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Chesapeake Bay Week

Program Schedule: April 21-27, 2024

Sunday, April 21, 2024

4:30pm: The Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Spanning the Bay

In 1952, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge changed everything for Maryland, with far-reaching effects on everything from commerce to commuting. It fueled the growing tourism industry, transforming tiny beachside resorts such as Ocean City into bustling summertime destinations. Discover the vision, struggles, and engineering genius that led to the creation of this state treasure!

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5:30pm: Chesapeake Bay by Air

Chesapeake Bay by Air captures the unparalleled wild beauty, rich history, and natural serenity of the bay from 2,000 feet above. The program marries gentle verse, prose, and music with dramatic images captured by high-definition cameras that bring the region into razor-sharp perspective. Viewers are transported to many of the Chesapeake Bay's most stunning locations, from dawn over the Susquehanna River, and the mysterious carved marsh of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge to the tranquil fishing village of Smith Island and the smokestacks of Sparrow's Point. Cameras also soar above the ancient Calvert Cliffs, Annapolis, and bustling Baltimore, the steel spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridges, and historic Point Lookout.

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6:30pm: Creatures of the Chesapeake

Watch a seahorse stalk its prey, marvel at the simple elegance of the moon jellyfish as it glides through the water, and listen for the distinctive foghorn sound of the oyster toadfish. Get to know these Creatures of the Chesapeake-and more-in this up-close look at residents of North America’s largest estuary.

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7pm: Secrets of the Chesapeake

Secrets of the Chesapeake travels the Chesapeake region – east and west, north and south, from mountain to marsh – to ask locals for sage advice to discover and uncover the most unusual places to explore and things to do for the weekender. But these aren't ordinary tourist destinations. Instead, they're spots that only a native would point to: remote shorelines where beachcombers can find beautiful and rare sea glass; an island gem-of-a-seafood-shack; quiet crossroads where tragic local history comes alive. Secrets of the Chesapeake takes viewers to places they'll never forget where they'll meet people they've only read about.

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Our 2024 Sponsors

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
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Chesapeake Bay Foundation
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Salisbury University
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Harry Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology
Solar Energy World
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Maryland Tourism Dorchester County
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Sun Nurseries
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UMCES
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Maryland Energy Administration

Monday, April 22, 2024

7:30pm: Discovering the Dove

In Discovering the Dove, a 30-minute documentary special, the centuries-old story of Maryland’s founding enters a brand new chapter as a team of shipbuilders endeavor to recreate the Dove of 1633… without a blueprint. Join historians and craftspeople in unraveling the mystery of what the 17th century ship might have looked like.  Discover clues in passenger diaries, period artwork, and sunken ships, and visit the shipyard at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to watch as the New Maryland Dove takes shape, plank by plank. Finally, accompany the crew of the new vessel for her maiden voyage across the Chesapeake Bay to Historic St. Mary’s City − a journey that highlights just how much we can discover about the past through recreating it.

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8pm: NEW Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay

Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay

Elegant and agile, propelled by outsized sails offset by nimble crew serving as human ballast, the iconic racing fleet of Chesapeake Bay log canoes embodies tradition, speed and grace. On breezy summer weekends, those that restore, race, and revere them are out to win- but not at the expense of preserving these unique vessels and the heritage they represent. Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay  introduces us to this uniquely Chesapeake sport and the passionate sailors vying for coveted trophies. 

Preview: Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay | Chesapeake Bay Week

8:30pm: Water's Edge: Black Watermen of the Chesapeake

The unique relationship between African Americans and the Chesapeake Bay contains an abundance of untold stories, tales revealed in Maryland Public Television’s new documentary, Water’s Edge: Black Watermen of the Chesapeake. Stories of bravery and resilience illuminate an industry packed with African American pioneers. Meet an ambitious steamboat captain who revolutionized recreation for Black Marylanders in the early twentieth century, a pair of renowned sailmakers from Oxford, and innovators such as the present-day captains who are surviving by shifting their businesses to meet a changing market. 

