The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is seeking volunteers to raise underwater Bay grasses in their homes, schools, or businesses as part of CBF’s Grasses for the Masses restoration program. The program engages volunteers to help restore underwater grasses, submerged plants vital to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem but that have been seriously depleted over the years.
Volunteers plant wild celery in the James River. Credit: CBF staff.
Volunteers can attend one of several upcoming workshops in the Richmond, Northern Virginia, or Hampton Roads areas to receive a self-contained kit, seeds, and instruction, and then will nurture their grass sprouts until they are mature enough to be transplanted to nearby rivers in late spring.
Workshops will be held:
· In the Richmond area on Jan. 26 and Feb. 12 at the REI store in Glen Allen, and on Feb. 9 at CBF’s downtown Richmond office.
· In Northern Virginia on Feb. 9 at the Central Community Library in Manassas, and on Feb. 16 and 19 at the Fairlington Community Center in Arlington.
· In Hampton Roads on Feb. 2 at Beaverdam Park in Gloucester, and on Feb. 10 at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach.
There is a $40 fee per grass growing unit, which includes a one-year CBF membership. Volunteers can register and pay program fee online at www.cbf.org/grasses.
For more information, contact Aimee Bushman at 804/780-1392 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Underwater grasses are among the most critical natural resources in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Just as people rely on their immune system to help fight off illness, the Bay relies on a system of underwater grasses to help fight the harmful effects of pollution that is washed into the Bay’s tributaries. The grasses also provide food and shelter for important Bay species, such as blue crabs, fish, and waterfowl.
Unfortunately the Bay’s underwater grasses have been severely depleted by pollution and cloudy water. Volunteers can help restore and heal the Bay by participating in CBF’s Grasses for the Masses program, growing the grasses from seed and later planting them in tributaries of the Bay.
“Recent improvements in the health of the Chesapeake Bay demonstrate what can be done when governments, businesses, and individuals work together,” said Aimee Bushman, CBF Virginia grassroots coordinator. “Grasses for the Masses is a great opportunity for individuals to help make a difference.”
I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?