2018 was a whirlwind of a year (and a wet one at that!), full of Bay critters, pretty sights, and taking action to help protect and restore the Bay and its many rivers and streams. As we wind down and prepare for 2019, we thought we'd take a look back at the top five posts that had our supporters talking on Facebook this year.
- When thinking about the turtles of the Chesapeake Bay region, the first one that often comes to mind is the terrapin, but you gave another turtle some love on Facebook this year—the Loggerhead sea turtle! Late in 2017, approximately 100 hatchlings emerged from a single nest at Assateague Island National Seashore. What made this big news exactly? Loggerhead sea turtles typically lay their eggs on beaches from Florida to North Carolina, making it rare for them to hatch anywhere north of Virginia. We're happy these Loggerheads get to call a Chesapeake Bay state home!
- In 2018, when the Bay and its rivers and streams needed a voice, you spoke for them! In March, Maryland legislators were debating the future of forest conservation and more than 3,500 of you spoke up. Although MD Senate Bill 610 died in chamber, the impact your voices had in the Maryland State House was quite remarkable. Be on the lookout in 2019 for ways you can take action to help save the Bay!
- We bet Kermit would love this one! Our friends at Virginia's First Landing State Park shared an amazing photo of iridescent water found at the park. Turns out the phenomenon is caused by chemicals in the water that are released from decaying leaves. These chemicals reflect different colors of light, giving us a swamp rainbow and a rainbow connection!
- Baby sturgeon, do do do do do do! While the "baby shark" song was being played on repeat by toddlers across America, we had our own babies to celebrate here in the Chesapeake Bay—sturgeon! Researchers from the Rice Rivers Center at Virginia Commonwealth University found 24 baby sturgeons in the James River. The once-plentiful ancient fish was listed as an endangered species in 2012. Prior to 2018, Rice researches had spotted 600 adult and juvenile sturgeon, but they did not come across a single baby on the James. Since sturgeon leave the Chesapeake Bay tributaries to mature in the ocean, the imbalance of ages was a source of concern for scientists. Researchers feared it could possibly indicate issues preventing survival at a rate to sustain the population in the James. But these babies give us a lot of hope for the fate of sturgeon in the James and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries for the years ahead!
- The Chesapeake Bay is a home away from home for many birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway, including Ruby-throated hummingbirds. While they winter in central America, they call Eastern North America home for the summer. These hummingbirds show a slight preference for red, orange, and bright pink tubular flowers as nectar sources, so make sure your feeder is ready this coming spring so you can see some for yourself!