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9:30pm: NEW Eroding History 

Eroding History

Eroding History tells the story of two Black communities on the Deal Island Peninsula that are losing their land and their history due to the intersection of historical racism and modern climate changes. On Maryland’s Eastern shore, many historically Black communities can be found at the water’s edge, low-lying land that was seen as less desirable. But in an area where all the land is low, the lowest spot is a dangerous place. Rising water, saltwater intrusion, and marsh migration are endangering Black lands at a rapid pace.  Meet the passionate people working to save these communities while exploring the challenges they face.   

Preview: Eroding History

10pm: Troubled Tributary: Maryland’s Patuxent River 

Troubled Tributary: Maryland’s Patuxent River

The Patuxent River is the longest river in Maryland and a crucial tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Despite the central role the river has played in the history of the Bay's environmental movement and abundant conservation resources funneled to it over the years, the Patuxent remains a polluted river. Its riverkeeper, Fred Tutman, explains why he believes minority communities are disproportionately affected by poor water quality.

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10:30pm: Upstream, Downriver 

Fresh water. Imagine a day without it. We use it to grow food, transport goods, generate power, support industry, and provide sanitation. Upstream, Downriver opens with beautiful, intimate footage of our human connection to the rivers that flow through the hearts of our cities, towns, and rural areas. The film follows these rivers to communities where frontline activists are fighting for clean water equity and climate justice across the U.S. Interwoven with their inspiring, powerful stories is historical context that reveals the systemic disregard for many disadvantaged communities. 

Kent County Tourism
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Freedom Car
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AA Watershed
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MD Depat of Agriculture

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

8:00pm: NEW The Chesapeake Bay Summit 2024: Course Correction

Chesapeake Bay Summit

For decades, efforts to clean up the nation's largest estuary have centered on a simple premise: reduce pollution, restore the Chesapeake Bay. Pollution reduction milestones were developed, and deadlines set – the next, fast-approaching, in 2025. But experts now say those milestones won't be met.  What's more, recent reports have called both our current course – and expectations about restoration – into question. Why has progress been slower than expected? What new approaches and technologies are needed for better results? What does a healthier Bay of tomorrow look like? And how do we correct course? Join host Frank Sesno and some of the world's foremost experts on the Chesapeake Bay in a provocative forum as they explore and dissect these complex questions in front of a studio audience.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

7pm: NEW A River Called Home

A River Called home

The James River flows 340 miles from the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia all the way to the Chesapeake Bay. This historic body of water is considered home to many but billions of gallons of raw sewage and stormwater runoff have made the river unsafe for not just the people residing close by, but those that rely on it for habitat. Follow the team of four women, as they paddle their way down the James, tracking water quality for the next 21 days. 

7:30pm: NEW A Passion for Oysters

A Passion for Oysters

To the casual eye, oysters are nothing much to look at. Yet this humble shellfish that once populated the Chesapeake Bay’s bottoms in massive numbers, has inspired shooting wars, piracy, social and environmental conflict, and libraries of legislation for more than two centuries. Today, the conflicts continue, even as oyster populations are reduced to some one percent of their historical bounty. The oyster presents challenges for protection and restoration unique among Bay seafood. In the Chesapeake Bay and worldwide they occur close by the land-water edges shared by some half the planet’s population. A Passion for Oysters explores these issues and more, evoking the history, culture, art, and science surrounding the Chesapeake oyster, with an eye to explaining the roots of the never ending conflict it inspires.

Preview: A Passion for Oysters | Chesapeake Bay Week

8:00pm: Bayou City

Bayou City

Houston is home to 22 bayou systems. However, the city has a long and tumultuous relationship with its bayous, as growth and development have degraded one of Houston's most stunning and valuable ecosystems. This documentary follows the dedicated and passionate individuals within Houston's conservation community as they work to change the relationship between the city and its bayous. 

