The Bay Offers Up the Perfect Valentine

101423-1285Photo by Donnie Biggs.

I must be the only person in the entire Chesapeake Bay area who doesn't know how to serve an oyster on the half shell. Butter? Lemon? Old Bay? I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea. But it's time I learn. My husband loves them, and I'm planning to buy a dozen for Valentine's Day.

In this, at least, I am not alone. Oyster sales spike on Valentine's Day alongside chocolate and bubbly. Seafood shops are stocking up, and restaurants are adding the epicurean indulgence to their Saturday night lover's menus.

Kevin McClaren who runs Marinetics, Inc., home of the famous Choptank Sweets oysters, has been hustling since last week to fill all the orders that have come in. He likens the work to a well-coordinated dance. "It's like a ballet," he says, "Taking them out, washing them off, getting them on ice, packing them up. Over and over. All day." A manly ballet, he adds.

Kevin says his business more than doubled this week. Whole Foods alone ordered 6,000. Most of his sales are to local and regional restaurants that will be serving them up roasted, fried, dusted with chocolate, and of course, raw on the half shell.

Long considered an aphrodisiac, the humble oyster was said to have given the 18th Century Venetian playboy, Giacomo Casanova, his swagger. In 2005, Italian researchers claimed they had the proof to turn the myth into a reality. Their work showed that Mediterranean mussels contained two amino acids associated with amorous behavior in animals. In the end, however, mussels are not oysters, and their study subjects were not human. More recently, it's been said that a high concentration of zinc in oysters could induce a romantic response, but one would have to gobble them down in gluttonous quantities more likely to induce vomiting than romance.

Myth or not, oysters remain high on the list of essentials for gastronomic courtship. Behind the seafood counter at Whole Foods in Annapolis, Lamont Jackson expects to shuck nearly 600 of the stony Bay jewels on Saturday. Normally oyster sales hover at around 50 per day. I asked him why he thought so many people bought oysters on Valentine's Day, and his answer was probably the best I'd heard so far: "I think they add something fun to the table."

That's what I'm hoping for when I serve them up tomorrow tonight. After all, it has been scientifically proven that fun is the best recipe for a long, happy marriage.

Kimbra Cutlip, CBF's Senior Multimedia Writer

Learn how we're restoring these beloved creatures of the Chesapeakeand perfect Valentines.


Riding for Clean Water

Tourdetalbot2014

Why go to France when you can go to Talbot! Join us this fall in a ride across Talbot County, Maryland, to benefit the Bay. While steep climbs through the Alps and rolling vineyards may not be on the agenda, salty Bay breezes and watermen's villages certainly will.

On September 7, 2014, hundreds of cyclists will take in the scenic beauty of Maryland's Eastern Shore and support clean water while riding in the 10th Annual Tour de Talbot. More than just a bike ride, the Tour de Talbot gives back to local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay by supporting the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).

Register as an individual, join a team, or create your own team—there are many ways to participate in this fun event that brings together cyclists of all ages and abilities. Last year's 375 registrants included pro riders, kids, and everyone in between.

Registration includes lunch, a drink ticket, and a T-shirt; rest stops on the banks of the Wye and Choptank Rivers with food and drinks; fully marked routes of 20, 62, and 100 miles; and cheering crowds at the finish line! Kids under 16 ride for free.

The ride supports the work of MRC to preserve and protect the Miles, Wye, and Choptank Rivers, and Eastern Bay. And this year for the first time, it also supports CBF's mission to Save the Bay. Once you register, you can raise funds using the event website, and win prizes, too. The rider who raises the most money will win a Diamondback road bike that retails for $2,200! Don’t miss it!

Event sponsors for the 10th Annual Tour de Talbot include Bicycling Magazine, Calhoon MEBA Engineering School, Bay Pediatric Center, Bike Doctor, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Dock Street Foundation and Tuckahoe Strategies.

—Brie Wilson


Photo of the Week: Show Off Your #BaySelfie!

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A happy dog and his owner swimming the mouth of Dividing Creek. Friends camping at Janes Island State Park. A father-daughter duo fishing for white perch on an unusually cool Saturday morning in July. 

These are just a few of the recent "Bay Selfie" photos that fellow water lovers have sent us this summer. And I'm sure you have quite a few of your own, too—we'd love to see them! 

Take a moment now to check out our "Bay Selfie" photo album on Facebook and be sure to "like" your favorites. Then, show off your love for the Bay and its rivers and streams by sharing your own selfie or favorite photo of family and friends enjoying our waters. 

