Student Leadership Summer Expeditions

Explore to Learn. Learn to Lead.

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 an effective advocate for the world that surrounds you!

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.

2020 Expedition Dates—Application opens February 1st!


July 18–25, 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! Explore each state capital by foot, boat, and canoe to meet with local leaders and restoration experts. 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.


June 22-26, 2020
Tracing Tributaries—The James
Open to VA student leaders.
What happens upstream has impacts downstream. But what IS happening upstream? Join us to find out! Camp and paddle all week to explore the ecosystems, history, culture, and land management strategies of the James River watershed. Together, we will investigate how the health of the James River and the small creeks and streams that feed into it, impact the health of the Bay downstream. Paddle away with the skills and knowledge to advocate, take action, and raise awareness for your watershed to help Save the Bay!

August 3-7, 2020
Changing the Way We Look at Climate Change
Open to VA student leaders.
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 and travel to Port Isobel, CBF's Island Environmental Education Center, right of the coast of Tangier Island. Sail away with a plan to create positive environmental change, encourage stewardship, foster environmental literacy in your community!


June 22-26, 2020
Growing from Our Roots
Open to PA student leaders.
Explore the mighty Susquehanna, Pennsylvania's largest freshwater tributary to the Chesapeake Bay! Using canoes, we'll paddle sections of the Susquehanna starting with the West Branch, and move southbound along the waterway toward Lancaster County. On our journey, we will meet with regional experts and local decision-makers to better understand the economic, cultural, and environmental importance of the Susquehanna River. Paddle away with ideas on how to take action to save the Susquehanna and the Bay! 

August 3, 2020
Chesapeake Voices
Open to PA student leaders.
Journey to the Chesapeake Bay! Exploring the Eastern Shore of Maryland by land and water, we'll discover the ecological elements the make this area of the watershed so unique. From the marshes, wetlands, forests, and rivers, to the Bay itself, find out how you can speak for these special places. Discover the economic, cultural, and environmental importance of the Chesapeake Bay with a team of fellow student leaders. Meet with regional experts and local decision-makers to better understand how you can use your voice to Save the Bay!


June 22-26, 2020
Baltimore and the Bay
Open to MD student leaders.
Issues of human health, environmental justice, and cutting-edge conservation intertwine in Baltimore City. How has the Bay shaped our cities and how have our cities influenced the health of the Bay? Explore urban wilderness, seek out sustainable city-planning strategies, and interview environmental leaders to discover the historical, cultural, and ecological relationships between us and the Bay. We will work as a team to find ways we can all make positive changes in our communities that promote clean water and a sustainable future for all.

August 3-7, 2020
Agriculture, Aquaculture, Our Culture
Open to MD student leaders.
Travel to Port Isobel, CBF's Island Environmental Education Center, right of the coast of Tangier Island for hands-on investigations in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay! 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. Sail away with lifelong friendships, a network of support, and a plan to create positive change in your hometown!


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 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Active in either student government, FFA chapter, school eco-club, or an environmental organization.

Application Process

Student Leadership Expedition applications open February 1, 2020, and will be accepted through March 2020. This is a competitive process and space is limited. Unfortunately, we will be unable to accept all applicants. We will notify applicants by April 10th of their participation status.

Expedition Fee

The Expedition 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 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. 

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.

Donate Today

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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