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8:30pm: NEW Salted Earth (P) 20 mins

Salted Earth

"Salted Earth" plunges us into the heart of an invisible and creeping crisis that's transforming the Mid-Atlantic – the inexorable rise of sea levels. This hard-hitting, yet tenderly woven 20-minute documentary paints a vivid picture of an escalating environmental catastrophe, where the threat is not just the swelling sea, but the encroaching salt that kills forests and decimates arable land. Our journey navigates the brackish waters of climate change alongside an intrepid team of scientists. Through their tireless work, they seek to unravel the intricacies of how salty water infiltrates groundwater and soils, with consequences as far-reaching as they are devastating. Their research is more than academic; it's a desperate quest for solutions that may help vulnerable communities adapt and even survive.

Preview: Salted Earth | Chesapeake Bay Week

NEW Rob and the Litter Buggy (P) 8 mins 

Maryland filmmaker Rob Simmons sets out on a 15-mile bike ride along the Caroline County backroads to pick up any trash along the way and see just how much litter is out there. With the help of family, friends, and even strangers, Rob collects far more litter than he had initially imagined.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

7pm: Eatin' Crabs: Chesapeake Style

We've roamed the state in search of the greatest stories of the blue crab and tell all in Eatin' Crabs: Chesapeake Style, MPT's rollicking foray into the world of the blue crab, from dockside to table. From Baltimore's busiest harborside districts and most famed crab shacks to beloved and isolated locales from Ocean City to Oakland, Eatin' Crabs: Chesapeake Style captures the world of crab-loving − a uniquely Maryland slice of life − and cracks it open for all to see.

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7:30pm: Eatin’ Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had

From G&M's goliath-sized crab cakes to tried-and-true recipes that have survived kitchen-based tests and trials of the ages, Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had is the ultimate crab cake treasure hunt across the Chesapeake region. This follow-up to the popular Eatin' Crabs: Chesapeake Style is a fun-loving, kitchen-hopping adventure that traverses the state in search of crabcake heaven.

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8pm: Eatin' Blue Catfish: Chesapeake Style 

There’s a new item hitting restaurant menus, grocery stores, and dinner plates across the Chesapeake Bay region. Though Chesapeake cuisine is mostly known for its iconic native species like blue crabs, oysters, and rockfish, local chefs are now touting the blue catfish, a tasty and meaty but unwelcome guest in the Chesapeake watershed. The population of this invasive species has mushroomed, threatening to upset the biological balance of the Bay. Now, a coalition of wildlife managers, seafood marketers, commercial watermen, and recreational fishers have come together to tackle the problem. Visit the kitchens of Maryland-area chefs as they get creative, testing delicious ways to prepare and serve this savory predator in preparation for a seafood cooking competition.  Get your forks and appetites ready as we see which chef has what it takes to get the judges excited about Eatin’ Blue Catfish: Chesapeake Style!

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8:30pm: Eatin' the Chesapeake: The Five Feasts

From the quiet brackish shallows at Elk Neck, Maryland to the rolling hills and beauty of southern Maryland farms, and on to the lively talk and song of Eastern Shore church halls, 400 years of seafood, seashore, and traditional cooking is coming home to Marylanders and their neighbors. There are favorite Chesapeake-born dishes from colonial cookbooks, crab shacks, German home-kitchen cooks, southern Maryland farms, Eastern Shore chicken-fry kitchens, and Smith Island fresh-off-the-boat Chesapeake supper tables. So pull up a chair and sample the best dishes the Chesapeake region has to offer!

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9pm: Eatin' Oysters: Chesapeake Style

The lowly oyster is a delicacy the world over, yet many people say enjoying one is an acquired taste. Here in Maryland, home of the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Oyster is king. Whether it’s slurped raw on the half shell or fried, baked, braised, or roasted, it’s a favorite. Eatin’ Oysters: Chesapeake Style takes viewers around the Chesapeake region in search of who’s eating oysters, who’s shucking, why they love them, where to find the best of them, and the best ways to eat them.

