More than 20 students attended last week’s 23rd annual Rotary Chesapeake Bay Conference, learning about the beauty of the bay, its challenges and its future.
The conference is hosted by the Gloucester Rotary Club to raise awareness of future generations of leaders who will be called on to address the continuing bay preservation issues.
The main topic this year was the menhaden fishery, and how regulations impact large business like Omega Protein, all the way down to independent watermen who fish local waters every day, according to conference chairman Joshua Junker.
Along the way, conference participants learned about the evolution of the Chesapeake Bay and its recent ecology.
Based at Christchurch School in Middlesex, participants this year traveled to explore the village of Reedville and took an overnight trip to Tangier Island. Junker said students had opportunities to do hands-on investigations and to talk with marine scientists, marine resource managers and watermen.
"We felt the conference was a great success this year," Junker said. "The students especially enjoyed the trips to Reedville and Tangier Island as (the trips) provided an opportunity to experience first-hand the rich culture of those communities and how their quality of life is directly connected to the bay.
"Visiting with watermen and the families they support, students learned about the unpredictable life facing those in such a small tight-knit community," Junker said.