Student Leadership Summer Expeditions

Explore to Learn. Learn to Lead.

Hike, fish, wade, and paddle in the most inspiring natural areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, all while learning how to be an effective advocate for the world around you!

Join us in the field this summer! These multi-day, in-person, overnight experiences are open to rising 9th-12th graders who are interested in joining fellow students in their mission to advance advocacy, take action, and raise awareness to help save the Bay. Expeditions primarily take place outdoors where participants explore different parts of the watershed and engage with CBF staff, field experts, and scientists.

2024 Student Leadership Summer Expeditions

Registration is now open! The following information applies to all expeditions.

Important Information

Service-Learning Hours

Upon successful course completion, participants will earn at least 10 service-learning hours.


A virtual orientation will take place June 5, 2024, from 4-5 p.m. A summary of the information shared will be made available for those who are unable to attend.

Expedition Cost

Generous support from CBF donors and grants allow us to offer our weeklong expeditions for $500. The actual cost to run these courses is more than $2000 per participant. Financial assistance is available. Request partial or full financial assistance using the financial assistance request form. Participation will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Transportation, Lodging, Meals

All transportation, lodging, and meals are provided during the expeditions. Participants are expected to participate in meal preparation. Overnight accommodations may include camping (tents provided), dorm-style housing, or a combination of the two.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations made before June 1 will receive a full refund minus a $75 processing fee. No refunds will be granted after June 1; however, we are happy to transfer registration to another expedition, based on availability. All cancellation requests must be made in writing. Email the Chesapeake Classrooms team to request a cancellation or transfer.

Registration Deadline

Expedition registration closes May 24, 2024.

Monday, July 15–Friday, July 19
Potomac River: Explorations of a Tributary
Open to rising 11th and 12th graders in DC, MD, VA, PA or experienced CBF Student Leaders.
Join fellow rising juniors and seniors to learn about the dynamic relationship between the Potomac River and the communities within the watershed of this tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. Encompassing geographic areas in WV, VA, PA, and MD, the Potomac River basin highlights the diversity of ecosystems and experiences throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We’ll learn how advocacy at the federal level impacts both urban and rural communities, as well as the vital role that we, as student leaders, play in using our voices collectively to make change. This one-of-a-kind expedition will equip students to become the next generation of environmental leaders and advocates, ready to address problems in their communities and support ongoing work at the federal level. Students will acquire new skills, a deeper knowledge, and appreciation for saving the Bay and its tributaries.
Length & Location: This is a multi-day, overnight (tent camping along the Potomac River in Maryland and Virginia), in-person event.
Starting & Ending Points: Harrisburg, PA, Richmond, VA, and Catonsville, MD.
Register Now

Monday, July 22–Friday, July 26
2024 Delmarva Discovery
Open to all rising 9th-12th graders in DC, MD, VA, PA.
Join fellow high school students to connect, learn, and find inspiration as we explore environmental issues on the Bay’s Eastern Shore. We’ll travel to unique places and discover the magic of the Bay found in its brackish waters, marsh grasses, and the communities along its shores. This one-of-a-kind expedition will equip participants to become the next generation of environmental leaders, whether they are just beginning their journey or building upon past experiences. Participants will acquire new skills as well as a deeper knowledge and appreciation for saving the Bay and its tributaries.
Length & Location: This is a multi-day, overnight (tent camping at a state park and dormitory style housing on Smith Island, MD), in-person event. Registered participants will spend five consecutive days exploring and investigating the Bay’s Eastern Shore.
Starting & Ending Point: Annapolis, MD.
Register Now

Monday, July 29–Friday, August 2
2024 Chesapeake Bay Watershed 101
Open to rising 9th and 10th graders in DC, MD, VA, PA.
To solve a problem, you must first identify it...WHY are we trying to Save the Bay? Join us on this introductory course to answer that question by exploring some of the wonders and complex systems of the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay Watershed. This course is designed for emerging student leaders and will provide hands-on experience by investigating unique ecosystems and exploring the major issues facing our watershed. Participants will paddle, wade, discuss, experiment, listen, share, and connect about all things Chesapeake Bay Watershed with their peer group, CBF Staff, and field experts.  Through the course, participants will begin to build their Bay-saving leadership skills to become stronger Bay advocates and environmental problem solvers.
Length & Location: This is a multi-day, overnight (tent camping at a state park in Delaware and dormitory-style housing on Smith Island, MD), in-person event.
Starting & Ending Points: Harrisburg, PA, Richmond, VA, and Catonsville, MD.
Register Now

Monday, August 5–Friday, August 9
Bay Science and Solutions at Washington College
Open to rising 10th-12th graders in DC, MD, PA, VA.
Join CBF Student Leadership and Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society (CES) for an elevated opportunity to experience and discover how science, innovation, and community-based solutions are being used to save the Bay! Located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland's Chester River, Washington College’s CES provides a phenomenal setting for hands-on investigations of the methods scientists and researchers apply to study and restore ecosystems. Participants will have the opportunity to collect data alongside peers while kayaking, boating on a research vessel, exploring the Washington College River and Field Campus, and learning in state-of-the-art science labs.
Length & Location: This is a multi-day, overnight (tent camping at a state park in Delaware and dormitory-style housing at Washington College), in-person event.
Starting & Ending Point: Annapolis, MD.
Event Full

Program Staffing and CBF Educators

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

CBF educators receive the following certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • CPR
  • American Canoe Association River Canoe Day Trip Leading
  • Boater Safety

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. Within each group, we seek to cultivate a culture of empowerment, encouraging curiosity and mutual respect.

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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