Chesapeake Bay Studies

The objectives of the program are to increase an awareness of the Chesapeake Bay and increase an awareness of man's relationship with and responsibility to the natural environment. Students also develop a sense of history and an understanding of economic and social issues. By using the Chesapeake Bay as a microcosm, students are able to explore a wide range of activities, all of which bring greater awareness of the complex nature of man and his environment.
The Chesapeake Bay Studies Program incorporates all disciplines in its exploration of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. A week long activity, Bay Studies draws on both outside agencies such as Outward Bound, Echo Hill Outdoor School, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Sultana, as well as on Gunston's own faculty to explore the various components of life in and around the Chesapeake Bay including environmental studies, history, and social and cultural influences. Primarily experiential, Bay Studies incorporates field trips, analysis of primary sources, in depth study of specific topics, discussion, journal writing, lab work, and computer analysis.


First and second year students begin with foundational learning experiences that provide direct contact with the Chesapeake Bay. Students then progress into immersive experiences with a specific curriculum focus. Third and fourth year students participate in seminar-style programs that reach beyond the Bay and connect with professional disciplines.

Foundation Trips

Experiential Deep Dives

Advanced & Comparative

Difficulty Rating


Day trips, minimal physical activity

Day or short overnight trips, walking/standing for 1-2 hours

Overnight trip, standing/walking for 4-5 hours daily

Overnight trip, standing/walking/climbing/paddling for 5-6 hours daily

Overnight backcountry trip with standing/walking/paddling/climbing for 6-8 hours daily

Comfort Rating

1 2 3 4 5
Day Trips Day or short overnight trips, hotel, flush toilets and showers Overnight trip with guest house/motel accommodations Overnight trip with bunkhouse accommodations, composting toilets, no showers.

Overnight trip with tent/backcountry accommodations & primitive bathroom facilities (or lack thereof)