These photos of the extraordinary people and places along the waters we all love remind us why we do the work that we do. Our memories of these moments—and those to come—are worth fighting for. And with your help, that's what CBF is doing every day. 

Enjoy the last gasp of summer this coming Labor Day Weekend, preferably out on the water. And don't forget your camera or smartphone!

—Emmy Nicklin, CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media

 Send us your Bay Selfies! Show us the places that mean the most to you, and tell us why. 


Pennsylvania Discovery Trips: What's in Your Backyard?

Photo 5
Photo by Kim Patten/CBF Staff.

Pennsylvania has more miles of rivers and streams than almost any other state in the nation, and summer is a great time to get out and experience the tremendous beauty and unique habitats our waterways have to offer.

CBF invites you to join us on an upcoming "Discovery Trip" for members and friends.

On our June trip, participants enjoyed all the wonder of the Yellow Breeches. Fantastic weather set the stage for sightings of deer, wood ducks, egrets, kingfishers, and several wood turtles.

There are two more opportunities to get out on the water--join us if you can:

    1. Thursday, July 24 on the Swatara Creek in Dauphin County, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    2. Saturday, August 2 on the Susquehanna River near Port Treverton, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Participants paddle a three- to five-mile stretch of a local creek, stream, or Susquehanna River. Each trip is led by CBF's Susquehanna Watershed Education Program (SWEP) staff, who provide everything you'll need for a fun and safe adventure. This includes, but is not limited to, canoes, paddles, lifejackets, snacks, and an introductory paddling instruction. Any paddling skill level is welcome, no experience necessaryThese are family-fun events!

Click here to learn more and to register. We'll see you out on the water! 

—Kelly Donaldson and Kim Patten, CBF Staff

 


The Two Chesapeakes

BySam ChambersPhoto by Sam Chambers.

The following first appeared in 
Bay Journal earlier this month.
 
Two lanes of traffic bake in the summer sun, immobile. Engines idle while passengers sit inside their cars, sweating in the tepid air of an overtaxed air conditioner. They are headed to the beach, suspended 186 feet over the Chesapeake Bay on the William Preston Lane Memorial (Bay) Bridge, part of the vast exodus to Ocean City.
 
The thick, fleshy pads of water lilies bob as kids wade in with a seine net along the shoreline, looking for silversides and translucent grass shrimp. They’ve been at it all afternoon, and their fingers are puckered. Just up the bank, a few others dangle their fishing lines into the water in what they hope is an irresistible fashion—they have the serious job of catching fish for dinner.
 
These are today’s two versions of the Chesapeake. One is known by the water-dwellers, chaperoned in their adventures by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Sultana Education Foundation and other like-minded organizations. Representing the other is the great, ocean-oriented car caravan that mobilizes from Fridays through Sundays. Cars creep forward in Bay Bridge traffic, the passengers inside unaware that the same salty, sun-glazed magic they’re struggling toward is on offer, right under their tires.
 
A few generations ago, when the sun balefully scorched the summer, the Bay’s shorelines would teem with people seeking relief. Only a few decades later, those same beaches are empty as people drive for hours to claim their gull-buzzed, crowded square foot of sugar-fine sand. We’ve read the headlines and heard the reports: “Dead Zones,” “Pollution,” “Not Safe to Swim.” This, we believe, is our current Chesapeake: past all hope. Pretty sunsets, though.
 
But every summer day, Chesapeake environmental organizations are disproving these misconceptions. They show our children the experiences that earlier generations enjoyed as their Bay birthrights: trot-lining for crabs, swimming for hours where fish wink like coins in a wishing well and falling to sleep lulled by the broken bass groans of bullfrogs. These halcyon days along the Chesapeake aren’t gone. They are happening even as we flee our suburbs and cities for the ocean, dismissing the Bay that still has so much summer’s essence to be savored.
 
Admittedly, the Chesapeake is no longer the clear water refuge of the past. As our population grows along its shores, the Bay’s quality attenuates accordingly. But to hold the Chesapeake Bay to a past standard is an effort in futility. That old Bay, the one my grandfather progged for softshells in 6-foot visibility, probably isn’t coming back.
 
Our nostalgia for the past, though, shouldn’t prevent us from appreciating the Bay we have before us, even if our grand cleanup efforts have not yet yielded the pristine results we are striving for.
There are problems with this modern Chesapeake Bay—places where we can’t swim or fish. In the thick fug of the summer, it has algae blooms. But these issues are not universal. A short drive can lead to a shady swimming hole, an osprey-circled fishing spot or a quiet stretch of sand, loblollies and dunes.
 
