Teacher Resources

Boots, life vests, and students drying after a field sessionK-12 teachers, as well as future teachers and graduate students, are a priority audience for CBNERR.  Teacher training workshops are conducted by reserve staff and provide teachers with new insight into the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem through topics such as water quality, habitat restoration, estuarine aquarium keeping, and curriculum training. Additional resources are provided for teachers to assist in classroom teaching and field investigations.

Classroom Visits - 

Educators from CBNERR can visit your school for an outreach event, conducting hands-on activities with your students on a variety of topics. See the flyer for more information about available topics. To schedule a classroom visit, please contact CBNERR Education Specialist, Matthew Thayer, at

Virtual Field Trip - 

Educators from CBNERR have created a virtual field trip to our site in Gloucester Point, VA where students can see how we typically sample the biodiversity in the shallow water environment using large nets. The field trip will also showcase our habitat cage activity, examining oyster reefs as habitats for a variety of animals and plants.

{{youtube:medium|xmq-KWBIKXI, This video shows the CBNERR virtual field trip.}} 

To schedule a live Q&A with a CBNERR educator, please contact Sarah Nuss at

Online Resources - 

There are a variety of resources for students (videos, storytime, printables, etc.) available online. During the Summer of 2020, CBNERR educators created weekly themed marine science content, which can be found here. These videos, demonstrations, lessons and activities can be used to introduce a variety of topics in the classroom, or provide activities for your students to do at home. CBNERR educators and VIMS staff also contributed to a Multimedia Resource Center with additional content that may be useful in the classroom.

Online Breakout Room Games - 

Breakout games allow students to work independently or collaboratively to solve puzzles. Our breakout games are centered around Chesapeake Bay knowledge, and are differentiated for different grade levels, including, ElementaryMiddle, and High School. Test your knowledge of the Bay and see if you can solve all of the puzzles!

YouTube Page - 

All CBNERR videos can also be accessed on our YouTube page, including storytimes, virtual field trips, and more! Check them out here.

Resource Boxes - 

Resource boxes are complete lesson plans including materials required that are available for teachers to check out and use in the classroom (see flyer here).  Boxes are available free of cost, but require pick up and drop off at VIMS. For more information about each individual box.

The following resource boxes have been updated for social distancing requirements, such as individual work and/or no sharing of materials. Read about the new modifications here - Fish Adaptations, Wetlands, Human Impacts.

Virginia Scientists and Educators Alliance (VA SEA) - 

Educators from CBNERR and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's (VIMS) Marine Advisory Program created the Virginia Scientists and Educators Alliance (VA SEA).  VA SEA is a network of graduate students, teachers, and informal educators aimed at transferring scientific research into usable lesson plans.

Over the past three years, 20 graduate students from VIMS, UVA, and ODU have created middle and high school lesson plans based on their current research.  All lesson plans were vetted by classroom teachers, and an open house was held to share the new lesson plans.  To see the available lesson plans, go to:

VA SEA Teacher Expo 2019 | Credit: Aileen Devlin


Each year, VA SEA holds a Lesson Plan Expo at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  Local teachers can attend the expo to learn about classroom-tested science lesson plans created for VA SEA by science graduate students. 

Check out a video of the 2019 VA SEA Teacher Expo here!


Critter Collection Days - 

Twice a year (September and April), CBNERR offers a critter collection day to assist K-12 teachers with setting up estuarine aquariums in the classroom. Teachers attend a training, and then are allowed to collect certain species by pulling nets in the York River. 

Upcoming Trainings - 

Please contact Sarah Nuss, Education Coordinator, at for more information about upcoming trainings, and to be included on the teachers list-serve for future opportunities.