About Our Programs:
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 native woodlands, tidal marshes, and meadows, while discovering the importance of Bay stewardship. All activities are age-appropriate and meet Next Generation Science standards.
Scheduling a Program:
Choose one or more of the following programs to determine your field trip experience. Included in a program registration are use of CBEC facilities and access to all hiking trails during regular business hours (9-5pm) on the date of your program. A lunch break will be included for longer programs. Programs and rates are described below. To discuss scheduling a program, FIRST please contact Katey Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410.827.6694. Then, complete and return the Education Program Request Form (located on “Teacher Resources” page). A $50 deposit is due to hold your program date. Deposit can be paid online, if you complete the online Program Request form, or by check.
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 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! **Students will get wet in this program! Depending on tide, students may be walking through water up to their thighs, but typically up to their knees.** Students must bring a change of clothes and shoes that can go into the water, or else they will not be able to participate in this program.
Remarkable Oyster- Appropriate for 3rd grade through adults, 1-2 hours. Available April-November
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.
Birds of Prey Program- Appropriate for all ages, 1-2 hours. Available year-round, on-site & off-site
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.
Build-a-Buoy (ECO-STEM)- Appropriate for 4th grade to adults, 1-2 hours. Available year-round
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.
Geocaching (ECO-STEM)- Appropriate for 4th grade to adults, 1-2 hours. Available year-round
Students will learn about applications of GPS technology and how to use Garmin eTrex GPS units. Participants will then use their GPS skills to search for several established “cache” sites around Lake Knapp. During the 1-mile hike, students will explore and learn about several ecosystems on CBEC property.
Rotten Log Scavenger Hunt- Appropriate for pK-3rd grade, 1 hour. Available year-round
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.
Guided Kayak Tour- Appropriate for 3rd grade-Adult, 1.5-3 hours. Available May-September
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 ECO-STEM programs instead.
Education Program Rates and General Information
Our typical programs are four to five hours long, however we are flexible with your schedule and group’s needs. Cost for trip is per student (see prices below), with no charge for chaperones. Call to discuss pricing for specialized trips. A deposit of $50 is due within 10 days of scheduling a field trip to reserve the date. Remaining fees are due at the beginning of the scheduled program.
Maximum capacity is 75 students, excluding kayak trips. Maximum capacity for kayak trips is 40 students.
Full-day (3.5-6 hours) field trip – generally includes 2-3 programs. Minimum charge is $250.
Half-day (1.5-2.5 hours) field trip – generally includes 1 program. Minimum charge of $150.
- Marsh grasses (for planting): $40 per flat (70 plugs) – Depending on availability, usually available around 2nd week of May through June.