the environment of the Bay and local rivers is crucial to sustaining the Northern Neck way of life.”

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