Virginia Beach Public Schools will be offering high school juniors and seniors this course

Students participating in the program will go to the Brock Environmental Center to do the coursework. (Southside Daily/courtesy of Virginia Beach City Public Schools)
Students participating in the program will go to the Brock Environmental Center to do the coursework. (Southside Daily/courtesy of Virginia Beach City Public Schools)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The city is home to many environmental issues and the school district is creating a course to help educate students on how to combat those issues.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center has partnered with Virginia Beach City Public Schools in the past but now the CBF is working with educators on creating an Environmental Studies program for high school juniors and seniors, said Amanda Malbon, secondary science coordinator.

“The Brock Environmental Center provides the best locations for the class to thrive,” she said, noting how just the geographic location will be beneficial to the course work.

The center is on 122 acres along the Lynnhaven River and features living shorelines, oyster reefs and 3,600 species of flora and fauna, according to a news release from the school district.

The program

Starting this fall, the district will be recruiting juniors for the program with the plan of starting the course in September 2020, Malbon said.

The first year of the program will only be juniors as it will be designed as a two-year course for the students to complete, she noted.

There will be 50 students selected, 25 will meet at the center in the morning and the other 25 in the afternoon.

That allows for the students to get their other coursework done, she said.

There will be requirements and prerequisites for the juniors and eventually seniors participating in the program.

“We want to keep this program as open as possible for students who are passionate about environmental science,” Malbon said.

Students will have to have taken biology and chemistry as well as algebra 2 before applying. While taking the course, students will take AP environmental science as well as classes on sustainability, natural resource management and watershed hydrology, she said.

The seniors in the program will also be immersed in an internship, focusing on an environmental issue in the area.

“In Virginia Beach we are facing sea level rise,” Malbon said.

Applying

Students who wish to apply can start in the 2019-2020 school year with a deadline of January 2020.

The board of educators working on the curriculum will be looking at how the take deeper dives with the AP environmental science coursework, Malbon said.

Those students who meet the requirements must apply, write an essay and then they are put in a lottery system for slots, she noted.

“There will be more students than slots,” she said, noting how eager many of the students were to do coursework like this in the district.

Students interested should talk to their guidance counselors, teachers and school administrators about the application.

To learn more about the Brock Environmental Center, click here.

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