Education and Interpretation (Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences)

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Chesapeake Bay Program Indicator Framework

Reporting Level Indicators

Indicator and Data Survey

A.  Category/Name/Source/Contact

(1) Category of Indicator

___ Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health

X    Restoration and Protection Efforts

___ Watershed Health

___ Bay Health

(2) Name of Indicator: Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Index

(3) Description of Dataset used to calculate percent of goal achieved:  

For what purpose(s) were the data collected? (e.g., tracking, research, or long-term monitoring.) 


Which parameters were measured directly? Which were obtained by calculation?

All parameters were measured directly.

(4) Source(s) of Data:

Is the complete data set accessible, including metadata, data-dictionaries and embedded definitions?  If yes, please indicate where complete dataset can be obtained.

N/A.  The information was collected via survey.  All information is currently housed at the State Departments of Education.

(5) Custodian of Source Data (and Indicator, if different):

State leads at the Department of Education

Maryland – Becky Bell

Virginia – Paula Klonowski

Pennsylvania – Patti Vathis

Washington, DC – Gilda Allen

(6) CBPO Contact:

Shannon Sprague (410) 267-5664,

B.  Communication Questions

(complete either part 1, 2, or 3)

1.  Restoration and Protection Efforts indicators only

(7a) How much has been completed since 1985 (or baseline year)?  How much has been completed since 2000?

The Chesapeake Executive Council adopted the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) initiative in 2000 pledging to provide a meaningful bay or stream outdoor experience to every student in the watershed before graduation from high school, beginning with the class of 2005.  Since the adoption of this initiative, all signatory states have incorporated curriculum that provides a MWEE into their school divisions.  States continue to encourage the implementation of full MWEEs.  The partnership expanded this goal in 2008 to increase the number of MWEEs provided to each student over the course of their academic career to three. This enhanced goal will result in each student receiving one MWEE in elementary, middle, and high school, leading to a more comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the Bay.

(8a) How much was done last year?

States continued to encourage and support the implication of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). Based on this more rigorous standard, 80% percent of students in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania received a MWEE during the 2008-2009 school year, or 2.17 million of 2.72 million students.  In addition, the NOAA Bay Watershed Education & Training Program (B-WET) grants program has funded MWEEs for over 180,000 students and training opportunities for more than 19,000 teachers since 2002.

 (9a) What is the current status in relation to a goal?

All states fall short of their goal of 100% of students receiving three Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences by high school graduation.

(10a) What is the key story told by this indicator?

While no baseline exists for the MWEE commitment, input received from those agencies in charge of implementing and tracking this data indicates that tremendous progress has been made since 2002.  This progress represents not only an increase in raw numbers of students and teachers served with MWEE experiences, but also in depth and quality of programming, and overall coordination of the effort within each jurisdiction and among jurisdictions.  The NOAA B-WET grants have been cited by all jurisdictions as being instrumental in assisting the states to meet the C2K commitment.  State Department of Education funding is also a key indicator in the year to year success of MWEE implementation.   When state funding is directed away from the Department of Education MWEE implementation falls. 

(11a) Why is it important to report this information?

Systematic incorporation of the MWEE in formal education is essential to change the long-term stewardship ethic of the population.  Research has shown that intensive, sustained experiences with the resource are very effective and increase stewardship ethics. 

(12a) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator? (Detail and diagnostic indicators can be spatially-specific, parameter-specific, temporally-specific information, etc.)

2.  Bay Health or Watershed Health indicators only

(7b) What is the long-term trend?  (since start of data collection)

(8b) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend)

(9b) What is the current status in relation to a goal?

(10b) What is the key story told by this indicator?

(11b) Why is it important to report this information?

(12b) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?

3.  Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health indicators only

(7c) What is the long-term trend?  (since start of data collection)

(8c) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend)

(9c) What is the current status?

(10c) What is the key story told by this indicator?

(11c) Why is it important to report this information?

(12c) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?

C.  Temporal Considerations

(13) Data Collection Date(s):

Fall 2005 was first collection, for the 2004-2005 school year

(14) Planned Update Frequency (e.g. - annual, bi-annual):

VA – Annually 

DC – Annually 

PA – Annually

MD – Annually 

(15) For annual reporting, month spatial data is available for reporting:

D.  Spatial Considerations

(16) Type of Geography of Source Data (point, line polygon, other):

(17) Acceptable Level of Spatial Aggregation (e.g. - county, state, major basin, tributary basin, HUC):

(18) Are there geographic areas with missing data?  If so, where?

