From ghost-like masks blowing in the breeze to scream worthy cuts to important Bay funding, 2020 has been the year of many tricks and very little treats. Just in time for Halloween, check out five of the spookiest things we’ve seen this year.
Single-use masks hidden among the leaves
Like little ghosts blowing through the crisp fall breeze, single-use masks have become a spooky feature of the Chesapeake Bay landscape. But getting rid of these little ghosts is an easy fix! If you’re using single-use masks and gloves to protect yourself from COVID-19, make sure you dispose of them properly. Or better yet, purchase a reusable mask that you can use time and time again! (We have some very cool Save the Bay masks available for sale!)
Hairy caterpillars that pack a sting
One of the most venomous caterpillars has been spotted recently in Virginia. And while these caterpillars seem like something from a horror film, they’re nothing to be scared of. In fact, the caterpillar transforms into the southern flannel moth and is found from New Jersey to Florida and west to Arkansas and Texas. Plus, this caterpillar has a lot of natural predators, so the Virginia Department of Forestry says to leave it alone, not be scared, and let its natural predators do their job in keeping the population down.
Scream-worthy threats to Bay funding
In February the Trump administration proposed slashing next year’s funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program by more than 91 percent as part of its fiscal year 2021 budget. As part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates the federal-state-local partnership for restoring the Bay watershed and is critical for the continued restoration of the Bay. But thankfully, in one of this year’s few treats, the U.S. House and Senate both passed sweeping conservation legislation that reauthorizes the Bay Program and provides a historic funding increase of up to $92 million annually by 2025. It’s now on to the President’s desk to become law!
… Murder hornets?!?!
In case you missed the headlines earlier this year, murder hornets were a thing. While the invasive Asian giant hornet has not been spotted on the East Coast of the U.S. yet, we got word that this week Washington state agriculture officials successfully destroyed the first nest found in the U.S. According to experts, these hornets, which happen to be the world's largest, can kill an entire colony of honeybees in hours—spelling bad news for global agriculture and food-chains.
Bone-chilling pauses to critical restoration work
As states issued stay-at-home orders, many events were cancelled throughout the Bay region. Oyster restoration work, Clean the Bay Day, and tree planting events were all put on hold. But as we learned more about COVID-19 and the best practices to avoid the spread, we quickly worked to rethink and reschedule many of our events. Our dedicated members have set up virtual trash cleanup fundraisers to help clean and restore the Bay at a distance, and our restoration events are back up and running with CDC-recommended distancing and sanitization. We hope you’ll join us soon!