Student Leadership

The mission of CBF's Student Leadership program is to create a constituency who will value the Bay and its watershed as a living, connected system and who will lead others in action to restore clean water and ensure a high quality of life for all its inhabitants.

NEWS: On April 23, 2019, a Pennsylvania student leadership effort to name the Eastern hellbender salamander the state's official amphibian succeeded, as Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law.

Tenets of Student Engagement

  • Students make up their own minds on issues.

  • Students feel empowered and possess a sense of accomplishment.

  • Students advocate using their own voice and personal experiences.

  • CBF provides field experiences, which honor differing perspectives and demonstrate that solutions to ecological issues are often complex.

  • CBF will assist students and schools with their media outreach.

How Do We Do This?

Our student leadership program combines two of CBF's organizational strengths, education, and advocacy. We do this by offering students opportunities to expand their knowledge of Bay issues through immersive outdoor field experiences and encouraging students to advocate for Bay issues which are meaningful to them.

Students have an incredible ability and opportunity to help improve the health of the Bay. A student's voice is powerful and when students speak in unison, their message becomes amplified. We want students to use their voices to speak for their generation and advocate for future generations to come.

Working together with scientists, elected officials, farmers, restoration experts, and educators, students learn how to lead others in taking action to improve their local communities' environmental health. We accomplish this by providing 5-day student leadership summer courses and offering student-directed, civic action and stewardship project resources to motivated students who want to join in the larger effort of environmental change.  

Apply for CBF's Student Leadership Program

The Core Components of CBF’s Program

  • Student Leadership Summer Courses
    • These 5-day field experiences offer students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of watershed issues through immersive outdoor field experiences and engaging with regional experts.
  • Student Leadership Confluences: Creating a vision for advancing Bay advocacy, action, & awareness
    • Weekend strategic planning and skills development conferences for student leaders across the watershed which take place during the school year.
  • Rally Your Reps Events
    • This is an opportunity for Student Leaders to meet with their state or federal representatives to advocate for watershed issues which are meaningful to them or to say thank you for continuing legislative support of these clean water issues.
  • Student Leadership Professional Development  
    • Opportunities for Student Leaders to receive skills training and development in fields such as public speaking, advocacy, civic engagement, community outreach, public awareness campaigns, etc.

Our student project resources page has activities and guides for students to lead environmental stewardship and civic action projects on their own. If you are planning a project or have already started one, let us know

Contact us at 410-268-8816 or

Student Leadership Affiliates

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Student Leadership Program combines two of CBF's organizational strengths: education and advocacy. Ultimately, our goal is to foster lifelong engaged, ecological citizens. We would like to honor and recognize that these programs and schools do the same, allowing students to realize their connection to the environmental world and empowering them to act on its behalf. They are our CBF Student Leadership Affiliates.

Student Leadership Highlights


  • Parachutes for the Planet

    CBF Student Bay Advisory Council Member Kallan Benson, Parachutes for the Planet, and the Mother Earth Project work to give youth a voice on climate change.

  • Breaking Good

    In this episode, CBF President Will Baker talks to college seniors Kara Adams and Makenzie Koski about their Alternative Spring Break experiences volunteering to help Save the Bay.

  • Something's Happening Here

    In this episode, we bring you an inspiring speech that Congressman John Sarbanes addressed to students at CBF's 50 Forward event on July 15, 2017.

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Blog: One Amazing Week and the Next 50 Years

Blog: The World Is Your Oyster by Matthew Talley (external site)

Audio: The Beauty of the Bay a poem by Garrett Chiaramonte

Action: Hellbender Campaign CBF's Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council drafts legislation to make the Eastern hellbender the Commonwealth's state amphibian.

Decades of Success: The 1970s

Even as a young organization, our work was effective and got noticed. Find out what we did.

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Save the Bay

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

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