October 23, 2018 News & Features » Cover Story

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Adrienne Kotula, 37 

Virginia Director of Chesapeake Bay Commission

click to enlarge adrian_kotula2.jpg

Ash Daniel

Educating children is a key to restoring the Chesapeake Bay. For Adrienne Kotula, the place to start is with her two sons, ages 2 and 4.

"You have to provide them with a personal connection. That's how you make a difference. One person at a time," she says.

Her quasi-governmental group has 19 members including five state legislators each from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The 38-year-old commission explores best practices to restore and maintain the health of the bay. It encourages legislators in the three member states to pass laws with that goal.

There's plenty to deal with including restoring fish, shellfish and grass populations, identifying pollutants and rising water caused by climate change.

"The only growing source of pollution right now is urban runoff," says Kotula, who says it can be helped by better practices during construction and stormwater runoff.

Kotula, who grew up in Arlington, has an anthropology degree from the University of Mary Washington and a master's in environmental planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked for several years at the James River Association before becoming Virginia director of the commission in April. She serves on the Planning Commission in Henrico County and has been active on the Bryan Park Civic Association where she lives.

For recreation, naturally, she and her family are outdoors types. Her family has kayaks. Favorite spots are the headwaters of the James River, she says.

"We try to spent our time evenly between the water and the mountains," she says.

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