Paddling Programs

Sultana Education Foundation’s (SEF) Paddling Programs allow students to safely captain their own canoe or kayak under the supervision of the organization’s trip leaders while exploring a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay near their school. SEF Paddling Programs focus on estuarine and wetland ecology while making interdisciplinary connections with the history of the Chesapeake’s Native American populations and the 1608 expeditions of Captain John Smith. During programs, students examine maps of the Chesapeake Bay, conduct tests to monitor water quality, explore shoreline environments, identify wetland plants, visit historic points of interest, and pull seine nets to sample marine life.

Frequently Asked Questions

SEF paddling programs accommodate students in 5th grade and older. Younger students can be accommodated in canoes if the group is able to provide an adult chaperone for the stern of each boat.

Paddling programs can take place aboard canoes or kayaks depending upon the age level, skill set, group size, and interests of the participating group.

Kayaking programs can accommodate up to 16 students, while canoe programs can accommodate up to 30 students. Numbers may vary according to grade level. Larger groups can also be accommodated if the paddling experience is combined with land-based activities.

Yes. Paddling programs can be combined with programs at Sultana’s Holt Education Center, Lawrence Wetland Preserve, or under-sail programs on the schooner SULTANA. Please contact the Foundation for options of hybrid programs.

A standard full day paddling program for 30 students starts at $250. Tuition costs vary by location and the complexity of the program. Weekend overnight programs with an average of 10 students are generally in the range of $1500.

Padding programs generally focus on 1) basic paddling instruction and safety, 2) estuarine and wetland ecology, 3) human impact on the environment, and 4) human history in the Chesapeake region. These general curriculum themes can be customized to meet the specific needs of participating groups.

Most of Sultana Education Foundation’s paddling programs take place at public landings on the Chester and Sassafras Rivers. With enough advanced notice, programs can also be scheduled further afield on the middle and upper Chesapeake Bay. Additional sites used in previous years include Tuckahoe State Park, Martinak State Park (Choptank River), Mattingly Avenue Park (Potomac River), Mallows Bay (Potomac River), Fisherman’s Park (Susquehanna River), and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Yes – all student participants are required to wear Type III life jackets at all times.

No. Sultana’s paddling programs are designed for novice paddlers.

Safety is the Sultana Education Foundation’s number one priority. Our paddling programs are led by American Canoe Association certified Canoe and Kayak instructors. Paddling trip leaders are also certified Red Cross lifeguards, while senior trip leaders are currently certified Wilderness First Responders (WFRs).

Sultana makes every effort to accommodate participants with disabilities. Please contact Foundation staff to discuss your specific needs.