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Center for

Environment & Society

Chesapeake Summer

The Chesapeake Summer Program at Washington College is an opportunity for high school students to participate in college-level studies of the Chesapeake Bay’s marine environment, as well as geospatial technology, with scientists and teachers at the Center for Environment & Society (CES). Students can sign up for one or two weeks with an optional bridge weekend between.

Week One - June 15-20: Discoveries Underwater

At Washington College, we’re lucky to have the historic Chester River flowing past our doorstep, as well as the boats and cutting-edge technology to study this unparalleled cultural and natural resource. During Discoveries Underwater, students will use the equipment that enables scientists to study the marine environment, from under the seafloor up to the surface. You’ll examine the principles behind side-scan sonar, acoustic seabed classification systems, sub-bottom profilers, and marine magnetometers. Then you’ll go out on the College’s research vessels, the Callinectes and Lookdown, and carry out underwater surveys, examine the seafloor, and, perhaps, locate a shipwreck from the days when merchant schooners sailed from Chestertown to ports all over the world.

Students will compete to build and launch a buoy that carries the greatest payload, then build and deploy a BOB-Basic Observation Buoy- with instruments that measure water quality. You’ll design and build an Aquabotz ROV-Remotely Operated Vehicle- a shallow-water, underwater robot with an integrated camera that can reveal what lies beneath the river’s surface. You’ll test your designs in the College’s pool using principles of physics, chemistry, and engineering along the way.

This is the same gear and science that Washington College’s professors use with students to map the rivers and the Bay, locate submerged cultural resources like shipwrecks, and understand and monitor natural resources like oyster bars and beds of bay grasses. This hands-on learning will show you many of the career possibilities connected to the marine world.

The Bridge Weekend - June 20-22

Steamed crabs and screwpile lighthouses: What do they have in common? They’re both quintessential symbols of the Chesapeake Bay, and the Bridge Weekend is when you’ll get to find out why. It’s a chance to change things up, take a road trip or two, and learn more about the Bay’s cultural and natural history.

On Friday afternoon, students will head to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, about an hour-and-a-half south of Chestertown. In a program jointly run by WC and museum staff, you’ll explore the maritime museum’s many exhibits to learn about the Bay’s fascinating history and culture, as well as the environmental issues it’s facing today. You’ll do a little crabbing and fishing, and then spend the night in the iconic, 135-year-old Hooper Strait Lighthouse, where you’ll learn some history about the Bay’s lighthouses and their keepers. Saturday morning, it’s out on the Miles River aboard another Chesapeake icon, the skipjack H.M Krentz, followed by fun and instruction in the museum’s boatbuilding shop.

On Saturday afternoon, you’ll travel to Worton, Md., to Echo HIll Outdoor School, where you’ll enjoy a night of tent camping and campfires. Sunday morning you’ll test your nerve and balance among the trees on the school’s high ropes course. Then it’s back to Washington College on Sunday afternoon.

Week Two - June 22-27: Geospatial Technologies and GIS

You know how that annoying voice in your parents’ car or the apps on your cel phone can pinpoint exactly where you are? Ever considered how this basic system can be used to map everything from waterways and towns to the historic movement of people like the Vikings? That’s called GIS-Geographic Information Systems- and Washington College’s GIS Lab is an energetic, dynamic hub for this technology and the software that makes it possible.

Geospatial technology is among the hottest new fields for college graduates; the U.S. Labor Department has identified it as one of the top ten high growth careers. During this week, students will learn about GIS and how to use it to map the community and environment around them and have a lot of fun doing it. You’ll start the week with a GPS and orienteering treasure hunt on Washington College’s lovely campus-you might be familiar with this kind of game and know it as geocaching. Then you’ll head to the lab to get hands-on with various software programs, like ArcView, and web-enabled GIS applications. Lab work will be combined with time outside in Chestertown, where you’ll practice gathering data and mapping different aspects of the community. You’ll bring these new skills together when you choose a final project, focus your fieldwork on gathering the necessary data, then bring your project to life using GIS software in the lab. The week will end with you presenting your work to Washington College faculty and staff, as well as your peers and parents.

Along with lab time and fieldwork, you can expect to enjoy a mid-week summer afternoon of swimming and a barbeque picnic at nearby Betterton Beach, in the beautiful Sassafras River, as well as other extracurricular activities throughout the week like kayaking and tennis.


Program Registration:

One week $2,195; bridge weekend $395; two weeks plus the bridge weekend $4,495 (a $290 savings on the bridge weekend if signed up for both weeks).

Scholarships are available; for information, contact conferences@washcoll.edu

For more information or to register, please go to:  http://www.washcoll.edu/live/events/5197-chesapeake-summer-program