Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program

Chesapeake Collective

Sharing Stories. Opening Conversations. Informing Actions.

Chesapeake Collective is a creative platform for diverse voices to express their vision for a healthy bay watershed.

View 2023 Projects

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 healthy, 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.

Co-created by the Chesapeake Collective, Alliance DEI Team, and Forum planning members, this JEDI Guide helps each Forum attendee recognize and fulfill the Forum’s dedication to a safe and inclusive space throughout the conference.

As attendees of the Chesapeake Watershed Forum stroll along the beautiful National Conservation Training Center campus they pass posters of inspiring quotes, questions, and statements scattered along the trails. Each poster invites the attendee to think deeper about what we can achieve together and as individuals.

History and Projects

The Collective began in 2014 with just two projects at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum intended to bring an alternative art-scape to conference attendees that encouraged conversation, introspection, and creativity. Our growing network of creative voices has helped expand the conversation and meaning behind environmental engagement. As the years went on, the projects and impact of the Collective evolved and encouraged our team to expand beyond the Forum. We have since provided information booths, program sessions, and virtual projects to the Watershed Forum, River Rally, Taste of the Chesapeake, and Festival del Rio.

You can see photos of our projects below and on our Instagram @chescollective.

In this 2018 Chesapeake Watershed Forum session, attendees raise their consciousness of the labels we give ourselves and others, and how those labels support and limit our relationships with each other. Participants intertwined yarn to trunks reflecting their identities, creating an interconnected web stronger together than a single strand alone. No trees were harmed in the making of this art project.

The Climate Ribbon Project, as shown here at the 2017 Chesapeake Watershed Forum, asks attendees to answer a question – What do you love and hope to never lose to climate chaos? – on a ribbon and recognize or guard another’s ribbon. The project “facilitates a deeper personal heart connection to the often abstract issue of climate change. [It] creates a gateway into the climate justice movement for those not-yet-engaged or those who have held back because they think it is hopeless or too difficult to take action.” You can learn more about the Climate Ribbon project at

The Collective partnered with Ambreen Tariq of Brown People Camping to display her Instagram posts through a digital storytelling exhibit as another 2017 Forum project. The posts were draped along a pedestrian bridge and encouraged the readers to explore a range of issues from privilege and diversity to empowerment in the outdoors. @brownpeoplecamping is a social media initiative that utilizes personal narratives to promote greater diversity in our public lands and outdoor communities. To learn more, visit the website at

Attendees at the 2014 Chesapeake Watershed Forum are asked to express themselves in community art mosaics around the campus. Each mosaic asks a different question to engage the audience in the conversations at the Forum through a creative, inclusive, and passive means.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about the collective, our project list, or opportunities to partner please contact Erin O’Grady at