Simple, small actions that you can take right in your home, your yard, or in your community can add up to BIG changes for the Chesapeake Bay. This list is only an introduction to some of the many ways that kids can help. Keep in touch with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation ( to stay up-to-date on the many things that kids can do and are doing to Save the Bay!

1. Conserve Water:
By conserving water, you can help wastewater treatment plants to function more effectively as they remove nutrients and other pollutants from our dirty water. Here are some hints for saving water in your own home and reducing the volume of water that enters -and leaves- sewage treatment plants:
Take shorter showers, or sea showers: to take a sea    shower, turn on the water and get wet, turn off the water    and get all soapy, turn the water back on and rinse off.
Make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are full    before you run them.
Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth,    washing your hands, or doing dishes in the sink.
Turn off the hose when washing your car - many hose    nozzles have an on/off trigger that can help minimize    wasted water.

2. Save Energy:
Believe it or not, power plants are one of the largest sources of pollution in the state. Our demand for electricity keeps them running day and night, and a year's worth of electricity in the average home sends 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air, adding to global warming and day-to-day smog. Turning off the lights, television, and radio when you are not using them makes a big difference.

3. Plant native trees, shrubs, and other vegetation: Vegetation helps to keep the Bay clean by filtering water as it runs off paved surfaces and other areas. Trees, shrubs, and other plants also provide food and habitat for animals, give us oxygen to breathe, and make the world around us a greener, leafier place. Planting trees and shrubs is especially powerful if you plant them as buffers on the banks of streams and rivers. You can also plant a rain garden in any spot where water collects after a rainstorm. Rain gardens have been highlighted as a "best practice" for reducing runoff. For information about planting a rain garden, contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and/or your county department of stormwater management.

4. Reduce solid waste:
Solid waste - also called trash - goes to landfills, which take up lots of land space and can leak harmful pollutants if they are not functioning properly. You can help reduce the amount of trash that goes to the landfill by following these easy steps:
Refuse: Just say NO to all that extra stuff that you don't want or need. For example, you can stop junk mail (which accounts for 2 million tons of waste in America each year!) by writing to:
Mail Preference Service,
Direct Marketing Association
11 West 42nd Street PO Box 3861
New York, NY 10163-3861

Reduce: Reduce the amount of trash you produce by using fewer disposable products. For example, instead of using a bunch of paper towels to clean up a spill, try using a sponge and then rinsing it out. You can also cut down on the amount you throw away by buying things that contain less packaging - like a whole bag of chips rather than 15 tiny, individual bags of chips.

Re-use: Some things can be used again for the same purpose or for something different. For example, a plastic fork or a yogurt container can be washed and reused, instead of being thrown away.

Recycle: Check to see if your trash could be recycled instead of thrown away. Most plastic, glass, paper, and cardboard can be recycled and made into new products. Here's the catch: in order for recycling to really work, people need to buy products made from recycled materials!!

5. Compost:
Composting is another way to reduce the amount of solid waste you produce. Composting is a way to allow organic materials (like food scraps, leaves, grass clippings, etc.) to decompose (rot) naturally and become a useful fertilizer for gardens and houseplants. For more information about composting, check out some of these terrific websites:

6. Reduce your use of toxic household products:
Many of the cleansers and polishes that people use to clean their homes are extremely toxic, both to the environment and to human health. Fortunately, there are some good alternatives - like Borax, baking soda, and vinegar - out there that can help you keep things clean without harmful impact on the Bay. For more information about reducing toxic household products, contact Becky Fetters, Student BaySavers Coordinator, at (800) 445-5572.

7. Keep your lawn "GREEN":
Everyone loves a green lawn, but many people don't realize that the fertilizers and chemical pesticides that they use on their lawns are a big source of pollution. You can encourage your parents to use less of these products. Your family can keep your yard healthy by planting trees, shrubs, and grasses that are native to the Chesapeake Bay watershed region. Native plants have always been here, so they are adapted to thrive in local weather and soil conditions and to provide food and habitat to the animals in our region. And remember - keep your lawn at two inches long. This allows for a good root system to take place, which helps keep weeds down.

8. Drive less:
Did you know that car exhaust ends up in the Bay in the form of harmful nutrients and toxics? You can help the Bay by combining car trips, carpooling, taking public transportation, and walking or biking (when it is safe to do so).

9. Inform others:
Spread the word about what individuals can do to help the Bay! You can talk to your parents and neighbors, start a Student BaySavers® club, or write letters to the newspaper and to elected officials. When kids talk, people listen! For more information about starting a Student BaySavers club or becoming more involved on your own, contact Becky Fetters, Student BaySavers Coordinator, at (800) 445-5572.

10. Get out into the natural world:
Even though this might not sound like a way to help the Bay, we feel that it is important to keep in touch with what you are helping to save. Get your feet wet! Climb a tree! Touch a fish! Explore a wetland! Bring your friends and family with you! We guarantee that the more you know about the Bay and its watershed, the more you'll love it! And the more that you love the Bay, the healthier the Bay will become.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.