Maryland Public Television (MPT) will celebrate the Chesapeake Bay region once again this month with its 17th annual Chesapeake Bay Week®, a slate of more than 30 documentaries and programs highlighting the beauty, importance, and fragility of the nation’s largest estuary.
During the week of April 18 – 24, MPT-HD will offer more than 25 hours of content celebrating the bay’s history, people, natural resources, food, and efforts to protect its diverse ecosystem, including eight programs viewers will see on the statewide public TV network for the first time. This content will also be available to view on the station’s livestream at mpt.org/livestream.
MPT’s Chesapeake Bay Week is a unique broadcasting initiative and part of the statewide public TV network’s ongoing commitment to celebrating the bay and examining critical issues faced by communities throughout the Chesapeake region. The week’s complete schedule is available at mpt.org/bayweek/schedule/.
New programs for Chesapeake Bay Week 2021
Creatures of the Chesapeake – Tuesday, April 20 at 8 p.m.
The cornerstone of this year’s Chesapeake Bay Week is the premiere of the MPT production Creatures of the Chesapeake. The half-hour special uses macro photography to provide a rare, up-close look at some of the bay’s most iconic and unusual species as they move, breath, eat, and reproduce. Viewers will see a lined seahorse stalk its prey, marvel at the simple elegance of the moon jellyfish as it glides through
the water, listen for the distinctive foghorn sound of the oyster toadfish, and more. Much of the film was shot at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources Piney Point Aquaculture Center in St. Mary’s County, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, Virginia. Encore showings of the film will air on Friday, April 23 at 11 p.m. and Saturday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. A trailer is available at youtube.com/watch?v=2OKO4S6VxdM.
The Chesapeake Bay Summit – Wednesday, April 21 at 8 p.m.
In the latest edition of The Chesapeake Bay Summit, host Frank Sesno – former CNN correspondent, anchor, and Washington bureau chief – will drive a compelling conversation about the health of the bay. In 2010, the federal government ordered states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to meet federal clean water guidelines. Due to a number of factors, it doesn’t appear that states will make the 2025 deadline. Sesno will be joined during the one-hour forum by knowledgeable experts, activists, and officials on Chesapeake Bay health and cleanup. Panelists scheduled to appear are Tim Wheeler, associate editor/senior writer, Chesapeake Bay Journal; Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of the Environment; Jill Whitcomb, director, Chesapeake Bay Office, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Carin Bisland, associate director, Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program Office; and Matt Strickler, Secretary of Natural Resources and Chief Resilience Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia.
Frozen Obsession – Monday, April 19 at 8 p.m.
Frozen Obsession follows the 18-day, 2,000-mile Northwest Passage Project expedition through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago aboard the Swedish research icebreaker Oden. Nowhere are the consequences of a warming climate more pronounced and observable than in the polar regions. During the expedition, the research team studies water chemistry, microbiology, birds, mammals, and physical oceanography. As the film bears witness to a dramatically changing Arctic, viewers gain a sobering assessment of what’s at stake. In a hopeful turn, the film also witnesses the life-changing experiences of the students on this expedition, who represent the next generation of scientists and decision makers. A trailer is available for viewing atyoutube.com/watch?v=wuceh671m34.
Gatherings – Wednesday, April 21 at 7 p.m.
Gatherings is the latest documentary from Academy Award-nominated director James Spione. Produced before COVID-19 profoundly altered the social landscape of America, the film explores the deep cultural significance of local gathering places to rural coastal Virginia. Whether extolling the virtues of the local general store or spending a fun-filled evening in the legendary juke joint, the Do Drop Inn, this joyful film provides a poignant reminder of the enduring need for connection and community.
Power of the Paddle – Saturday, April 24 at 8 p.m.
Power of the Paddle chronicles the first-ever attempt to travel the length of the Chesapeake Bay on a standup paddleboard. Inspired by his daughter’s science project and new-found knowledge that a single oyster can filter up to fifty gallons of water a day, coupled with the fact that the bay’s oyster population is at historic lows, Chris Hopkinson wanted to do something big to raise awareness for oyster recovery. The film follows Chris’s grueling, 200-mile journey from Havre de Grace, Maryland in the north to where the bay meets the open ocean near Cape Henry, Virginia. A trailer is available for viewing at facebook.com/watch/?v=977537182711321.
The Beaver Believers – Thursday, April 22 at 9 p.m.
The Beaver Believers offers an urgent yet whimsical story of an unlikely cadre of activists who share a common vision: restoring the North American Beaver, that most industrious, ingenious, bucktoothed engineer, to the watersheds of the arid West. The film encourages viewers to embrace a new paradigm for managing western lands, one that seeks to partner with the natural world rather than overpower it. As a keystone species, beaver enrich their ecosystems, creating the complexity and resiliency watersheds need to absorb the impacts of climate change. A trailer is available for viewing at vimeo.com/133200746.
Run Wild Run Free: 50 Years of Wild & Scenic Rivers – Thursday, April 22 at 8 p.m.
More than 60 years ago America was in the peak of the industrial revolution and the nation’s waterways were dying. The plight of America’s rivers caught the attention of twin brothers and wildlife biologists John and Frank Craighead. After witnessing the demise of their childhood river, the Potomac in Maryland, and after hearing of dam proposals on Montana’s most wild river, where they were studying grizzly bears on the verge of extinction, the brothers were inspired to act. Run Wild Run Free tells the story of the resulting Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 and its legacy. Sweeping visuals accompany stories told by experts, grassroots organizations, white water enthusiasts, and members of the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho. A trailer is available at facebook.com/watch/?v=307230550089757.
The Sentinels – Monday, April 19 at 9 p.m.
Directed by award-winning filmmakers, The Sentinels is a documentary that tells the inspirational stories of the farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, and military bases that are working together under the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership to create a more sustainable future. Founded in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of the Interior, the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership strives to strengthen military readiness, bolster agricultural and forestry economies, and build climate change resilience through innovative conservation projects. A trailer is available for viewing at facebook.com/watch/?v=608525013321504.
Other Chesapeake Bay Week highlights
Encore showings of Chesapeake Bay Week viewer favorites this year’s include the MPT productions Chesapeake Bay by Air (Sunday, April 18 at 10 p.m.); Potomac By Air (Monday, April 19 at 10 p.m.); Chesapeake Beacons (Tuesday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m.); Conowingo Dam: Power of the Susquehanna (Wednesday, April 21 at 10 p.m.); and Secrets of the Chesapeake (Friday, April 23 at 9:30 p.m.).
On Sunday, April 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., MPT will also offer a two-hour block of shows from its popular Eatin’ series – Eatin’ Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had; Eatin’ the Chesapeake: The Five Feasts; Eatin’ Oysters: Chesapeake Style; and Eatin’ Crabs Chesapeake Style.
Maryland Public Television (MPT) is a statewide, public-supported TV network and Public Broadcasting Service member offering entertaining, educational, and inspiring content delivered by traditional broadcasting and streaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices. A state agency, it operates under the auspices of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission. MPT creates local, regional, and national content and is a frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards. MPT’s commitment to educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is delivered through instructional events and Thinkport.org. MPT’s year-round community engagement activities connect viewers with resources on a wide range of topics. For more information visit mpt.org.