by Stephanie Smith
June 20, 2016
In 2016, the Chesapeake Bay Commission worked with the legislatures of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia to designate the second week in June of each year as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week—a time to celebrate the culture, history and natural beauty of the nation’s largest estuary.
From June 4th through 12th this year, residents and visitors alike participated in this inaugural celebration by attending events, participating in restoration activities and learning about the importance of the Chesapeake Bay. Below are just a few of the ways communities marked the occasion.
Across the watershed, the first day of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week coincided with National Trails Day. Events across the watershed encouraged hikers young and old, beginners and experts to enjoy the outdoors.
- The Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts hosted a screening of Beautiful Swimmers Revisted, a film by author Tom Horton, photographer Dave Harp and filmmaker Sandy Cannon Brown that looks back at William Warner’s 1976 Pulitzer Prize winning book about the Bay’s iconic blue crab.
- Hundreds of kayakers took to the waters of the Inner Harbor for the inaugural Baltimore Flotilla for a Healthy Harbor, to draw attention to water quality in the city.
- The Chesapeake Bay Foundation held its annual Bands in the Sand at the Philip Merrill Environmental Center.
- Former State Senator Bernie Fowler measured a ‘sneaker index’ of 31 inches in his annual Patuxent River Wade-In.
- State Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding toured a family farm in York County, supporting the work that farmers in the area are doing to reduce agricultural runoff. The Gross Family Farm was highlighted as a model for best practices that help prevent excess nutrients and sediment from flowing into the Bay.
- Hundreds of cyclists toured Harrisburg’s 20-mile Capital Area Greenbelt, which follows along the Susquehanna Riverfront, at the Tour De Belt event.
- Dozens of Susquehanna sojourners set off from Laceyville on a five-day canoe and kayak trip down the river’s North Branch.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources hosted a variety of events, from guided hikes to birding workshops to educational talks.
- The Chesapeake Bay Foundation kicked off Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week with their annual Clean the Bay Day. According to the nonprofit, nearly 6,000 volunteers at more than 260 sites across the state cleaned up 138,000 pounds of litter.
- State Senator Emmett Hangar visited with farmers from Augusta County to recognize their work to improve local water quality, such as using fences to prevent livestock from entering nearby streams.
- Bobby Whitescarver—a conservation farmer in Swoope, Virginia—gave a tour of where the Middle River runs through his land, showcasing the buffers and fences he uses to protect the waterway’s health.
- The Nature Generation hosted more than 70 guests for its Catch and Count Creek Creatures event, where participants worked to test and improve the water quality of South Fork Catoctin Creek.
How did you celebrate Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week? Let us know in the comments!