Student Leadership Summer Courses

CBF's Student Leadership summer course participants hike, fish, wade, sail, seine, and paddle in some of the most beautiful and inspiring natural areas in the Chesapeake watershed, all while learning how to be effective advocates for the world that surrounds them!

About CBF Student Leadership Summer Courses

Memories from these experiences serve as an enduring motivator for our future leaders.  They provide a foundation of knowledge upon which students can build professional skills.  Please examine our eligibility requirements below and send us an email at if you are interested in learning more.

2019 Summer Courses and Dates

Student Leadership Masterclass:

Saving our National Treasure
July 29August 2, 2019
Open to PA, MD, and VA student leaders.
Join a multi-state coalition of CBF student leaders in our nation’s capital and discover how federal legislation affects the health and economic productivity of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed!  From our home base (American University), we will explore the city (via our capital area rivers and using only public transportation) to investigate sustainable urban design strategies and gain ecological insight from national environmental leaders. How can federal policy and green infrastructure positively influence water quality as well as US residents’ quality of life? As we examine the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, we’ll create our own unique Clean Water Blueprints for our home communities.


The World is Your Oyster and Our Key to Clean Water
July 8–12, 2019
Open to MD student leaders.
Journey down the Eastern Shore to learn all about the brazen bivalves saving our Bay! Go fishing, pull up an oyster dredge, and interview experts and local watermen to examine the historical, cultural, and ecological relationship between us and oysters. From camping in Chincoteague to historic housing on Smith Island, uncover how oysters have transformed the health and productivity of our regional waters and economy. Together, we will work as a team to discover ways we can all make positive changes in our communities that promote clean water and protect these incredible oyster reefs.

Making History in Maryland
August 1216, 2019
Open to MD student leaders.
Travel to the legendary Great Fox Island for hands-on, historical and ecological investigations in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay!  Examine issues of biodiversity, sustainability, and responsible management of natural resources all while boating, wading, fishing, crabbing, and paddling through our Watershed. Together, we will explore the cause and effect relationships between our choices and the health of Chesapeake ecosystems and economies. Walk away with a plan to create a positive environmental impact, encourage stewardship, and foster environmental literacy in your community!


Growing from Our Roots
July 812, 2019
Open to PA student leaders.
Join us on a journey through the Pennsylvania Wilds region to discover how our choices impact water quality, habitats, species, and ultimately the health and vitality of our communities. Camping, hiking, fishing, and canoeing will allow us to investigate Pennsylvania’s rich natural heritage in some of the most beautiful and inspiring places our state has to offer! Meet with experts in the field, create lasting friendships with like-minded student leaders, and become empowered to make positive changes in your own community.

Making History in Pennsylvania
August 1216, 2019
Open to PA student leaders.
Travel to the place where land and water meet to explore the Chesapeake Bay’s unique natural and cultural histories. Use boats and canoes to explore remote, remarkable regions of the Bay such as expansive saltmarshes near Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, mysterious bald cypress swamps along the Pocomoke River, and underwater grass meadows teaming with life. Along the way we will meet with local experts and decision-makers to understand this history and the future of the Chesapeake Bay region as we create our own plans for taking action to Save the Bay.


Making History in Virginia
July 812, 2019
Open to VA student leaders.
Your course will begin at CBF’s Brock Environmental Center (BEC) in Virginia Beach, Virginia and journey around the Commonwealth to conserve, restore, and advocate for the natural resources that make the area so special. The goal of the course is to investigate the pivotal roles oysters and trees play in our ecosystem and explore how we can make positive environmental impacts with our actions and our words. Be a part of CBF’s Making History Campaign and help us Save the Bay.


While CBF recognizes that there are many types of student leaders, we have chosen the following eligibility requirements to more effectively support students after the summer course has concluded.

Student applicants must be:

  • Entering 9th-12th grades for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • Active in either student government, FFA chapter, school eco-club, or an environmental organization.

Application Process

Continuing to accept applications for Pennsylvania Student Leadership Summer Courses through April 2019. This is a competitive process and space is limited. Unfortunately, we will be unable to accept all applicants. We will notify applicants by April 15th of their participation status.

Apply Now

Course Fee

The summer course fee is $100 per student and includes instruction, program materials, three meals a day, lodging, guest speaker fees, and various recreational activities.  CBF will collect the course fee after students receive notice they are accepted to the program.

Questions: Contact or call 410-268-8816

Program Staffing and CBF Educators

There will be at least two CBF educators staffing each summer course. Other CBF staff and educators may join the group as captains, hosts at island education centers, or as resources for learning. Learn about all of our educators at  

CBF educators are certified in:

  • Wilderness First Responder medical training
  • Adult and Child & Infant CPR
  • Community Water Safety
  • American Canoe Association Certification

Our educators serve as facilitators. They establish a clear learning pathway for the student experience, guiding students' journey while allowing ample freedom and choice for them to explore and investigate environmental issues that reflect their interest. We believe that allowing students to follow their passion is the best way for them to discover their own leadership capacity. Our professional educators ensure a safe and positive learning environment, while respecting students as individuals. We seek to cultivate within each group a culture of empowerment, encouraging curiosity and mutual respect. 

Apply Now

A Look at Past Summer Courses

Support the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

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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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