Oyster stuffing, collard greens, mac and cheese, and don’t forget the turkey—Thanksgiving is officially upon us! As you prepare for the annual feast with family and friends, there are things you can do to help save the Bay and its rivers and streams. Consider these five tips for a Bay-friendly holiday:
- Recycle oyster shells: Indulging in some of the Bay's delicious bivalves this Thanksgiving? Don't forget to recycle your oyster shells! Each year, we return roughly 2,000 bushels of recycled oyster shells to the Bay, thereby creating habitat for millions of oysters and other important Bay critters. But oyster shells are becoming increasingly scarce. Drop off your oyster shells at a variety of locations in Maryland or Virginia.
- Remind family and friends to save the Bay on Giving Tuesday: On Tuesday, December 3, we have set an ambitious fundraising goal: $30,000 in 24 hours—all to ensure the Bay is restored and thrives for generations to come. We're going to need a massive groundswell of support to meet our goal, so spread the word! What's more, all gifts made on Giving Tuesday will be matched by Leidos—making twice the impact for the Bay and your community.
- Buy local: When preparing your meal, consider buying local ingredients. With most foods traveling 1,300 miles before they get to your plate, locally grown food minimizes transportation-related emissions. Furthermore, buying home-grown food is good for the local economy.
- Connect with the resource: Before the inevitable arrival of your turkey coma, bundle up and get outside on the Bay and its rivers and streams. There are countless places to explore that will inspire an even greater appreciation for this national treasure.
- Mow your leaves: Put away your rake and leaf blower and instead use your lawn mower to chop up leaves. This provides a great fertilizer to your grass, and it benefits soil health, which is always good for clean water.
- Take the test: We all have an individual impact on our environment, and that includes the Bay and its rivers and streams. Nitrogen, one of the largest pollutants to the Bay, is a major cause of dead zones. Find out your Bay Footprint and get your pollution grade. Then brag about your score to your friends and family and encourage them to take the test!
This year we have a lot to be thankful for and celebrate. In 2019 alone, we planted more than 37 million native oysters and 55,000 trees across the watershed. We gave more than 24,000 students and teachers unforgettable experiences on our rivers, streams, and Bay. All these things were made possible only through your commitment to clean water. We're so grateful!
But there is still so much more to do—and we can’t do it without you. Join us this Thanksgiving and holiday season for the next chapter in Bay saving. With your dedication, passion, and generosity, we can leave a legacy of clean water to future generations.