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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8a390002"A national treasure in our backyard"It spans more than 13,000 acres. Nearly a quarter of the state’s population lives within its watershed. In a 2010 series, Amy Quinton looked at the trouble pollution poses to the health of this critical estuary, and some proposed solutions for returning the Seacoast’s Great Bay to health.Now, NHPR's Environment Reporter Sam Evans-Brown brings you continuing coverage of the efforts being made in the Great Bay.Coverage supported by Penn State Public Media.Great Bay Watershed Map | More Great Bay Images

Children Learn To Be Good Stewards Of The Great Bay

The Great Bay Stewards work to preserve and protect the Great Bay estuary through education, land protection and research. Sharon Musselman, one of the educators, is recently a retired teacher who often brought her own classes here to explore this ecosystem.

"I'm excited to be here at Great Bay Discover center," Musselman said. "I brought my first grade class to Great Bay for 15 years because it is such a great experience for first graders."

The children not only get to learn more about the Great Bay, but they get to interact with the creatures on the shore and immerse their senses in the wonders of the bay first-hand. "That exploration is so important, especially to that first and second grade age. They are down on their hands and knees. They are picking that seaweed apart. They are holding those mud-snails in their hands," Musselman said.

At Great Bay, educators like Musselman seek to educate children on the importance of appreciating and protecting the environment. "We want the children to understand that these resources are important to us," Musselman said. "We use this natural habitat for boating, for fishing, for hiking. The children go away with the understanding that it's important to protect this environment for future generations as well."

Musselman's goal is to provide the students who visit Great Bay Discovery Center with an experience that will "allow them to understand the need to respect and to protect this environment," as well as "to pass that message on to other people."

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