Maryland Public Television celebrates 20th anniversary of Chesapeake Bay Week

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews MPT's Chesapeake Bay Week (Part 1).

Maryland Public Television kicks off Chesapeake Bay Week this week, airing now through Saturday.

The series features 30 documentaries and other programs about the Chesapeake Bay, highlighting the beauty, importance and fragility of the nation’s largest estuary.

“This is the 20th anniversary of Chesapeake Bay Week,” Senior Producer Sarah Sampson told WTOP. “This is a week of programming we put on where we’re celebrating the Bay. It always coincides with Earth Week. … This is really a great week for programming, a great week for celebrating the Chesapeake Bay, and for MPT, it’s great because it’s been 20 years putting on this programming. Our viewers have been responding to it for the past two decades.”

The series includes eight premieres that viewers will see for the very first time:

“Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay” — Monday, April 22 at 8 p.m.

Elegant, agile and propelled by outsized sails offset by nimble crew serving as human ballast, the iconic racing fleet of Chesapeake Bay log canoes embodies tradition, speed and grace. On breezy summer weekends along the Eastern Shore, those who restore, race and revere them are out to win, but not at the expense of preserving these unique vessels and the heritage they represent.

“Eroding History” — Monday, April 22 at 9:30 p.m.

“Eroding History” tells the story of two Black communities on the Deal Island Peninsula in Somerset County that are losing their land and their history due to the intersection of historical racism and modern climate changes. Meet the passionate people working to save these communities while exploring the challenges they face.

“The Chesapeake Bay Summit 2024: Course Correction” — Tuesday, April 23 at 8 p.m.

With a major restoration deadline looming, some of the world’s foremost experts on the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed join esteemed journalist and host Frank Sesno to discuss complex questions about the best course of action to clean and protect our nation’s largest estuary. Panelists grapple with why progress has been slower than expected, what new approaches are needed, and what a healthier bay of tomorrow will look like — all in front of an MPT studio audience.

“A River Called Home” — Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m.

Follow the journey of four women who launch at the headwaters of the James River in Virginia and paddle to the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way, the team conducts a water quality study to help assess how our waterways are being protected and what more we have left to do.

“A Passion for Oysters” — Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.

The oyster presents challenges for protection and restoration that are unique among bay seafood. “A Passion for Oysters” explores these issues and more, evoking the history, culture, art and science surrounding the Chesapeake Bay oyster, with an eye to explaining the roots of the never-ending conflict it inspires.

“Salted Earth” — Wednesday, April 24 at 8:30 p.m.

Through interviews with scientists, farmers and community leaders, “Salted Earth” provides a sobering yet inspiring look at the very real and present challenge of sea-level rise. It asks a question that affects us all: Can our strategy against the rising sea succeed, or are we fighting an unwinnable war?

“Rob and the Litter Bug” — Wednesday, April 24 at 8:50 p.m.

Maryland filmmaker Rob Simmons set out on a 15-mile bike ride along Caroline County backroads to pick up trash along the way and see just how much litter there is out there. With the help of family, friends and even strangers, Rob collected far more litter than he had initially imagined.

“Reviving the Forgotten River” — Friday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The Anacostia River, nicknamed “D.C.’s forgotten river,” is an infamously polluted tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. But after years of work by local activists, progress toward the river’s restoration is being made — so much so that the Anacostia may soon be swimmable for the first time in over half a century.

“When this all got started, the idea behind it was: What is something that brings Marylanders together?” Sampson said. “One thing that all of us have in common is that we’re all impacted in some way by the Chesapeake Bay: Whether it’s a place we go swimming, we go fishing, whether it’s the economic engine that it is impacting the state as a whole, the Chesapeake Bay is really something that ties Marylanders together.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews MPT's Chesapeake Bay Week (Part 2).

Listen to our full conversation here.

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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