Dumpster Diving to Save the Bay

The following first appeared in the Huffington Post.

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A collection of salvaged materials were used in the construction of the Brock Environmental Center.

Imagine taking the world's largest cruise ship and dumping it into a landfill 700 times a year.

Every year.

That's how much trash new building construction and demolition produces in the U.S. alone - that's approximately 160 million tons of sometimes toxic trash.

When we think about building for the future and what kind of legacy we're going to leave for our children, we need to revisit simple solutions like reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Twelve months ago, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation broke ground on the Brock Environmental Center—what will be one of the most energy efficient and environmentally smart education and community centers in the world. When completed later this fall, the center intends to meet the strictest LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge environmental standards.

When people think about cutting-edge architecture and design, they often think about high-costs and space-age technology. But a key component of the Living Building Challenge is to use as many recycled and reusable materials as possible to save natural resources, energy, and costs.

So for past year and a half, we've been dumpster diving to salvage and use materials for the Brock Center that otherwise would go to the local landfill. Here are just a few of the materials we've been able to reclaim along with the help from our builder and the Hampton Roads community: used sinks, doors, mirrors, counters, and cabinets from office buildings about to be remodeled or torn down were salvaged and will find new life in the Brock Center; old wooden school bleachers were saved and used as trim for the new center's doors and windows; maple flooring in the gymnasium of a former elementary school was removed, reinstalled, and resurfaced as new flooring in the center; used bike racks came from a local parks department; hundreds of champagne corks were collected for use as knobs and drawer-pulls in the center; student art tables will be used as counter tops; and old wooden paneling will be made into cabinets.

Our most unusual find, however, was the "sinke2014-10-10-Picture2-thumbr cypress" logs recovered from rivers and bayous in the Deep South. The logs are from first-growth cypress trees cut down more than a century ago but lost when they fell off barges and sank on the way to Southern sawmills.

The recently recovered logs—some of which are 500 to 1,000 years old—have been milled and used for the exterior siding of our new building. Instead of lying submerged forever in the mud of a Louisiana river bottom, these ancient cypress logs provide beautiful, natural, chemical-free weather-proofing for the new building.

The biggest lesson I've learned from all of this work is that you don't need new materials to build a new building. Twenty-first century buildings should use as much salvaged materials as possible in order to reduce waste and pollution and ensure that we can pass along a healthy planet to our children and grandchildren.

Our salvage and recycling efforts at the Brock Center, along with other innovative, cutting-edge technologies (solar and wind power, rainwater reuse, composting toilets, and natural lighting and ventilation, to name a few) reflect a deliberate effort to live our "Save the Bay" mission. The goal of the Brock Environmental Center is to integrate and support the surrounding Chesapeake Bay environment.

By engaging the greater community in our recycling efforts for the Brock Environmental Center, we're also helping educate citizens on smarter ways to build, live, and work near sensitive ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay. The Brock Environmental Center not only raises the bar on smart buildings; it can serve as a replicable model for raising community awareness in localities around the country and the world.

—Christy Everett, CBF's Hampton Roads Director


Photo of the Week: One Whole Heck of a Lot!

058This picture was taken July 6, 2014, at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

I started out in 1980 with a 24-foot Penn Yan cabin cruiser . . . we now have a 46-foot Tartan sailboat, and are retired.

So far this year, we headed out in late May and returned to our "land home" in mid-July. We went from Rock Hall to Cape Charles and everywhere in between.

We're headed out again Labor Day Weekend into November for our late summer/fall cruise. We can't wait. 

The Chesapeake Bay means one whole heck of a lot to me!

—Darlene Arrivillaga 

 

Ensure that Darlene and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary adventures on the Chesapeake. 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!


Shady Side Elementary School Students Take a Stand for the Bay

 

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Shady Side students planting oysters in the West River. Photo courtesy of Shady Side Elementary

The students at Shady Side Elementary School in southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland are no strangers to the Bay and life on the water. The town of Shady Side is located on a peninsula, surrounded on the north and west by the West River and on the east by the Chesapeake. Many students are children of watermen who still crab, oyster, and fish to make a living. The school sits less than a quarter mile from the water—and CBF's Maryland Oyster Restoration Center.

So, last year, when 5th grade teachers Kimberly McAllister, Molly Tremel, and Jenna Weckel asked their students to "Take a Stand" for a cause, the Bay seemed like the natural choice.

