Teaching Resources - Collections

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and is host to an incredibly complex ecosystem. The Bay, the land around it and its rivers and streams provide vital habitat for the plants and animals - including the more than 17 million humans - that call it home. Learn more about the specific complexities by exploring the collections below.

If you know of a great teaching resource that is not included in the Bay Backpack please let us know by suggesting a resource.

Juvenile osprey

Bay Animals

The Chesapeake Bay supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals on land and in the water. All of these critters depend on each other in some way.

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A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) hides in a Chesapeake Bay wetland.

Bay Habitats

From underwater grass beds to streamside forests, the Chesapeake Bay watershed provides a range of habitats to more than 2,700 species of plants and animals on land and in the water.

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This Earth photo, was captured by the Apollo 17 astronauts on a Saturn V rocket developed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Earth System Science

Earth System Science is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding climate and weather patterns, the landscape and how human behavior influences global systems.

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Residential development adjacent to agricultural field in Lancaster County, Pa.

Land Use

The Chesapeake Bay watershed spans 64,000 square miles. Much of this land is used to raise crops and livestock and build homes and businesses. But our actions on land have a big impact on the water.

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Kids crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay at sunset

People and Culture

Humans have occupied the Chesapeake Bay region for at least 12,000 years. As human populations grew, watershed residents made changes to the land that, in turn, changed their culture.

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Water, vegetation, and clouds

Water Quality

For the Chesapeake Bay to be a productive ecosystem, the water of the Bay and its tributaries must be healthy: it should be clear, rich in oxygen and free of chemical contaminants.

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