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Unique Program & Traditions

Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Marine and Environmental Science (CBGS) is unique in that a significant portion of students' learning experiences occur in the natural environment. CBGS also creates a "community of learners" where the social and emotional needs of gifted and high-ability students are fostered through focused enrichment and peer group activities.

Field Studies
Each of the field studies experience is a cornerstone of the curriculum that teaches a core aspect of marine and environmental science and includes field labs where students are sampling real populations, making their own observations and drawing conclusions. Students are immersed in a three-day field expedition of adventure, academics and camaraderie. Sophomores embark on a mountain climbing, geological camping journey from the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park down to the fossil laden flat beaches of the Coastal Plain in their watershed survey. The Juniors take to the water on an estuary investigation aboard an authentic Chesapeake Bay deadrise boat tonging for oysters, pulling crab pots and hauling otter trawls. Students then climb aboard kayaks for two days of marsh exploration from the tidal freshwater marshes of the Western shore of the Bay to the extensive salt marshes of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Seniors culminate their tenure at CBGS with a long weekend at the Outer Banks conducting an intensive investigation of the coastal processes and nearshore ecology of the Outer Banks barrier islands.

All- Site Events
CBGS has three distinct campus locations and serves students from fourteen high schools. As one school, we meet periodically at “All-Site” events where the entire CBGS student body is intermingled for learning activities, social events and presentations.

Orientation Week
The first week of school our All-Site event takes place at Belle Isle State Park where students are grouped by grade and all three campuses work together. Activities include college counseling for Seniors, kayak training, ecological sampling and wacky chemistry for Juniors; seining, water quality and study skills for Sophomores.

Research Symposium
The research symposium is held annually at Virginia Commonwealth University. CBGS seniors formally present their two-year independent research projects before an audience of their peers, parents, teachers, and scientists. Each research presentation is judged by a panel of scientists from local colleges and universities. Awards are given to the best projects and a keynote speaker closes the event with a presentation. Many students will later take their presentations to the annual Virginia Junior Academy of Science competition.

Students from each campus compete in a variety of annual competitions. The Blue Crab Bowl/National Ocean Sciences Bowl, the Rappahannock Community College Math Challenge, Envirothon and the Virginia Junior Academy of Science are some of the competitions our students enter each year.

Alumni Day
CBGS alumni are invited to return for a day of sharing stories about college, advice for current students, and a Question & Answer session about specific colleges of interest to prospective students.

Spring Picnic
The spring picnic is an all-site event traditionally held in May. Students have the opportunity to get their yearbooks signed, compete in across-campus games of volleyball, and quality peer interaction at the end of a long school year.