Chesapeake Semester Documentary


Each fall, the Chesapeake Semester will engage a select group of students in the interdisciplinary study of North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay.



Participants will 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, you will 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. Participants will have an opportunity to study the ecosystem in depth, explore solutions to environmental problems, and explore the nexus between science, policy, and people’s every day life.

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. Class work and day trips are supplemented with four themed “journeys” away from campus, like the Ridge to Ocean tour. On the final journey, participants will travel to Peru to for a comparative study of culture, economics, politics, law, and ethics.

A film by Brian Palmer - Director, Digital Media Services and Chesapeake Semester Architect