Chesapeake Bay is one of the most beautiful estuaries in the world, so while you’re in Annapolis for WSC2022 and ISBW14, we want to make sure you see some of our favorite places. We’re offering several day-long field trip options to sites around the Bay – some remote, some urban. Field trips will take place on 10 August 2022 and depart from the conference hotel at approximately 8:00 am, although times for each may vary. Lunch and transportation are provided, but be sure to bring your own sunscreen and hat!
Review the field trip descriptions below so that you can select your preference during registration. Tours are weather dependent and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
PLEASE NOTE: We've recently added more field trip options. You're welcome to log in to your account and change your selection if you'd prefer to attend one of the newly added trips. If you previously selected the Anacostia River Tour, it has unfortunately been canceled. Registrants for that option are also free to update their registration and select another. Apologies for the inconvenience. As we progress with our planning, more information about each field trip will added to this page.
Jug Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - Boating & Kayak Tour
Jug Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, on the Patuxent River, is one of three components in the over 6,000-acre Maryland Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR). The tidal freshwater marshes and forested wetlands provide a beautiful habitat to a high diversity of fish, invertebrates, mammals and birds such as great blue heron, osprey and sora rail. Rich plant life both above and below the water’s surface form the foundation of the valuable ecosystem. Coontail, hydrilla, pondweeds, star grass and other species can be readily observed, as found during more than a decade of monitoring by the CBNERR staff. Field trip participants will explore Jug Bay’s dense submerged aquatic vegetation beds from a pontoon boat tour and optional kayak paddle provided by Patuxent River Park.
Susquehanna Flats SAV Adventure - Boat and Snorkel Tour
The Susquehanna Flats are home to one of the largest and most iconic beds of SAV in the Chesapeake Bay. During this fieldtrip, participants will take a bus to Havre de Grace, Maryland, a quaint little town right on the upper Bay. From there, we’ll boat out to the Flats to explore the incredible diversity of freshwater SAV found there. While the SAV bed is dominated by wild celery (Vallisneria americana), you can find a dozen or more other species in any given area. We’ll discuss the species present, what makes the bed so resilient, and what threats it faces. Participants will have an opportunity to swim, collect specimens to press onboard, and take beautiful pictures of the many waterfowl – including ospreys and bald eagles - that call the Susquehanna Flats home.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center- Canoe and Hike Trip
Get outside and explore the 2,600 acres at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center campus! On this excursion, you'll experience both aquatic and terrestrial habitats! You will enjoy a 2-3 hour guided canoe trip in the Chesapeake Bay, viewing various wetland features, native plants, and animals along the way. You will also go on a guided hike along some of the beautiful SERC trails, be introduced to the biodiversity of the area, and hear about various ongoing Smithsonian research endeavors. Transportation to and from the campus is provided, as is a boxed lunch and water.
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center- Kayak and Hike Trip
The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) is a 510 acre wildlife preserve that will open your eyes, ears, mind, and heart to the wildlife and historic landscapes that characterize Maryland’s Eastern Shore. During this field trip, participants will alternate between kayaking and hiking. A guided kayak tour will take you through beautiful tidal marshes and over lush beds of SAV. The guided hike will allow participants to explore native woodlands, marshes, and meadows along 4 miles of walking trails. Transportation to and from CBEC is provided, as is a boxed lunch and water. Dress appropriately!
Assateague Island - Kayak Trip
Join us for a tour of one of Maryland’s most treasured destinations – Assateague Island. Assateague is a 37-mile long barrier island and home to Maryland’s iconic wild horses, which we’ll hope to see during the excursion. The trip will include an approximately 2.5 hour long kayak paddle from Assateague Outfitters into Sinepuxent Bay over lovely SAV beds. Aside from its horses, Assateague is also well known for its colonial nesting bird habitats. Consider bringing binoculars along on this trip so that you can see the egrets, brown pelicans, herons, commons terns, and black skimmers that call Assateague home.
Dundee Creek - Kayak and Snorkel Trip
Welcome to the Chesapeake as Captain John Smith experienced it! On this excursion, you will have the opportunity to observe some of the most pristine and diverse underwater grass beds in the upper Chesapeake. Dundee Creek, a small tributary that’s part of the Gunpowder River system is home to lush meadows of grasses that provide critical nursery grounds for juvenile rockfish and our own beautiful swimmers - blue crabs. We will paddle, wade and snorkel* through the beds and learn how local students have partnered with the scientific community to connect underwater grasses to required coursework.
*If you register for this field trip, please bring your own mask and snorkel.
Poplar Island - Boat and Bus Tour
Poplar Island is a restored island located in the mid-Chesapeake Bay. Over the centuries, all but a few acres were lost to sea level rise and erosion, spurring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lead a large-scale restoration of the island using dredged material collected from the approach channels to the Baltimore Harbor.
Since its reconstruction began in 1998, Poplar Island has grown to approximately 1500 acres of mixed wetland and upland. The island now provides beneficial use for dredged material while restoring valuable remote island habitat for sensitive species. Construction of wetland habitat has provided a home to a wide variety of birds, including 38 nesting species, such as the American Oystercatcher, Glossy Ibis, Snowy Egret, Least Tern, and Common Tern. Poplar Island also hosts a thriving Diamondback Terrapin population with as many as 1,400 terrapins hatched onsite in a single year. Chesapeake Bay biologists consider Poplar Island's restoration to be a huge success for the diamondback terrapins, a brackish water turtle — and Maryland's “official state reptile.” Terrapins started laying eggs on the island almost as soon as construction workers started building the sand berms and beaches, and the island now hosts the nation's largest terrapin research and propagation project.
This field trip will include two 30-minute boat rides to and from the Tilghman Island land-base dock to Poplar Island. On-island, participants will enjoy a 2-hour bus tour with stops at points of interest. The tour guide will discuss a variety of topics pertaining to Poplar Island, including the beneficial use of dredged materials for habitat restoration, salt-marsh habitat, SAV habitat, island history, and construction timeline.
Mattawoman Creek Kayak Trip
Mattawoman Creek is a beautiful tributary on Maryland's side of the Potomac River. This trip will include a relaxed kayak paddle with stops in SAV beds where participants can see and enjoy the incredible diversity of freshwater grasses in the area. The trip will be led by Atlantic Kayak and members of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries team.