By Jasmine Joseph
Lucky me to have spent six days this summer on CBF’s
50 Forward student leadership experience. Instead of
focusing on all the growth and achievement that the
Chesapeake Bay has seen in the last half-century, we were
encouraged to think about the future and how we would
work together in the next fifty years to save the Bay.
Seventy-three of us were divided into five expedition teams
that travelled throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Each group explored different factors that affect the health of
the environment, such as forestry, farming, and topography.
I was excited to be part of the team that travelled between
CBF’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis
and CBF’s Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education
Center near Cambridge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
During the week, we met and talked with numerous experts
on the importance of one of the Bay’s greatest assets, oysters.
We packaged oyster shells for local oyster-farming enthusiasts.
Our leader Megan Fink taught us the “Oyster Life Cycle Dance”
(which has come in handy at some parties I’ve been to). And,
we were able to be free-range adolescents—cracking jokes,
singing songs, and enjoying our summer vacation.
Wherever we went, I felt understood and appreciated
for my ideas. It was such a good feeling to have state
representatives, biologists from NOAA, CEOs of places like
the National Aquarium, and premiere aquaculturists actually
take our advice and thoughts to heart and learn from them
as much as we were absorbing theirs.
One thing I will carry forward is my newfound confidence
in what I can do to help the Bay. As a student, I’ve always
been interested in the arts, particularly writing. I’ve always
loved the water but hadn’t thought of writing as a valuable
skill to offer. These sentiments, however, were contradicted
throughout the week. CBF Clean Water Captain, Lani
Hummel, encouraged us to learn how to write and speak
well so we could effectively share science with politicians
The Next 50 Years