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Towne Salute: Meta Boyd | Shorerivers

Jul 02, 2018 12:00AM

By Cate Reynolds

Meta Boyd’s passion for community work stems from an innate desire to teach others to care: to care about themselves, to care about their environment, and to care about the connection between those two things. 

Six years ago, Boyd’s husband inherited his father’s farm in Wye Mills, and the family decided to make a move from Baltimore County to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. After spending 12 years volunteering with the Living Classrooms Foundation program in Baltimore, Boyd knew she wanted to continue doing something meaningful.

“I learned during that we are all stakeholders,” Boyd says of her time volunteering. “We are only as strong as the weakest link. The whole community wins if we connect and help those who are disenfranchised.”

Eventually, Boyd became involved with Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC). In 2017, MRC merged with the Chester River Association and the Sassafras River Organization to become ShoreRivers. The nonprofit organization works to protect and restore Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. Boyd, a former scuba instructor, has always felt connected to the water, so ShoreRivers felt like a perfect fit for her. 

“I became so energized by the devoted staff,” Boyd explains. “They are so passionate about educating people to care for our environment.”

Boyd initially became involved with ShoreRivers’ education program. Part of the program involves taking kids to the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory on the Choptank River to teach them the importance of our waterways and how to care for them. Even after she joined the board at ShoreRivers, she continued to volunteer with the education program. 

“[The education component] just gets me excited,” Boyd says. “I’m opening the eyes of these 14- to 17-year-olds to the fact that water, clean water, is connected to them somehow.” 

For Boyd, her work at ShoreRivers felt as though it directly connected to her volunteer work in Baltimore. Though the causes were different, the basic principles were the same: teaching people to care and be curious through hands-on education.

“To me, it’s all connected,” Boyd says. “Some of these kids have lived near the water their whole life, but they’ve never been into nature or onto the water, and it truly just opens their eyes.”

Since becoming involved with the organization six years ago, Boyd has been an avid partner of ShoreRivers’ teaching efforts. She has spent long hours in classrooms and on field trips, planting trees, taking students out on kayaks, and serving as a mentor to the young staff. 

“Meta Boyd has been a tireless warrior for clean water on the Eastern Shore, and we are so lucky to have her friendship and energy,” ShoreRivers’ Executive Director Jeff Horstman says. “Not only does she put in time and effort on many of our fundraising events, but she volunteers her time guiding our staff, on the river, and in the classroom.” 

According to Boyd, the great mission and the wonderful staff is what keeps her involved.

“Everyone is enthusiastic and cares for each other,” she says. “The mission is awesome, but the staff is equally as awesome.” 

Boyd recognizes that environmental subjects can often be polarizing in today’s political climate, but she believes that people are beginning to realize that we all want the same thing.

“We just need to take away the labels and do our part,” Boyd explains. “Ultimately, we all want to be able to play outside, and go swimming in the river, and have butterflies in our yards—I think people are beginning to catch on.”

To learn more about ShoreRivers