Con­ser­va­tion Break­fast

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH BOLLINGER [email protected]­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter @jbol­l_s­tar­dem.

— Lo­cal busi­ness lead­ers and elected of­fi­cials gath­ered Fri­day morn­ing, Nov. 10, be­fore the Water­fowl Fes­ti­val opened for the day, in the Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion on Har­ri­son Street for the an­nual Cof­fee and Con­ser­va­tion break­fast.

“Tal­bot County is very proud to host this event in con­junc­tion with Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake and Eas­ton Util­i­ties, be­cause we un­der­stand it’s im­por­tant to in­vite our busi­ness com­mu­nity to share in the mis­sion of Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake to pre­serve and pro­tect our wet­lands and our en­vi­ron­ment,” Tal­bot County Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Jen­nifer Wil­liams said to a crowd gath­ered in the Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion.

Be­sides cel­e­brat­ing the Eastern Shore way of life and its sports­man her­itage, the Water­fowl Fes­ti­val al­ways has been about con­serv­ing nat­u­ral re­sources and water­fowl wet­lands.

Dur­ing the 47 years of its ex­is­tence, the Fes­ti­val and its con­ser­va­tion arm, Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake, have given more than $6.5 mil­lion to con­ser­va­tion projects, and “many of those or­ga­ni­za­tions are among us” in­side the Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion, Water­fowl Fes­ti­val Board of Di­rec­tors Pres­i­dent Al­bert Pritch­ett said.

“It really is Eas­ton and Tal­bot County and, for that mat­ter, Mary­land putting its best foot for­ward,” Pritch­ett said. “We’re all proud of the Eastern Shore, our her­itage, and we’re do­ing our small part to make sure it’s there for our kids.”

At the Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion, in a tent be­hind the Avalon The­atre in the park­ing lot on Har­ri­son Street, fes­ti­val at­ten­dees can check out booths set up by lo­cal and re­gional en­vi­ron­men­tal non­prof­its, ask ques­tions about their projects and get more in­for­ma­tion on what they’re all about.

But even though the Fes­ti­val is partly about con­ser­va­tion and bring­ing it into the pub­lic spot­light, Mar­garet En­loe, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake, said peo­ple don’t have to of­fi­cially iden­tify as a con­ser­va­tion­ist to en­joy it.

“What I love about the Fes­ti­val is that it show­cases all as­pects of Eastern Shore life. You want fine arts? It’s here. You want sport­ing her­itage? It’s here. You want out­door con­ser­va­tion and land­scape? It’s here,” En­loe said. “The Fes­ti­val show­cases all of those pieces in one week­end, so we’re not just an art fes­ti­val, and we’re not just a her­itage fes­ti­val; we’re all of it.”

“Whether you would call your­selves a con­ser­va­tion­ist or not, sort of of­fi­cially, na­ture is the muse that brings peo­ple here, that ev­ery­one at the Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates, and that con­nec­tion is with na­ture,” she said. “If you’re a hunter, one of your fa­vorite things to do is be in a duck blind at sun­rise and watch the sun come up. If you’re an artist and a wildlife artist, it’s cap­tur­ing that essence of the spirit and the an­i­mal. So it’s na­ture that brings us to­gether, and it’s na­ture that we’re try­ing to con­serve, and water­fowl are an ob­vi­ous vis­ual in­di­ca­tor of the health of our ecosys­tem.”

Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake has com­mit­ted $20,000 in fund­ing for 2018 to a project by Ducks Un­lim­ited, Black­wa­ter Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice. The project works to re­store two parcels of land in Dorch­ester County near the new Har­riet Tub­man Visi­tor’s Cen­ter and cre­ate 25 acres of fresh­wa­ter wet­land — a fa­vorite habi­tat of mi­gra­tory water­fowl.

Through­out the en­tire Fes­ti­val, Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake will raise money for a con­ser­va­tion project it re­cently launched, one that aims to put money back into the com­mu­nity in which it works on an an­nual ba­sis, En­loe said.

The “Com­mu­nity in Con­ser­va­tion” fund­ing pro­gram is pro­vid­ing money to three or­ga­ni­za­tions this year, and money raised dur­ing the Fes­ti­val goes di­rectly to the projects.

Ac­cord­ing to the Fes­ti­val guide, one project sup­ports the Univer­sity of Mary­land Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence, where re­searcher James Pier­son will study the pos­si­bil­ity of us­ing na­tive zoo­plank­ton, rather than chem­i­cal lar­vacides, as nat­u­ral mosquito con­trol.

An­other project is the Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy’s “Stu­dents for Streams” pro­gram, which takes Dorch­ester County stu­dents on out­door ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ences aimed to build con­nec­tions be­tween peo­ple and re­gional habi­tats.

The third project through Delaware Wild­lands aims to en­cour­age com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion in en­hanc­ing wood duck habi­tat and nest­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, ed­u­cate cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of con­ser­va­tion­ists and sup­port ci­ti­zen-sci­ence re­search.

To sup­port Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake’s “Com­mu­nity in Con­ser­va­tion” pro­gram, at­ten­dees are asked to drop one or a few dol­lars in one of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s blue “duck boxes,” topped with a duck de­coy and faux wet­land veg­e­ta­tion.

“This is s small grant pro­gram that we can do ev­ery year, and we pro­vide base­line fund­ing for these projects,” En­loe said. “There are two rea­son the match­ing cam­paign. One, raise money; if ev­ery fes­ti­val visi­tor gave a dol­lar ... the projects would be all set. But two, is that the fes­ti­val is about water­fowl con­ser­va­tion. That is our mis­sion, and we needed to re­mind peo­ple that’s our mis­sion.”

The do­na­tion boxes can be found all around town at Fes­ti­val events and ex­hibits.

The Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun­day.

For the first time, the Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion will be home to short chats by en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­hibitors. Called “Ch­e­sa­peake Snap Chats,” each or­ga­ni­za­tion is al­lot­ted a half hour for a short pre­sen­ta­tion.

The Cof­fee and Con­ser­va­tion break­fast was hosted by the Tal­bot County Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Tourism, Eas­ton Util­i­ties and Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake.


Water­fowl Fes­ti­val Board of Di­rec­tors Pres­i­dent Al­bert Pritch­ett speaks at Cof­fee and Con­ser­va­tion Fri­day morn­ing, Nov. 10, in­side the Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake Con­ser­va­tion Pavil­ion. The event was hosted by the Tal­bot County Depart­ment of Eco­nomic...

To sup­port Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake’s “Com­mu­nity in Con­ser­va­tion” pro­gram, at­ten­dees are asked to drop one or a few dol­lars in one of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s blue “duck boxes,” topped with a duck de­coy and faux wet­land veg­e­ta­tion.

Water­keep­ers Ch­e­sa­peake, Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy and glassy­baby have joined forces to launch a new vo­tive can­dle called Ch­e­sa­peake, glassy­baby’s first prod­uct for the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay re­gion. Un­der glassy­baby’s Power of Giv­ing Pro­gram, 10...

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