Opening night brought together Fellows from as far away as Seattle and Tel Aviv, and they all wanted to learn amore about the iconic Chesapeake Bay: Two hundred miles long and, on average, twenty-one feet deep, the largest estuary in the U.S. boasts beautiful beaches, salt-water marshes and a fishery anchored by oysters and crabs. But the Chesapeake is also one of our country’s most threatened ecosystems, as urban sprawl, agricultural runoff and rising seas take their toll.
Baltimore is also an American icon. The Star Spangled Banner was written here. It’s been home to Edgar Allen Poe, Frederick Douglass and Billie Holliday. But, today, the city is known for things less palatable to its tourism bureau – lead poisoning, racial tension, drug violence and an incredibly polluted Inner Harbor.
Opening night dinner was held at Alewife, a local establishment know for the invasive species on its menu, including snakehead and blue catfish – both of which have elbowed their way into the Chesapeake ecosystem. Two journalists with a history of covering B’More and the Bay -- and a retired Director of the Maryland Department of the Environment -- shared the good news, the bad news and a few war stories.