The sixth annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week will take place June 5-13, 2021. While this week has been officially designated in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, events will take place throughout the entire watershed to raise awareness about this valuable economic and environmental resource—a national treasure that directly connects over 18 million residents.

“During Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, we encourage everyone to take advantage of the many opportunities to enjoy nature and experience the wonders of the Bay watershed. Bay Program partners have been working hard to restore the Bay and local rivers, streams and lands that offer a variety of recreational choices,” says Michelle Price-Fay, Acting Director, Chesapeake Bay Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

With park visitation and outdoor activities reaching an all-time high in 2020, Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week 2021 will celebrate all the ways in which people can recreate in and around the Chesapeake Bay, and how those activities depend on clean and healthy waterways. This year’s activities—which can be found on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Attend an Events calendar—include educational webinars, socially distanced events, and volunteer opportunities that celebrate the nation’s largest estuary.  Check out some of the notable activities that will be held during the nine-day celebration:

  • Clean the Bay Day: Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation from May 31 to June 5 for a virtual version of this Virginia tradition! This annual event encourages families, businesses, and civic and church groups to get out and give back to local waterways.
  • Lancaster Water Week: Celebrate the unique waterways of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania through volunteer events, online courses and various outdoor activities from June 4-12.
  • Bernie Fowler Wade-In: Join former Senator Bernie Fowler and other dignitaries on June 5 as they wade into Otter Point Creek. Mr. Fowler started the “white sneaker” test as a means of checking water clarity. With a $5 entrance fee, the event will include live music and family-friendly entertainment.
  • Virginia Free Fishing Days: Enjoy a day of fishing with friends and family without having to purchase a fishing license from June 4-6.
  • Maryland Free Fishing Days: Participate in Maryland’s Free Fishing Days on June 5 and 12.
  • National Trails Day: Lace up your boots for a day of service and advocacy for local hiking trails on June 5. Promote your favorite outdoor spaces and pledge to take action in 2021 to care for trails, and advocate for equitable, safe access to quality green spaces.
  • The Bay is for Play! Recreation in the Watershed: The Chesapeake Bay Program will hold a webinar at 12:00 p.m. on June 8 to discuss all the ways one can recreate throughout the watershed.

“Covid recovery and Chesapeake restoration go hand in hand. As we continue to strive for fishable and swimmable waters and healthy communities throughout our amazing Chesapeake Bay watershed, let’s never forget that environmental protection and stewardship open doors and windows for all to enjoy the precious natural resources around us,” said Ben Grumbles, Secretary, Department of the Environment, State of Maryland

This year’s theme highlights the various ways people spend their free time enjoying the Bay watershed. Each day will focus on a different category of recreation, including on the water, parks, and trails, in your neighborhood, in your home, connecting with food, community science, museums, and historic locations, and volunteering and community engagement. During these days, organizations, businesses, community groups, and individuals can promote their interests and offerings as well as how they rely on clean water. To make it easier for these audiences to join in on the fun, the Chesapeake Bay Program has developed a social media tool kit that includes graphics, photos, and sample social media posts for each of the nine days.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and its watershed has provided endless opportunities for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. The outdoors is a resource that everyone should be able to enjoy, which is why the Chesapeake Conservancy is committed to ensuring inclusive, equitable and accessible ways for all communities to find their Chesapeake. Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week is an opportunity to celebrate these ways to explore the Chesapeake Bay and highlight the importance of recreation in our region. We know that when people are able to experience the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay, that they’ll be more likely to protect it,” saidJoel Dunn, President and CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy.

Follow #BayAwarenessWeek on social media during June 5-13 to join us in celebrating the recreational value of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.

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