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Take Action

Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Program Take Action section. Here you can find a bunch of ways to connect with the Chesapeake Bay and all it offers.

How to Build a Rain Barrel

Rain barrels collect and store a portion of the rainwater that runs out of a downspout or off of a roof, keeping this runoff out of our rivers and streams. This water is unsafe for drinking, but can be used to water plants or wash cars.


For Bay restoration to be a success, we all must do our part. Our everyday actions - from fertilizing our lawns and using water to driving our cars to work and school - have a major impact on the Bay, one that can't be fixed by government and non-profit restoration partners alone. By making simple changes in our lives, each one of us can take part in restoring the Bay and its rivers for future generations to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

“Grasscycle” Lawn Clippings

Instead of fertilizing, leave leftover grass clippings on your lawn for a natural source of nitrogen.

Photo Credit: Scott Robinson/Flickr

Reduce Pesticide Use

Make your own garden insect repellents using common household items like garlic, vinegar and cooking oil.

Photo Credit: Simon Garcia/Flickr

Start an Environmental Club

Start or join an environmental club at your school to help raise awareness of Bay-related issues.

Photo Credit: Max Wheeler/Flickr

Know Your Grass

Identify the grass growing in your yard so you can care for it properly. For example, cool-season grasses are best fertilized in fall.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Fish Responsibly

Practice proper catch-and-release fishing techniques to avoid harming and killing the Bay's fish.

Photo Credit: Envios/Flickr

Use Chemical-Free Personal Products

Use chemical-free lotions, cosmetics and perfumes to keep chemicals from washing off of our bodies and into our waterways.

Photo Credit: Chad Horwedel/Flickr

Improve Wildlife Habitat

Plant a wide variety of plants, trees and shrubs in your yard to attract different kinds of wildlife.

Photo Credit: ewitch / Flickr

Reduce Polluted Runoff

Bring your car to a car wash instead of washing it at home. Car washes often clean and recycle wash water.

Attend an event

Find a fun and exciting Bay-related event to attend with this list of upcoming events happening across the Chesapeake watershed. Events range from nature workshops for children and families to bird walks to restoration activities like trash clean-ups and invasive plant removals.

Spring Native Plant Sale

04/26/2014 Virginia Living Museum (Newport News,Virginia) - Choose from an array of beautiful plants and many other native trees, shrubs and perennials for a variety of gardening sites and styles. The Virginia Living Museum's horticulture staff holds this annual sale as a fund-raiser, but the real goal is to intro

Celebrate the Earth Day at the VLM

04/26/2014 Virginia Living Museum (Newport News,Virginia) - The Virginia Living Museum celebrates Earth Day with special activities for our animals and guests. Observe the animals as they receive toys, treats and other enrichment activities to stimulate natural behaviors. The red wolves and coyotes may devour ice

Fort McHenry Field Day

04/26/2014 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Baltimore,Maryland) - Give a day for the Bay! Join the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) for a debris cleanup and tree planting at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. It's the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, and to participate in Project Clea

Kenya Safari Information Meeting

04/29/2014 Virginia Living Museum (Newport News,Virginia) - The Virginia Living Museum and the Virginia Zoo are planning a classic safari to Kenya Nov. 5-15, 2014. Organized by Classic Escapes, the trip includes the services of an East African naturalist and is escorted by Greg Bockheim, executive director of the

Sail on the Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester

05/03/2014 Nathan of Dorchester (Cambridge,Maryland) - Experience a 2-hour sail on the scenic Choptank River on the last skipjack built for oyster dredging. Watch the crew dredge for oysters with a hand dredge, and see what comes onboard. Help us celebrate our 20th Anniversary!

Join a group

See our directory of watershed organizations that includes contact information for more than 600 nonprofit organizations that are actively working to restore and conserve natural resources and create sustainable communities across the Chesapeake watershed.

watershed orgs

Looking to join a watershed organization near you? Enter your address below to find out what groups are doing great things to restore and protect the environment in your locality.

Visit the Chesapeake

Exploring Chesapeake Bay Stewardship - In the spirit of keeping America beautiful, visit one of these Gateways to learn about the conservation and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay. These Gateways, in addition to offering a diversity of engaging activities, exemplify the spirit of stewardship by working to preserve the Bay's history, habitats, and wildlife.

Adkins Arboretum

Adkins Arboretum allows visitors to explore the environment of an upstream Bay tributary on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The Arboretum is dedicated to the protection of the Delmarva Peninsula's natural heritage, the conservation of the region's indigenous flora and the preservation of open space and habitat for wildlife.

Battle Creek Cypress Swamp

This 100-acre nature sanctuary, located in Prince Frederick, Maryland, was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1957 to protect the primeval beauty of this cypress swamp. The Battle Creek cypress stand, unusual this far north, is presumed to have established itself sometime in the last 10,000 years. Walk along the quarter-mile boardwalk trail to listen to nature's harmony of calling frogs and songbirds, and with quiet patience you may even catch a glimpse of some of the abundant life supported by this wetland.

Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge

Dedicated to conservation and restoration, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Natural Wildlife Preserve, part of the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, is a crucial stopover along avian migratory paths. With a diversity of habitats and species to see, visitors witness an excellent example of Bay stewardship.

Hoffler Creek Wildife Preserve

The Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, located in Portsmouth, Virginia, provides food and cover for an unusually diverse population of wildlife, including deer, fox, river otters, crabs, oysters, and hundreds of birds. Interpretive trails winding through the preserve introduce visitors to the ecological, economic, and social value of the wildlife living at the mouth of the historic James River and Chesapeake Bay.

Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge was specifically created to protect essential bald eagle nesting, feeding, and roosting habitats along the Potomac River. Along with active eagle nesting, the refuge hosts a rookery containing more than 1,200 nests for great blue herons. Visitors can view the refuge along two trails, one through woods and one in Great Marsh.

See more places to visit.

Public Access

Public access points are places anyone can visit to swim, hike, paddle or simply enjoy the history and natural beauty of the Chesapeake. Providing access to natural areas helps the public build a connection with the rivers, forests and wildlife of the Bay watershed. Check out our interactive map with over 1000 public access points around the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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