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9:30pm: Oysterfest

Oysterfest is a collection of three short films showcasing the Bay’s favorite bivalve in all its glory. Lifeline: A Chesapeake Oyster Documentary chronicles the decline of the Chesapeake’s native oyster population, with a particular focus on the impact of over-harvesting. The Incredible Oyster Reef explores oysters as a keystone species and highlights the ecological significance of the wild oyster reef as a home for fish, crabs, and other marine life. The Local Oyster Stout tells the story behind the development of Maryland’s first farm-to-table oyster stout beer.

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10pm: Tidewater

Located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the Hampton Roads region of Virginia is home to the highest concentration of military assets in the country, making its vulnerability to sea level rise a threat to American national security itself. Tidewater is a 30-minute documentary exploring the attempts of a wide range of stakeholders, from ordinary citizens to the U.S. Navy, to tackle the challenges posed by climate change and sea level rise within this community.

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10:30pm: Power of the Paddle

Witness one man’s voyage across the length of the Chesapeake Bay on only a stand-up paddleboard. The film follows his grueling feat, difficult for even the most well-conditioned athlete, and his effort to raise money for oyster restoration. The journey from the northernmost reaches of the estuary south to where the Bay meets the open ocean is physically and emotionally challenging − and, some might say, crazy. 

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Friday, April 26, 2024

7:30pm: NEW  Reviving the Forgotten River 

The Anacostia River, nicknamed “DC’s forgotten river,” is an infamously polluted tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. One of only three US rivers to be legally “impaired by trash,” it is also plagued by toxic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and sewage outflows. But after years of work from local activists, progress for the river’s restoration is being made—so much that the Anacostia may soon be swimmable for the first time in over half a century.

9:30pm: Kent County’s Storied Landscape 

How is history expressed in a landscape?  Kent County, in Maryland, lies between the Sassafras and Chester rivers on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Walk the pristine coastline where Native Americans once lived, and meet an archaeologist uncovering evidence of a centuries-old oyster roast. Learn how footprints of English settlements reveal evidence of early colonial trade, and find out what a new map of the region has revealed. Follow a young man as he walks an African American graveyard, seeking out his ancestors' lost heritage. Then squint into the rising sun as watermen continue to harvest the Chesapeake Bay’s iconic rockfish, oysters, and crabs using the fishing techniques of the first indigenous people.

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10pm: Water’s Way: Thinking Like a Watershed

Water’s Way: Thinking Like a Watershed

Millions of beaver ponds and dams once sponsored a lush mosaic of wetlands throughout the Chesapeake region. These slowed and spread and retained water flowing to the Bay from every creek and river, letting it soak in and percolate through the ground. Because beavers have been gone for so long − they were trapped out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 1750 − there is an “ecological amnesia” as to the benefits they conferred, the world they created, and how the watershed “thought” for thousands of years.

Water’s Way: Thinking Like a Watershed  explores the impact of development, agriculture and the channelization of streams and creeks on the natural processes that once worked to control runoff and filter the water – and how natural elements like beavers and trees could aid efforts to restore the Bay.

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10:30pm: Cold-Stunned

Every year, hundreds of endangered, cold-stunned sea turtles wash ashore in Cape Cod Bay, at risk of illness or even death due to the frigid winter waters. This short film explores the work that the National Aquarium does, together with conservation partners, to rescue, rehab, and release these turtles into warmer waters. For more information on sea turtle recovery efforts, visit aqua.org/cold-stunning

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Saturday, April 27, 2024

4pm: Distinctive Homes of the Chesapeake 

Distinctive Homes of the Chesapeake

The lure of waterfront living still remains irresistible to many, with some Marylanders enjoying a home of their dreams on the Chesapeake Bay year ‘round. Open the front door to the Bay’s unique, historic, and magnificent homes and explore a colonial-era manor hand-crafted in the 1700s, an unusual houseboat with different waterfront views each day, and modern architectural marvels with gorgeous settings rarely seen.

