School Programs

Each year the Sultana Education Foundation (SEF) helps more than 10,000 students experience the Chesapeake Bay and learn what they can do to restore North America’s largest estuary. SEF’s school programs complement existing classroom curricula and help participating schools fulfill their Environmental Literacy program requirements. Many of SEF’s core programs are certified by the Maryland State Department of Education. SEF’s core programs include:

To discuss scheduling a program for your school or youth group please contact Chris Cerino at

Current Offerings

The Sultana Education Foundation’s (SEF) Paddling Programs allow school students and small youth groups to safely captain their own canoe or kayak while exploring a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay near their school. SEF Paddling Programs focus on wetlands, shoreline, and shallow water ecology while making interdisciplinary connections with the history of the Chesapeake’s Native populations and the expeditions of Captain John Smith. During a typical program, students examine maps of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, conduct tests to monitor water quality, explore shoreline environments, identify wetland plants, and pull seine nets to sample marine life.

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SEF’s state-of-the art Holt Education Center hosts student programs focusing on biology, environmental science, geography, and related human history. Programs are tailored to fit specific school and grade-level goals, but can include organism dissection, animal physiology, geography, hydrology, estuary science, climate change, and Native American history. Programs at the Holt Center can easily be combined with other SEF programs to create a full-day or multi-day experience.

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A reproduction of a 1768 Royal Navy schooner, SULTANA provides an ideal platform for introducing students to the history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay. Onboard, students work with SEF’s professional staff to trawl for fish and crabs, explore the concept of water quality, learn about the importance of estuaries, and explore life in the 18th century. A variety of curriculum variants are available for schooner SULTANA programs.

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Ages 3+ / Free* - $150 / 30-90 Minutes
*Email for Details

Sultana Education Foundation’s Virtual Classroom LIVE! programs provide youth groups, learning pods and schools with a unique way to spice up distance learning opportunities for children. Using a variety of artifacts, visual aids, and even live critters, SEF staff members bring the subject matter to life using teaching techniques that are interactive and fun. Virtual Classroom LIVE! programs generally last 30 – 90 minutes, can be designed for all ages, and focus on Chesapeake Bay ecology, Native Americans of the Chesapeake region, or maritime life aboard the 1768 schooner SULTANA.

 To arrange or for more information email or visit the website!

SEF’s newest facility, the Lawrence Wetlands Preserve is an 8.5-acre urban nature center featuring a variety of ecosystems located in Chestertown, directly adjacent to the Foundation’s Holt Education Center. Lawrence Preserve programs provide an opportunity for students to explore fresh-water and terrestrial ecosystems while learning how land use in the watershed ultimately impacts the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The Lawrence Preserve is also ideal for MWEE and hands-on student service-learning/action projects. Please Note: The Lawrence Preserve Classroom is currently under development and offering limited programs to small groups and schools through the year.

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SEF regularly works with schools and school systems to develop in-depth citizen science programs that see students participate in a long-term habitat investigation producing tangible data and/or habitat improvement. Using Radcliffe Creek as a case study and following MWEE (Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience) program components, Watershed Watch helps students understand how watersheds function, how human activity impacts downstream water quality, and how communities can improve both their local tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.

Watershed Watch Field Notebook
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Teacher & Education Resources

Offered in partnership with organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, NOAA, and the National Park Service, SEF professional development programs provide opportunities for teachers to improve core content knowledge, refine pedagogy, and (for Maryland Teachers) earn required CPD (certified professional development) credits. Participants are generally recruited from SEF’s existing Partner Schools, however teachers from outside this group are occasionally able to participate.

Current Programs - none at this time
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The Sultana Education Foundation has developed a wide variety of curriculum aids focusing on the history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay. Developed in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the National Park Service, and classroom teachers, SEF’s curriculum materials meet MSDE’s Common Core Standards for science and social studies and can be easily integrated into the classroom setting.

Curriculum Aids Download Page

The Sultana Education Foundation is committed to ensuring that its programs are available to every student and provides over $200,000 in tuition support to participating schools each year. The costs of an SEF experience vary depending on the program, the number of participating students, the location, and the date. We recommend that you schedule your program as far in advance as possible as our program calendar fills quickly. If you are interested in pricing or scheduling an SEF program, please contact Chris Cerino at

Ages 5+ / FREE! 

The Sultana Education Foundation’s Virtual Classroom website -, provides extensive materials for use by children, classrooms, families, home school and youth groups. This includes over 60 videos and exercises related to the history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay.Sultana’s Virtual Classroom website also provides links to additional Bay-related learning resources for children. Go take a deep dive, you won’t be disappointed.