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Great Fox Island closes as environmentalists battle sea level rise

After 40 years, teacher and students can no longer go to Great Fox Island as water overwhelms it.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Great Fox Island closed its doors after one final group visited in October because of sea level rise. The spot was an outdoor education center run by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Teachers and students visited the spot for over forty years to learn about the bay. Chesapeake Bay Foundation Director Christy Everett said kids got to have class right on the water for week long stretches.

“To catch fish in the water, catch crabs, learn about our ecosystem and learn about the watermen that live on the island communities around,” said Everett. Because of sea level rise, the island is now filled with water and it’s not safe for people to stay on it.

“It’s really kind of sad to see that place that could really change people’s lives, be lost,” said Everett. Everett said sea level rise impacts everyone in the world.

“It can also mean dryer areas, so areas across the nation and world that are getting less water and then of course they are seeing things like wildfires and drought and famine,” said Everett. 

Everett said the only way to stop sea level rise is to change our behaviors.

“That can be done by using more gas electric vehicles, we’ll have to use less energy when we’re in our homes. Anything that reduces energy use is going to help reduce carbon emissions, and therefore, less greenhouses gasses and less climate change,” said Everett. 

Everett said that although the island is gone, people should use it as a learning experience.

“What we had is a tool, to help remind people how important and special these waterways are to this area. We don’t have that tool anymore. I really encourage people to about and get out on or waterways and think about how critical they are and how we do need to take care of them,” said Everett.