Within Maryland parks alone, there are 16 public swimming beaches, 27 spots with canoe and kayaking facilities and 48 anglers’ paradises. Watershed wide there are hundreds of such sites.
But too often, our kids grow up spending summers at the ocean because we are so poisoned by the bad news we read and hear that we’ve dismissed the Bay, whole cloth. If we no longer introduce our children to the Bay, there will be a generation that is oblivious to the Chesapeake’s many charms, and doesn’t care what it becomes. For them, it will be just another landmark to tick off on their way to the ocean, which seems safe, for now.
 
For the Bay to have a fighting chance, we watershed residents have to care about it. And that can only come from positive experiences. Those can be fostered in a camp kayak, but better yet, on family trips where old and young wade in and squish the mud between their toes, hear cicadas singing in a cypress grove, and swim with breath held and eyes open, watching minnows part fore and aft to make way.
 
So, pack some sandwiches and sunscreen, and head toward your local swimming hole, whether it’s Flag Ponds Nature Park, Betterton Beach or Sandy Point. You’ll cut the ocean driving time, and best of all, you’ll get to see firsthand the pure undiluted joy our Chesapeake can still create.
 
—Kate Livie

Save the Bay Photo Contest Now Open!


2014PhotoContestBanner_458x232If you've got an eye for Bay beauty, then we've got a contest for you!

Our 2014 Photo Contest is now open to both amateur and professional photographers. We want to see your vision of the Chesapeake watershed—from Pennsylvania to Virginia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Eastern Shore. All photos must include water from the Chesapeake Bay or river or stream within the Bay watershed. 

Click here to submit your photo and enter to win a prize!

A panel of CBF employees will judge entries on subject matter, composition, focus, lighting, uniqueness, and impact. The public will also have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite photo in the Viewers' Choice Gallery. Winners receive cash prizes!

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $250
  • Third Prize: $150
  • Viewers' Choice: $100 

All winners will also receive a one-year CBF membership and will have their photos displayed on CBF's website, in CBF's e-newsletters, and in CBF's Save the Bay magazine. (The first-prize photo will be featured in CBF's 2015 calendar.) All winners will be notified of the outcome, and their images will be posted on the CBF website by May 30, 2014.

So channel your inner Ansel Adams and submit your Chesapeake photos here! But hurry, the submission deadline is April 11.

We look forward to seeing your pictures!

—Jen Wallace, CBF's Managing Editor


Photo of the Week: Summer Sailing Memories

BoatHeron_9589_8.3Photo by Michael Redmond. 

Michael Redmond captured this stunning shot during a late summer sail on the North East River looking back at the sun setting over Carpenters Point. "[It] was a perfect evening to end three full days on the water," says Redmond. 

Ensure that Michael and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary places like these. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint! 

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send your digital images to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo, and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. We look forward to seeing your photos!

 

 


Paddling Toward a Saved Bay


Canoes on the WaterOn September 28 and October 19, CBF will hold two paddles through the marshes of Maryland's Kings Creek, a tributary of the mighty Choptank.
 With beautiful Eastern Shore scenery and autumn bird watching, these paddles offer an excellent opportunity to enjoy being out on the water during what is often thought of as the most beautiful season of the year.

These are also opportunities to learn more about our work, including defending and implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the science-based, multi-state plan to restore the Bay by 2025. The Blueprint incorporates the best science that we have available and provides a plan for each state within the six-state watershed to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into the Bay. But most importantly it provides a way for each person in the community to get involved with the effort to restore our shared national treasure.

There are many things that we can do as individuals to save the Bay. We can plant native plants in our gardens, participate in stream clean ups, and encourage our legislators to make Bay-friendly decisions. We can also continue to enjoy the incredible environment that surrounds us by joining us for a canoe paddle for instance! The Bay is a part of the heritage of the Eastern Shore, and if we connect with and experience it, we will be motivated to preserve it.

Bess Trout, CBF's Eastern Shore Grassroots Field Specialist 

Register for one (or both!) of these canoe trips now on our website here. 


Student Council Reps Save a Creek, Do a Little Dance

This article originally appeared the AnneArundelPatch earlier today.

DSC_0619Photo by Collin Kroh and Alyssa Morris.

Dirt is cold in March. The Harlem Shake is harder in a crab costume. A sycamore tree sapling is taller than a pin oak sapling. Those are just a few of the things you might have learned this past Saturday if you were Collin Kroh.

