The Chesapeake Bay String of Pearls is a conservation organization that encourages preservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by recognizing land owners who agree to preserve their land into perpetuity. It is the hope of the organization that these pieces of natural landscape, or pearls, will increase until a “string of pearls” that knits corridors of natural landscape together is secured for the benefit of the Bay and its inhabitants.
The large Landsat mosaic was created by Mike Taylor (NASA/SSAI), Steve Foga (USGS), and Valeriy Kovalskyy and David Roy (WELD).
The image was mounted in a display cabinet designed and built by the Annapolis Woodworkers Guild using walnut from the watershed donated by Susan Luck. The Landsat mosaic will now be a fixture of the String of Pearl’s traveling display.
At the Nov. 12 ceremony the display served as the backdrop as Maryland State Senator Edward Reilly and Rob Etgen, Director of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, joined Dick Lahn, Founder of the the String of Pearls project, to recognize each of the 13 new “pearls” of the Chesapeake that were recognized with a Governor’s Citation—signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
A representative from each property signed the registry book that will be displayed in the walnut cabinet at the Maryland Courthouse. All the properties recognized on Nov. 12 are located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
A few of these properties, or “pearls” are located along the Harriet Tubman Underground Byway such as the Christ Rock United Methodist Church and the Stanley Institute School—the oldest community owned one-room school house still intact in Dorchester County. The school was open from 1867 to 1962 for African American children and the church was open from 1875 until 2005.
The Lake family protected their Good Luck Farm in Bucktown, the town where Harriet Tubman was born. John and Mary Kral preserved 225 acres of Anna Farm, formerly part of the Wright Plantation where Harriet Tubman helped two slaves north to freedom.
Further north, in Cecil County, the duPont family has placed 1,760 acres in permanent preservation including the property formerly known as Woodstock Farm.
The D’Alonzo Family preserved three farms in Kent County and made environmental improvements such as putting 60% of cropland into natural habitat by planting 20,000 ft of native species, buffered parts of a creek, and installed shallow water impoundments and a year round pond.
In total, over 4,000 acres of woodlands, meadows, wetlands, ponds, and agricultural land were preserved by these 13 property owners. Organizations that hold these easements on properties recognized today include Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, the Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, and Maryland Historical Trust.
Mike Taylor, Ginger Butcher, and Jim Irons from the Landsat team received official citations from the Maryland General Assembly in recognition for developing the Landsat mosaic of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for the String of Pearls Project.
+ The Chesapeake Bay in 661 Million Pixels
+ The Chesapeake Bay String of Pearls
+ The Chesapeake Watershed, NASA Earth Observatory
News brief written by Ginger Butcher
Safeguarding freshwater resources is crucial, and while scientists use a variety of ground-based techniques to gauge water quality, the Landsat program has provided water quality data from orbit for decades.