Chesapeake Bay Fellows
Through an interdisciplinary approach that extends education beyond the classroom, the Chesapeake Bay Fellows program engages students in environmental scholarship incorporating science, English, math, history, political science, and the arts.
We welcomed our newest cohort of Bay Fellows ’23 virtually this summer as we all participated in a week-long purpose summit. It was not our usual outdoor expedition style experience, but it brought us all together nonetheless. We embark on this school year excited by the prospects that lie before us. Here is a brief overview of what we are up to now, and what we have planned for the coming months.
The Fellows have begun brainstorming and submitting ideas for fall projects. They may pursue several shorter projects or one long-term project. Their first proposals contain ideas for traditional research projects, community engagement / service projects, teaching projects, and testing, and art projects. Also. the greater Fellows community, the BLP, is interested in exploring the possibility of a collaborative effort on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (CBF, LF, EDI, GH, GA). Project presentations have already begun. Lydia Sweeney, ’21, presented her project she completed this past summer in partnership with the Girl Scouts and Lynnhaven River Now. Lydia organized a team of volunteers and completed a dune restoration on the beach near the Lesner bridge. With some 20+ hands, the team effected the removal of two invasive plant species and the planting of several hundred native grass (sea oats) plants. Lydia continues to work with local environmental interests, seeking to engage a broader swath of the NA community.
As a group we have begun reading Endurance by Alfred Lansing. It is an epic tale that documents Ernest Shackleton’s failed attempt to traverse Antarctica in 1914. The ship, Endurance, is beset by ice and sunk. Shackleton leads his men, stranded on the ice with no hope of rescue, to safety despite several harrowing experiences. It is Shackleton’s extraordinary leadership that enabled him to pull off the impossible and save all 25 members of his crew. We are reading the novel to learn how he did it.
Our partnerships with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Upstream Alliance are also allowing us to participate in regular webinars with these Bay advocates. Topics vary every week, covering a range of Chesapeake Bay issues. Further, there exists the opportunity to take CBF’s “VoiCeS” class for a nominal cost. The course acquaints its participants with a broad array of Bay issues.
Lastly, and pending school approval, we hope to be able to embark on an outdoor experience this fall. October is the perfect month to be paddling and camping on the Bay, and this year we have no conflicts with athletics of arts at the Academy. Stay tuned.
The Fellows ’19 and ’21 on a quintessential Chesapeake Bay adventure.
Watch the video.
We brought our Chesapeake Bay Fellows to the Delaware and Hudson Rivers to examine the aftermath of centuries of settlement, development, and industrialization. The central theme to our experience was, “Is this river swimmable and fishable.” Through water testing and biotic sampling we discovered that these rivers are, indeed, better than people think. In fact, during the time we were there, both rivers were (technically) swimmable and fishable.
Watch this video.
The Fellows ’21 joined the Chesapeake Bay Fellows Program officially last week when they joined an all-Fellows retreat from Jan. 25-27, 2018. After a leadership / design challenge at school, we set out for First Landing State Park to assess water quality in the Lynnhaven River (it’s good!). We then took a tour of the Brock Environmental Center at Pleasure House Point, a community / educational center for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The building is one of the greenest on earth. It produces a surplus of electricity, consumes zero water, and creates no waste. And, by the way, it is comfortable and enjoys a breath-taking view of the Lynnhaven River. We also spent a day on the Eastern Shore of Virginia spending a few hours at Cherrystone Aqua Farms and the Barrier Island Center. The Fellows learned how oysters and clams are farmed, an undertaking that currently sustains 200 workers and produces millions of succulent bivalves for our palates. The Barrier Island Center houses thousands of artifacts from the once populated barrier islands of Virginia’s east coast. The residents were forced to evacuate the islands after they were swept by a series fierce hurricanes in the middle of the 20th century.
Watch the video.