Two dozen Maryland high school students who are spending the summer helping clean up the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay were feted last week at "Youth Save the Bay Day" at Chalk Point in Prince George's County.

Among those toasting the students were Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Torrey C. Brown and Edward F. Mitchell, president of Potomac Electric Power Co., which operates a generating station at Chalk Point.

At the site, where a crew of eight Prince George's students is assigned, activities began at dawn last Thursday, as the teen-agers helped release tiny rockfish into the Patuxent River. After a crabfeast, the students, who included teen-agers from Baltimore, concluded the day with a boat tour of the river.

The students are among 800 are working on 80 environmental protection projects at 65 sites along the bay this summer. The projects are administered by the Maryland Youth Conservation Corps, a division of the state Department of Natural Resources.

At Chalk Point, students worked with hand tools to clear vines and trees from 10 dense acres where Pepco is building a nature and visitors center.

"It was hard at first, but once we got together and worked as a team, we got it done," said Eugene Fletcher, a junior at Bowie High School.

The students, who began their work July 2 and continue until Aug. 16, are being paid $3.35 an hour by the utility.

They are also taking classes in "job readiness" to prepare them for careers, and in environmental studies, to learn more about the importance of the environment and how to protect it, said Jonathan Underwood, director of the conservation corps.

Terry Newby, a sophomore at Bowie High School, said he learned about the bay, poison ivy, snakes -- and teamwork. "If we didn't work together, we couldn't do it," he said