"These students were raised on the water. They're surrounded by it every day and, for many, its health has a direct impact on their lives. The students worked with CBF last year to grow oysters and then planted them in the West River. Meghan Hoffman and the rest of CBF's Maryland Oyster Restoration team really got the kids excited about oysters—and showed them that they can make a difference," said Tremel.

The students were so motivated they wrote letters and hand-delivered them to U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin urging them to continue funding Bay restoration. But they didn't stop there.

They took it one step further—creating postcards, developing a business plan, and selling the cards to friends, family, and others—to raise money to support the Bay. Their efforts were highly successful. In two years, they've raised nearly $4,000 to help CBF grow and plant more oysters in the Bay!

John Rodenhausen, Maryland Director of Development, was on-hand for this year's check presentation and was able to address the nearly 60 5th graders involved in this project. "As an educator and a fundraiser for CBF, it is moments like this that give me greater confidence that the Chesapeake will be saved, not just in these students' lifetimes, but in mine, too!"

The project has become a staple of the 5th grade experience—and a bit of a competition, too. Weckel explained, "We've already spoken to the incoming class about the project. They're excited and energized by the opportunity to raise more money for CBF than last year's class!"

We all have a role to play in saving the Chesapeake. CBF is grateful to the entire Shady Side Elementary School community, including 5th grade teachers Kimberly McAllister, Molly Tremel, and Jenna Weckel, as well as their students, for their support, ingenuity, and hard work.

Together, we will Save the Bay and its rivers and streams!

Brie Wilson, Donor Communications Manager 

Read more about the Shady Side Elementary School Students' efforts here!


Running for the Bay

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Laura, center, along with her husband, Greg, and sons, Ryan and Troy, present CBF with a check representing proceeds from the 2014 Run for the Bay 5K. Photo by Tom Zolper/CBF Staff.

Laura Kellner and her husband, Greg, are always looking for their next race. They travel throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. running a variety of races and enjoying every minute. Travel isn't required, though; they are always on the lookout for races near their home in Chesapeake Beach in Calvert County, Maryland.

"We love to run, but never had much luck finding races close to home," Laura recently explained. 

Lacking local options, Laura did what many would not. She organized her own.

And the annual Run for the Bay 5K was born.

By every measure, the race, with a scenic course along the Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail, is a spectacular success. Over the past two years, the Run for the Bay 5K has welcomed more than 600 runners—and raised more than $15,000 to support CBF.

Laura made it all happen. Despite an already full schedule—she works full-time at Liberty Mutual and she and Greg have two teenaged sons, Ryan and Troy—Laura managed every detail. 

It hasn't been easy. Planning takes several months and includes everything from securing donations from corporate sponsors to managing a variety of logistics like volunteers, water stations, race shirt design, photography, and so much more. 

When it came time for Laura to pick a charity partner, the decision was easy.

"The Bay has always been an important part of my life. When I was younger, my father and I loved to fish together. After retiring, he became a commercial crabber. My father passed away in 1993 and the Bay holds so many memories of him—of my childhood. I still love getting out on the water—it's my happy place. I wanted to help make sure future generations have the opportunity my father and I did to fall in love with the Bay. CBF was the obvious choice."

As the race's sole beneficiary, the funds raised by the Run for the Bay 5K have helped CBF do some amazing work—getting students and teachers out on the water with our hands-on environmental education program, planting oysters and trees that will help make local waterways cleaner, and protecting the Bay's fish and other wildlife.

CBF couldn't be more grateful . . . for Laura's passion and commitment, for the generosity of the dozens of volunteers who donate their time and expertise to make this event a success, and for the hundreds of runners who participate. 

Inspired by Laura's story? You can help raise funds to support CBF's work—Become a Bayraiser! Visit cbf.org/bayraiser to learn more.

Together, we will Save the Bay!

—Brie Wilson, CBF's Donor Communications Manager


Reflections on CBF's Expedition Chesapeake

 How CBF's Expedition Chesapeake led to my career in environmental education.

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Kelsey Church Brunton.

Eight years ago, during my junior year at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, Va., I decided to be a part of a unique paddling expedition—the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Expedition Chesapeake to be exact, also lovingly called Bay Bound. Twelve other high school students and I journeyed from the fertile Shenandoah Valley to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay over the course of 30 days during the summer of 2005. 

