Living Classrooms Begins 30th Anniversary Season Sailing with Students

April 13, 2015

On Monday, April 13, 2015, spring is finally here as students from Pointers Run Elementary participating in Living Classrooms hands-on educational shipboard programming will set sail on board Lady Maryland, Mildred Belle, and Sigsbee – three of Living Classrooms Foundation’s historic educational vessels. This trip will mark the 30th anniversary of Living Classrooms’shipboard education programs.

Lady Maryland, Living Classrooms’s flagship, is an historic pungy schooner. Since her creation by shipwrights and students in 1985, Lady Maryland has become a tremendously successful and integral learning resource to schools’ curricula — a valued asset to educational programming, the community, and the environment. Each season, from April through November, she introduces students to the ecological, cultural, and economic importance of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean through her educational and sail-training programs. While on board, students become the crew and scientists for the voyage: steering, navigating, and conducting scientific sampling of water and marine life. The ship and her hands-on lessons are the basis of the program’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

Built in 1948 in Odd, Virginia, Mildred Belle is a Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat that has enjoyed a lively history around the Chesapeake Bay. The Living Classrooms Foundation purchased Mildred Belle from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 1988 and restored her to operate as a Living Classrooms Foundation educational vessel assisting student exploration of Baltimore Harbor, Chesapeake History, economics, and ecology through fun learning adventures.

Originally built in 1901, the Chesapeake Skipjack Sigsbee served in the oystering fleet for 88 years. She is named for Charles Sigsbee, the commanding officer aboard the Battleship MAINE, which was sunk in Havana harbor at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. In the early 1980s, she became the first Skipjack captained by a woman, Leigh Hunteman, of St. Michaels, MD. In 1990, the Sigsbee became disabled near the Bay Bridge during the annual Chesapeake Appreciation Days Skipjack Race. Douglas West, the owner of Sigsbee at that time, then sold the boat to the Living Classrooms Foundation. Students and shipwrights in Living Classrooms’ Save Our Skipjacks Program spent 10 months reconstructing the vessel in order to carry passengers and offer hands-on education programs for students.

Living Classrooms dynamic, ‘learning by doing’ programs emphasize applied learning in math, science, social studies, language arts, and social skills. The programs serve students from a variety of backgrounds and economic means, and range in length from one-day expeditions for school and youth groups to extended shipboard and land/sea programs. Participants see how academic skills are used in the real world. Leadership and teamwork are key objectives as students work together to raise and lower sails, trawl for marine life, perform scientific tests, and explore the commerce, history, natural resources, and ecosystems of the Port of Baltimore, Washington D.C. and the Chesapeake Bay.