My first experience with the Chesapeake Bay Trusts - Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) program, was through interaction with participants at the Watershed Forum in 2018. I found it refreshing to meet and talk to likeminded individuals at a comparable experience level after days of meeting fully-fledged environmental professionals. These past CCC-members were presenting cool projects that impacted the Chesapeake ecosystem for the better, and were passionate about what they had accomplished. The experience made me question how I could innovate myself to do my part.

Perhaps I wanted to immerse myself in the radiant energy I felt off the CCC members I met that day; to feel that one’s work is contributing positively to the world. I wanted to believe that I too could achieve these great feats by pursuing the same program they did.

I met IPC at a CCC career fair in 2021.  Their name peaked my curiosity, and I felt it necessary to investigate their faith-driven service-oriented Chesapeake-focused mission. I learned about IPC, the work they carried forth, and what a potential employment opportunity might look like. While I, as a New Jersey native, knew little about the Chesapeake Bay my years of Hebrew school had my hopes soar that I might be enabled to apply my own faith background towards environmentally-conscious work.

With hope in my heart, I chose IPC as my host organization.  During my time with IPC, the breadth of my work has ranged tremendously.  For the past year I have been working dedicatedly to assist with organizing IPC databases, crafting promotional materials for One Water Partnership events, writing, and assisting anywhere I can.  In my view, my work has been as a maximizer to IPC, allowing the organization to do its best work; helping to energize faith communities around the Chesapeake Bay. 

Part of the CCC program involves the completion of a "capstone project", a large-scale project designed to help the host-organization in a lasting way.  For my capstone, I choose to help bolster the IPC library of available Action Kits; ready-to-go programs which congregations can utilize to help promote environmentalism and engage congregation members.  

We hope that you will soon enjoy my Action Kit, a Nature Reflection at Pemberton Historical Park.  

Based in Pemberton Historical Park just outside of Salisbury, MD, this Action Kit helps to celebrate the natural and human history and accompanying story of environmental and social injustices on the Lower Eastern Shore.  The tour focuses on exploring 10 unique stops throughout Pemberton Park, each offering a different piece to the regions story as you progress.  Through exploration of the Park's forests, swamps, marshes, fields, rivers, and the historic Pemberton Plantation Hall, we hope to offer you a snap-shot of Eastern Shore life as we know it. Accompanying each stop, a reflection is offered to help guide you in thinking and meditating on these often challenging subjects.  We hope collectively the texts of the Nature Reflection at Pemberton Historical Park will give participants a glimpse into a bigger picture of the Lower Eastern Shore's past, present, and future.

My time now with IPC draws to a close. Through it all, I achieved what I had hoped to gain and felt I had impacted the Chesapeake Bay for the better.  By elevating the histories of marginalized groups on the Lower Shore, and through collaboration with local congregations, municipalities, and environmental organizations alike, I helped to bring attention and activism to environmental degradation across the region.  I did something I was passionate about, and something I feel proud of.  

The wealth of IPC doesn't just come from within the organization itself, I learned it comes from all the people aligned with it, in all corners of this vast watershed.  Faithful stewards all doing their part, just like me, driven to help their communities and protect creation. When you meet the people that work with IPC, you meet the Chesapeake’s most dedicated. A vast web of individuals, all working to protect, serve, and enjoy this treasure we call home. 

Truthfully, I never know what tomorrow holds, but I do know that I will continue to pursue meaningful environmental work for years to come.  When I leave, I'll certainly remember that IPC showed me what the passionate can do.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey with IPC,
Joshua Cohen


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Joshua Cohen


Chesapeake Conservation Corps Member