“Kids in Kayaks” kicks off in Baltimore

Mount Washington Middle School Students gather to celebrate a successful day on the water in Baltimore.

Mount Washington Middle School Students gather to celebrate a successful day on the water learning about the Chesapeake Bay’s cultural, ecological and historical heritage.

NPS/Baltimore National Heritage Area

Quick Facts

GETTING READY FOR 2016:

A Call to Action
Action Item:
Live and Learn
Also Promotes:
Parks for People
Year Accomplished:
2015

On Wednesday, September 23rd, multiple partners kicked off the first event in the "Kids in Kayaks" program with Baltimore City public school students. With funding from the Baltimore National Heritage Area, "Kids in Kayaks" will provide 500 eighth graders the opportunity to go kayaking, many for the first time, in their hometown. The students will paddle in the fall, and again in the spring, for a total of 1,000 kayak experiences. 


This first event brought over fifty students and three teachers to Middle Branch Park on the Patapsco River, just across the Inner Harbor from downtown Baltimore. The city's Department of Recreation and Parks provided all kayaks, paddles, life vests, and instructors, plus the excellent facilities at the park. Each student learned how to safely launch a kayak and maneuver it over a one-mile course along the shoreline.\\n\\nWhile half the group was on the water, the other students visited activity stations about the Chesapeake Bay's cultural, ecological and historical heritage. Rangers from Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine described the action in Baltimore during the War of 1812. Students practiced "signal communications" using 19th century nautical flags in an activity provided by the Star Spangled Banner Flag House. Rangers from the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail engaged students with an activity comparing trash middens from the 17th Century to modern times. CAJO rangers also helped students compare the decomposition rates of common trash items they might see while paddling. 

The goal of the Kids in Kayaks program is to show the next generation how to enjoy the resources in their own hometown, and to encourage an ethic of stewardship for that resource. On this day, 50 students enjoyed an outdoor education experience and made their own connections to nature. In the spring, they get to do it again! 

Program partners include the Baltimore National Heritage Area, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT, the Star-Spangled Banner NHT, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the Maryland Zoo, the Star Spangled Banner Flag House and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.