Annapolis, MDMar 4th, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
We will drive the 3 hours up to Annapolis on the morning of Saturday, March 4th and set up camp at YMCA Camp Letts. Sunday is an open day for activities before we start volunteer work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Monday. We are planning to go into downtown Annapolis and explore, maybe touring the Naval Academy as well. During the week, we will do environmental conservation work alongside field researchers in various locations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The day-to-day specifics of the service work will be established closer to the trip date. However, it is likely that we will work on CBF’s sustainable farm and with their oyster restoration program. Each evening after volunteering, we will either return to camp to cook dinner and relax over an open campfire, or head into Annapolis and the surrounding area to sample local seafood and explore the town. After a week of hard work, Saturday will be another free day to go hiking, tour some of the area’s lighthouses, or eat some delicious seafood before returning to Charlottesville that afternoon.
As the weather is variable and we will be working outside, layers are recommended and you shouldn’t bring anything that you wouldn’t want getting muddy. The temperatures can get cold in the mornings and evenings with averages in the 50s-60s during the day. No worries if you’ve never camped before! We will be staying in a cabin! We just ask that participants be willing to get dirty, try something new, learn about the Chesapeake Bay, and bring a positive attitude.
The staff at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) will put us to work improving the Bay ecosystem throughout the week. One project that is especially important is the improvement of the Bay’s oyster population. Oysters are a keystone species that filter the Bay’s water, but in recent years, the oyster population has fallen to as low as 1% of historic levels – in large, due to overfishing. Through CBF revival efforts, which rely heavily on volunteer work, we will be working at an oyster restoration center where we can help grow and plant oysters. We will likely also help at CBF’s sustainable farm. In addition to these activities, we may also plant vegetation to improve water quality and prevent runoff, improve erosion control along the coast, and clean trash from the area.
The Chesapeake Bay itself is the largest estuary in the United States, supporting over 2,700 species of plants and animals, and has more shoreline (11,684 miles) than the entire U.S. west coast. Over 150 rivers and streams drain into the Bay, where freshwater mixes with saltwater coming from the Atlantic. More than 17 million people live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and due to increased population in recent years, the ecosystem there has been faced with problems from erosion, pollution, and overfishing. The area must balance conservation with the needs of the local economy (fishing industry, tourism, etc.) The significant removal of oysters that filter water has impaired the Bay’s ability to support a diverse ecosystem. Much of the Bay is considered a dead zone, where very few or no species live. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed covers six different states, three of which border the bay (VA, MD, DE). The other three (WV, PA, NY) do not border the bay, which can make regulation and awareness of the bay’s pollution a complicated issue.
The city of Annapolis, where we will stay and work, is home to the United States Naval Academy and has a rich naval, political, and architectural history. Annapolis has the oldest state capitol still in use (since 1772), and four signers of the Declaration of Independence lived there. The Chesapeake Bay also has its own dog breed, called the Chesapeake Bay retriever!
Throughout the week, will be working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), an organization founded in 1967 by fishermen, sailors, and hunters who were worried about the future of the Bay. The Foundation’s mission is to “Save the Bay, and keep it saved.” To do this, the Foundation strives to empower residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to take action to protect the bay and its wildlife. The CBF strives to accomplish their goals through government action, environmental conservation and hands-on projects, all of which work towards their mission to educate, advocate, litigate, and restore. They value community outreach and education, which is why they are excited to host student groups (like ours!) for service learning.
We will have a day and a half off, during which we will explore Annapolis and the surrounding area! Though we’ll definitely seek input from the group, some potential activities include visiting the US Naval Academy, touring nearby lighthouses, hiking in the area, visiting the beach and Calvert Cliffs, and stopping in D.C. or Baltimore on the drive home. The CBF’s headquarters is located at the state of the art Phillip Merrell environmental center, one of the world’s most environmentally-sound buildings, and we hope to tour this incredible facility. Additionally, look forward to getting to know our other participants over campfires, games of Catchphrase, and plenty of s’mores.
ABOUT THE SITE LEADERS
Kelly McCain (kem5gb) is a third year from Greensboro, North Carolina majoring in Human Biology. Kelly loves anything outdoors, going on adventures, soccer, and most of all, traveling. She was a participant on the Shenandoah, VA trip her first year and led to Annapolis in Spring 2016. She and Kara met on their ASB Annapolis trip last year and are excited to lead this trip together, make new friends, and explore Annapolis!
Kara Adams (kma5cd) is a third year Psychology major and Art minor. She is from Richmond, VA but is Mauritian-American and enjoys travel both domestically and overseas. Kara loves all animals and was thrilled when she got to kiss a pregnant sheep and play with many dogs on last year’s Annapolis trip. Kara’s greatest passions in life involve food, volunteering at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, tennis, 80’s music, her guinea pigs Nellie and Nora, and spending time on the Bay with CBF and a great group of ASBaes.
SITE LEADER TESTIMONIALS
I love ASB because you return from a week of service with a new ASB family. We worked hard together with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and were able to see the results of our hard work. Our site contact repeatedly told us how important it was for us to come each year because of the overwhelming need for manpower in their oyster restoration and environmental work. — Kelly
My favorite memory of ASB was working on Clagett Farm with my newfound ASB family. It was incredible to be able to spend a week in the sunshine using my hands instead of sitting at a desk all day. Our work was visible and highly valued by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It was a great feeling to be needed. Without our ASB trip’s yearly contributions, CBF wouldn’t be able to plant as many crops and trees as they do every April. — Kara