(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) announced today that it will honor Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, for its leadership and commitment to educating the next generation of Chesapeake Bay leaders. CBF President Will Baker will present the Conservationist of the Year Award to Washington College President Kurt Landgraf on Monday, February 26, at the third DC on the Half Shell gala in Washington, D.C.
"Now more than ever we need sound leadership to save the Chesapeake Bay and our natural world," Baker said. "From our earliest days, we at CBF understood we must help students appreciate the wonders of the Bay and to become our future environmental stewards. Washington College has become preeminent in that effort."
CBF will also award Virginia Wesleyan University with the Conservationist of the Year award at DC on the Half Shell.
Washington College for years has been a leader in innovative environmental instruction. In recent months, the institution announced several major expansions to its environmental programs, including the launch of the 4,700-acre River and Field Campus, a new dual-degree program for environmental science or environmental studies majors with Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, groundbreaking for the Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, and a $500,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to the college's Center for Environment & Society to expand a project that motivates landowners to reduce polluted runoff into the Chesapeake.
Located on the Chester River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Washington College uses the Chesapeake Bay region as a learning laboratory. The River and Field Campus (RAFC) is home to the only bird banding station and observatory on Maryland's Eastern Shore, an innovative native grassland restoration project, and part of the Chester River Watershed Observatory. In the future, it will provide a wild food and foraging lab for the new Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College, as well as expanded opportunities for collaborative student and faculty research. The college's Center for Environment & Society (CES), which focuses on the relationship between human communities and natural systems, oversees RAFC and also manages the school's two research vessels.
Washington College's environmental education programs emphasize critical analysis and investigation to find solutions to regional and global environmental problems. Those issues include depleted fisheries, world population concerns, loss of biodiversity, climatic changes, and land use management. The school's environmental science and environmental studies majors are grounded in an interdisciplinary course of studies which include a focus on the local while also providing opportunities for comparative study in Bermuda, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Maine. The innovative Chesapeake Semester, overseen by CES, immerses a small group of students each fall in studies that examine the challenges facing the Chesapeake through the lenses of the Bay's economy, culture, history, environment, ecology, and politics.
On a given day, a Washington College student might be banding migratory birds, planting an "edible forest garden" to demonstrate the benefits of perennial polyculture in agriculture, starting sourdough culture in his or her dorm rooms, or studying ocean sciences in Bermuda or the Galapagos Islands.
DC on the Half Shell is a celebration of the Chesapeake Bay, called a National Treasure by President Ronald Regan. CBF also is celebrating its 50th year of working to Save the Bay.
The event will be held at 6:30 pm at Dock5 at Union Market. It will feature gourmet Bay cuisine, cocktails, live entertainment, and oysters galore. Co-chairs of the event are Wendy and Larry Culp, and Kay and David Kaufman. Major sponsors include Kaiser Permanente and Jane P. Batten.
All proceeds from the event support CBF's own award-winning environmental education and habitat restoration programs. CBF takes 35,000 students, teachers, and principals per year on field experiences of hands-on learning and critical analysis. CBF also engages thousands of volunteers in raising oysters, restoring oyster habitat, restoring underwater grass beds, and restoring forest buffers.