About Bay Backpack

Recognizing the value of hands-on environmental education, the governors of the Chesapeake Bay states and the Mayor of Washington, D.C., signed a commitment in 2000 to provide a meaningful watershed experience for every student in the Chesapeake Bay watershed before graduation from high school. The Chesapeake Bay Program Education Workgroup, a collection of representatives from State Resource Agencies, State Departments of Education and non-profits groups from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, was charged with evaluating and recommending policies related to bay education. To help accomplish the group's goals the Education Workgroup developed the Bay Backpack, a resource designed to help educators provide meaningful watershed educational experiences or MWEEs to their students. MWEEs enable students to participate in hands-on environmental learning about the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Throughout the MWEE process, students develop a sense of environmental ethics and stewardship that are essential to the long-term sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay. This experience will serve as the foundation for a rich, lifelong relationship between students and their Bay. In addition, studies have shown that hands-on environmental education increases the academic performance of students in a variety of subjects. Bay Backpack content wherever possible aligns with state standards of learning and/or academic standards. Check out the Environmental Education initiatives in your state!