By Shauna McCranie
On October 6, NAPS sponsored Northumberland’s seventh and eighth grade Talented and Gifted students on a Chesapeake Bay Eco-Tour conducted by Capt. Danny Crabbe and his first mate/wife, Bonnie. The first stop was Purcell’s Seafood where the students got a lesson in aquaculture, oyster harvesting, dredging, and tonging by Rich Harding. The students next explored the Little Wicomico River and spent time on a working deadrise traveling along the river. Then it was out to the Bay and a stop at Omega Protein where they learned about the last menhaden rendering plant on the East Coast. Andy Hall gave the group a very informative Q&A session on the menhaden industry past, present, and future. Students noted wildlife, marine life, riparian buffers, invasive species, and community development. Students did tonging for oysters and pulled crab pots set out the previous day. They also learned about the history of the river. Erosion along the river banks was observed. They made comparisons to riparian buffers and hardscaping and how each effects neighbors down river, as well as marine life. Out in the Bay, students were taken by a pound net to learn about this small local fishery. This experience led to an understanding of the health of the Bay and the dead zones that harm these fisheries. The trip ended at the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum.
For more information on the Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship (NAPS) and its efforts, please visit napsva.org.