Dedication of Chester Riverkeeper Boat Set for AfternoonChestertown, MD, October 9, 2002 — The Chester River Association (CRA) and Waterkeeper Alliance will formally inaugurate the new Chester Riverkeeper Program and dedicate the Riverkeeper's vessel during ceremonies beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Town Landing in Chestertown, Wednesday, October 16, 2002. Waterkeeper Alliance founder and president, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., will join CRA president Andrew McCown to dedicate the 20-foot boat. Newly appointed Chester Riverkeeper Eileen McLellan will use the vessel as part of her work to revive and preserve the health of the Chester River and the living resources it supports. Citizens of the Chester River watershed and the general public are invited to attend the dedication.
Kennedy and McLellan will be the featured speakers at a free public forum, "Riverkeeping: A Vision for the Chester", to be held from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Hynson Lounge at Washington College. McCown and Dr. Wayne Bell, director of Washington College's Center for Environment and Society, will introduce a discussion of the challenges of local stewardship for our waterways and the progress Waterkeeper Alliance member programs have achieved in reversing the decline of impaired rivers. The forum will conclude with a question and answer period.
The Chester River Association has linked citizens of Kent and Queen Anne's Counties in efforts to protect and promote the health of the Chester River for more than 16 years. In 2001, CRA announced its acceptance into Waterkeeper Alliance and its plans to bring a Chester Riverkeeper to the watershed by fall 2002. Through financial support, volunteer efforts and the ongoing commitment of individuals, foundations and businesses throughout the area, CRA met that objective, announcing the appointment of Dr. Eileen McLellan as Chester Riverkeeper in August.
Waterkeeper Alliance is the fastest growing environmental organization in the Americas. With more than 90 Waterkeeper programs spanning North America, Latin America and Europe, and prospective groups in Australia, England and Japan, Waterkeeper Alliance celebrates and actively supports the link between healthy waterways and healthy communities. The Alliance connects and supports local Waterkeeper programs to provide a voice for waterways and their communities worldwide. The Waterkeeper concept started on New York's Hudson River where a coalition of commercial and recreational fishermen mobilized in 1966 to rescue the Hudson from its polluters. In 1983, these local activists launched the first Riverkeeper program, constructed a boat to patrol the River, and hired the first full-time public advocate for the river. As a result of this work, a river that was once dead for large stretches in 1966 is now one of the richest bodies of water in the North Atlantic. The Hudson's miraculous recovery has helped make the Waterkeeper program an international model for ecosystem protection.
In addition to the October 16 dedication, the CRA also will host the second annual "Celebrate the Chester: The Great Pumpkin Party" on Saturday, October 19. The Party kicks off at 1:30 p.m. to welcome McLellan as the Chester Riverkeeper and to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the Chester River with food, prizes and educational programs. A flotilla of vessels will arrive at the Town Landing in Chestertown to deliver its cargo of pumpkins, as well as flowers and other fall produce picked up from landings up and down the Chester River. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
The celebration of the Chester will continue that evening at 8 p.m., when Chesapeake Scenes, joined by special guest Tom Wisner, will evoke the beauty and magic of the river in music and words in a concert at the Prince Theatre. All proceeds from the concert will benefit the Chester Riverkeeper Program. Tickets are available through the Prince Theatre box office by calling 410-810-2060.