The Taste: Celebrate the Chesapeake

Celebrating the Chesapeake Across the Watershed

The Alliance’s annual Taste celebration once again took place this Fall at three different venues across the Chesapeake Bay watershed – we are so thankful for those who celebrated with us!

Altogether, we had over 360 guests attend the three Taste events, raising over $9,400 through silent auctions and raffles. With the generous support of our guests and event sponsors, the three Taste events raised a combined total of over $126,000 for clean water in our Chesapeake communities!

About The Taste – Celebrate with Us!

Over 100,000 streams and rivers flow through 64,000 square miles of forests, fields, cities, suburbs, and communities on their way to the Chesapeake Bay. Our watershed is a patchwork of communities that rely on its forests, streams, and rivers. It’s a sustainable source of fish, crabs, and other shellfish. It’s where we recreate and connect with nature. It’s our source of clean drinking water. It’s ours to protect.

The Taste is a celebration of our Chesapeake Bay watershed, offering live music, locally-inspired eats, awards, silent auctions, and comradery. As our largest annual fundraiser, the Taste aims to bring together like-minded corporations and conservationists within three distinct Chesapeake Bay watershed communities.

As a regional event offering a small, intimate atmosphere, the Taste presents a unique opportunity for you to support our critical work and enjoy an evening with other individuals who genuinely want to make a difference in our watershed.



Rivers Edge at Long Level



The Annapolis Maritime Museum

“As an industry partner with an inherent passion for helping to rid the Bay of harmful pollutants, Luck Ecosystems has teamed with the Alliance on a number of projects that enhance communities and create environmental solutions throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Working together, we have installed rain gardens, protected streams, and utilized our RainScape biofiltration products for more effective stormwater management. Luck Ecosystems and Luck Stone are proud to support the Alliance’s mission to bring together communities, companies, and conservationists on far-reaching initiatives to keep our lands and waters healthy for generations to come.” – Jimmy Rodgers, Regional Sales Manager for Luck Ecosystems

Collaborate for clean water with us. Become a Taste sponsor today.

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Meet our 2023 Award Winners!

Every year the Alliance recognizes local leaders and champions from around the watershed. This year, we’re excited for you to meet our 6 award recipients that we will be recognizing at the Taste for their leadership and dedication to cleaner rivers and streams. The following awardees have thoughtfully considered how to push the boundaries between science, the environment, and art, and are leaders to be recognized for their exemplary stewardship and profound impacts on the Bay.

Longtime Mason District Supervisor, and 27-year Board of Supervisors veteran, Penny Gross, has been awarded the Fran Flanigan Award this year. First elected in 1995 to represent the Mason District, she’s been a long-time advocate of expanding public transportation, affordable housing, and diversity in the county.

When she announced her decision not to run for reelection in 2022, Board Chair Jeff McKay praised Gross for being a “leader” and leaving a lasting legacy. The board is so grateful for the legacy Gross built for others and the leadership attributes and respect she brought to the table.

“I’m proud and grateful to have played a role in ensuring these opportunities for our diverse community, and I look forward to the continuing success of Fairfax County and the region.” – Penny Gross

Gross also writes a weekly column in the Falls Church News Press, hosts the monthly television show, Mason Matters, and is a founding member of Friends of Mason District Park. Her work has been incredibly impactful in the District, and beyond, and the Alliance is proud to honor Gross with the Fran Flanigan Award.

Jodi Rose, Executive Director of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Biochemistry and worked in the environmental consulting field for 15 years, managing soil and groundwater remediation projects and later running her own consulting firm. As a volunteer in her Catholic parish, she spearheaded several environmental and social justice programs that engaged fellow parishioners to live out their faith in action.

It was during this time that Jodi decided to shift into nonprofits to work at the intersection of faith and the environment. She became the Executive Director of IPC in 2013, and since then, has grown the team from a staff of one to ten employees, increased its revenues 10-fold, and the organization’s network now encompasses hundreds of congregations.

Julie Patton Lawson is a talented connector and communicator, coalition builder, entrepreneurial advocate, marketing professional, and project manager. She is a respected leader in engaging diverse communities in the restoration of the Bay. Julie has developed multiple local, state, and national coalitions to pass cutting-edge legislation and programs to protect neighborhoods and waterways, from the Anacostia River to the oceans. Her work crosses sectors of environmental and social justice, education, public health, and economic development.

Julie currently serves as the coordinator for education and workforce development strategy for the DC Department of Energy and Environment, with a special focus on supporting environmental education and opportunities at Anacostia High School and the University of the District of Columbia. Previously Julie served on the cabinet of Mayor Muriel Bowser, as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City. She was also the Founding Executive Director of Trash Free Maryland, a nonprofit organization working to reduce trash pollution through policy and behavior change.

