Save the Bay News: Plastic, Fashion, and Using Art to Save the Bay

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One of several alternate images offered by digital folk artist Dwight Easter during his initial designs for CBF's 2023 Clean the Bay Day.

Dwight Easter

Stories of unique ways to save the Bay

“Art forces you to pay attention to the environment around you,” says Dwight Easter, whose unique digital folk art is featured for this year’s Clean the Bay Day. The annual CBF event, which will take place June 3, is the largest litter cleanup in Virginia. The tried-and-true act of picking up trash remains a simple but critical way to take care of the watershed, but as Easter points out, art can play an important role, too. Virginia Beach designer Sonya Williams uses fashion  to repurpose plastic that would be thrown away, and students at Towson High School in Maryland organize an annual music festival to raise money and awareness for watershed restoration. Other watershed advocates are finding their own creative ways to take action, from reducing household plastic consumption to naming a creek to bring attention to water quality and little-known history. We’ll keep doing our part, too—read about the proposed settlement of CBF’s lawsuit against EPA to reduce pollution in Pennsylvania, forest conservation wins in Maryland, and other headlines this month.

Graphic of the map of Virginia showing people involved in cleanup activities.

Folk Art for the Bay

Dwight Easter, a folk artist and longtime Hampton Roads, Virginia, resident, describes his work as “a commentary on popular culture, current events, hotdogs, cranes, and joy.” Easter talks about how he created the unique art for this year’s upcoming Clean the Bay Day, and why art is so important for environmental restoration.

Aidan Kissner crouches by newly-recognized Kitty Payne Creek, which he spent the past two years advocating to be named after a local slave.

BJ Small/CBF Staff

Stream of History

The small stream behind Aidan Kissner’s childhood home in Biglerville, Pennsylvania was often overlooked. But after years of advocacy, the CBF student leader succeeded in having the creek officially named in honor of Kitty Payne, a formerly enslaved woman whose story he hopes will gain more attention.   

Reducing the use of plastics in the home helps to reduce microplastics, which are 5mm or smaller. Pictured are microplastics gathered from the Magothy River. These tiny plastic particles, created both during commercial product development and when larger plastics break down, are found throughout our waterways and can be harmful to fish, animals, and humans.

Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program

Quitting Plastic

In a plastic-saturated world, is it really possible for a household to get by with using drastically less of it? CBF Clean Water Captain Kit Norland and her family set out to meet the challenge and help reduce the plastic in our waterways (and she has tips for how you can slash plastic use, too).

Three young men in matching caps and t-shirts with a stylized T logo.

Tributary Festival creator Reed Spaulding (center) and current co-presidents Matt Spencer (left) and Henry Kline (right).

The Tributary Festival

Tributary Festival Rocks On

The homegrown Tributary Festival, created by students at Towson High School, melds music and passion for the Chesapeake Bay—raising more than $19,000 for restoration to date. Helping the Bay recover can seem like a daunting task, says festival co-president Henry Kline, but “this festival makes it more enjoyable and possible for people to do.” Find out how you can be a BayRaiser, too.

Model wearing a dress made from plastic bottles and bags.

The 'Fantastic Plastic' dress from Virginia Beach fashion designer Sonya Phillips, worn by model Queen Ayesha at Virginia Fashion Week.

Sonya Phillips

Trashion Fashion

What's an unexpected way to keep plastic litter out of our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay? Turn throwaways into runway-ready clothing. "One person may look at empty bottles as trash. But I look at them and say 'Piece of plastic, you're fantastic,” says Virginia Beach fashion designer Sonya Phillips, a CBF volunteer Clean Water Captain.

In the News

  • CBF, states, and EPA reach proposed lawsuit settlement for Pennsylvania pollution: The agreement requires EPA to, among other things, look for ways to reduce pollution from agriculture and stormwater runoff.
  • Maryland approves historic forest preservation legislation: The new forest protections are among the strongest in the country.
  • Registration opens for Virginia’s largest annual litter cleanup: Clean the Bay Day volunteers will remove massive amounts of litter from parks, streams, beaches, and trails at more than 200 cleanup sites.
  • Rep. John Sarbanes reintroduces federal outdoor education bill: CBF endorses the legislation, which would expand and strengthen hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities for elementary and secondary school students.
  • CBF names new state Executive Directors: Dr. Allison Colden and Julia Krall will lead CBF’s efforts in Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively.

What You Can Do

  • In a win for local waterways, healthy communities, and the Chesapeake Bay, a proposed settlement has been reached in our lawsuit against EPA. But now EPA needs to hear from you. Take action before the May 22 public comment deadline!
  • From tree plantings to oyster gardening to Clean the Bay Day, check out all the great volunteer opportunities we have coming up!
  • Are you inspired by the stories from CBF’s Clean Water Captains above and interested in learning how you too can be a clean water ambassador? Check out CBF’s Clean Water Captains programs in Maryland and Virginia.    
  • In honor of Earth Day, we’ve set a goal of welcoming 50 new members before April 30. Celebrate the legacy of Earth Day all year—become a CBF member today!


The views and opinions expressed in the media or articles on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Website, or any link contained in a linked Website, or any changes or updates to such Websites. The inclusion of any link is provided only for information purposes.

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Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

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