Environmental Education Centers

Students enjoy a day out at Clagett Farm. Photo by Kristi Carroll/CBF StaffStudents enjoy a sunny day at Clagett Farm. Photo by Kristi Carroll/CBF Staff

About CBF's Environmental Education Centers

Since 1973, CBF has provided outdoor and on-the-water environmental education experiences to more than 1.5 million students, teachers, and adults from across the watershed and beyond—more than any other environmental education program in the country. Our programs create an informed constituency for the Bay—people who understand their impact on the natural world and are willing to act to protect the Bay's wellbeing.

Whether students at CBF education centers are investigating the ecosystem via canoe, workboat, or tractor, participants become inspired, motivated, and eager to take an active role to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Meredith Creek. Photo by CBF StaffMeredith Creek at the Arthur Sherwood Environmental Education Center. Photo by CBF Staff

Arthur Sherwood Environmental Education Center

The Arthur Sherwood Environmental Education Center includes the resources of a fully equipped research vessel with the hands-on experience of flatwater canoes.  Students aboard the workboat Marguerite conduct biological sampling, test water quality, and dredge for oysters. Additionally, students explore the quiet shallower waters of Meredith Creek, identifying marine and plant species and evaluating water quality.

Find out more about CBF's Arthur Sherwood program.

Directions and map

Young boy meets Clagett cows. Photo by CBF StaffMeeting some cows at Clagett Farm. Photo by CBF Staff

Clagett Farm Environmental Education Center

CBF's 285-acre, organic working farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, provides one-day education programs that foster in-depth discussions about agriculture's impact on the watershed. Exploring the farm by foot and hay wagon, or canoeing on the nearby Patuxent River, students gain true awareness of environmental issues to sharpen critical thinking skills and to practice problem solving.

Find out more about CBF's Clagett Farm one-day education programs.

Directions and map

Aerial view of Fox Island Environmental Education Center. Photo by CBF Staff Aerial view of Fox Island Environmental Education Center. Photo by CBF Staff

Fox Island Education Center

Built in 1929 as a hunting and fishing lodge, the center is surrounded by the waters of Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds in Virginia. Fox Island's location, history, and simplicity make it an educational—and magical—place. The center has Clivus Multrum composting toilets that use no water or chemicals. Solar panels provide electricity for a handful of lights, a refrigerator, and the "gray water" system. Participants see how a "green building" functions.

Find out more about CBF's Fox Island residential study program.

Directions and map

Aerial view of the Karen Noonan Environmental Education Center. Copyright David HartcornAerial view of CBF's Karen Noonan Environmental Education Center.  © David Hartcorn

Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center

The Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center is situated on 20 acres of marsh in southern Dorchester County, Maryland. Participants explore pine forests, underwater grass beds, and native oyster reefs that surround the center. The nearby Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest tidal wetlands on the East Coast, also provides opportunities from which to investigate this ecosystem.

Once one of the great Chesapeake hunting lodges, the Karen Noonan Center was completely renovated in 1995 to create an environmentally sound, state-of-the-art residential center. Participants in our program can see how a "green building," with its alternative energy sources and composting waste facilities, can function not only as a learning tool, but also as a home.

Find out more about CBF's Karen Noonan Center residential study program.

Directions and map

Aerial view of the Phillip Merrill Environmental CenterAerial view of the Phillip Merrill Environmental Center. Photo by CBF Staff

The Philip Merrill Environmental Center

Our education program at CBF's headquarters, the Philip Merrill Environmental Education Center in Annapolis, Maryland, makes use of an exceptional location between the shores of the Bay, the woods of Bay Ridge, the tidal marsh of Black Walnut Creek, and the local fields of tall native grasses. While experiencing the natural surroundings, students survey the flora and fauna that make up an ecosystem's biodiversity. The Merrill Center building itself is a model of 'green' architecture that helps students understand more about environmentally conscious building techniques.

Find out more about CBF's Philip Merrill Environmental Center program.

Directions and map

Port Isobel Island Environmental Education Center. Photo by CBF StaffPort Isobel Island Environmental Education Center. Photo by CBF Staff

Port Isobel Island Environmental Education Center

Port Isobel, referenced on nautical charts as East Point Marsh, is a 250-acre island east of Tangier Island, Virginia. It is the southernmost point between the Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay proper. In the 1800s, it was inhabited by families from Tangier Island, but rising sea levels in the 1920s forced them to abandon their homes. The majority of the island was donated to CBF in the late 1980s, when it became one of CBF's five island education centers.

Find out more about CBF's Port Isobel Island residential study program.

Directions and map

Students start on a canoe expedition from Smith Island. Photo by CBF Staff Students start on a canoe expedition from Smith Island. Photo by CBF Staff

Smith Island Environmental Education Center

Located within Tylerton—one of three watermen's communities on Maryland's Smith Island—this center emphasizes the culture and ecology of a Chesapeake fishing village. Steeped in Chesapeake lore and heritage, Smith Island is the largest inhabited offshore island in the Bay. Participants gain insight into island culture to better understand how the community has interacted with the Bay for more than 300 years. Extensive wetlands, underwater grass beds, oyster reefs, and forests are easily explored on foot and by canoe and workboat.

Directions and map

Watch our video, "You Gotta Be There!"

In the News

05.13.15 - Lessons begin to reflect new environmental literacy graduation requirement

05.11.15 - Susquehanna Watershed Education Program Offers Students First-Hand Experience in Water Quality Testing

05.06.15 - Westbrook students celebrate 20 years of shad release

04.28.15 - Gov. stops in PG for Earth Day

04.23.15 - CBF Press Statement CBF Applauds National Award to Howard County Public School System

04.22.15 - Governor McAuliffe Signs Environmental Literacy Executive Order

04.22.15 - Teaching stewardship

04.18.15 - Floating classrooms foster love of nature

04.17.15 - Bel Air High Students Have Class on the Bay

04.14.15 - Bay Foundation program lets you track ospreys, Woody and three friends, online

04.08.15 - Chesapeake Christian School Students Help Turtle Population Thrive

04.08.15 - Tuscarora High biology students plan to protect the oysters

04.02.15 - Palmyra students learn about watershed systems

03.25.15 - Midshipman honored for rain barrel project

03.09.15 - Take the Classroom Outdoors

03.04.15 - Around South County: Shady Side 5th graders save the bay, one notecard at a time

02.09.15 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation names two VPs

02.03.15 - Students Urged to Play Important Role in Future of Environment

12.17.14 - Dunloggin efforts to improve health of Chesapeake Bay gain national recognition

10.28.14 - CBF Press Release Maxwell Wins CBF Educator of the Year

10.28.14 - Important Lessons Taugh

10.23.14 - Voyage of discovery

09.18.14 - Virginia's first lady announces renewal of environmental literacy program for Beach students

09.02.14 - Nationally recognized Peasley science teacher takes hands-on approach

09.02.14 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation plans adult education course

08.18.14 - Encouraging children of the soil

08.14.14 - Lessons to help the bay

08.12.14 - Eye-to-eye with mummichogs

08.07.14 - Chesapeake Bay course provides hands-on learning for principals

07.23.14 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation teaches the teachers in Glen Burnie project

07.17.14 - Nature as classroom for Patrick Henry HS teacher

06.17.14 - LHS student speaks on bay issues to governor

06.11.14 - Don Baugh, a leader in environmental education, steps down after 38 years with CBF

04.09.14 - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation program takes students out on midstate waterways to learn about science, conservation and nature

04.08.14 - Lower Dauphin teacher completes 19 years of taking students on outdoor trips with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

03.23.14 - Tracking ospreys as they come north again

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