In just a few hours we will say farewell to 2019—a complex year that saw both agonizing and awe-inspiring stories across the globe. Case in point: 2019 revealed a staggering 30 percent loss of birds in North America in just the past 50 years. It also showed inspiring acts of citizen engagement seen most noticeably through the millions of youth activists taking to the streets to protest climate change—the very thing responsible for this bird apocalypse.
Before we welcome 2020 with open arms, we decided to take a look back and see what you, the reader, valued and cared about most. So without further ado, these are the top five most popular blog posts from 2019 . . .
- Sharks in the Bay?!: While not a 2019 story, this blog post was so popular that it exceeded its 2018 shelf life and drew more than 12,000 readers in 2019. CBF's Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers answered all our questions after a Bay waterman caught 8.6-foot, 310-pound bull shark in southern Maryland waters. Perhaps most notable of all, Myers told us: “The appearance of top predators like these is another sign of a healthy, rebounding ecosystem.”
- Farewell to Fox: In October, we said goodbye to our beloved Fox Island—a place that many of us have shared a deep connection with over the 40 years of its existence as a CBF island education center. The old hunting lodge rising up from the marshes and mud, suspended between Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds, transformed tens of thousands of students and teachers who walked through its screen doors over the years. CBF's Vice President of Education Tom Ackerman reflects on Fox and explains the painful decision to permanently close the outdoor classroom as sea level rise and erosion slowly claim this magical place.
- Cautious Good News about Underwater Bay Grasses: In July, CBF’s now-retired Senior Naturalist John Page Williams wrote of the Bay’s encouraging signs of resiliency—underwater grasses that withstood the pummeling of record rains. As Williams reminds us: “The health of these Chesapeake underwater prairies is a critical index to the health of the Bay ecosystem as a whole.” Some of our best-loved Bay critters (did someone mention blue crabs?) rely on grasses for food and refuge. We were thrilled to share this great news with more than 2,500 readers who visited the blog.
- Top Five Things You Always Wondered About Winter on the Chesapeake: A seasonal favorite, we explain those weird but wonderful things that happen in the Bay in winter and why. Extremely low tides, crystal clear water, abundant waterfowl . . . just how exactly do things change on the Chesapeake in winter and why? More than 1,800 of you found out!
- Fox Magic: Again, our Fox Island series made it into the top five, this time offering personal stories and testimonials from students and teachers who had been transformed by this special place.
Thank you for being curious, inquisitive readers of our CBF Blog. We strive to keep you updated on important clean water issues and hope we have accomplished just that throughout 2019. Now we look forward to 2020—and the next decade!—as a time to work even more vigilantly for healthy rivers, clean streams, and a restored Chesapeake Bay. Thank you for being an integral part of our work. And keep on reading!