GEOL 105 Earth Lab: Historical Ecology of the Chesapeake Bay 2015
Students took field trips to Stratford Hall, on the banks of the Potomac River, and fossil localities on the Piankatank River and surrounding area, to collect fossils and document the biological communities in the region before development of the modern Bay and the arrival of humans. The third week of the course was spent in Washington, DC, where the class visited the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the American Museum of Natural History. Students also got a tour of the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD, and a presentation from Dr Leslie Reeder-Myers on archaeological insights into Bay history; as well as visiting Native American and Colonial era archaeological sites at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD. A visit to the Library of Congress Map Division gave students the opportunity to inspect maps of the Chesapeake Bay region, including John Smith's 1612 map. A day trip to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach provided a sense of the conservation efforts being undertaken in an effort to "Save the Bay" and return it, as near as possible, to the Bay explored by Smith in 1607-1609.