Volunteers are needed across Virginia to restore native underwater grasses by growing them at home, school, or work through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Grasses for the Masses program.

These wild celery grasses grow underwater in Virginia’s tidal rivers and offer many benefits for both wildlife and clean water. While submerged grasses in Virginia have been seriously depleted by pollution, they are beginning to make a comeback.

“Underwater grasses provide shelter for fish and crabs, absorb pollution, stabilize shorelines, and improve water clarity,” said CBF Virginia Grassroots Coordinator Gabby Troutman. “This is a great way for you to take part in expanding key habitat.”

To participate, volunteers must attend one of several upcoming workshops. The closest will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Germanna Community College’s campus at 10000 Germanna Point Drive in Spotsylvania County. Others will be held in Alexandria, Fairfax, Glen Allen, Richmond and Williamsburg.

Volunteers grow grasses from seed in trays submerged in the provided tubs. They nurture these grass sprouts until late spring, when they will transplant their grasses to restoration sites in the James, Rappahannock, Chickahominy, and Potomac rivers.

There is a $40 fee per grass growing kit. Participants will receive a self-contained indoor growing kit, seeds, and instructions at the workshops. Advance registration is required, and volunteers can find more information, register, and pay the program fee online at cbf.org/grassesworkshops.

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com

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