Chesapeake Bay Fellows Program
Second Cohort Launched
“…to effect the restoration and ultimate conservation of the Chesapeake Bay.”
The second cohort of Norfolk Academy’s Chesapeake Bay Fellows got started the week of August 6-10 by embarking on their own Chesapeake Bay Adventure, an experience of equal parts education, inspiration, and fun. The Fellows (pictured above) departed Monday morning with Program Director Chris Nelson for two days in and on our local waters. The final three days brought the cohort to Tangier Island. Said Mr. Nelson, “It was hot. It was wet, really wet. But the kids never wavered, never complained, never lagged. They were true Bulldogs.”
Our partner in this undertaking is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation who provided expertise, logistics, and guidance for the entire week. Led by CBF’s Outdoor Educator Brooke Newton, scientist Dr. Bill Portlock, and canoe instructor, Ben Eberline, the Fellows spent the first two days of their week-long adventure in Virginia Beach.
First Landing State Campground was our (wet!) home for the first two nights. Our days took us onto the Lynnhaven River to explore a restoration oyster reef, perform water quality tests, and experience a wetland and maritime forest by getting in it. On day two, CBF’s education vessel, the Bea Hayman Clark, took us out for biotic sampling (trawling) in the Lynnhaven River and fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. It was not the last time we would catch our dinner that week.
Days 3-5 found us on the Eastern Shore, and from there via ferry, to Port Isabel on Tangier Island. Experiences included a visit to Cherrystone Aqua-Farms, learning to catch and shed crabs, exploring the history and culture of Tangier Island, seining for life in the shallows, more fishing, and marsh mucking, the ultimate in wetland immersion!
One evening the Fellows were invited to speak to a group of public school principals who were also having their own Tangier Island experience. The Fellows articulated our program, outlined our goals, and shared their experiences with such expertise, poise, and conviction so as to inspire these principals to return to their own schools with a renewed enthusiasm to educate their students to save the Bay.
by Sean Wetmore
The inaugural class of Chesapeake Bay Fellows began their second year with an early August trip to Charlottesville to participate in a program designed by the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Following a year learning about “Leading Self,” they are now charged to explore “Leading Others” in the coming year. Our trip to Charlottesville both challenged and informed the fellows and helped set the table for what we all know will be an excellent year of discovery, growth, and change. The Fellows first met with Ben Skipper, Director of Undergraduate Programs (?) and Alumni Relations with the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, who provided a tour of the Jefferson Scholars new state-of-the-art-facility and shared details of the program with the fellows. After a spirited question and answer session, the Fellows and Mr. Wetmore enjoyed dinner together and took some time to speak about the Fellows’ upcoming team projects.
The experience also included a journey to the Batten School to meet with Mr. Howard Hoege, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Strategic Initiatives, who had met with the fellows in a leadership session during the school year, and now treated them to a session entitled “Articulate and Motivate: Moving from Individual to Group Goals”. The Fellow also enjoyed a working lunch with Joseph Maroon, former Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, who talked about the impact of current Bay policy on restoration efforts.
The day concluded with the Fellows playing the Chesapeake Bay Game, presented by Dr. Jeffrey Plank, Associate Vice President for Research, and his wonderful staff.
The game showed our fellows the frustrations and rewards of setting effective and realistic policy goals and navigating the landscape of competing interests.
On Friday the fellows met with Jill Rockwell, Assistant Dean for Student Services, who led a session called “Public Leaders toward a Better Society: The Ethics of Leadership.” This session was followed by Dean of the Batten School Harry Harding, who spoke with the students about leadership and public policy. We were also joined by Professor Bill Shobe, with the Center for Economic and Policy Studies. Later that afternoon our Fellows met with University (UVA?) field experts, each hand picked for our fellows to discuss their Year Two team projects. The fellows are ready to embark on their team projects this fall and feel very fortunate to have a true working relationship with The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. The Fellows’ second year goal is to galvanize the NA community and their projects this year will push our community ever closer towards the goal of Saving the Bay.
On our last evening meeting, the first cohort of Chesapeake Bay Fellows reflect on their first year in the program.