April 16, 2018
PRESS RELEASE – Washington, DC — On April 9, 2018 Living Classrooms will celebrate the opening of the spring sailing season and welcomes historic vessel, Mildred Belle, to Yards Marina in Washington, DC. The 70-year-old Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat will become the Foundation’s flagship in the National Capital Region, serving students from all Wards of DC and surrounding Virginia and Maryland counties with a unique hand-on environmental education experience.
Living Classrooms’ Shipboard STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Program emphasizes applied learning, or “learning by doing.” The programs serve students from a variety of backgrounds and economic means, and range in length from half-day and full-day expeditions for school and youth groups to extended multi-day shipboard and land/sea programs.
The Mildred Belle is one of Living Classrooms’ fleet of three historic education vessels that serve over 5,000 students annually through its Shipboard Education Program, delivering hands-on environmental STEM education to Washington DC, Baltimore, Maryland, and Virginia area students. The program affords students a unique opportunity to explore the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers’ and Chesapeake Bay’s diverse maritime history and participate in hands-on activities that will apply the academic skills they learn every day in school to a real-world setting. Leadership and teamwork are key objectives as the 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.
Mildred Belle is also a “living classroom” where the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner come alive. Living Classrooms’ Shipboard Education curriculum includes the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail experience, in partnership with the National Parks Service. Moving through land and water, students and educators visit an array of historic sites designed to highlight local history tied to the War of 1812. Established in 2008, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is one of 19 national historic trails recognized for their historic value and their educational and recreational potential.
Opportunities are still available for student trips aboard Mildred Belle during the 2018 sailing season. Inquiries from area schools and student groups can be made with Rachel Nichols at Rnichols@livingclassroomsdc.org.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Arrangements can be made to photograph the Mildred Belle departing from Yards Marina with students aboard and setting sail or returning to dock during their half-day programs. Please give advance notice to coordinate times. Students will depart from Yards Marina at The Yards Park, 10 Water Street SE. Media are asked to only use first names of children in quotes or captions.
April 17 – Sugarland Elementary 9:00am – 12:45pm
April 18 – Sugarland Elementary 9:00am – 11:45pm
April 20 – Mosby Woods Elementary 10:00am – 12:30pm
*Hours are approximate, wind and weather permitting. Please contact in advance to coordinate arrival.
Additional opportunities exist throughout the spring sailing season should this date not work.
About Living Classrooms: Living Classrooms Foundation is a Baltimore-Washington, DC based nonprofit organization that strengthens communities and inspires young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education, job training, and community service programs, using urban, natural, and maritime settings as “living classrooms.” The Foundation provides educational programming aboard nine historic ships out of Baltimore and Washington, DC —including the Historic Ships in Baltimore which offers hands-on encounters with history and employment venues for job training. Living Classrooms Foundation has been proudly serving the Washington, DC community since 2001. More information at www.livingclassrooms.org.
About Mildred Belle: 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. This year, Mildred Belle will journey down to Yards Marina near the Navy Yards in Washington, DC to serve students from all Wards of DC, Virginia, and surrounding counties as the flagship of our Shipboard Program in the National Capital Region exploring both the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.
About Yards Marina: Living Classrooms is the local community partner chosen by Forest City as manager/operator of the Yards Marina, located adjacent to the Navy Yards in Washington, DC. The marina provides funding for Living Classrooms’ educational and workforce development programs and acts as a job training site for under-served teens and adults. The marina is also home to Living Classrooms’ historic education vessel and “living classroom,” the Mildred Belle, serving over 3,000 students annually through Living Classrooms’ Shipboard Education Program. The public marina is open to boats of all sizes for short- and long-term use. For more information: www.theyardsmarina.com.