A seven-week clean water stewardship course will begin at Waynesboro Public Library on Oct. 10.
The course, hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, will provide in-depth classroom and field sessions conducted by local speakers, and be held Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., through Nov. 21.
“The main goal really is to get citizens educated so they can become advocates,” said Robert Jennings, grassroots field specialist with CBF.
Jennings, who lives in Nelson County, said residents will learn to speak up to their elected officials and fight for local water quality.
“It doesn’t matter what you are [politically],” Jennings said, before adding clean water is important for all of us.
Democracy is not a spectator sport, and the course will enable community members who participate to “get engaged, get educated” on how to be clean water stewards, Jennings said.
“It will be a different topic each evening,” he said.
Jennings will teach a session within a Thursday class about agriculture and best management practices.
He said he will discuss how to improve water quality, and talk about urban residential stormwater runoff.
According to Jennings, before stormwater management in cities, engineers used to funnel water away from impervious surfaces. However, the water also carried away harmful chemicals from cars such as antifreeze, and contaminated our water supply.
Jennings, who enjoys fishing, said he does not like to see our water supply contaminated and the fish in the water become inedible.
In his Thursday session, Jennings will also talk about bayscaping.
“It’s landscaping emphasizing native plants,” he said.
Landscaping lawns with native plants attracts pollinators such as bees.
“It’s beneficial for nature and the ecosystem, local water quality, and it benefits us too,” Jennings said.
Other topics will include how waterways helped shape the Shenandoah Valley, farm conservation practices, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and trout habitat and restoration.
Nancy Sorrells, a member of the Augusta County Historical Society and a freelance writer for The News Virginian, will join a Thursday session and share with participants the natural and human history of the Shenandoah Valley.
The course will also include a panel discussion with elected officials on being an effective clean water advocate.
Jennings said he hopes residents will attend the course and enjoy what they learn.
“I’m sure they’ll find it worthwhile of their time, and for the cause,” Jennings said.
Participants who complete the course will be asked to perform a minimum of 40 hours of clean water volunteer service, according to a press release.
Course graduates will receive CBF’s designation as a “Chesapeake Steward.”
The course is $30 per individual or $50 per couple, and covers the costs of materials and field trips.
Space is limited, and registration is available until Tuesday on a first come, first served basis at www.cbf.org/ValleyVoices.