Chesapeake Semester Crash Course

One Night Off Campus

Washington College is lucky to have the Chesapeake Bay right in our backyard. During this 3 day “crash course” of the Chesapeake Semester, incoming freshman will learn about the history, ecology, and culture of the Bay. 

Each fall, the Chesapeake Semester will engage in the interdisciplinary study of North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. This program is designed to be a crash-course to give you a sampling of what the Chesapeake Semester is all about. Participants will study the 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 will journey in, on and around water-shed. Like the full semester-long program, this program builds on the successful tradition of linking people and the environment. 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.


The adventure begins with kayaking on the Chester River and exploring the local waters. After lunch, we will head to the college’s River and Field Campus (RAFC) at Chino Farms (10 minutes south of campus), to set up camp for an evening exploring the land, cooking dinner over a fire and sleeping under the stars (or in tents, your choice). Tents will be provided, but we please ask that you please pack your own sleeping bag.  


An early start at RAFC, we will spend time with one of the Center for Environment & Society’s Field Ecologists banding birds at the Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, and explore the restored Grasslands. 

In the afternoon we will explore the Chester River on the college’s Research Vessel, the Callinectes.  


Crabbing has been an essential part of the Eastern Shore lifestyle for hundreds of years and now students get to experience the thrill of the catch! You’ll learn how to dip, steam, and pick this Eastern Shore delicacy. Teaming up with Eastern Shore native and Washington College alum Brant Nordhoff ’07, students will travel to the town of Rock Hall for a day of crabbing, steaming, and picking, a once-in-a-lifetime experience!  



To register for this program please complete the online registration form here.

Meet the Team:

Jamie Frees ’12 

Casey Lockard ’20

Max Moore ’22

Additional Information 

Washington College Health Form

What to Bring?

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat / Sunglasses
  • Swimming Attire
  • Water Bottle
  • Sleeping Bag + Pillow
  • Extra Clothing
  • Any medications you may need