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Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences

High schoolers: Dig in and get wet, Aug. 12-16, 2013. 

environ sci

Plankton investigation at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Through the University of Baltimore Environmental Sciences Summer Academy, you'll become familiar with local ecosystems, their complexity and the current issues involved in environmental protection and preservation. You'll also be exposed to the methods and equipment used to assess and characterize ecosystem features, and you'll be introduced to the scientific method and the basics of analytical research. At the end of the program, you'll show off your work to your peers during a poster session, the most common method of exchanging results in science.

Get ready for an exciting, challenging experience in how environmental science works. Learn to appreciate the beauty and wonders of the world around us and understand its fragility and your role in raising environmental awareness.

The Program

Led by Stanley KempWolf Pecher and Brittan Wilson, all experienced environmentalists and assistant professors in the University's Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies, the academy allows you to get up close and personal with the environment via two off-campus field trips, laboratory work and a number of related classroom activities.

As many as 10 students can participate. Among the opportunities presented to you will be field studies of two riverine ecosystems: the urban watershed known as the Jones Falls and the rural Little Gunpowder—both tributaries to Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary and home to more than 300 species of fish, crab and shellfish. As a UB Environmental Sciences Summer Academy student, you will become familiar with local ecosystems, their complexity, and the current issues involved in environmental protection and preservation. Overall, you can expect an exciting, challenging experience in how environmental science works. At the same time, the academy encourages you to:

  • appreciate the beauty and wonders of the world around us
  • understand the fragility of our natural environment and what you can do to increase awareness of it.

Finally, the program promotes your natural curiosity and fosters your growing interest in research and science.

Tentative Schedule of Events

Aug. 12: You are introduced to the environmental science laboratory at the University of Baltimore and the equipment you will use during your five-day experience. You'll take your first field trip this afternoon, in a visit to select sites along the Jones Falls. There, you will collect water samples and terrestrial and benthic invertebrates and observe and identify the flora and fauna found in the stream and surrounding wooded areas. Samples and specimens will be returned to the laboratory at UB and properly stored for analysis the following day.

Aug. 13: You'll learn about habitats in the Jones Falls Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. You will be divided into groups, each of which will be assigned to examine these habitats and conduct relevant research. This information will form the basis of the scientific posters you will present to your academy peers. In the afternoon, you'll analyze the previous day's water samples for their quality (e.g., oxygen and nitrate levels) and process them for microbiological testing. You'll identify and characterize your collected specimens.

Aug. 14: You'll visit the Little Gunpowder, studying its flora and fauna and analyzing fish communities. A highlight of this trip is collecting fish through electrofishing.

Aug. 15: You will conduct a microbiological analysis of water samples from the Jones Falls and the Little Gunpowder and continue your research for your posters for presentation tomorrow.

Aug. 16: You will finish assembling your posters for presentation later in the afternoon. You'll respond to questions from your peers about your findings, and you'll talk about your experiences as an academy participant.


The academy is open to high school students entering grades 9 to 12 in fall 2013.


Participation in the program costs $150. Transportation to the field sites is included in the fee. Please note that students are expected to provide their own lunch and snacks each day. Parents or guardians are responsible for transportation to and from the UB campus for the duration of the academy.

Register by June 28, 2013. Please print out, complete and mail in the registration form along with the participation fee.


If you have any questions, please contact Wolf Pecher at 410.837.6720 or Students requiring special accommodations are encouraged to apply. Please contact the Center for Educational Access at 410.837.4141.