She also serves as Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to the Chesapeake Bay Program, contributing on behalf of public stakeholders. Serving on several boards and committees informing education policy, Julie is passionate about restoring the Anacostia River so that it can be a full recreational, economic, and natural resource for all Washingtonians to enjoy.

Jodi Sulpizio is a Natural Resources Educator for Penn State Extension in York County, and coordinates the Master Watershed Steward Program and the Spongy Moth Program in York. Jodi teaches residents about stormwater, drinking water safety, and watershed management. As the Master Watershed Steward Coordinator, she supervises over 80 volunteers who are actively educating York County citizens about water resources and are implementing best management projects. Formerly, she was a Naturalist for the York County Parks and Manheim Township Parks.

Jodi is passionate about empowering both citizens and volunteers to protect our natural resources. She is now training the eighth class of Master Watershed Stewards in York County. Since 2016, Master Watershed Stewards in York have volunteered over 20,000 hours and have educated over 34,000 people. Together, they have planned and completed numerous, successful watershed projects throughout the county. Jodi particularly enjoys planting riparian buffers and rain gardens, coordinating the Street 2 Creek storm drain art project, and educating youth. She looks forward to continued endeavors to help make streams and rivers cleaner for both our communities and the Chesapeake Bay.

With experience in Finance, Found Object Kinetic Sculpture, Multimedia Installations, Public Art, and Graphic Design, Tim Harper has a keen interest in multidisciplinary projects that occupy the space between science and art. His work has been shown throughout the mid-atlantic, and he has taught kinetic sculpture to children and adults.

A recipient of the 2012 Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts, Matt Lively is a painter, sculptor, film producer, and muralist who has work in collections throughout the world. Matt has taught at VCU, The University of Richmond, The Visual Art Center in Richmond, and The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School.

Matt Lively and Tim Harper began collaborating in early 2013 and quickly found that their strengths as artists were complimentary. Their combined installation work includes a rainwater harvesting system sculpture at Binford Middle School, designed with middle school students and the Alliance; pylon murals at Scott’s View and 3200 W. Broad residential communities; an illuminated dimensional mural highlighting Dominion Energy’s renewable energy assets; a forthcoming Greening Greater Fulton sculpture designed with the Alliance and community partners; and a forthcoming installation with Bon Secours celebrating the historical significance of their Westhampton property in Richmond.

Two people posing for a picture outdoors

Tim Harper (left) and Matt Lively (right

Julie Lawson - DC Watershed Champion

Julie, Congratulations! Your hard work across the DC Metro Region deserves so much recognition. From Trash Free MD to UDC Liaison, you have initiated and elevated greater environmental impacts across the Anacostia and Potomac watersheds. You bring poise, urgency, and reflection to such important work. I am honored to partner with you as we continue to enhance equitable opportunities throughout the District.

Erin O'Grady
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Congratulations Jodi! The success of the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake is truly due in large part to your tenacious belief in what the faith community can do and your devotion to making it a reality. I have been lucky enough to come along on the journey since the beginning with you and I can say without hesitation that you have inspired me with your leadership just as I know you have your staff and partners. Working with you as ED and as a Board Member and Chair was a delight. You so deserve this recognition.

Al Todd

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Congratulations Jodi — I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving for this award!

Under your visionary leadership, IPC has flourished, expanding its reach, increasing its impact, and forging partnerships with numerous congregations. Your dedication to the organization through all of its incredible growth, extensive knowledge of nonprofit management and best management practices, your true passion for IPC’s work, as well as your ability to inspire action and lead a team have been truly remarkable.

Jodi, you are an inspiration to us all, and we are incredibly fortunate to have you at the helm of IPC. Your dedication and leadership have made a lasting difference, and I have no doubt that your current legacy will continue to inspire positive change for many years to come.

Natalie Johnson
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Julie Lawson - DC Watershed Champion

Congratulations Julie. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award and recognition than you. Best wishes. Charlie

Charlie Stek

Julie Lawson - DC Watershed Champion

Hi Julie

Congratulation on this well deserved award. Years ago you were an instrumental part of the Bay Program’s evolution into looking at new and critical issues like micro- plastics – and beyond pressing for understanding of new issues, you “deployed” innovative ideas on bringing visual information to decision makers. (wish i had the photos of high level bureaucts crammed into boat with “green goop!” ) Your transition through different roles within DC government helped the Program connect with urban issues. However, most signficantly, I note your tireless efforts to share the views of many different “stakeholders” with those in government as the Program tries to develop new ways to accellerate restoration. The Bay is at a tipping point and your energy and intellegence is essential in steering us into the best channels.