(19) The spatial extent of this indicator best described as:

(a) Chesapeake Bay (estuary)

(b) Chesapeake Bay Watershed

(c) Other (please describe): _______________________

Please submit any appropriate examples of how this information has been mapped or otherwise portrayed geographically in the past.

(20) Can appropriate diagnostic indicators be represented geographically?

Yes.  It would be very effective to show counties and/or school districts highlighting the areas currently being served.  This information should be available from all jurisdictions and is not currently shown anywhere.

E.  Data Analysis and Interpretation

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)

(21) Is the conceptual model used to transform these measurements into an indicator widely accepted as a scientifically sound representation of the phenomenon it indicates?  (i.e., how well do the data represent the phenomenon?)  N/A

(22) What is the process by which the raw data is summarized for development and presentation of the indicator?   

Data is collected by school division.  CBP staff works with the jurisdictions to roll this data up into a % of school divisions receiving MWEEs in each elementary, middle, & high school across the watershed.

(23) Are any tools required to generate the indicator data (e.g. - Interpolator, watershed model) 


(24) Are the computations widely accepted as a scientifically sound? 


(25) Have appropriate statistical methods been used to generalize or portray data beyond the time or spatial locations where measurements were made (e.g., statistical survey inference, no generalization is possible)?  


(26) Are there established reference points, thresholds or ranges of values for this indicator that unambiguously reflect the desired state of the environment? (health/stressors only) 


F.  Data Quality

 (Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)

(27) Were the data collected according to an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Plan?  No.

If no, complete questions 28a – 28d:

(28a) Are the sampling design, monitoring plan and/or tracking system used to collect the data over time and space based on sound scientific principles?


(28b) What documentation clearly and completely describes the underlying sampling and analytical procedures used? 

No such documentation exists. 

(28c) Are the sampling and analytical procedures widely accepted as scientifically and technically valid? 

No.  As this is non-scientific data, it is collected via voluntary survey.  There are gaps in reporting.

(28d) To what extent are the procedures for quality assurance and quality control of the data documented and accessible?

No such documentation exists.

(29) Are the descriptions of the study or survey design clear, complete and sufficient to enable the study or survey to be reproduced?  

Yes. All jurisdictions use standard questions distributed to representatives at the school division level.

(30) Were the sampling and analysis methods performed consistently throughout the data record?

No. CBP worked with the states over the past several years to move them towards standard questions and techniques. This has resulting in a shift in the data available. 

(31) If datasets from two or more agencies are merged, are their sampling designs and methods comparable?

It is anticipated that as of 2009 the sampling designs and methods are comparable for all jurisdictions except Washington, D.C.

(32) Are uncertainty measurements or estimates available for the indicator and/or the underlying data set?


(33) (Do the uncertainty and variability impact the conclusions that can be inferred from the data and the utility of the indicator?


(34) Are there noteworthy limitations or gaps in the data record?  Please explain.


G.  Additional Information


(35) Please provide any other information about this indicator you believe is necessary to aid communication and any prevent potential miss-representation.

Total Students in the Bay Watershed (2008-2009 school year): 2,718,190

Total Students receiving a MWEE (2008-2009 school year): 2,174,622

Percent of Overall Goal Achieved: 80%


2008-2009 school year Total # elem. school students # received MWEE in ES % received MWEE in ES Total # mid. school students # received MWEE in MS % received MWEE in MS Total # high school students # received MWEE in HS % received MWEE in HS MWEE Index    
MD 363120 295465 81% 191650 151233 79% 262260 206262 78.6%     Contact: Becky Bell 2/25/2010
PA 347,677 260757 75% 208605 135593 65% 139070 83442 60%     Contact: Patti Vathis 2/19/2010
VA 550802 461600 84% 274219 242931 89% 380787 337339 89%     Contact: Paula Klonowski 2/16/2010
Totals 1261599 1017822 81% 674474 529757 79% 782117 627043 80% 80%   Contact: Gilda Allen 2/17/2010



School Year 2008-2009 2007-2008 2007-2006 2006-2005
DC 10,300 3,591 5,926 2,029


The MWEE definition can be found here,, a MWEE is NOT just a field trip but a prolonged experience integrated in and outside of the classroom.  

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