Environmental literacy is fostered by having meaningful experiences in nature and understanding how people manage their behavior to sustain healthy communities and ecosystems.
The Chester River Field Research Station was established in 1999 with the initiation of an academic study to restore a native grassland landscape habitat on 228 acres of what had previously been row crop farmland, and an avian migration banding station on Chino Farms, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. Recently merged with the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, CRFRS continues its research while providing educational opportunities for both the public and up-and-coming biologists.
Located in the Custom House along the Chester River, the Public Archaeology Lab provides space for students and community volunteers to research historic materials and process artifacts recovered from the Eastern Shore region. Interpretive displays and collections are placed throughout the laboratory. The College maintains a growing database of the region’s historical resources in its GIS Lab (located on the main campus), which supports analysis of spatial data for archaeology and environmental studies.
Each fall, the Chesapeake Semester engages a select group of students in the interdisciplinary study of North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. Participants 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 shores and waters of the Chester River as base camps, students journey in, on and around the 64,000 square mile watershed.
What is GIS? GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. GIS is a computerized mapping system that stores, displays and analyzes any type of data that has a geographic location. The GIS Lab at Washington College is dedicated to increasing the visibility of GIS and helping others understand the interdisciplinary applications of this valuable technology.
This pioneer observatory allows us to take the pulse of every aspect of the watershed. The data and results will be Internet available to agencies, academics, resource managers, and scientists. It is melded with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for formal and informal educators throughout the Chester River watershed. The program is also exportable to other local, regional, national and global water bodies.