In admiration, Verna

verna Pelrine
Verna Harrison Associates, LLC

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Dear Jodi

It is with great pride that I write to commend you for taking this small organization and building it into a strong and vibrant part of the Chesapeake Bay protection effort. You and your board, past and present, have developed the interfaith-Environmental concept into a robust reality. As we enter choppy waters with new challenges coming ahead, you all are helping reach more people to understand the important value of collaboration and partnership. I am sorry that I will be unable to thank you in person as I will be out of town. Best always, Verna

Verna Harrison
Verna Harrison Associates, LLC

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Jodi, thank you for all the ways that you and the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake team is raising up the critical role that faith communities and faith voices can play in protecting the watersheds we share. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be building this region’s religious environmental movement with you!

Joelle Novey
Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA)

Jodi Sulpizio - PA Watershed Champion

Congratulations Jodi!

I can think of no one more deserving of this award! Your passion and dedication to environmental stewardship is evident in everything you do!

Best Regards,

Ruth Cassilly
Chesapeake Bay Program

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Congratulations Jodi! A huge helping of thanks to you for your leadership and for welcoming Lancaster's congregations into this Bay-wide effort of interfaith work. It's making a difference and much of that is to your stick-to-itiveness. Enjoy a well deserved celebration!!!

Allyson Gibson
Lancaster Clean Water Partners

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

I'm so sorry that I'm unable to celebrate with you in person, but wanted to share my excitement upon hearing of your award. Jodi, you are an inspiration to all of us seeking innovative partnerships and opportunities to institutionalize environmental stewardship across the region. Your enthusiasm is contagious and your approach is inclusive and welcoming. Congratulations, my friend. You deserve this honor for all your work in Maryland!

Jenn Aiosa
Baltimore County, MD

Julie Lawson - DC Watershed Champion

You are so deserving of this recognition and award! I am grateful to be in a journey together in our work for the Stakeholders' Advisory Committee and the Chesapeake Bay Program. You have taught me a lot, made me laugh, and served as a patient listener and supportive colleague. The amount of time that you offer in service to the Committee and all the causes that you are passionate about is an inspiration. I admire your devotion, your courage, and your integrity.
Thank you for all you do, but especially, thank you for your friendship!

Jess Blackburn
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Julie Lawson - DC Watershed Champion

Congratulations, Julie! I am so excited for you — and this is so well-deserved! You have never let anything slow you down, even when the going got tough. I've been so impressed by your dedication to protecting the natural resources we all share…from your time at Trash Free Maryland to your leadership in our peer cohort, to your appointment by Mayor Bowser. You deserve all the accolades coming to you!

Jodi Rose
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Jodi you’re an inspiration to me and so many for your selfless work to make a difference in the world. You truly are building an organization and leaving the world a better place than you found it, in so many ways. Congrats for this well-deserved recognition!

Doug McKeown
ClimateWork Maine

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Congratulations but this award does not surprise us. You are an outstanding leader…determined, creative, and gentle. We are grateful for you but also for the reality that you have bringing so much life to our earth. May you be blessed in all your work. Jim and Evelyn McKeown

James McKeown

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Congratulations Jodi! This is well deserved recognition for your success in creating a thriving, effective organization making real impact in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I am honored to be part of IPC and work with you.

Rebecca Arenson-Rachlinski
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Such a blessing to be on this adventure with you! You are an amazing leader. Our organization’s impact is due to your incredible skills and vision. This is so well deserved. Congratulations!

Bonnie Sorak
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Jodi Sulpizio - PA Watershed Champion

Hi, Jodi!

I was so happy to receive the email today announcing that you have received the Watershed Champion of the Year award! Congratulations! I was last year's recipient, so I have some idea of what an honor (and a shock) it was when you received the notification. Thank you for all the work you do with the Master Watershed Steward Program in York County. I live in Cumberland County, just up the road from you. I hope we'll have the opportunity to meet some day.

Congratulations again for the well-deserved recognition of the work you do for Central Pennsylvania, the Bay, and the planet.

With my best wishes,

Wendy Smith

Wendy Smith
Wendy Smith, Volunteer with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Jodi Rose - MD Watershed Champion

Jodi – thank you for all you've done, and continue to do, for the Chesapeake and her communities. We can't wait to celebrate YOU!

Kate Fritz
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Share a Message With Our Award Winners

Join in on the Taste celebrations and share a congratulatory message with our award winners! Using the form below, you can submit a short text and/or photo message for one of our 2023 award winners.

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Thank You to Our 2023 Taste Sponsors!


Stein Family Charitable Foundation


Kate Fritz & Stefan Kunz