As we canoed the Shenandoah River and kayaked the Potomac, we discovered the story of the watershed. We witnessed the impact of each unbuffered river bank, waterfront property, wastewater treatment plant, farm land, and the impact of 17 million citizens living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed as we journeyed to CBF's Port Isobel Island Education Center in the middle of the Bay. We were able to talk with other high school students and watermen on Tangier Island. Many of these people depend on the water for their livelihood, just as farmers in Rockingham County depend on the land. On the Bay Bound experience, I learned how my actions "up river" have a direct effect on the health of the Bay.     

I returned to my high school feeling energized about the Bay, environmental awareness, and education. After I graduated high school, I pursued a college degree in environmental science while maintaining my relationship with CBF. Serving as a CBF oyster restoration intern, I spent many glorious days out on a boat working oyster reefs. I also had the opportunity to assist in facilitating an education trip at CBF's Karen Noonan Education Center in Maryland. Looking back, it is clear to me now that CBF and that month-long expedition have opened so many doors for me. 

One of those was the opportunity to attend graduate school at Virginia Tech and work for the Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results (VALOR) program. While completing my master's degree in agricultural and extension education, I worked as a program coordinator for VALOR—a new, premier leadership development program at Virginia Tech for adults in agriculture. Each of the 10 members of this year's inaugural VALOR class is challenged to engage in all segments of the industry, to create collaborative solutions, and to promote agriculture inside and outside of the industry. 

The two-year VALOR program provides class members with opportunities to meet legislators, decision makers, industry leaders, agencies, and organizations during 10 regional visits, one national trip, and one international trip. For example, while in Washington D.C., class members met with Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, representatives from Farm Credit, and the American Farm Bureau, as well as professionals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and America's Promise.

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VALOR participants set crab pots, dredged for oysters, and trolled underwater grasses while learning about connections between agriculture and the water. Photo by CBF Staff.

So when the VALOR director and I started planning for a seminar in the Northern Neck of Virginia, I knew exactly whom to call: the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. CBF Virginia Executive Director Ann Jennings, CBF Hampton Roads Senior Scientist Chris Moore, and two CBF educational staff members hosted VALOR members at CBF's Port Isobel Island for two days in July. After setting crab pots, fishing off the pier, canoeing, oyster dredging, and trolling underwater grasses, participants had a greater understanding of the health of the Bay and agriculture's role within the watershed. Many candid conversations followed, and opportunities for collaboration were discussed. Read their thoughts here.  

I felt honored to be a part of another experience that builds bridges between agriculture and the environment. And it all started with that Bay Bound journey eight years ago.

—Kelsey Church Brunton 

 Kelsey Church Brunton recently graduated with a master's degree from Virginia Tech. She currently lives in Blacksburg, Va., and on the weekends enjoys hiking the Appalachian Mountains and kayaking on the New and James Rivers. She recently accepted a position at Virginia Tech as the 4-VA Grant Assessment Coordinator. The 4-VA Grant is a multi-institutional initiative to enhance the success rates of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The collaborative effort also intends to decrease the cost of delivering instruction, increasing access to programs, and increase research competitiveness. When Kelsey is not working, "I am always trying to find a way to spend time on the Bay."  


My Intern Experience

 

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Kevin Painter busy at his desk. Photo by CBF Staff.
It is said that as an intern, you should take away as much from your internship as you put into it, and my time with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation definitely exceeded those expectations! My experience was exciting and challenging throughout the summerthere was never a dull moment. CBF and its staff did everything in their power to make every intern feel welcome and part of the team.

Since early 2012, I continuously checked CBF's website in hopes of a communications-related internship. That dream became a reality when I was thrilled to accept the Communications and Digital Media Internship earlier this spring. Being a part of the CBF community was a natural choiceI grew up on the Bay, and protecting and restoring it has been important to me for as long as I can remember. 

Saving the Bay

Throughout my work this summer I've been able to use skills I gained throughout college at the University of Maryland. I set up new social media platforms, assisted in existing social media platforms, wrote blogs, marketed CBF's Speakers Bureau, conducted research, and compiled influential news and media lists. I also assisted with the implementation of CBF's digital library, which stores all its pictures and news articles. I gained some hands-on, real-world experience that has furthered my skills and understanding of the communications field.

