The museum’s Chesapeake Bay Field Lab (CBFL) offers experiential, field-based programs for students in grades 4 - 12. All CBFL programs are seasonal, taking place from April through October. These include programs on our historic buyboat WM B TENNISON and our Fossil Field Experience.
Ask about Maryland state funding for your program.
On Board Experience
The WM B TENNISON serves as the museum’s floating classroom. Our school program is a 2-hour long boating experience. It is designed to immerse the students in an unforgettable field-based experience aboard a part of our local history – rain or shine. The vessel can accommodate up to 30 students and 3 adults.
Students will rotate through different learning stations during the two hour cruise.
Water quality testing: Students get hands-on experience testing our local waters. After analyzing their sample, students will explore how changes to the levels of pH, nitrogen, phosphorous, salinity and dissolved oxygen can affect various species of fish.
Navigation: Students get hands-on experience with compasses, navigational charts, and compare those to maps. Students will learn how sailors know where they are and how to get where they are going using a parallel rule and the compass rose.
Oysters: Students will have the chance to set the dredge for oysters and pull it in to see what they caught. We will explore the remarkable ecosystem that calls an oyster bar home. Students will learn the life cycle of an oyster and learn why these shellfish are threatened.
*Stations aboard the TENNISON are subject to change depending upon conditions. In the event of severe weather, the Chesapeake Bay Field Lab Programs will take place dockside or within the museum.
Fossil Field Adventure
Our Fossil Field Adventure takes students onto the beach at Cove Point to search for Miocene fossils with a trained educator. The students learn how to identify fossils, how fossils are formed, and what they can teach us about the prehistoric world. Students will spend approximately two hours on the beach searching for fossils.
(Available on Wednesdays only)
The Fossil Field Adventure takes place on the Chesapeake Bay at the site of the Cove Point Lighthouse. Students are either on the beach or working in the Visitor Center classroom. Due to the nature of the program, dates and numbers of participants are limited.