Four grants totaling $22,000 have been awarded to Calvert County Public Schools by the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, and the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal to fund projects related to energy and the environment.

“Having school-business partnerships where schools gain valuable additional resources while businesses demonstrate their commitment to the future of this community is a win-win arrangement,” said Dr. Daniel Curry, Superintendent. “We appreciate that Dominion Resources, through the Dominion Foundation, has chosen to invest in the education of Calvert County children in this way, especially with its focus on environmental issues.”

Recipients of the grants for the 2014-2015 academic year include the following schools and departments:

  • Calvert Country School will receive $10,000 to create a forest and outdoor classroom. Calvert Country is a public school that serves the needs of students who are severely intellectually disabled and medically fragile and students who are severely emotionally and behaviorally disabled. The project, originally the idea of a current 9th grader who was instrumental in writing the grant, will begin with the planting of a forest to honor students who attended the school and have passed away. The second phase will be the creation of a handicapped-accessible outdoor classroom where students can study environmental science, reforestation, conservation, solar energy and weather. Principal Robin Welsh said that students will be part of the planning and design of the forest and outdoor classroom. “We have worked closely with the science supervisor to link our plans to the science curriculum,” she said, “and our students will engage in team-based STEM activities throughout the process.”
  • The science departments of the four high schools in the district—Calvert, Huntingtown, Northern and Patuxent—will receive a total of $10,000 to continue PLANS, a program designed to provide hands-on experiences for students as they investigate nutrient enrichment, nutrient limitation and phytoplankton dynamics in the Chesapeake Bay. The program was funded for the first three years by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is currently funded in Year 4 by the school system. The grant will provide hands-on field and laboratory experiences, giving students the opportunity to learn field techniques and operate the equipment needed to collect organisms and water quality data. The goal is to build on the success of the first four years of PLANS by teaching environmental science students important physical, chemical and biological concepts related to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, especially the link between humans, nutrient enrichment, plankton dynamics and food web dynamics.
  • Sunderland Elementary will receive $1,000 to enhance the school garden where science and math teachers infuse academic concepts such as graphing and measuring. Staff will use the grant funding to purchase a cold frame for year-round gardening and a compost bin, as well as provide continued maintenance for the garden. According to Principal Karen Vogel, “This grant allows Sunderland’s Wellness Committee to promote student awareness of healthy living and food choices.”
  • Mill Creek Middle School will receive $1,000 to support a school-wide composting program. Students on the Green Team will spearhead the initiative and plan to collect food scraps, leaves and scrap paper as their composting material. The project will result in reduction of solid waste, educate the school community about the benefits of composting and provide a useful product for gardening and landscaping projects.

The grants are given by the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, the parent company of Dominion Virginia/North Carolina Power, Dominion East Ohio, Dominion Hope, and Millstone Power Station in Connecticut. Dominion and the Dominion Foundation are dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies. Dominion and the Foundation support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, support education and promote community vitality.