Kroh, a senior at Chesapeake High School, was one of about 20 student council representatives from several county schools who volunteered to plant trees at a farm in Gambrills. The effort was part of a growing collaboration between student councils around the state and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"Most of my friends Saturday morning are still sleeping, but my friends here and I did all this," said Kroh with a wave of his hand.

"This" was nearly 1,000 trees planted along Towsers Branch Creek where it runs in a gully through the Maryland Sunrise Farm. Those trees will help buffer the creek—stop nutrients from cow manure from washing into the creek, and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay. A herd of black Angus cattle watched the crowd at work Saturday.

"It's like cleaning up my home," said Kroh, referring to the Chesapeake Bay.

And that's the type of realization the collaboration is meant to foster. Kroh lives on Bodkin Creek, a tidal creek in Pasadena. While his home is a 30-minute drive inland to Sunrise Farm, Kroh has realized that nutrients from inland sources make their way downstream and eventually to the Bay. Nutrients produce algae blooms which result in dead zones—low oxygen for aquatic life. And some types of nutrient pollution also carry bacteria which can make Bodkin Creek or any water body unsafe for swimming, or other recreation. So what happens on the land impacts the water which impacts each of us.

CBF and the Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC) started working together formally this past year. MASC is a student-run organization composed of high school and middle school students from throughout the state. Many MASC members have taken CBF field education courses through their schools. Leaders in the group recognized many more students would benefit from the learning and service opportunities offered by CBF.  In turn, CBF recognized that a group of energetic, responsible youth could be great ambassadors for the Bay. The collaboration began.

Last year a core organizing group of MASC students took a trip to one of CBF's education centers on the Maryland Eastern Shore. Some also participated in a lobbying day at the Maryland General Assembly, learning how to advocate for strong Bay legislation. MASC chose CBF as its Charity of the Year for 2012.

Saturday's tree planting continued that collaboration, with the aim of providing a fun, hands-on learning experience, but also an opportunity to spread the news about Bay problems and solutions.

Sarah Lily, a senior at Chesapeake High School, said she had learned some things about the Bay in fifth grade at the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. But it wasn't until ninth grade that she learned more. Then last year, she attended the multi-day experience at the CBF education center in remote Dorchester County on the Shore, and learned by doing: investigating crabs, sea grass, menhaden and other aquatic life from the deck of a workboat, or canoe, or on a marsh "muck." The trip sparked two questions: How can I can keep learning about this stuff, and what more can we do? She e-mailed a CBF staff member who led the Dorchester trip, Jeff Rogge. A second trip was planned—to CBF's Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro. And then the lobbying event.

Now Lily says the focus is getting more students involved. So she Tweets about tree plantings, and other happenings, and solicits blogs from students. Kroh attempted a time-lapse video of Saturday's planting to post on YouTube.

And together with other organizers they planned a Harlem Shake video shoot after all the planting was done Saturday, with all 20 students participating, complete with crab costumes and other props.

"The interest is there for fun," Lily says. "I think showing kids that helping out is fun is important."

Students came from Chesapeake High School, South River High School, and Arundel Middle School. In addition, about 20 employees of the Allegis Group, an equal number of "alternative spring break" students from the University of Maryland, and others also volunteered at Saturday's planting. The event was also part of a plan devised by CBF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make Sunrise Farm more environmentally friendly. The farm is the largest organic farm in the state. The farmer also raises cattle. It is the former Naval Dairy Farm.

—Tom Zolper
Maryland Communications Coordinator
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Come out and join us at other tree plantings across Maryland!


A Legacy to Save the Bay

Danny Bowles.jpgIn life, Daniel "Danny" Bowles was a loving father, son, husband, brother, and loyal friend. Now, after his passing, those who love him are committed to ensuring his legacy lives on.

After he passed away in 2011 at the age of 37, Danny's family and friends created the Daniel Bowles Memorial Foundation to raise money in support of causes that he believed in. As an avid crabber, fisherman, and boater, Danny had a special place in his heart for the Chesapeake Bay.

Recently, on what would have been Danny's 39th birthday, his friends and wife, Genine, visited CBF's Merrill Center to make a donation to CBF in his memory. The donation represented the proceeds from the highly successful Daniel Bowles Memorial Bull Roast held last October, which was attended by 150 of his closest friends and family. This annual event is just one way Danny's family is keeping his memory alive.

Memorial donations like these are vital to CBF's continued success in our efforts to save the Bay. If you would like to learn more about how you can memorialize a loved one with a gift to CBF, visit our website or call us at 410/268-8816 (or 888/SAVEBAY).

—Brie Wilson