6pm: Conowingo Dam: Power on the Susquehanna

When it was opened in 1928, the Conowingo Dam was celebrated worldwide as a miraculous engineering feat. The dam’s unique story and place in Maryland history is now told in this one-hour documentary that recalls the drama and controversy that has swirled around the structure since its opening in 1928. From the drowning of an historic Maryland village and rich valley farmland to stories focusing on town life downriver, the Conowingo Dam’s story is rich in history and irony–a tale that has waited nearly 90 years to be told.

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7pm: Chesapeake Decoys: The Nature of Waterfowl Art 

Chesapeake Decoys: The Nature of Waterfowl Art

Explore the ancient art of the waterfowl hunt–and the fine art it has inspired. Chesapeake Decoys: The Nature of Waterfowl Art takes viewers to the Chesapeake marshlands, where hunters share in an age-old tradition, and to the Easton Waterfowl Festival, where intricate decoys carved from blocks of wood fetch generous sums from enthusiastic collectors.

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7:30pm: Search for the USS Scorpion

The War of 1812 hit the Chesapeake hard: Britain's Royal Navy was the most powerful force in the world and her warships raided bayside towns with impunity. In Baltimore, Revolutionary War hero Joshua Barney could not sit idly by. To mount a counter strike, he assembled a mosquito fleet dubbed The Chesapeake Flotilla, and from his flagship The USS Scorpion, Commodore Barney led a charge against the fearsome Royal Navy. After a series of daring battles, the Flotilla was chased up the Patuxent River and intentionally scuttled to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Any local would be happy to tell you about the shipwrecks − that their grandparents used to cast fishing lines into them − yet for those that went looking, the lost fleet always remained elusive. Was local legend and lore all that remained of the Flotilla? The Search for the USS Scorpion is a documentary special that puts the viewer on the front lines of marine archaeology. Embedded with a team of scientists from the US Navy, we travel over rivers and underwater to follow the clues and piece together a mystery of history. Could it be that the lost flagship of Commodore Barney's Flotilla has finally been found?

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8pm: NEW Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay

Elegant and agile, propelled by outsized sails offset by nimble crew serving as human ballast, the iconic racing fleet of Chesapeake Bay log canoes embodies tradition, speed and grace. On breezy summer weekends, those that restore, race, and revere them are out to win- but not at the expense of preserving these unique vessels and the heritage they represent. Racing Rivals: Log Canoes of Chesapeake Bay  introduces us to this uniquely Chesapeake sport and the passionate sailors vying for coveted trophies. 

8:30pm: Potomac By Air: Our Nation's River

Beginning in West Virginia, the fly over event captures the flow of the Potomac River as it rapidly descends through the Appalachian Mountains into the Piedmont region of Maryland, then proceeds south past the Great Falls into the nation’s capital, before ending in the Chesapeake Bay. A scenic journey of the river's natural and man-made history along with America's monuments and memorials.

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9:30pm: Chesapeake Beacons

Chesapeake Beacons is a breathtaking survey of the Bay’s most treasured navigation landmarks, complete with stunning bird’s-eye aerials, up close and personal tours, and dramatic time-lapse views that capture their iconic beauty. A visual spectacle, this special also introduces viewers to the legends, lore, and fascinating maritime history behind these beacons of the past.

>> View Featured Lighthouses Map

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10pm: Water's Edge: Black Watermen of the Chesapeake

The unique relationship between African Americans and the Chesapeake Bay contains an abundance of untold stories, tales revealed in Maryland Public Television’s new documentary, Water’s Edge: Black Watermen of the Chesapeake. Stories of bravery and resilience illuminate an industry packed with African American pioneers. Meet an ambitious steamboat captain who revolutionized recreation for Black Marylanders in the early twentieth century, a pair of renowned sailmakers from Chestertown, and innovators such as the present-day captains who are surviving by shifting their businesses to meet a changing market. 

WATCH NOW