Environmental Field Experiences

I started my internship by attending an orientation with the other interns and CBF's Executive Management Team. That day was dedicated to getting to know each other and learning our individual connections to the Chesapeake Bay. We even had the opportunity to sit down and talk to CBF's President and CEO Will Baker, about his experience and history with CBF. From then on, CBF had multiple intern events scheduled:

  • Oyster Olympics at CBF's Oyster Restoration Center (ORC)Intern oyster restoration competition;
  • Environmental education experience on CBF’s skipjack, the Stanley NormanEducational trip to dredge for oysters and learned about the health of the Bay;
  • Kayak paddle at the Blackwater National Wildlife RefugeeDay-long paddle to observe the wildlife and learn about the history of the region; and
  • Boat excursion to Cantler's with CBF volunteers and the Digital Media TeamTrip to Cantler's Riverside Inn with some of our dedicated volunteers for lunch.

My two favorite events were the Oyster Olympics and the trip to Cantler's restaurant. The Oyster Olympics took place at the ORC in Shady Side, Md., where interns learned about the importance of the oyster population, while competing in a restoration-related competition.

The trip to Cantler's restaurant and crab house was a blast! The Volunteer Program Manager Heather Tuckfield and the Digital Media Team took 12 dedicated volunteers out for lunch at Cantler's. We hopped on CBF's workboat the Marguerite and spent an amazing day eating crabs and boating on the Bay.

This internship has introduced me to the world of environmental nonprofit organizationsin a word, it's wonderful. Every day that I come to work, everyone at CBF is in a great mood, and the atmosphere here is like no other office I've experienced. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an outstanding organization, and I will continue to support it in the future.

Kevin Painter, Communications and Digital Media Intern

Interested in being a CBF intern? Check out our website!


Good Things Are Happening!

Across the watershed, from Pennsylvania to Virginia, people are pulling together to restore the Bay and its waters. Through a variety of innovative, collaborative clean water projects, good things are starting to happen! Take a look below at this photo series of some of these successes . . .

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Students from Manchester Middle School in Chesterfield County, Virginia, develop their own Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint during their Bay studies aboard "Baywatcher," CBF's James River education vessel. Photo by CBF Staff.
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State Representative Todd Rock and Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher joined CBF, the Antietam Watershed Association, and Washington Township to plant 600 seedlings at Antietam Meadows, a community park located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. CBF, the Antietam Watershed Association, and Washington Township are working to establish an 11-acre streamside forest buffer along the Antietam Creek. Photo by Kelly Donaldson/CBF Staff.
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On Maryland's Eastern Shore is a model for what a small rural community (4,200 people) can do. So far, the town of Centreville and nearby residents have built 350 residential rain gardens to slow down and soak up runoff; protected nearly 5,800 acres of farms and forests from future development; and increased the use of cover crops on farms to more than 5,000 acres a year. Forty homeowners also grow pollution-filtering oysters in more than 220 cages hanging from piers and docks. Photo by CBF Staff.
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CBF, the Harrisburg Community Action Commission, Danzante Urban Arts Center, and the United Way of the Capital Region partnered to educate 25 Lower Dauphin High School students about stormwater, how rain barrels can help alleviate stormwater, and ways that communities can improve their environment and local water quality by implementing green infrastructure projects—like rain barrels. The students then constructed and painted 12 rain barrels to be used in a downtown Harrisburg community. Photo by Kelly Donaldson/CBF Staff.
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Many livestock farms in Maryland are deciding to raise their cows, sheep, and other animals the old fashioned way—on pasture rather than in confined animal operations. The switch helps lower pollution to nearby streams and helps rural counties meet Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint goals for agriculture. Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.
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The Town of Ashland, Virginia, recently resurfaced much of its municipal parking lot with thousands of permeable pavers and installed a bio-retention basin to capture stormwater runoff. The project allows runoff to soak into the ground and be filtered naturally rather than run off into nearby Stony Run, a Chesapeake Bay tributary stream. One of several low-impact projects in the town, the "soft" parking lot reduces flooding, lowers nearby air temperatures, protects streams, and captures runoff pollution targeted by the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Photo by Chuck Epes/CBF Staff.


 


Water Quality Trading in the Chesapeake Bay: Partnerships for Success

The following originally appeared on USDA's Blog last week.

