arial-viewThe Wildfowl Trust of North America Inc. was founded in 1979 with the intent to protect wetlands for waterfowl while maintaining captive waterfowl collections for educational purposes. In 1981 the Trust purchased a 315-acre farm tract in Grasonville, Maryland on which it initially established Horsehead Wetlands Center and opened to the public in 1985. In 1998 the trust purchased an additional 195 acres and placed the now 510-acre preserve under conservation easement. The name changed in 2003 to the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center with a focus on habitat restoration and education.

As of January 2021, CBEC adopted a new mission and vision to meet the growing needs of our visitors, members, supporters and partners that will better enable us to help create the next generation of environmental stewards.


Creating healthier communities by connecting people to nature through adventure-based learning that contributes to the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay.


Transforming outdoor enthusiasts into active stewards of Chesapeake Bay and beyond.


CBEC is deeply committed to environmental sustainability by providing opportunities to all people desiring authentic outdoor recreational and educational experiences that contribute to the health of the Bay.

  1. Provide equitable access to nature.
  2. Produce ecologically literate citizens through “hands-on, feet-wet” educational experiences.
  3. Inspire a love for nature and a sense of stewardship through volunteer opportunities.
  4. Encourage the exploration of the natural world through recreational activities that enhance the quality of life.

 Mission Cores

  1. Conservation
  2. Recreation
  3. Education
  4. Stewardship