The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center is a 510 acre wildlife preserve on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that showcases pristine habitat and restoration efforts. CBEC offers unique hands-on, feet-wet educational programs for students from pre-school age into adulthood. During our on-site field trips, you and your students will enjoy exploring tidal marshes, meadows, and native woodlands, while discovering the importance of Bay stewardship. All activities are age-appropriate and align with Next Generation Science standards. Standards per specific grade level are available upon request.
Catch a Bay Critter– Appropriate for Kindergarten-HS, 1-2 hours. Available April-October
After hiking down a scenic nature trail, participants will use seining and dip nets, while wading in the bay and tidal pools (depending on tide, students may be walking through water up to their knees). They will catch and identify many different species of animal life to determine the health of the Chesapeake Bay and learn the importance of this spectacular estuary and the surrounding wetland ecosystem!
Remarkable Oyster- Appropriate for 3rd grade through adults, 1-2 hours. Available year round, on-site & off-site
Discover the amazing filtering ability of this important mollusk and its effects on Chesapeake Bay water quality. Participants will learn about the life cycle of an oyster and the process of restoring the oyster population that many restoration organizations are currently engaged in. Participants will also explore the importance of oyster reefs so vital to the Bay’s biodiversity by learning different reef structures and configurations and the success of these artificial habitats. Finally, participants will examine live reef shell looking for a myriad of inhabiting organisms that live within the Benthic Community.
During this program, participants will meet several different species of raptors, and discover the special adaptations of these birds of prey. Through up-close observations and discussions, the participants will learn about the unique visual and auditory adaptations, as well as other features that put these hunters at the pinnacle of the food chain. Special attention will be given to the importance of raptors to an ecosystem, especially the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Finally, participants will conduct a pellet dissection and use identification materials to determine the diet of an owl.
Participants learn about bay health and research through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities. This program incorporates learning the importance of team building, communication and problem solving skills while utilizing and understanding the importance of technology in bay restoration efforts. Teams of students design and construct a model buoy out of PVC pipes, calculate expenses, and compete against other teams to create the most effective buoy.
Discover the importance of invertebrates in our pine forest ecosystem by participating in a scavenger hunt. Students will observe the role played by invertebrates in breaking down rotten logs and returning nutrients to the soil.
Experience the wonders of the wetlands via kayak! An experienced naturalist/kayak guide (ACA certified) will begin with basic kayak instruction and then lead students on a paddle to explore the Bay and marsh shoreline. We’ll witness the beauty of the Bay firsthand while keeping an eye out for interesting wildlife. Raft up to briefly discuss the health of the Chesapeake Bay, importance of the marsh, and current restoration projects. In the event of a small craft advisory, students will participate in STEM programs instead.
Looking for an outdoor, hands-on learning experience for your home school students? Spend the day learning about Maryland’s wildlife at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. Our educators are here to cater to your students’ curriculum! We provide a unique learning environment for your Home school groups and Co-ops and can accommodate students at all levels and abilities. We know that you may have students in many different grade levels learning together. We are ready to adapt our lessons to fit your needs.