Caring for Our Watersheds is the Chesapeake Bay's longest-running environmental action challenge.

It’s an unparalleled opportunity for students to develop STEM knowledge, environmental and climate literacy, and civic action skills as they create solution-oriented projects to improve their watershed.

Groups of middle and high school students investigate environmental problems in their community and develop civic solutions answering the question, “What can we do to improve our watershed?”. Participation, implementation, and prize money available!

Earth Force and Nutrien provide funding that supports putting their ideas into action.

How does it work?

“What can you do to improve your watershed?”

Classrooms are asked to design and submit action project proposals that answer the question: “What can you do to improve your watershed?”

Open to Middle & High School classrooms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Educators are eligible to receive professional development and support from Earth Force and its partners.

Win Money to Create Change

Classrooms compete for $6,000. Participating schools and clubs are eligible for $10,000. Implementation funding is available for $10,000.

How can I join?

Attend an info session with your students on Opening Day (see below!) to learn more about this opportunity and ask questions.

Miss the session? Email us to get the recording and set up a 1:1 meeting.

Participating educators can join our ’23-’24 Cohort! This group meets monthly to provide support and tips for the challenge. Click here to join! 

“I have received consistent and positive support in implementing this program that allows our students to solve real world problems in their community. The dedication of this nonprofit has led to an improved community and an engaged youth that understand how to make positive change.”
Mary Breslin
George Washington Middle School

Meet your Earth Force Coach!

Sarah Jennings coordinates the Caring for Our Watersheds Chesapeake Bay challenge. She was a K-12 public school teacher in various states for a decade and has managed NOAA B-WET grants. She is a certified trainer of NAAEE's K-12 Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence. She is passionate about empowering young people to be environmental advocates and giving adults skills to facilitate this process. Email her to schedule your first free 1:1 coaching session: sjennings@earthforce.org.

May 2, 2024

2023-2024 Finals

Congratulations to all the educators and young people who participated this year! Click below to watch the Finals replay!

Click Here

Virtual Showcase

Important Dates

Oct. 16 + Jan. 17

Attend an info session with your students on Opening Day to learn more about this opportunity and ask questions. Attending an info session is mandatory to kick off the competition for your students and will be offered at multiple times throughout the day. Sign up for one of the times with your students. 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, and 2:30 PM. Miss opening day? Email us to get the recording and set up a 1:1 meeting.

Feb. 16, 2024

Deadlines to submit an action plan and get feedback. Submit early to get feedback! High School and Middle School (5th grade can be considered) of groups of 10 or more will submit the goal and strategies for an innovative, realistic solution to how students want to improve their watershed. 10 finalists are selected by community experts. All proposals can apply for implementation funding after the announcement, with priority of funding for finalists. (Teachers: when logging in, apply for the "classroom" Chesapeake Bay Watershed contest.)

May 2, 2024


The top 10 Environmental Civic Action Stories are announced for the final competition for prize money ranging from $300 to $1,000. Student groups take part in a reflection panel. All non-finalist action stories are showcased and voted on for a People's Choice Award for $200 prize money. 

Find an event

Find all events and professional development opportunities on our Events page

Watch Caring for Our Watersheds Students Reflect on Their Experiences

Interested in Volunteering?

Volunteers can work directly with students and educators as a classroom presenter, mentor, or a project judge!

Volunteers will:

  • Build youth-adult partnerships with the next generation of changemakers
  • Learn about students’ innovative project ideas and provide input to strengthen their ask for a change
  • Receive swag or a gift card for participation

Download the SY 23-24 Chesapeake Bay Caring for Our Watersheds Toolkit now to get started!

The program is a project of Nutrien in partnership with nonprofit organizations around the world. Earth Force is proud to be the host of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caring for Our Watersheds.

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