Back to the beginning; a day on the Bay

—Alden Stoner, Nature Sacred CEO

It’s incredible what can happen within the span of 25 years. A generation. An idea can take root and flourish. And even shorelines can move. All of these, we have witnessed in our first quarter-century. In the coming year, as we celebrate our 25th, we will use the occasion to revisit places and people who have helped shape the path that led us to where we are today.

Alden E. Stoner, Chuck Foster and Paul Willey.

A most natural place to start for this retrospective is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, ​​the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay; and a key partner since our earliest days. Our very first Sacred Place that included both a bench and journal was Inspiration Point, located at CBF’s headquarters in Annapolis. Soon after, our signature bench was placed at three CBF “satellite sites” — CBF education outposts at the Karen Noonan Center and Fox Island, a remote island off of Crisfield, MD.

Earlier this summer, Chuck Foster, a long-time Nature Sacred Board member and former COO of CBF, joined me on an excursion to revisit these spaces. We were accompanied by Paul Willey, CBF’s Director of Education Operations.

Over the past 50 years, Fox Island has lost 70 percent of its area. Today, fewer than 20 acres remain, and the number continues to dwindle. This is a very real example of a visible change due to the climate crisis and rising sea levels – and was the impetus for CBF to sell the land

Two TKF/Nature Sacred benches were initially placed on Fox Island. A hurricane pried one from its dock-bound foundation and swept it into the bay. It was later recovered from a nearby swamp by a group of students.

One purpose of our visit this summer was to scout new locations for the satellite benches; we were on the lookout for nooks that naturally adhered to the four design components that define a Sacred Place. 

Hit play for a photo tour of the day — including a glimpse of where earlier benches stood and where the new ones have found homes.