Hundreds of amateur and professional paddlers participate in the 2015 General Clinton Canoe Regatta on May 25, 2015. The race is one of many recreational events that takes places in the watershed. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

Summer is here and so is the start of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, a time to celebrate the history and culture of the nation’s largest estuary. This year, the event will focus on recreation in the watershed: between June 5-13, we will spotlight different ways to enjoy the Bay and its rivers, from boating and hiking to cooking and virtual bird watching. Celebrate from wherever you are in the watershed with these highlights of #BayAwarenessWeek.

  1. Join a Virginia-wide restoration event: Clean the Bay Day is a decades-old event from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that invites Virginians to get out and pick up litter, plant native plants and install rain barrels throughout the southern watershed region from May 31 to June 5.
  2. Champion the rivers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Farther north, the Lancaster Conservancy will be celebrating its rivers during Lancaster Water Week between June 4-12. The celebration includes events, social media and a pledge to protect the region’s invaluable tributaries.
  3. Take the Patuxent River Challenge: Participate in a variety of outdoor activities throughout the Patuxent River watershed and document your participation to win prizes.
  4. Test the waters of Otter Point Creek: On June 5, the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center will host their own version of the classic Bernie Fowler Wade-In. With a $5 entrance fee, the event will include live music and family-friendly entertainment.
  5. Fish for free in Maryland and Virginia: Take part in one of the Bay watershed’s top recreational activities without purchasing a license. Free-fishing days will take place from June 4-6 in Virginia and on June 5 and 12 in Maryland.
  6. Visit an urban garden in Washington, D.C. to learn about herbs: On June 7, join botanist Holly Poole-Kavana as she describes the herbs growing in the LeDroit Park Community Garden.
  7. Teach your children about the world’s oceans: On June 8, the Norfolk Botanical Garden will host an in-person program for World Oceans Day. Learn about the ways you can help protect the world’s oceans, and then go on a tour of the Washed Ashore, an exhibit of art sculptures made of retrieved litter.
  8. Join a free webinar on recreation in the Bay watershed: The Chesapeake Bay Program will host a free and open webinar on June 8 all about recreation in the region. Learn about tools that’ll help you plan an outing and take part in discussion about the best ways to enjoy the Bay and its rivers and lands.
  9. Learn about the Oyster Wars of the Chesapeake: The Smithsonian Institute will host a virtual event on June 10 about the notorious Oyster Wars that took place in the Chesapeake Bay from the mid-19th century through the 1950’s.
  10. Learn to kayak with the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center: On June 13, this guided kayak tour through the watershed of Marshy Creek in Grasonville, Maryland will teach beginner and intermediates the basics of kayaking.
  11. Wade into the Patuxent River with Senator Bernie Fowler: See how far former Senator Bernie Fowler gets into the Patuxent River before he can no longer see his sneakers in this creative test of Bay health. This is the 34th annual Patuxent River Wade-In.
  12. Share your story: Each day of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week will focus on a different category of recreation. During these days, organizations, businesses, community groups and individuals are invited to share their connections to the Bay. Use our social media toolkit to make your posts and include the hashtag #BayAwarenessWeek.

Looking for more events? There are a number of other online and in-person activities that can be found on our Attend an Event calendar. Join in on the fun and help celebrate this incredible region throughout the week:

  • June 5: On the water
  • June 6: Parks and trails
  • June 7: In your neighborhood
  • June 8: In your home
  • June 9: Connecting with food
  • June 10: Community science
  • June 11: Museums and historic locations
  • June 12: Volunteering and community engagement
  • June 13: Environmental stewardship



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