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—in person and over FaceTime!—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:
- Buy local: When preparing your meal, consider buying locally grown, in season 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. And it's not only veggies that you can buy locally! The Chesapeake Bay is known for it's oysters, an industry that's been hit hard due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Whether you eat them shucked, shoot them, or even make oyster stuffing, get your oysters delivered to you or at a local pick-up through one of our Chesapeake Oyster Alliance partners!
- Recycle oyster shells: If you are 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, especially with restaurants closed over the last few months. 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 1, every gift to save the Bay and its rivers and streams will be worth DOUBLE, matched dollar-for-dollar by The Merrill Family Foundation. Your support helps us continue planting water-filtering oysters and trees, holding polluters accountable, and offering our best-in-class environmental education experiences to the next generation of Bay stewards, now implemented virtually through our new Chesapeake Bay Foundation Online Watershed Learning (OWL) program.
- 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. Take your outing to the next Bay-loving level and pick up any litter you see!
- 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!
While 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and challenges, we still have a lot to be thankful for and celebrate. In 2020 alone, we added 1.63 billion oysters, educated 365,461 students and teachers virtually through our Learn Outside, Learn at Home series and our new CBF Online Watershed Learning program, planted 103,289 trees through the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, walked 30,900 miles through our Walk the Watershed challenge, and had 86,275 advocacy actions for clean water—what a year! All these things were made possible only through your commitment to clean water. We are 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.