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Chesapeake Bay Course Gives Notre Dame Students a Hands-on Education

Notre Dame of Maryland University

July 21, 2021


A recent trip to Oregon Ridge Park was much more than a nature hike for about 15 Notre Dame of Maryland University students in a course focused on the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary. It was a hands-on lesson to understand how the health of the bay and its tributaries impact the plants and animals that live in the environment.

Led by Notre Dame instructor and environmental educator Claire Cambardella, the introductory biology course gives students the chance to observe firsthand how the environment is impacted by human interaction. Through a combination of fieldwork and lectures, students get to explore the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which encompasses more than 64,000 square miles and six states to provide a unique wildlife habitat.

“This course is an amazing opportunity for students to learn about the ecosystems and environment of a local treasure, the Chesapeake Bay. Meanwhile, they can put into action a variety of skills, such as water testing and fieldwork observation of the organisms that live in the bay,” said Dr. Rebecca Zordan, chair of the Department of Biology. “Every class in the department strives to link the coursework to real-world applications, and the Chesapeake Bay course is no exception.”