A Positive Outlook on Environmental Change

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On Friday, April 1st, I attended the Annapolis Film Festival’s Environmental Showcase at St. Anne’s Parish House. The Festival, now in its fourth year, attracts visitors from near and far to Annapolis for four days and over 70 films. It was great getting to meet other people that were interested in the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. I was able to talk to Mary-Angela Hardwick from Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay about Project Clean Stream which is one of the biggest watershed cleanup events in the area.

The large hall was full of eager attendees, and once the lights were dimmed, the house quieted and the first film began. The first film shown was Ocean Stories: Greg Stone. It was a short, inspiring documentary about marine biologist Dr. Greg Stone’s many experiences from diving to see shipwrecks in the tropics to exploring the underwater world of icebergs in Antarctica. It gave a haunting picture of what our oceans looked like just a few decades ago and how fragile they’ve become in recent years. The film also talked about several ways we can help stop the pollution and help restore these large marine ecosystems. Creating large marine protected areas is one way that Dr. Stone says will help protect our oceans. He believes that if we remove human interference and over-fishing that these endangered ecosystems will heal themselves.

The second film was The Last Bay Scallop?. Also a documentary, it centered on the last commercial Bay Scallop fishery, located in Nantucket, MA. The film focused on what is being and can still be done to solve the problem of the declining state of the fishery. Eel grass is extremely important to the Bay Scallop life cycle. To preserve the eel grass, the weights on the dredges can be removed so that the eel grass isn’t uprooted and killed. Nantucket also has a shellfish hatchery where Bay Scallop larvae are bred and then released by the millions into the water. The featured documentary in the showcase was called Climate Change: A Few Degrees Less. This film focused on the goal of keeping global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius before 2050.

My favorite film was The Last Bay Scallop? because it focused on a local issue. The issue seemed to be similar to problems in the Chesapeake Bay region. The community on Nantucket struck me as well. They’re dependent on the fishery just as much as the fishery is dependent on them. If the fishery is to be saved, it needs people to care for it and help restore it to what it once was, and the community on Nantucket has banded together to fight for their culture and way of life. The fact that so many people are working hard to save this ecosystem is admirable and the rest of the country can learn a lot from the people on Nantucket. I also liked the documentary because it wasn’t filled with doom like a lot of other environmental documentaries. Instead, it was able to express that people have a direct impact on the problem and on the solution, while keeping a positive tone. The film focused on the fact that we don’t have to completely change our lifestyles to make a difference. It did an excellent job of emphasizing that small changes, such as not using fertilizer on your yard, can make a big difference to the ecosystem.

I found the showcase to be refreshing. All the films had a positive tone and urged that change is possible, while making it seem less difficult than we may have imagined. I left the showcase feeling good about the chances we have to correct the damage that has been done to the marine and world ecosystems. ”People make the difference” was the message I took from all three films. We cannot just sit by and hope that things will improve. We have to take action to save the world we live in for future generations.

Marie Paterson is an intern at the Chesapeake Bay Trust in the Development and Communications Department and a junior at UMBC majoring in Psychology and Media and Communications.

Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Annual Benefit Raises $93,000 for the Bay

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On Friday, May 20th, over 450 Bay lovers gathered for the Treasure the Chesapeake Celebration at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. Despite the very rainy month, the rain held off for the event and it was a beautiful evening by the Bay! Kelly Swartout, the Trust’s new Director of Development, was amazed by the support the Trust received: “We had a wonderful turnout for the celebration. Mother Nature was certainly on our side and brought us a beautiful day! It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and supporting the Bay.”

For the past 18 years, the goal of the Treasure the Chesapeake Celebration is to raise money for Chesapeake Bay Trust’s restoration, outreach, and environmental education efforts, and this year’s benefit grossed $93,000! The money raised will go directly to Chesapeake Bay Trust’s grant programs.

This year, the event was also an opportunity to thank the many Bay plate owners in Maryland. The Trust receives the revenue from the Bay plate and uses the money to fund grant projects. If you don’t have a Bay plate, it only takes a few minutes to make a difference in the health of the Bay. “Buying a Bay plate is a great way to help support Bay restoration and outreach. For just $20, you can get a Treasure the Chesapeake license plate and know that Chesapeake Bay Trust will be a responsible steward of your donation. 92 cents of every dollar goes right back to the grant programs that the Trust oversees,” explains Jana Davis, Executive Director of the Trust. Click here to buy yours online today and it will get sent right to your home!

The Chesapeake Bay Trust’s mission is to promote public awareness and public participation in the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. The Trust is a non-profit organization that receives funding from individual and corporate donors, the Maryland tax check off program, and the Bay plate.

