Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Out on the Bay

On Friday, Kathy and I made the 2 ½ hour drive to Annapolis to attend the “America’s Great Outdoors” listening session, featuring Secretary Salazar, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and Congressman Sarbanes.

The week before, I had received an email from Daniel Parr in the DC SCA office informing me of this event, and expressed that he hoped I could attend. Quite fortuitously, Kathy also received an invitation and wanted to come – so thus the transportation quandary was solved.

This “listening session,” among several others that will be occurring across the U.S., was designed by President Obama to bring together people of all backgrounds with a common goal in mind: conservation. With these sessions, Obama hopes to relieve an ever-expanding pandemic, creeping into each home, school, and work place: Obsessive technology user disorder; or, in other words, nature-deficit disorder, coined by the insightful Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods – I highly recommend). Although I’m obviously embellishing, Obama hopes to bring together farmers, forest landowners, sportsmen and women, conservationists, youth leaders, business representatives, etc. to consider this problem that is currently plaguing our children and the rest of the population. He hopes to “listen and learn” from these sessions, devising creative and innovative ways to conserve outdoor spaces and get kids outside.

At this particular session, saving the Chesapeake Bay was the presiding theme. Several heads and CEOs of NGO and federal agencies were present, including representatives from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation, and Bob Stanton (sp?), who was the most recent Director of the National Park Service. He gave several inspiring talks throughout. I found it very exciting that Congressman Sarbanks has written a new piece of legislation that will (hopefully) pass in Congress: the No Child Left Inside Act (a play on Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” Act). This Act will hopefully address these issues, as well as provide funding to public schools in initiating more environment-centered curriculum and activities.
Overall, the session went well and it was interesting to listen to proposed solutions and ideas to engaging youth and instilling citizen stewardship.

After the session, Kathy and I went to Sandy Point State Park to stick our feet in the Chesapeake. I had been talking about seeing the Chesapeake since I first arrived here, and was so excited to have finally seen it. For years I’ve seen “Save the Bay” stickers on people’s cars – but knew I couldn’t be revved about saving the bay without having appreciated it first.

Driving on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge!

The Chesapeake Bay, with the bridge in the background. This was at Sandy Point State Park, where you can swim until your heart's content. Unfortunately, we didn't bring our swimsuits, so we have to look forward to next time.

The Bay water was considerably warm - even warm enough for a Florida girl used to 80-degree water.

More people lounging about at the Bay.

Just another Monday: collecting water from the surf for beachwater survey.

Any images come to mind? Such an outfit deserves such an epic pose.

YAY, uniform. I'm holding a Diamondback Terrapin, whoop.

This is our vehicle of doom: aka "Buffy." Usually she never disappoints, but to our own stroke of luck, we found that her AC did not work yesterday - miserable. We had to drive in 92-degree weather (and with heat index, felt like it was 104) with the windows down - having wonderful hot air blow in our face all morning and afternoon.

Valentine's Marsh: one of the two marshes we do surveying in. We have to trudge through many miles of sometimes waist-high cordgrass to find little PVC wells just barely sticking out of the ground.

Kathy, being a badass. This is the typical outfit we wear when we're doing marsh work. Official bug suit, festooned with a bug net over the face and rubber boots for the feet.
We found this Risso's dolphin carcass on our drive to Valentine's. The vertebrae were huge!

So Sunday I decided to make homemade honey wheat bread: pretty healthy, considering the recipe called for no sugar (just 2/3 c honey) and just 3 tablespoons of butter. Ended up being pretty delicious!

BABY!!! The Chincoteague herd has loads of babies, while the Assateague herd has only one foal.

Another foal with its pregnant momma.

The Chincoteague herd! (in the distance) Kathy and I see both herds (Assateague and Chincoteague) every Monday, when we conduct our beach water survey.

Two foxes making out. What dogs...

Now they're performing some sort of ritualistic dance...

A breeding pair of American oystercatchers.
Well, I leave you with that for now. Until next time, have a fantastic fourth of July!!


Tessa Rose said...

1. You look really tan.
2. You look really skinny.
3. I like your uniform, it's cute.
4. Loved the segue from dolphin carcass to bread. You probably thought you were quite clever.
5. Your bread must have been the butt of the joke all through monkey bread high school. pshhh. 3 tbs butter. Lame.
6. Yay more horse pictures!! keep 'em coming.

7. Have fun in DC this weekend!!!!

Miss you. Mailed you a letter today.

Cashea said...

OMG. You look so adorable in your uniform. Unlike mine and everyone else in the country who looks like a clown.

The babies are soo cute. We saw some while we went over to Chincoteague. I think I told you that when we went to dinner maybe.

Hope you are enjoying the summer. The conference sounded great. Robert Stanton (you were right on the spelling) he was the most recent prior to Bomar and Salazar. He is pretty rockin'. He is the Southeast Region director now. Very happy :)

Eve said...

Daaang B! Looks awesome! I'll have to third the opinion that you look wonderful in your uniform! And I think I might have to come out there for some of that delicious-looking bread! Your pictures are fabulous darling! I miss you!

likerenoir said...

Hey Em,

Yes, I agree you look really cute in your uniform and slim indeed. You need to wear your shirts tucked in more often.

I love the photos of the wildlife and sunsets and am eager to try your new bread recipe.

Love you,