Legacy Institute for the Environment (LIFE)

Do you love nature? Want to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay, including the plants, animals and aquatic life that call the Chesapeake Bay area home?

LIFE is an environmental education program designed to create community among adults wishing to enhance their knowledge of the Chesapeake Bay environment and to strengthen civic engagement through volunteerism.

The LIFE curriculum consists of stimulating presentations, discussions and not-too-strenuous “hands-on, feet-wet” experiences. Upon completion, we ask participants to commit to 20 hours of volunteer service at CBEC.


Wednesdays, September 11 – October 16, 2024
9 am to 3 pm


Registration is $150. A $50 non-refundable payment is required at the time of registration; $100 payable on first day of class.

Participants are asked to commit to 20 volunteer hours following the program. Volunteer opportunities are wide-ranging: environmental education, research, restoration, and stewardship.

Topics for LIFE 2024

  • Geography/Geology/Natural History of the Chesapeake Bay. Learn how the Chesapeake Bay was formed and how humans have impacted the Bay throughout history.
  • Health of the Bay. Learn how the health of the bay is assessed, and efforts to restore ecosystems.
  • Aquatic Life in the Bay. Learn about crabs, oysters, and other aquatic life. Participate in “Catch a Bay Critter,” an education programs for people of all ages.
  • Birding at CBEC and Beyond. CBEC is a birding hotspot. Explore the property with expert birders, learn about CBEC’s captive birds of prey, and CBEC’s birding citizen science programs.
  • Animal Life at CBEC. Learn about the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians that call CBEC home. See the marsh and the woods in a whole new way.
  • Plants and Pollinators. Learn more about the important role of plants and pollinators around the Bay. Become acquainted with pollinating insects, plants, shrubs, and trees of the Chesapeake.
  • Volunteering for the Environment. Learn about all the volunteer opportunities at CBEC, meet fellow volunteers, and learn and how to become involved.


About LIFE

History of the Institute

LIFE originated at CBEC in 2004 in partnership with the University of Maryland Center on Aging. From 2005 to 2009, CBEC was joined by the Adkins Arboretum and Pickering Creek Audubon Center in co-sponsoring LIFE. Since 2010, CBEC has been the sole sponsor.

To date, approximately 150 LIFE graduates have completed the program. Grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United Way, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have supported these classes.

CBEC remains committed to the long-term sustainability of the Institute

Vision of LIFE

Through education and volunteerism, LIFE stewards learn about the environmental of the Chesapeake Bay and share that knowledge to contribute continually to the protection of the environment for future generations.

Mission of LIFE

The mission of LIFE is to recruit and inspire adult learners through CBEC’s annual LIFE Institute. By offering in-depth learning experiences, LIFE participants expand their knowledge of the Chesapeake Bay environment to become more well-informed citizens and to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the outdoors through volunteerism.