Photograph by David Harp

Connect with the land The Chesapeake Conservancy has a strong connection to UR. Three of our 15 staff graduated from Richmond: me, Joanna Bounds Ogburn, ’05, and Conor Phelan, ’13. We spent many afternoons lying on the rocks at Pony Pasture and mountain biking in the James River Park System.

For us, preserving the Chesapeake means improving the connection between people and the watershed, conserving the landscapes and special places that sustain the Chesapeake’s unique natural and cultural resources, and encouraging the exploration and celebration of the Chesapeake as a national treasure.

And it’s important to note that this applies to natural resources wherever you live. Whether your passion comes from an interest in history, wildlife, or recreational opportunities, people who take advantage of these resources create a bond with the environment around them.

We’re biased and have fallen in love with the Chesapeake and want others to join in taking action to preserve it for future generations. Now more than ever, we hold the power to protect this place and others that we love and call home.

Get outside and explore The best way to connect with the Chesapeake Bay — or any natural resource around you — is to experience it first-hand.

Throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, there are festivals happening every weekend and countless parks and rivers to explore. The Chesapeake Conservancy publishes a weekly newsletter, available at, with suggestions for how to get out on the John Smith Trail and highlighting parks and other interesting places to visit.

Even if you are not the “outdoorsy” type, you can almost always find ways to experience an insider’s view of the wildlife around you. For a look at the Bay’s most charismatic wildlife, check out our webcams at

Participate in a local cleanup or restoration project What better way to spend a Saturday than being outside and getting your hands a little dirty? There are many opportunities to get involved, with a variety of time commitments, ranging from one-day trash cleanups and streamside forest buffer plantings to becoming a citizen scientist and participating in regular stream monitoring programs.

Find events on the Conservancy’s Facebook page,, or at

Create a backyard habitat Whether you have a house, farm, schoolyard, or community open space, you can create a green space that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. It can be as easy as planting native species in your flower garden or installing a bird bath.

By providing food, water, cover, and a place for wildlife to raise their young, you can enhance your backyard to attract your favorite native species and contribute to local wildlife conservation.