The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded the Annapolis Maritime Museum a major grant of $247,471 over the next three years for its innovative education program. Peyton Robertson, director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, announced the award at a press conference Oct. 24 at the museum.
AMM’s MUDDY FEET Program
The education program, called MUDDY FEET (Maritime Unbounded Damp and Dirty Yucky Fun Environmental Education and Training), serves to connect the students of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County with the environmental issues impacting the Chesapeake Bay. It also teaches the cultural heritage of the people who work the water, harvesting seafood and processing it in places like the McNasby Oyster Co., now the home of the museum.
The curricula have been developed in partnership with Anne Arundel County School teachers and administrators to assure that they adhere to county and state standards. The funding supports Anne Arundel County’s goal to graduate environmentally literate students. Maryland was the first state to mandate an environmental literacy requirement for all graduating students.
“These NOAA grants are not easy to get, especially in these tough economic times. As state budgets get thinner, the competition for these grants gets fiercer. The fact that the Annapolis Maritime Museum is receiving this award speaks to the excellence and effectiveness of the MUDDY FEET program,” said Senator Cardin, chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. “Environmental literacy is essential for survival in the 21st century economy. By getting first-hand experience dissecting oysters or exploring the Bay’s marshes, children can begin to make the connection between the world they live in and the environment.”
“This connection with our natural resources and our unique heritage helps kids become better students, better stewards of the Bay, and better citizens of the community,” said Eric M. Rubin, museum chairman. “Our goal is to provide meaningful watershed experiences to every student in the City of Annapolis three times before they graduate.”
Muddy Feet Program
The program has grown dramatically during the past three years, from 350 students in 2008/09 and 1,306 students in 2009/2010 to 1,851 students this past year. Most attend public schools in and around the City of Annapolis.
The first year of the NOAA grant has been matched by grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Bank of America Foundation, the Carol M. Jacobsohn Foundation, the City of Annapolis, and funds from the members of the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Corporate partners Watermark Cruises and the Annapolis Bus Company provide substantial in-kind services. This past year, 48 volunteers donated more than 2,500 hours of their time, talent and energy to the program.