Whitaker Center is the driving force behind Expedition Chesapeake. This project defines our core mission – to create new learning experiences about the world around us. Expedition Chesapeake brings together an giant screen film, a very rich and interactive educational online experience, a traveling science exhibit with a 4D component and a made-for television documentary series. Since we are located in Harrisburg, PA, the heart of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we believe this is an opportunity and a responsibility to educate citizens. We need people to understand that they have an impact on this national treasure, and their daily actions can have broad consequences. There are 17 million residents in the watershed’s six states and Washington, D.C. who rely on and impact this invaluable resource. This project is designed to educate and inspire them to become better stewards of our environment.
Our primary goal is to educate the 17 million residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed about this national treasure and inspire them to become better stewards of the environment. The giant screen film is an ideal platform for telling the story of the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. The online educational experiences, the made-for-television documentary series and the traveling science exhibit will complement the film. At the end of this, we believe that Whitaker Center and our partners can emerge as a national resource for information, studies and data on the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Whitaker Center is very pleased to announce that Emmy Winner and Animal Planet Star Jeff Corwin and award winning giant screen film producer David Lickley have joined our team. Jeff hosts “Corwin’s Quest” and “The Jeff Corwin Experience” on the Animal Planet cable channel and won an Emmy Award in 2004 for “Jeff Corwin Unleashed,” a nature series aimed at children. David is a biologist turned filmmaker with more than 25 years experience as a Producer/Director and Writer. David is currently the Director of Large Format Films for Science North. Science North is Northern Ontario’s most popular tourist attraction and an educational resource for children and adults across the province. Lickley has extensive experience shooting giant screen films with nature themes, including "Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees" and "Mysteries of the Great Lakes," which won Best of Show at the Houston International Film Festival in 2008. He also directed “Born to Be Wild 3D” which was released this past April by Warner Brothers.
Whitaker Center is working with partners throughout the watershed on virtually every aspect of this project. We’re very pleased that a team of experts from The Pennsylvania State University has agreed to partner with Whitaker Center in developing the online modules. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is also a key partner in the project. They are working to ensure that the program integrates our Commonwealth’s teaching standards. We believe that we have an opportunity to bring environmental education into the 21st century by developing a set of robust and interactive modules that teachers throughout the watershed can access and use in the classroom. Several large format films in recent years have also included an educational component, such as “Hurricane on the Bayou” and “Forces of Nature." We are confident that the Chesapeake Bay watershed will provide dozens of opportunities to bring this living resource into the classroom – and to bring the classroom outside.
Whitaker Center continues to seek development partners for these components of the project, but we will have some exciting news shortly. The documentary production will provide insight to the motivations that led to this innovative initiative, featuring the people, places and ideas that provide a context for the project. The documentary will also capture a behind-the-scenes view of the giant screen filming process. The documentary will be produced for broadcast on public television and commercial television.
Regarding the traveling exhibit and 4D experience, it is very important that we bring this interactive experience to classrooms and community centers throughout the watershed. If we are to bring to life the story of the entire watershed, a hands-on experience for students and the general public is absolutely critical to the learning process.
We are very proud of the partners who have joined the project to date, and we expect many more will come on board as we move forward. Starting with our Advisory Panel, you’ll see the caliber of experts we are attracting from a wide variety of disciplines. We have also reached out to dozens of business leaders, individuals, environmentalists, trade associations and civic leaders throughout the watershed who have stepped up and agreed to join the coalition of stakeholders who recognize the importance of this national treasure. A current listing of our Advisory Panel is included in this packet.
We plan on developing a world-class, giant screen film that will attract viewers to Whitaker Center, various theaters throughout the watershed and, ultimately, to theaters across the nation. We do believe that there will be a large audience for this film and all of the components of this project. At the end of the day, however, we are committed to developing a robust, interactive learning experience for residents throughout the watershed so that we can all act to protect this vital resource.
We anticipate that the total project will cost approximately $10 million. We’re pleased to have attracted some partners already, and we’re confident that more partners will join us as we move forward. At Whitaker Center we are fortunate to have the expertise and intellectual capital of our staff who are managing major components of this project in-house.
Steve Bishop, Vice President for the Harsco Science Center, and Laruren Schaller, Whitaker Center’s Director of Education, are actively engaged in Expedition Chesapeake and they both bring exceptional experience and knowledge to the project. Steve Bishop has 40 years of experience working for science centers around the country, and Lauren Schaller has more than 10 years of experience in education and program development.
Like many of the Whitaker Center exhibits over the years, Expedition Chesapeake relies on charitable contributions to fulfill our mission. Whether you wish to make an outright donation specifically to Expedition Chesapeake or support the overall mission of the Whitaker Center please contact Dr. Michael Hanes, President and CEO, at 717.724.3855.