Chesapeake Bay Studies

By using the Chesapeake Bay as a microcosm, Chesapeake Bay Studies (Bay Studies) increases awareness of the Chesapeake Bay and our relationship and responsibility to the natural environment. Students develop a deep sense of history and understanding of economic and social issues.

Bay Studies incorporates all disciplines in its exploration of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. A week long program, Bay Studies draws on both outside agencies such as Outward Bound, Echo Hill Outdoor School, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Sultana Foundation, as well as Gunston's own faculty to explore the various components of life in and around the 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, computer analysis, and lots and lots of fun.


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.

Foundational (Bay 201)

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)