Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home Undergrad Adventure Literature Exploring the Chesapeake Bay

Exploring the Chesapeake Bay

(4.5 credits, English 181A, GH and US)

Learn and earn credits as you explore the outdoors!  This program combines classroom study of the history, ecology, and culture significance of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed (including central Pennsylvania) with outdoor experiences that will supplement and enhance work in the classroom.  The coursework will be devoted to reading accounts of the Chesapeake dating from the seventeenth century, popular treatments of Bay history by writers like James Michener; nature writing by Rachel Carson, Tom Horton, and William Warner; and considerations of the Bay by novelists and poets, like Gilbert Byron and Christopher Tilghman.

Field trips usually include several canoe trips on the Susquehanna River and its West Branch to explore and understand the river’s importance to the culture and ecological health of the Chesapeake; and a long weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where the class will sail on classic Chesapeake Bay workboats, sample local cuisine, and attend a concert of local folk music.  All activities are conducted on weekends during the fall semester, usually when there aren’t home football games scheduled.  As a student in this program, you will become both intellectually and physically familiar with the Chesapeake and in watershed.

Class Meetings and Field Trips

Class meets each Wednesday of the semester from 6:00 to 8:00

Canoe Trip 1:  Paddle the main stem of the Susquehanna River with the Susquehanna Watershed Education Program of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation  (

Late September:  Weekend of sailing and Bay Studies at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Worton, Maryland (

Canoe Trip 2:  Paddle on the lower Susquehanna River and explore ancient Native American rock art with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and rock art expert, Paul Nevin (

Canoe Trip 3:  Paddle the West Branch of the Susquehanna near State College