As a kid growing up in New Jersey, I was fortunate enough to be able to take family day trips “down the shore” and escape the heat of the summer in the Atlantic Ocean. With my Dad at my side, I learned how to body surf and fish in the ocean when the blues were running. Sometimes we would fish in the bay for flounder or pull up near the marshes and go crabbing.  

As a teen I remember reading an article in Life magazine about a young boy who died after swimming in the polluted waters of one of the Great Lakes. It hit me pretty hard that someone could die after swimming in contaminated water. That is when I began to embrace how important the environment is and how we need to protect it.  

About that same time, I became aware of the failing health of the Chesapeake Bay but never really understood the magnitude of this great body of water until decades later. Meanwhile, I pursued a path in college that led me to a master’s degree in Environmental Science. I moved to Maryland in 1996, and only after visiting Annapolis, did I begin to understand the importance of the Chesapeake Bay. The watershed is so large, that without even knowing it, I had lived in three of its five states.  

Now equipped with awareness and some understanding, I choose to give my time, talents, and dollars to support the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. While there are many good organizations out there, my gifts go to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. They do their mission of restoring the Bay through partnerships and collaboration with communities and companies. The Alliance is focused on stopping runoff pollution, at its source, upstream of the Bay. Their actions help prevent pollution before it ends up in the Chesapeake Bay, which happens to feed the Atlantic Ocean – where my story began.

I love the water and continue to find a kind of calming peace when a waterway comes into view. I want to do all I can to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed so my kids and grandkids can boat, fish, crab, swim and find peace in this amazing body of water. I hope you agree and can find a way to support this very worthy cause.

— Susan Johnson, Development Chair for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Board of Directors