Often described as a “National Treasure,” the Chesapeake Bay provides water for more than 17 million people. But every day, the Bay also feels the effects of those 17 million people, each of whom live on land that drains into the Bay. At Dansko, we take pride in partnering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), a nonprofit organization that strives to “Save the Bay” through education, advocacy, litigation and restoration, to improve the health of such an important body of water.
So, as caring shoe people, how do we help “Save the Bay?”
Every summer, a team of Dansko volunteers excitedly heads south to Annapolis, Maryland, to restore oyster gardens in the Chesapeake Bay. This year, our volunteers had the opportunity to get wet—and experience oyster restoration first-hand.
Our journey began in CBF’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center, a worldwide model for energy efficiency, high performance and water conservation. A brief introduction prepared our volunteers for a day aboard the Marguerite, one of CBF’s most advanced research boats. Before long, our volunteers had jumped into the water and begun diving for oysters located in a vulnerable part of the bay, filling bucket after bucket with shelled creatures.
After collecting thousands of oysters, we headed for a safer portion of the bay, where we relocated our oysters in an “oyster garden” for healthy development. CBF will later use our “catch” to replenish the Bay’s declining population of oysters, ultimately restoring a vital habitat for fish and other species.
Our influential (and incredibly fun) project got us thinking: How can others “Save the Bay” in their community, whether they live near an ocean, lake or stream? We asked the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that very same question; check out their practical tips below!
1. Know your watershed—and share its importance! If you don’t know which watershed you live in, search the internet or take a walk to your local creek. This body of water provides all the water you use in your home. But remember—your actions, and the actions of your community, impact water quality! Stay informed and help others do the same.
2. Become an informed voter. As an individual, you have the power to take action by voting for thoughtful and responsible land use and conservation policies. When informed voters “flex their political muscle” on behalf of the environment, change happens!
3. Buy local foods. Most of the food you eat travels 1,300 miles before arriving on your plate. By purchasing food grown on local farms, you can help reduce air pollution, ultimately developing a cleaner, healthier watershed.
4. Minimize your use of household chemicals. Substitute all-purpose cleaners with baking soda or borax and hot water for everyday cleaning. Natural products reduce toxic chemicals in wastewater, providing a perfect alternative for scrubbing toilets, washing dishes and cleaning counters.
5. Plant a Tree.
In addition to providing the atmosphere with oxygen, trees hold soil in place with their roots, preventing erosion that may run into your watershed. Check out our step-by-step guide
to planting a tree—and then make difference in your own yard!
Whether you decide to shop locally, vote responsibly or plant a brand-new tree, we encourage you to adopt these practices. For more information, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at cbf.org
While our team dove "head first" into the Bay, CBF filmed our restoration efforts. Check out their video below--and listen as Bart Jaeger, Discovery Program Manager, shares the highlights of our volunteer proejct.