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Water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay benefit the many species of wildlife that call it home. Photos by Tim McCabe, NRCS Maryland.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the largest estuary in North America, covers 64,000 square miles and includes more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the bay. Roughly one quarter of the land in the watershed is used for agricultural production, and agricultural practices can affect the health of those rivers and streams, and ultimately the bay itself.

While the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved since the 1970s, excess nutrients and sediment continue to adversely affect water quality in local rivers and streams, which contributes to impaired water quality in the Bay.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with several agencies and organizations to test innovative water quality trading tools that will help improve the bay’s water quality, benefiting the more than 300 species of fish, shellfish and crab, and many other wildlife that call the Chesapeake Bay home.

In 2012, NRCS awarded Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to 12 entities to help develop water quality trading programs; five of these recipients are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

USDA is excited about water quality trading’s potential to achieve the nutrient reductions necessary to improve water quality at a lower cost than regulation alone. For example, a wastewater treatment plant could purchase a nutrient credit rather than facing higher compliance costs if structural improvements are required on site. This is advantageous because it saves regulated industries money, and can provide additional income for the agricultural community by supporting adoption of conservation practices that reduce nutrient runoff.

The Chesapeake Bay grant recipients are the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; the borough of Chambersburg, Penn.; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation; and the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

NRCS recently met with these organizations and agencies to share expertise and identify common obstacles and priorities. During the meeting, NRCS briefed recipients on trading tools and policies, and invited groups working on water quality trading programs across the country to share ideas. The Chesapeake Bay CIG awardees will continue to meet throughout the duration of their projects to share updates and collaborate on innovative solutions to water quality challenges in the Chesapeake Bay.

These grants are part of the largest conservation commitment by USDA in the bay region. NRCS works side by side with farmers and ranchers to improve water, air and soil quality through conservation. 


A Wastewater All-Star, Part 3

The following is the third and final part in a series about recent upgrades to an Easton wastewater treatment plant, and how these improvements have helped support our clean water efforts. Read the first and second parts in the series.

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A raw sewage, final effluent, and dried biosolids comparison. Photo by John Page Williams/CBF Staff.
It was clear in 2009 that the Easton plant was going to set a great example of enhanced nutrient removal sewage treatment, but we had an opportunity to stop by in May of 2012 to see how it was faring at the end of its fifth year of operation. "We learn every day," said Doug Abbott with a smile. "Enhanced nutrient removal is new. There isn't a lot of history yet. The challenge is still putting everything together to keep the processes consistent in spite of varying load and weather.

 

"There are many moving parts," he continued. "Every plant has its own characteristics. Our strong monitoring system allows us to tweak it, like fine-tuning a complex machine that also has living creatures that we must keep happy [the bugs]. We have to balance everything, resist the temptation to make changes too quickly when an alarm goes off, and build the history. We can't make a cookbook.

"We are, however, beginning to develop a computer model of the plant to use for predictions and as a 'flight simulator' for training new operators. MDE and the MD Center for Environmental Training (MCET) are supporting that project. And we're exchanging information and visits with other plant operators in both Maryland and Pennsylvania . . . the support we have received from the Town Council and the management of Easton Utilities has been very important. Because EU provides a wide range of services to the community in addition to sewage treatment—electricity, natural gas, drinking water, cable television, and internet connections, it can support our operation in many ways, especially in electrical work and information technology."

Eleven years into the project, Easton Utilities and its town appear to have used their Bay Restoration (AKA "flush fee") Funds well, to benefit the Choptank River and the Chesapeake as well as themselves. Planning ahead, piecing together the funding package, selecting capable engineering and construction firms, and then constantly striving to learn how to get the highest performance out of the plant's design, those elements together make for success. 

CBF's Eastern Shore Director Alan Girard commented further on "how progressive both Easton Utilities and the Town of Easton were in this project, from a process/adoption standpoint. The new treatment plant is a testament to how a few committed folks who want to do the right thing can build the momentum needed for success when they want to."     

It's no accident that both Doug Abbott and Geoff Oxnam bring special enthusiasm to their jobs in an area that many people would prefer not to think about. They are both confirmed water rats and racing sailors. Others on the staff are dedicated Bay anglers. All are proud that Easton's new plant is making a difference for clean water and a healthy Bay.

—John Page Williams
CBF's Senior Naturalist

Learn more about wastewater treatment plant issues here on our website.


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!