Tag Archives: Chesapeake Bay

Bumper Sticker Back Story: Save the Bay

7 Jan

© Chesapeake Bay Foundation/cbf.org

The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles long and stretches from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia. It’s the largest estuary in the U.S. and is depended on by local fisherman, mainly because of its blue crabs, oysters and clams. It’s also widely used for recreation (boating, swimming, etc.). Unfortunately, the bay is a mess.

The bad news
In the 1970s tests showed the world’s first known marine dead zones on the planet—aka they were so polluted that they could no longer support life. You can guess what followed: wildlife of all types suffered and so did fishermen.

What caused the bay to become so polluted? Well, the watershed includes parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as the entire District of Columbia. So all the cars we drive, fertilizers we use, electricity we consume ends up affecting the bay. The bay also suffered from being over harvesting and invasive species.

The not as bad news
Luckily, not all hope is lost—the recently released 2010 State of the Bay Report showed signs of improvement. And the water is no longer giving swimmers rashes(!), which it did in the late 1990s thanks to harmful algal blooms (which also killed massive amounts of fish). Clearly, restoring the bay is an uphill battle. Just recently, The Chesapeake Clean Water Act was blocked in the Senate.

Be a Helpy Helperton
This is a huge issue and I’ve only just scratched the surface. If you’re interested in learning more, I suggest checking out the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. (They are the ones that send out the ‘Save the Bay’ bumper stickers that you see so often in this area. Each new member receives one.) Another great resource is the Chesapeake Bay Program. And you can even volunteer.

Anyone who’s anyone: Polar Bear Plunge

13 Dec

Joe Flacco, starting quarterback for the Ravens. © Special Olympics Maryland

I know what you’re thinking: January is just around the corner and I’d really like to take a dip in the Chesapeake Bay. Well, you’re in luck! The 15th annual Polar Bear Plunge is being held on Saturday, January 29. In its history, over 55,000 masochists have participated. And it’s not just a plunge—which takes all of 10 seconds—but rather an all-day event with a festival before and after as well as live entertainment and a polar bear pageant.

The event takes place at Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County (about an hour’s drive from DC). Each registrant must raise at least $50, and the money goes to support Maryland’s Special Olympics. There are prizes for those who raise a lot of money, as well as a coveted prize for best costume. You and your friends can also register as a team. And you might find yourself plunging with some celebrities: Past plungers have included Ravens and Orioles players as well as the cast of Hot Tub Time Machine.

In the past parking has been an issue, but if you don’t get a space in the lottery for parking at Sandy Point, not to worry as there will be a shuttle running from several other parking lots.

In the last 14 years, this event has raised $16.1 million dollars for Special Olympic athletes. It’s a good cause, a well-organized event and something you can brag about to your coworkers. I actually wasn’t planning on signing up, but I think I’ve actually convinced myself to after writing this post. Hope to see you there!