Chesapeake Bay Earth Exchange

Annie Hess and Elvin Hess
Savage Neck Road, Cape Charles, VA, USA

Story Info

Hess 2019 Bird

Story & Experience

I went to the site of our very first adventure with Trebbe on the Chesapeake Bay in the fall of 2009! (And the site of several Global Earth Exchanges since!)
I hadn’t been to Savage Neck recently and I must say the amount of erosion was startling. But what struck me even more than that, was how this Nature Preserve has changed over the past ten years. What was once a very well-kept secret with parking for perhaps three cars, is now a well-known and highly visited site. The expanded parking area is not huge, but there were about seven cars parked while we were there. There is some wonderful signage that explains the site, the trails, and why this unique ecosystem is so important. But the trail itself is packed down hard from all the foot traffic and we passed several groups of people on our way in and out. When we got to the beach, there was a family swimming and playing with their dogs. We saw one of the dogs carrying a huge branch that was left behind by a tree that fell from the eroded shore line.
All of this seemed quite different from the solitude of years past. I also thought of the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle and how environmental groups had lost the battle to keep the nearby breakwater from being built that would surely cause erosion that would wipe out the beach where the tiger beetle breeds. Erosion on the Bay has been dramatic over the past few years, even in areas where there aren’t breakwaters. I would suspect the tiger beetle’s habitat is continually getting washed away.
On the happy front, when we first arrived at the beach, an eagle flew straight out from the direction of the water and disappeared into the woods.  A perfect Rad Joy bird welcoming us to this special place that we love! We hope it enjoyed the bird we built out of seaweed and shells!
Hess 2019 Elvin

Savage Neck Road, Cape Charles, VA, USA


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.

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