To learn more about the Trust’s grant programs, click here.

Five Activities to do in Time for Easter

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These 5 crafts are all about getting into the swing of spring! If you’re into crafting and repurposing things, I’m sure you’ll enjoy one of these creative projects.

Toilet Paper Roll Chicks
Reuse your toilet paper rolls for this fun art project.

You will need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Googly eyes
  • Tacky glue
  • Yellow tissue paper (or old strips of fabric) Yellow paint
  • Thin strips of brown paper
  • Orange construction paper cut in small triangles


1. Paint the cardboard rolls yellow
2. Wait for the paint to dry and glue on the eyes and beak (the small orange triangle)
3. Crumble the yellow tissue paper or fabric and glue it on to look like little wings
4. If you want to make your brand new baby chick a nest you can tangle brown strips of paper. Voila! You have baby chick made from recycled materials!

3 Ingredient Peeps

These easy and delicious treats are a great way to hop into spring! Make eggs, or bunnies, or chicks with your marshmallows and then enjoy the sugary goodness.

You will need:

  • 2 ½ Teaspoons of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup cold water for gelatin, and 1/4 cup for syrup
  • 1 cup colored sugar (for decorating)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


1. Put 1/3 cup of cool water into a mixer bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit.
2. Combine ¼ cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a pan over medium high heat stirring regularly.
3. Continue to stir until the water and sugar mixture reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Once the syrup has reached the right temperature, stir it for a few minutes to let it cool.
5. Pour the syrup into your gelatin mix and beat on medium high until stiff (8-15 minutes of beating).
6. Put the marshmallow into a large Ziploc bag with one of the corners cut off and use it to squeeze the marshmallow out into shapes.
7. Cover the marshmallow shapes with your colored sugar
8. If you want to add extra decoration, melt some chocolate chips and use a toothpick to draw chocolaty designs on your peeps.

Vegetable Dyed Easter Eggs

There’s nothing better than finding new uses for what’s in your fridge. This Easter, try using vegetables and fruits to dye your eggs!

You will need:

  • 12 white or brown hard-boiled eggs
  • 1T white vinegar per cup of strained dye liquid
  • Neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed


1. Boil the water before adding vegetables (using the ratios below) and then let vegetables and water simmer for 15-30 minutes
2. Let the dye cool then pour it through fine strainer into another saucepan and stir in 1T of vinegar per cup of strained dye.
3. Immerse your eggs and place the eggs in the dye in the refrigerator until they turn the desired color.
4. Dry eggs and rub a little oil on them with a paper towel before placing back in the fridge until it’s time to eat them.

4 cups dye liquid made from any of the following:
1 cup chopped purple cabbage per cup of water — makes blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
1 cup red onion skins per cup of water — makes lavender or red eggs
1 cup yellow onion skins per cup of water— makes orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
1 cup shredded beets per cup of water— makes pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
2 tablespoons ground turmeric per cup of water — makes yellow eggs
1 bag Red Zinger tea per cup of water— makes lavender eggs

Turn a Colander into a hanging plant holder

There’s no better way to brighten up a room than with flowers and bright colors!

To do this I suggest you find a decorative colorful colander. If you don’t have one lying around, try local thrift or antique shops.


1. Wrap the colander handles with a half a yard of twine each (push it together to avoid gaps)
2. Glue down the end pieces of the twine to keep it from unraveling
3. Knot one yard of twine around each side of both handles (you should be using four yards of twine to do this)
4. Line the inside of the colander with sheet moss
5. Fill with potting soil and your chosen plants (pansies look nice especially when accompanied by something leafy like ferns)
5. Finally tie your four lengths of twine together and hang your new masterpiece!

Recycled Fabric Flowers
A fun craft that doubles as great decoration is a win-win.

You will need:

  • Tulle, old shirts, old curtains, or fabric scraps
  • Sticks
  • Cord or twine
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors

1. Cut the tulle/shirts/curtains into strips and fold them in half. The width of your strips decides the size of your flower (wider strips = bigger flower)
2. Put a line of glue on one end of your stick and stick one end of your folded fabric to it. Make sure the folded side is at the top.
3. Wrap the tulle around the stick scrunching it and gluing it however you want before gluing the end down.
4. Take a bit of the cord or twine and wrap it around the base of your flower, where the tulle meets the stick several times and glue it down.
5. Let dry, put them in a vase, and admire!

Marie Paterson is an intern at the Chesapeake Bay Trust in the Development and Communications Department and a junior at UMBC majoring in Psychology and Media and Communications.