With Schools

Students aboard CBF's skipjack Stanley Norman. Photo by Loren Appel/CBF Staff.

Bringing the Bay Experience to Students and Teachers

Learn OutsideFor more than 30 years, CBF's award-winning environmental education program has been one of the cornerstones of our effort to reverse the Bay's decline.

Our acclaimed programs include:

  • Field Experiences—These programs take students out on the Bay and its tributaries for hands-on investigation.
  • Teacher Professional DevelopmentChesapeake Classrooms program, which focuses on methods to incorporate environmental education into the core subject areas of reading, math, science, and social studies.
  • Teacher Resources—Activities, classroom curricula, and advanced water quality monitoring materials.
  • Student LeadershipStudent Wave effort, for high school students, with action projects, ways to share accomplishments, summer environmental leadership courses, and other opportunities.

All programs are designed to support state standards of education and are based from the official definition for a "meaningful watershed education experience" (PDF, 0.9 MB) as defined by the Chesapeake Bay Program. Programs are supported and created in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Geographic Society.

Opportunities include exploration of local wetlands by canoe or a day aboard a historic, 100-year-old skipjack, our traditional watermen workboats, or modern research vessels. In the heart of the Chesapeake, our island centers provide a unique insight into how the livelihoods of watermen are connected to the Bay, offering participants the opportunity to interact with surrounding 300-year-old fishing communities. Learn more about our education staff.

CBF's environmental education opportunities link the natural environment and human culture of the Chesapeake. They enable students and teachers to conduct their own research through biological sampling, chemical analysis, and physical measurements. In addition to using critical thinking skills to evaluate the health of the ecological system, participants also gain a unique perspective in the relationship between water quality, fisheries, and economics. Our courses combine many academic disciplines, such as earth science, biology, history, art, English/writing, math, chemistry, civics, economics, government, and responsible citizenship.

Innovative teaching methods and a knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff have put CBF at the vanguard of the environmental education movement. The result is an exceptionally informed and inspired constituency that values the Bay and its watershed as a living, connected system. Read what people are saying out our education programs.

Watch our video, "You Gotta Be There!"


FY 2016 Education Accomplishments

INSPIRED approximately 40,000 students, teachers, and adults through hands-on, outdoor educational experiences. CBF has 15 educational programs, ranging from multi-day courses at our island residential centers to one-day field experiences.

SERVED 7,000 students from disadvantaged communities by working directly with Title I schools. As environmental education is linked to academic achievement, it is especially important that socioeconomic status does not prevent access to our programs.

EDUCATED nearly 400 teachers through Chesapeake Classrooms. CBF's professional learning courses prepare teachers with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to incorporate environmental education into classroom curricula.

EXPANDED our Student Leadership Program. Designed to engage the most motivated and passionate students, this program educates students about Bay issues and prepares them to lead others in projects that will improve water quality in their local communities. This year, more than 80 student leaders attended CBF's week-long summer courses, and many others attended events and participated online.

LED the Virginia No Child Left Inside Coalition, advocating at the state and local level for a more systemic approach to environmental education. Through this work, CBF hopes to ensure that all Virginia students have access to high-quality outdoor learning and graduate environmentally literate.

KEPT the Chesapeake Bay's health before the public and our elected officials, appearing in the media an average of 4.5 times per day.

RAISED public awareness by growing our social media presence. Our average daily following on Facebook is now 69,798 people—an increase of 62 percent from last year!

Teacher Professional Development

CBF provides high-quality professional development that meets the evolving needs of teachers and school communities. Find out more.

Logo: Chesapeake Classrooms

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