Each fall, the Chesapeake Semester engages a select group of students in the interdisciplinary study of North America's largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. Students study the complex history, ecology, and culture of the Chesapeake as a microcosm of the challenges and transitions confronting coastal communities around the world. Using the College and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as base camps, students journey in, on, and around the 64,000 square mile watershed.
This "signature semester" builds on the successful tradition of linking people and the environment in both the McLain Program in Environmental Studies and the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College. Connecting students to the land and water fosters a powerful sense of place and gives students a better understanding of the human and social dimensions of environmental issues. Students have an opportunity to explore the ecosystem in depth, develop solutions to environmental problems, and influence decision-making at the local and national levels.
This is a four-course program for 16 credits offered only in the fall. It combines intensive study, field work, and outdoor adventure. Students might band songbirds at sunrise, muck through the marsh, kayak on the river, research aquatic organisms, hike in the mountains and sleep beneath the stars, all in the same week. Classwork and day trips will be supplemented with four themed "journeys" away from campus, like the Ridge to Ocean tour. On the final journey, participants will travel to Peru to explore a comparable estuary. Similarities and differences in culture, economics, politics, laws and ethics will be discussed.
For more information visit the Chesapeake Semester website.