The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recently named John Flood and Charles Stek winners of its Conservationist of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals for superlative service and commitment to the restoration and protection of the Bay watershed.
Montgomery County teacher Jay H. Foster was named Environmental Educator of the Year, an award that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the understanding of the Bay ecosystem through an academic program.
John Flood, of Annapolis, has worked to protect and restore the Bay’s oysters. As a volunteer, he has organized multiple shoreline restoration projects on both the South and Severn rivers and is a board member on those rivers’ commissions. He is a founding member of the South River Federation and key organizer of its Riverkeeper program. He set up the Harness Creek Project, securing a 30-acre oyster sanctuary lease, raising funds and donating his services to help the CBF build reefs while energizing waterfront property owners to grow oysters to stock the reefs. With his help, property owners on a nearby creek replicated the project. He has served on Anne Arundel County’s Parole Growth Management Committee for more than 10 years.
Charles A. Stek serves as projects director for U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-MD. Stek was the principal author of the Chesapeake Restoration Act of 2000, which authorized $40 million per year to continue and enhance the work of the Bay Program. He led efforts to expand funding for conservation programs in the 2002 Farm Bill, and wrote the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Nutrient Removal Assistance Act, which provided $660 million over five years to support the installation of nutrient removal technologies at wastewater treatment plants. Stek also developed the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Act, which led to the development of the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Jay H. Foster has been an earth and physical science teacher in Montgomery County, MD, for 25 years, including three years as the coordinator of the CBF’s “Bay Schools Project” at Forest Oak Middle School in Gaithersburg. His assistant principal wrote that Foster has “changed the culture of Forest Oaks” by involving students, teachers and parents in projects such as building, maintaining and writing guides for two miles of trails and an outdoor classroom; establishing 48 stream monitoring sites; planting native trees and shrubs to enhance habitat; creating two rain gardens on campus; and growing and planting underwater grasses. His influence led a student to write, “The teacher who has made the biggest difference in my life is Mr. Foster…[he] changed me a lot. I want to have a career helping to save the Bay by cleaning up the pollution in it and around it.”