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July 28, 2022
Summer is in full swing, and the Alliance’s DC Team has been busy all over the District! We have been honored to participate in some exciting events recently that have allowed us to share our meet people from all over – in the watershed and out! Community engagement is a large part of our efforts to improve the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, so any chance we get to learn from a community what their biggest concerns (of compliments!) are is invaluable.
For two weeks every summer, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a celebration of cultural traditions and arts from across the globe. This year, one of the ongoing programs featured during the festival is Earth Optimism × Folklife: Inspiring Conservation Communities. The Alliance was invited to participate in the ‘Coastal Connections’ space of this engagement program and host the Climate Ribbon Project. Started by the Chesapeake Collective in 2017, the climate Ribbon Project is a community climate art exhibit that invites participants to answer the question: What do you love and hope to never lose to climate chaos? Participants record their answers on a ribbon and tie the ribbon to the tree. This project serves as an exercise in shared responsibility and facilitates a personal connection to the sometimes abstract and overwhelming nature of climate change itself. The Alliance was at the festival for five days, and we estimate we were able to engage with 350+ people!
Another exciting engagement opportunity the Alliance was able to participate in was the Giant National Capital BBQ Battle, hosted by Giant Food. This annual event takes place for one weekend every summer and hosts a variety of musical entertainers, family-friendly activities, and of course, barbeque. We attended the event on June 25th of this year and were able to engage with around 100 people about our Giant Clean Water Partnership with Giant Food and the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. This partnership supports local dairy farmers to improve their local water quality and reduce agricultural runoff, therefore, promoting supply chain sustainability. We also hosted Chesapeake Bay trivia and an Alliance swag bag giveaway throughout the day!
For DC locals, the Well at Oxon Run is a must-see. DC Greens, in partnership with DC Dept. of Parks and Recreation,The Green Scheme, The Friends of Oxon Run and Soul of the City, have created a community farming and wellness space right in the middle of Oxon Run Park in Ward 8 of the District. The space includes seasonal crops, an orchard with chickens, a greenhouse, and herb and pollinator gardens. It’s intended as a community gathering spot to promote health and wellness as well as connect the community with the outdoors. The Alliance was generously invited to chat with attendees at a community event hosted at the Well this July. We value any time we get to spend in this space and meeting more of the folks who are involved in its creation is an inspiring and humbling experience. We were able to engage with community members about becoming a water quality monitoring volunteer or a RiverSmart Homes Ambassador through the Alliance!
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