Student Leadership Summer Expeditions

Explore to Learn. Learn to Lead.

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

Our Student Leadership Expeditions will proceed during the scheduled dates in a format that aligns with the health and safety standards required by our communities and a format that upholds CBF's commitment to high quality environmental education experiences. We are busy planning multiple variations of our programming to fit that criteria. The progrma is open to rising 9th-12th grade students in the watershed who are interested in joining fellow students in their mission to advance advocacy, action, and awareness for the health of our watershed and our communities!

Memories from these exceptional high school summer environmental 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 and program details below.

Eligibility | Expedition Programs & Dates | Application Process | Expedition Fee | Program Staffing


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

Student applicants must be:

  • Entering 9th-12th grades for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Active in either student government, FFA chapter, school eco-club, or an environmental organization.

Before applying, please review CBF's Student Leadership Code of Conduct. If you have any technical difficulties with the application, please contact ASAP and we will help you.

2020 Expedition Programs & Dates


June 22–26, 2020
Save the Bay, Share your Story
Open to PA, MD, and VA student leaders.

Meet every day with a coalition of student leaders to bond, share your stories, and find inspiration. Together, we will learn about the most pressing issues facing the health of the watershed. From clean air's connection to clean water and our human health to environmental justice and sustainability, explore how you can be an effective leader! Discover how to advocate for issues you care about, get outside, and connect with like-minded student leaders from across the watershed who are looking to make meaningful, positive change in their communities.

Come back together with fellow student leaders to explore local ecosystems later in the summer, fall, or as soon as it is safe to do so.


July 20–24, 2020
Saving Our National Treasure
Open to PA, MD, and VA student leaders. 

Join a multistate coalition of student leaders as we discover the importance of working together to Save the Bay! Meet with local leaders and restoration experts to discover how best to advocate for issues meaningful to you. Build lifelong friendships with fellow student leaders from across the Bay watershed as you develop your leadership skills and knowledge about how to effectively protect and restore clean water. As we examine the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, you will create your own unique Clean Water Blueprint for your home community.


August 3-7, 2020
Changing the Way We Look at Climate Change
Open to VA student leaders. Expedition begins and ends in Richmond, VA.

Our environment is changing worldwide, and Virginia's is no exception. What could be lost, and what can we do about it? Find out how the changing climate is impacting the environment and all the life that calls Virginia home. Explore the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Walk away with a plan to create positive environmental change, encourage stewardship, foster environmental literacy in your community!


August 2-7, 2020
Chesapeake Voices
Open to PA student leaders. Expedition begins and ends in the Harrisburg-area.

Discover the mighty Susquehanna, Pennsylvania's largest freshwater tributary to the Chesapeake Bay! Together, we'll explore different sections of the Susquehanna. On the journey, we will meet with regional experts and local decision-makers to better understand the economic, cultural, and environmental importance of the Susquehanna River. Walk away with ideas on how to take action to save the Susquehanna and the Bay!


August 3-7, 2020
Agriculture, Aquaculture, Our Culture
Open to MD student leaders. Expedition begins and ends in Annapolis, MD.

Examine issues of biodiversity, sustainability, and natural resource management while exploring our beautiful watershed's farms, forests, and oyster reefs. Together, we will explore the cause and effect relationships between our choices and healthy communities. Walk away with lifelong friendships, a network of support, and a plan to create positive change in your hometown!

Application Process

If you're interested in participating, please email

Expedition Fee

The Expedition fee is $100 per student and includes instruction, program materials, guest speaker fees, and professional development in fields such as public speaking, advocacy, civic engagement, community outreach, public awareness campaigns, etc. CBF will collect the fee after students receive notice they are accepted to the program.

Questions about financial aid: 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. 

Share Your Clean Water Story

What does the Bay, its rivers and streams mean to you? What impact have the Bay and its local waters had on your life? We'd like to know.

Share Your Story

Save the Bay

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

Save the Bay
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