This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, the family visits the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and talks about the nature found there.


Sam: We made it to Maryland. Now we’re just a short trip away from visiting the White House.

Gina: True, but there’s a lot to see here. The Chesapeake Bay is an incredible, complex ecosystem.

Paul: That’s right. It includes important habitats. The bay and its rivers, wetlands, and forests are home to diverse groups of plants and animals.

Sam: I’m still disappointed we didn’t see any moose in Maine. I’m assuming there are no moose here. So what types of creatures can we see here?

Gina: There are so many different types of fish. Plus, we’ll most likely see crabs. Maryland is famous for blue crabs.

Claudine: Anything cuter than crabs and fish?

Paul: It’s likely we’ll see deer and squirrels, and we might see rabbits and foxes too.

Gina: And I’m hoping we don’t see a black bear.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the state of Maryland. An estuary is a semi-enclosed body of water. It is a place where freshwater (from streams and rivers) flows into the ocean and mixes with seawater.

Complex means made of many different things that connect in complicated ways.

An ecosystem is everything that exists in a particular environment, including living things (such as plants and animals) and things that are not living (such as rocks, soil, sunlight and water).

A habitat is a place where a particular type of animal or plant normally lives or grows.

Wetlands are an area of land that is covered with shallow water. Although wetland is a countable noun, it is usually used in the plural form, wetlands.

Diverse means varied; made up of many people or things that are different from one another.

Assume means to think that something is true without knowing for sure that it is true.

A creature is a living thing, such as an animal.

Chesapeake blue crab is a species of crab found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.