Gather ‘Round Chesapeake
With his songs, stories, art and educational projects, Tom Wisner ‘gathered up’ thousands of people to focus on their relation to the Chesapeake. Countless children grew up knowing that they were, as his song said, ‘Chesapeake born.’ Adults treasured tales of earlier times in Bay life as well as celebrating their personal connections to Chesapeake rivers and Bay waters. His Southern Maryland home’s staircase walls were filled with framed awards for his work.
When he died on April 2, 2010, hundreds of people, including Maryland Governnor Martin O’Malley gathered to honor his life.
Gather ‘Round Chesapeake tells the story behind the public performances: Tom’s own reflections on the importance of joining music and the arts to history and the sciences — all of which have a part in coming to know Chesapeake rivers and the Bay. Its pages include short celebratory poems and journal entries about his own creative process and approach to Chesapeake education. One section gathers key ideas from a University of Maryland coursebook he wrote in the late 1980s. Another contains autobiographical musings. Still another holds the spiritual insights that deepened the meaning of his work.
The collection is illustrated by Tom Wisner’s drawings and photos, somenever before published.
Editor Sara Ebenreck Leeland coordinated the first years of the highly successful cross-disciplinary environmental studies program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She co-founded the CHESTORY project with Tom Wisner and worked with him for a decade.