[title class=”acb-page-content-title” ]Falling in Love with the BayI wasn’t sure if my “Little”, through Big Brothers Big Sisters, would enjoy the hike. She was a ten-years-young, Miley-Cirus-loving fashionista with PassionPink nails whose favorite game was Dress-up. I.e., I couldn’t picture her wielding a Bill-Nye-the-Science-Guy magnifying glass in her backyard, searching for specimens (as I once did), but I had faith in her appetite for adventure. Our walk through the woods near Harrisonburg, Virginia, concluded at a clear mountain pool, with a real waterfall. Surprisingly, she went from hesitantly toe-testing the water to complete nose-pinched submersion. She burst from the chilly pond with a delighted squeal, “This is the coolest playground in the world!” Environmentalist Baba Dioum said, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” I think she fell in love that day.[imageframe link=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/29388462@N06/23225422080/” ] Bicyclists over bridge. photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay ProgramThe 32-member committee is made up of stakeholders representing a broad range of fields and interests, including the regulated community, local governments, federal and state government agencies, the MD General Assembly, the academic and technical community, agriculture, business and the environmental community. The committee members’ knowledge and insight will be critical to the development and implementation of a trading program that boosts progress, with clear and verifiable results.

Nutrient trading is an important element of Maryland’s approach for restoring the Bay, especially for those sectors facing the highest costs to reduce pollution. Businesses, landowners, and municipalities may be able to meet a portion of their responsibilities by purchasing offsets or credits created by others.

Learn more about the Committee and its work at mde.state.md.us.Consulting a map later, I pointed out my hometown on the Chesapeake Bay, and she found Harrisonburg. I explained that our homesteads, a four-hour drive apart, are both connected to the Bay. Growing up on the marshy Northern Neck peninsula, sandwiched between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, my awareness of our ties to the water was keen as a blue crab’s pinch. Harrisonburg’s activities similarly affect the watershed, but her land-locked upbringing had easily omitted that fact. From childhood in coastal Virginia, to college in the Shenandoah Valley, to putting down roots in Richmond, my evolution has always been anchored to the Chesapeake Bay.

In all three regions, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is doing big things. Through the RiverWise program, residents and organizations alike are reducing their collective contribution to stormwater runoff, thus improving the health of our waterways. This summer, the Alliance awarded a grant to Westover Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, for the installation of multiple rain gardens and hundreds of native plants. Guided by the Alliance and landscape architect Drew Harrigan, volunteers worked hard, spanning all ages and backgrounds. One young person planting shrubs experienced a ‘watershed moment’ while digging in the heat, just like my Little had that day in the mountains. “I like getting dirty for a good cause,” he said, “I love science class, but this is science in action.” Today, those actions are adding up, and sharing them with new generations will carry their positive effects far into the future.

For more on our work within the watershed, visit:

Read about one of our programs empowering youth through ecological restoration: