Photo: (From right) NAPS president Mike Ahart presents the Distinguished Citizen Award plaque to Ida Hall, accompanied by her brothers James Hall and Snowden Hall.
Over 50 NAPS members and guests enjoyed an afternoon of camaraderie, food and refreshment at the Annual Fall Social and presentation of the 2019 Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2019, at the Bay Quarter Shores Community Club House in Heathsville. The award was presented to and accepted by long-time waterwoman and environmentalist, Ida Hall.
The cocktail hour featured raw, fried, and roasted oysters, including Oysters Rockefeller, provided by NAPS member Tom Jeffries, owner of Awesome Oysters LLC in Village. Other NAPS members provided tasty appetizers – many with seafood – playing into the “bounty of the Bay” motif of the party. The Chesapeake Bay Garden Club dressed up the tables and entry with artful Bay-themed decorations.
Attendees viewed a slideshow of photos from NAPS events during the past year, showing on a monitor near the welcome table.
After an hour or so of wine, appetizers and conversation, NAPS president Mike Ahart thanked the crowd for attending the event and gave special thanks to Tom Jeffries for the oysters, the Chesapeake Bay Garden Club for the decorations, NAPS members and guests who provided appetizers and side dishes, and the NAPS Social Committee for organizing and setting up the event: Janice Mahoney (chair), Gena McKinley, Judy Lang, Sue Lindsey, Martha Tallent, Janice Manyak, and Alice Imbur. Lynton Land and Gena McKinley received special thanks for helping Tom with the oyster shucking and Janice Mahoney for fryer duty. Jay & Earline Walker were thanked for picking up the “30 Years of Stewardship” cake created by LeCakes By Design in Callao.
Mike also thanked new NAPS member Clif Ames for handling the bar, and Bay Quarter Shores Community for providing the lovely venue.
The Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award was then presented to Ida Hall, accompanied by her brothers Snowden and James, who traveled from as far as Maine to attend. She was also presented with a gift from friends at Rappahannock Hang Ups & Gallery where she works part-time – a framed newspaper article about her winning the award.
In Ida’s acceptance speech, she focused on the importance of preserving the area’s natural resources, cultural heritage, and way of life, as well as educating present and future generations: “We must plan and locate future developments on suitable land, educate all residents on ways to improve water quality, reduce our demands on our limited natural resources, manage our fisheries with scientific facts, not politics, and we must provide our youth and adults with 'Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences' in and out of the classroom. It is these firsthand experiences that connect us to nature and its value and lead us to understand, appreciate and care. When we care, we are more likely to take responsibility for our actions and impacts to our environment.”
She shared the history of her family farm in the Bluff Point area of Northumberland County. “My brothers and I share a profound love of our family’s farm and special memories of spending time exploring the unspoiled beaches, fields, and woods; and fishing and hunting on the Bay and creeks with our granddaddy, great uncles, cousins, and father. These cherished memories live on today in our hearts and soul. My brother, James has preserved many of these rich memories in his eloquently written published stories and books; while my brother, Snowden has captured the pristine beauty and tranquility of our farm in his paintings. I have tried to preserve a waterman’s way of life and family traditions that I learned decades ago.
“Our Hall ancestors cared for and respected the land and water that sustained them. They gave back to the land by planting cover crops, rotating crops, and composting. They replanted their oyster shells annually. The shorelines and fields were protected with forested buffers and hedgerows which also provided wildlife habitat,” she added.
“In 2005, my brothers and I placed a conservation easement on our family’s farm, to forever protect our environmental heritage, so current and future generations might experience and learn why this is such a special place. Our Bay, rivers, creeks, and lands are incredibly resilient, but we must act now. What a difference we could make if each one of the over 18.1 million of us living in the Bay watershed became better stewards of our natural resources. NAPS, you are more important now than ever for the future of our county, Bay, and planet,” Ida concluded.
After the presentations, Mike shared sad news about Jinny Estell’s terminal medical condition. He also paid tribute to recently deceased NAPS board member Eliot Levinson, in whose honor NAPS will be awarding a special STEM scholarship this spring.
The Social Committee then opened the buffet: Fried chicken from the Little River Market & Deli in Burgess, accompanied by side dishes provided by members. After dinner, the Sundae Bar was set up and the 30th anniversary cake was sliced and served.
Many generous NAPS members made “Angel List” donations to help pay for the party and support NAPS programs: Jane Towner, Bette & Roger Gruben, Jo Anne & Arthur Carver, Earline & Jay Walker, Sloane & Bob Kane, Marie & Tom Armstrong, Janice & David Manyak, Nancy & Ralph Millar, Judy & Gordon Burgess, Frances & Robert Holley, Janice Mahoney, Jan & Mike Ahart, Jeanne Stevens, Ada-Clark Davis, Alice & Don Imbur, Beth & Bill Novick, Wonda & Lee Allain, John Hodges, and Mary Lou McFall. Click/tap here to read event program (PDF).
Hope to see you at the Fall Social next year!
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