Choptank Choices, NOAA B-WET (2015 – 2018)

Choptank Choices: Investigating How Human Activities Have Altered the Ecosystem of the Choptank River Over Time

Program Year(s) 2015 – 2018

School Systems Served

  • Caroline County
  • Dorchester County
  • Talbot County

Program Partners

  • Sultana Education Foundation
  • Phillips Wharf Environmental Center
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum


  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) B-WET

The Sultana Education Foundation is working with Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot County Public Schools to implement a systemic, issue-based, hands-on, multidisciplinary program known as Choptank Choices for the region’s 5th grade students and teachers focusing on how human activities in the Choptank watershed have impacted the river’s ecosystem over time. During the school year, students augment their classroom work with field investigations of the Choptank River aboard the 1768 schooner Sultana, have experts visit their classroom to discuss ways that land-use choices affect the estuary, and participate in action projects to restore habitat and improve water quality. Professional development programs for teachers include an annual, week-long summer institute in which teachers earn three Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits from the Maryland State Department of Education. Two separate one-day workshops are also offered each year.

The goals and objectives of the Choptank Choices program are to:

  • Improve teachers’ content knowledge of how land-use practices impact the water quality of the Choptank River
  • Raise teachers’ comfort level with using the outdoors as a classroom for their students
  • Increase students’ awareness of how their actions impact the health of the Choptank River
  • Promote environmental stewardship by involving students in action projects that improve water quality on the Choptank River
  • Enhance existing units on the Chesapeake Bay by providing teachers with high-quality, classroom-ready teaching materials provided by NOAA, National Geographic, and Sultana