Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Center for

Environment & Society

About the Center

Our vision is a Chesapeake Bay and watershed that is healthy and thriving; one in which natural systems and human communities are in balance. Interdisciplinary academic programs promote the integration of environmental issues, social values, and good old river mud.

What We Do

The Center for Environment & Society serves as a bridge between Washington College and the rich natural and human resources of the region. Lecture series, workshops, films and seminars provide new perspectives and professional development opportunities for the campus and the larger community. Competitively awarded student fellowships put students to work on real-world problems, allowing them to build a resume and establish connections in the professional world. In the innovative Chesapeake Semester, students range throughout the watershed, exploring the people, places and issues of the Chesapeake Bay in all of their complexity. The Center supports faculty teaching and research through collaboration and by providing access to a variety of resources. It also has led the College in meeting its obligations under the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, while acting as a catalyst in campus recycling, energy savings and the search for alternative energy.

The Center’s Public Archaeology Laboratory puts students, staff, faculty and volunteers to work exploring the region’s past, bringing a range of past human experiences to bear on the problems of today. The Center’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory utilizes cutting edge spatial analysis technology to work on a wide range of problems, including analysis of urban tree canopies and green infrastructure, biodiversity and land-use, crime mapping, habitat and ecosystem mapping, and community visioning. The GIS Lab and resources such as a 46 ft research vessel offer research and training opportunities not only for Washington College, but for local school children and their teachers.

Through these various programs, the Center reaches out to communities, providing expertise to solve local problems. The emphasis, however, is on engaging communities, giving them the tools and information they need to resolve these problems on their own. Projects include: community visioning, in which communities come together to reach consensus on local values and take charge of their future; analysis of land-use policies and comprehensive planning; tree planting and shoreline restoration projects; oyster gardening and fisheries restoration; professional development and training; habitat restoration and conservation biology at Grasslands Plantation; and a wide variety of technical support. Washington College students, the primary constituents of the Center for Environment & Society, are involved in all of these projects, putting their academic training to work while learning by doing.

Find out more about what the Center has to offer on our resources page.