CAPE CHARLES, VA—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) christened its newest education vessel, the Mary P, at the Cape Charles Yacht Center on Monday, June 25. The 50-foot-long boat is a classic Chesapeake deadrise built to carry up to 49 passengers and two crew members across the waters of the Bay and its many tributaries.

“This amazing new vessel will allow more students to get outside and explore the Bay’s unique ecosystems, history and culture,” said CBF Vice President of Education Tom Ackerman. “On board the Mary P, students from across the Bay watershed will conduct field investigations in one of the wildest and most pristine areas on the Eastern Seaboard.”

The Mary P is based at CBF’s Port Isobel Island Environmental Education Center, which is accessible only by boat in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay near Tangier Island. The island center offers an unforgettable experience that supports state standards of learning.  Students collect authentic scientific data, which they interpret and analyze with CBF staff. Aboard the Mary P, they may test water chemistry, examine sources of pollution, and survey crabs and other aquatic life in nearby grass beds.

The Mary P is named in honor of the late Mary Eyre Peacock, who grew up swimming and sailing off Cape Charles.  It was built by Eugene Evans at Evans Boat Repair in Crisfield, MD. The Mary P is made possible thanks to generous support from the estate of Mary Eyre Peacock; as well as H. Furlong Baldwin; E. Polk Kellam Foundation Fund II at the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation; Brad and Liz Worsham; Daniel A. Gecker and Elizabeth A. Gibbs; and Grace P. Tazewell.

Every year CBF provides hands-on learning experiences to more than 30,000 students on field experiences at 15 education centers that stretch from Pennsylvania headwaters to the mouth of the Bay in Virginia. Studies have shown that environmental education improves academic performance, increases civic engagement, and instills a belief that individuals can make a difference. Teachers interested in signing up their classes can register by visiting www.cbf.org/education or call CBF’s scheduling offices at 410-268-8816.