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The Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Project

Bring The Chesapeake Bay Into Your Classroom

Photograph by Jackie Karsten

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and is home to unique biodiversity. The Bay plays an important role in local commerce and history, and is a critical environmental resource. 

The Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Project is a project-based, citizen science educational initiative that engages students in 21st century investigations of watershed health using real-time geospatial technology. The project provides students with a dynamic experience that combines classroom learning with outdoor field experiences and technology-supported inquiry. Students use FieldScope, a web-based interactive mapping tool, to share and analyze data they collect on the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Through this project, students will gain a better understanding of water quality issues and the interconnectedness between humans and their environment. Students are encouraged to embark upon their own projects to put their learning into action through watershed clean-up activities, participation in Bay restoration projects, and the like. 

National Geographic Education is able to accomplish this work with support from the Lenfest Foundation, and by working with partners already engaged in high-quality projects in and around the Chesapeake Bay, such as NOAA and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Classroom Resources

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF)

Visit the CBF site to learn more about professional development and student field experiences. CBF strives to enable teachers to involve their students in outdoor Bay or stream experiences that are aligned with local school system standards.

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Chesapeake Bay office works to protect and restore coastal and marine habitats at the national level. Visit this site to find educator resources, including a searchable activity database.

Bay Backpack

Bay Backpack is the education arm of the Bay Program, a conglomerate of federal agencies working on improving the Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay Then and Now

Explore the Chesapeake Bay of John Smith, Powhatan, Pocahontas, and the Jamestown colonists through this National Geographic interactive. Discover reflections of the Chesapeake's past and clues to its future.

More on Estuaries

Where Rivers Meet Sea

Explore our estuaries to discover their importance and beauty, and learn what you can do to protect them. Visit the National Estuarine Research Reserve System's Estuary Education website.


An estuary is an area where a freshwater river or stream meets the ocean. When freshwater and seawater combine, the water becomes brackish, or slightly salty.


Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Resources

Click here to find activities and other resources to use FieldScope in your classroom.

Chesapeake Bay FieldScope

Start using this FREE online GIS tool now!

FieldScope Projects

Learn more about other FieldScope projects and citizen science data being collected across the country.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Community Geography Initiative

Learn about community geography and discover opportunities to get involved.

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