Chesapeake Bay Trust Presents DNR
With $15,500 Grant For “Bay Grasses In Classes” Program
CENTREVILLE, MD (June 10, 2003) - Under sunny skies and with 40 eager school kids eagerly waiting to plant their underwater grasses, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was presented with a $15,500 check from the Chesapeake Bay Trust today to continue the Bay Grasses in Classes Program.
“DNR is very grateful for the steadfast support from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and gratified by the dedication shown by the many teachers and students involved in the program,” said Mark Bundy, DNR’s Assistant Secretary for Chesapeake Programs. “If the enthusiasm shown by these students is any guide, the future of the Bay will be in good hands.”
The funding will be used to provide 230 schools with the equipment and supplies they need to grow and plant bay grasses.
Bay grasses, also known as submerged aquatic vegetation or SAV, are the fundamental nursery habitats for multiple species throughout the Chesapeake Bay including fish and crabs. Current bay grass populations are less than 25 percent of historic levels, due to multiple human and wildlife impacts including excessive nutrient pollution and the destruction caused by the mute swan population.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust, a partner in this endeavor, has awarded more than $157,000 to DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for the Bay Grasses in Classes program since its inception in 1998. The Trust has also played a significant role in funding school participation in the program, awarding 63 grants for more than $22,000 this year alone.
“The Trust's investment in Bay Grasses in Classes provides thousands of students with hands-on experiences that increase their understanding of the Bay and its watershed while helping to restore it," said David O'Neill, Executive Director of the Trust. “Bay Grasses in Classes is truly a meaningful Bay experience.”
Each year, Maryland students learn the importance of bay grasses first-hand with help from DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Students grow bay grasses from seeds or cuttings, monitor and record growth data, and take part in transplanting them into select areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. By studying the ecological importance of bay grasses and actively participating in restoration, students also gain a sense of stewardship of the Bay.
Since the Bay Grasses in Classes program began in 1998, over 1,600 square meters of bay grasses have been cultivated and planted in nine locations throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, involving almost 22,000 Maryland students.
Posted June 10, 2003