Chesapeake Watershed Forum

Save the Dates: 12th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum

November 3 – 5, 2017
National Conservation Training Center
Shepherdstown, WV

*Please note the change in the event dates.


12th Chesapeake Watershed Forum: Healthy Lands, Healthy Waters, Healthy People

This year’s theme, Healthy Lands, Healthy Waters, Healthy People was chosen so that we may explore the connection between the health of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and its effect on those of us living here.

The 2017 Chesapeake Watershed Forum Planning Committee is now accepting workshop proposals!

The deadline for submitting is May 31, 2017

RFP Announcement

11th Chesapeake Watershed Forum: A Personal Call to Action

In 2016, the theme of personal action was woven into every moment at our 11th annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum with over 425 attendees sharing experiences and stories. The gathering was full of lively discussions, ample networking opportunities, and inspiring stories. Thank you to everyone who attended and supported this year’s Forum!

Forest Champions

Each year, the Alliance and US Forest Service honor outstanding efforts to conserve, restore, and celebrate forests throughout the six state Chesapeake Bay watershed. This year’s honorees included:

Lifetime Achievement Award

James (Jim) Finley, Ph.D., Director of Center for Private Forests at Penn State, PA

Most Effective at Engaging the Public

Anne Marie Clarke, Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District, VA

Greatest on the Ground Impact

Dan Hedderick, Land Use Planning Department of Community Service and Engineer II Department of Public Works with Allegany County Government, MD

Exemplary Forest Steward

Dave and Laura Jackson, Bedford County, PA


This year’s keynote presentation included a panel discussion after viewing the City of Trees film. We learned what sounds like a simple goal — putting people back to work by planting trees — becomes complicated by local racial tensions, a community’s distrust of outsiders, and a fast-approaching deadline before the grant money runs out. Filmed in an unflinching and compelling verité approach over the course of more than two years, CITY OF TREES thrusts viewers into the inspiring but messy world of job training and the paradoxes changemakers face in urban communities every day.

CITY OF TREES earned the Audience Choice Award during its debut at the American Conservation Film Festival in 2015 and has since reached national audiences through the PBS America ReFramed broadcast series and local screenings around the country.  For more information about the film, including how to host a local screening, please visit


  • Bay Journal
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust
  • Claggett Center
  • EPA – Chesapeake Bay Program
  • Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association
  • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
  • OpinionWorks
  • Water Words that Work, LLC

Are you interested in sponsoring the 2017 Chesapeake Watershed Forum?

Contact Lou Etgen at or (443) 949-0575.

Workshop Sessions

The 2016 Chesapeake Watershed Forum offered sessions in 7 tracks which covered all aspects of restoration science, conservation, outreach, advocacy, organizational development and fundraising.

Poster Session

2016 Forum Poster Session

Poster Session at the 2016 Forum (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

The goal of the poster session is for individual presenters to share their work in a visual format with conference attendees. Thank you to the 2016 Chesapeake Watershed Forum poster presenters. See a list of all of the posters at the 2016 Forum: Poster Abstract Booklet (.pdf)

Chesapeake Collective

Chesapeake Collective continues to develop with an increasing presence at this year’s Forum. The Chesapeake Collective is an intentional effort to create a space for a range of diverse voices and narratives to be expressed, shared, and incorporated into the broader conversation about our common vision for a healthy, flourishing, and resilient watershed.  While it certainly does not include all of the multiple voices and stories that make our watershed whole, it does provide a platform and an open invitation to those voices and stories that are often overpowered by the dominant narrative or left out of the conversation around holistic, interdependent watersheds and communities.  Chesapeake Collective recognizes and celebrates our watershed-wide diversity as a source of strength and the foundation for the type of social movement it will take to meet our collective restoration goals.

2016 Demographic Survey Results


The Forum is a highly social event where peers can network with other groups facing similar challenges, and be inspired to continue the work of preserving and restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. To help facilitate this offsite, we’re expanding our efforts to promote the Forum on social media websites. Make sure to follow along with our Forum developments on Facebook and twitter with the hashtag #ChesForum.

If you have any questions regarding the Chesapeake Watershed Forum please contact Lou Etgen.

Lou Etgen Deputy and Maryland State Director, Maryland & DC Office

Lou is the Alliance's Program Director for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Lou oversees all Maryland and DC program staff, as well as manages a variety of projects around the region, including the Chesapeake Watershed Forum.

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