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

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

11.26.16 - Spratley students help Chesapeake Bay Foundation plant rain garden

11.25.16 - Virginia Beach students fight against the tide in nature lesson

11.21.16 - New VA plant promises cleaner way to make paper

10.31.16 - CV student earns FFA national award

10.31.16 - On the James, environmental advocacy targets Hispanic population

10.28.16 - School on water

10.21.16 - Kent School Collaborates with National Aquarium

10.18.16 - Huntingtown High group hosts Bay restoration, conservation event

10.17.16 - Canoe trip provides pathway to learning

10.13.16 - Saving the Bay, One Oyster at a Time

10.13.16 - Students take educational cruise to Port Isobel West

10.13.16 - Chesapeake Bay has its own king crab: Giant blue is caught in Harford County

10.13.16 - High school students on Maryland boat tour encounter massive blue crab

10.12.16 - Giant blue crab caught by Maryland high school students

10.11.16 - Check out this giant crab found near Havre de Grace

10.11.16 - Students paddle Susquehanna with teacher who's seen it all

09.26.16 - Video Chambersburg students explore lakes, streams

09.22.16 - The Susquehanna River is our outdoor classroom

09.15.16 - Floating classroom provides hands-on learning

09.13.16 - Crossroads students canoe river

09.06.16 - VA middle schools embrace agriscience education, FFA

08.10.16 - A great program for the Bay

08.09.16 - Afloat with CBF

08.03.16 - Charting a course for clean water

07.23.16 - Video Annapolis High IB graduate rows to success

07.08.16 - Teachers learn clean water lessons

07.06.16 - TVEC students raise money for Chesapeake Bay Foundation

06.29.16 - Area governor's school students learn by seeing and doing on annual summer trip

06.16.16 - Video Hampton students spend year growing oysters for Elizabeth Lake reef

05.31.16 - The World Is Their Oyster

05.23.16 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation hosts educational program

05.23.16 - Fairfield students canoe for environment

05.22.16 - Video Susquehanna Watershed Education Program

05.12.16 - Audio available Moving the Classroom Outdoors

04.22.16 - Gov. McAuliffe celebrates National Environmental Education Week with Virginia Beach middle-schoolers

04.21.16 - Earth Day and every day, Brock Center soars past expectations

04.20.16 - Students sort trees for a healthy environment

04.18.16 - Eastern York students learn hands-on in canoes

04.14.16 - Students gain concrete skills by building oyster reef balls

04.13.16 - Reef ball construction at CAT North

04.12.16 - 4th Annual Youth Conservation Leadership Camp

04.11.16 - Creating jobs—and environmental awareness

03.24.16 - Audio available Scholarships Available for "Teachers on the Bay" Class

03.09.16 - Audio available Coalition Works to Expand Environmental Literacy

03.04.16 - Thumbs up for reef balls

11.03.15 - World literacy toward ag vital, too

09.25.15 - Teach your children well: Education mandate propels environmental programs in schools

09.15.15 - Audio available Canoeing for water quality

09.13.15 - Chesapeake school principals bring home lessons from Tangier Island

09.13.15 - Md. gets schools, students involved in environment

09.04.15 - Video Seeking Clarity: York's watershed steward program among ways to get involved

08.25.15 - Video Spending a morning on the Chesapeake Bay

08.25.15 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation educational boat trip

08.23.15 - Md. teachers get schooled in the envrionment at the Chesapeake Bay

08.13.15 - Environmental literacy made Md. graduation requirement

08.10.15 - Delmarva paddle designed to help new Bay leaders navigate future efforts

08.07.15 - Teen of the Week: Annapolis High grad didn't take the easy route to the Big Easy

07.27.15 - Camp for teachers

07.22.15 - Manchester Valley High administrators turn focus to environment

07.19.15 - Learning lessons in the field

07.19.15 - Teachers get feet wet at Envirothon workshop

07.16.15 - Environment teachers get their feet wet

07.15.15 - Charlottesville teacher sole Virginia representative of environmental education workshop

07.14.15 - Envirothon teachers attend two-day workshop

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

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