Everyone here at the foundation has a piece of our mission that particularly resonates with them. It’s the reason they come to work in the morning, and the reason they feel good about their job even after a hard day. For some it’s food justice and providing fresh food to the community, for some it’s the culture and history of this place, and for others it’s educating local students and the public. But for me, it’s the park. It’s this beautiful, peaceful piece of shoreline. And it’s the river.
Recently, staff members were asked to think about how we would define sustainability. What does it mean to us? Why do we think it’s important? And in my mind those answers are put into the context of the river, because the Chesapeake and its waterways run through every part of my life. To me, sustainability is about protection–protecting resources, protecting people, protecting systems–so that they can stand the test of time. It’s about protecting the Chesapeake as a resource, and ensuring that those who come after me will also be able to view it as such. It’s about making sure the people and animals who have made a life here can continue to make a life here. It’s about protecting the health of the water so that we can continue to take nourishment from it.
So in honor of protecting a resource as valuable as the Chesapeake or the Potomac, I’ve put together a list of “8 Reasons Why Growing Up On the Chesapeake is the Best Way to Grow Up,” featuring photos from my very own childhood. Enjoy!
1. You learned to tie a boat knot before you could tie your shoes
Who even wore shoes in the summer anyways? You weren’t a real boat kid if you didn’t get dock splinters on the bottom of your feet on a regular basis.
2. Fresh seafood is just a pole or net away
Who wants to eat chicken, when you can use that chicken to catch crabs off the dock? Never mind that the catch of the day for my brother and I was usually jellyfish tangled in a net.
3. You can’t have a massive float out in a pool
Don’t have a float? Macgyver one out of noodles and life jackets! The dogs want to come too? Sure, no problem!
4. Life jacket fashion is a way of life
Is that a zebra life jacket with a yarn fringe mane? Why yes, yes it is.
5. If you can’t find an island to hang out at, you can just make your own
Nothing beats a raft out with good friends.
6. You can’t beat the commute
A “traffic jam” on the water beats a traffic jam in the city any day.
7. The landscape is always changing
With the ebb and flow of the tide, you never have the same view twice. And sometimes low tide means new sandbars to explore.
8. There’s always something new to explore
To sort of quote Samuel Johnson, when a man (or woman, or child) is tired of the river, he is tired of life.