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DC students learn about water quality on the Potomac River and how the health of the river impacts the Chesapeake Bay.

Andrew Overton

Bringing the Chesapeake Experience to Students and Teachers

For almost 50 years, CBF's award-winning environmental education program has been one of the cornerstones of our effort to reverse the Bay watershed's decline. CBF educates tens of thousands of students, teachers, and school administrators each year through immersive field experiences and professional development courses that foster a lifelong connection to the watershed and its stewardship. We reach rural, urban, and suburban communities across the watershed, and 25 percent of the schools we work with are under-resourced.

CBF Education Learn Outside

Our acclaimed programs include:

Field Programs—We take students outside to explore the Chesapeake Bay watershed and learn how we can all take action to save the Bay. We offer unique outdoor education experiences—on the water and on land—in some of the region's most inspiring places. (See a field experience in action.)

Teacher Professional Learning—We form lasting relationships with teachers and administrators and support their work to incorporate watershed learning into the classorom through our Chesapeake Classrooms professional development courses, mentor networks, and curriculum resources.

School Leaders Environmental Leadership Program—CBF supports school principals and administrators in environmental stewardship opportunities for their entire school community. Through experience, training, resources, and collegial discussion, school leaders learn how to design a school program that incorporates and benefits the local environment.

Student Leadership—Our Student Leadership Program provides students with opportunities to tackle the watershed issues they care about; improve their planning, teambuilding, and leadership skills; and use their voices to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and its communities.

Find out more about our Education Program and Resources.

Meaningful Watershed Experiences

Integrating state learning standards with explorations of local waterways, our programs provide a "meaningful watershed education experience" 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 traditional watermen's workboat or modern research vessel. 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.

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 education 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.

Video: Washington-Lee High School Students Explore the Bay with CBF

What is it like to go on a CBF education field experience? The Arlington Educational Television Department featured a student field experience on its weekly cable show, "Green Scene." See what we do and hear students, teachers, and CBF educators talk about the program.

Green Scene is filmed and produced by the Arlington Educational Television Department (AETV) in cooperation with the Arlington Public Schools Department of School and Community Relations.

From Our Blog

  • Tracing a River's Rage

    July 20, 2022

    Kicking off a week-long exploration of the Chesapeake Bay, students connect the dots between climate change, communities, and water quality in Ellicott City, Maryland and beyond.

  • Summer Reading to Save the Bay

    July 7, 2022

    A CBF partnership with Montgomery County Public Libraries inspires children and teens to read, learn about the Bay, and help restore it.

  • Postcards from Paradise

    May 27, 2022

    Every summer, hundreds of teachers, principals, and administrators participate in a CBF's professional development immersion courses along the Bay and its rivers. In between testing water quality and setting crab pots, participants learn lessons to bring back to the classroom and fall in love with teaching again.

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Teacher Professional Development

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

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Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

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