Wild celery is a species of submerged aquatic vegetation that is planted as part of CBF's Grasses for the Masses program in Virginia. Volunteers grow these underwater grasses in their homes, then come together to plant them in designated sites throughout the Commonwealth. Photo Credit: Shannon Bishop

Greening Diplomacy for the Bay

For a group of embassy staffers this year, their schedules involved the usual paperwork, typical meetings, and growing underwater grasses?! CBF was honored to have 15 embassies and foreign missions growing these grasses in their Washington, D.C. embassies as part of the U.S. Department of State's Greening Diplomacy Initiative.

In January 2017, CBF held a training workshop, providing grasses, supplies, and instructions on how to make sprouts thrive. Along the way, the participants not only got their hands dirty but also learned why grasses are so important to the Bay—they provide habitat for fish and crabs, add oxygen to the water, and trap sediment.

After six months of growing the grasses in their offices, the diplomats—from countries including Costa Rica, Somalia, and Germany—planted their grasses in the Potomac River off Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County, Virginia. There was some friendly competition, with awards given to the countries with the longest and most dense shoots. (China was the winner.) Through this partnership, CBF engaged diverse new audiences in hands-on Bay recovery efforts while sharing restoration techniques that can be implemented throughout the region, country, and world.

Sidebar Photo: Robert Miller.