The Last Boat Out

'The Last Boat Out' premieres April 21 on PBS. Join Bethesda Green for a group viewing, April 21 at Hard Times Cafe.

Join Seltzer Film and Video and Bethesda Green as we present the premiere of ‘The Last Boat Out,’ a PBS documentary film about the plight of the watermen on the Chesapeake Bay and the waters they depend upon. The event will take place at Hard Times Cafe on Wednesday, April 21. We’ll have a Happy Hour from 7-9 p.m. and then watch the film premiere from 9-9:30 p.m. Meet award-winning producer Laura Seltzer, socialize with the Bethesda Green community and see an amazing documentary.

I was part of a contingent of Bethesda Green folks who saw the film last week at a special Congressional screening Seltzer arranged with the House Water Caucus. It’s a powerful film that depicts the human side of a declining Bay: A group of Virginia watermen who struggle to provide for their families by working the Bay for oysters, clams and crabs the way their families have for three and four generations. Squeezed by dwindling catches and tighter state regulations, the watermen may themselves be an endangered species.

Seltzer also examines what’s causing the Bay’s decline, including stormwater and pollution runoff from farms and suburbs. This film brings home the fact that environmental degradation can affect people and their livelihoods.

Hard Times Cafe is at 4920 Del Ray Avenue, Bethesda. See you there!

–Written by Dan Kulpinski

Laura Seltzer

Filmmaker Laura Seltzer

(This is a guest post from Lexy at

“My goal is to produce films that inspire change.” – Laura Seltzer, Documentary Filmmaker

KissMyCountry wrote about Laura Seltzer a few weeks ago in our posts on the Bethesda Green Fields of Green Internship Fair. We now get to know Laura better through her most recent work, ‘Last Boat Out’. Enjoy!

Laura Seltzer, award-winning producer and documentary filmmaker, uses her talents to help to make a difference in people’s lives. Her work has taken her many places, including foreign countries and inside the world of mental illness. Laura’s latest film, ‘Last Boat Out’, highlights the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay, whose way of life is threatened by pollution and development. For Laura, it’s a chance to make a difference that’s very personal. Laura grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and knows both the Bay and the lives of the watermen firsthand.

Last Boat Out

'Last Boat Out' premieres April 21 on PBS. Join Bethesda Green for a group viewing, April 21 at Hard Times Cafe.

“I grew up boating on those waters. My family had a boat on Deep Creek . We would spend the whole summer on the boat”, Laura says. “I watched countless sunrises on the James River. The workboats would come in and you would see this gorgeous glow on the water.” When Laura learned the last local pier in Newport News used by the watermen would be torn down, she took action. “I took my camera and went down to the pier. Losing the pier meant more than a chunk of wood. The watermen grew up on the pier, their fathers grew up on the pier, and their grandfathers grew up on the pier.” Laura’s action and the cooperation of the Chesapeake watermen led to ‘Last Boat Out’, a 27-minute film.

The film sparked a response among supporters even before its premiere on MPT on Wednesday, April 21. Sam Waterston asked to narrate the film after hearing about it through Oceana. The Congressional Water Caucus, interested in the water quality of the Chesapeake, organized a Congressional Viewing at the Capital on April 14–-a first for Laura and her films. “It was so gratifying to not only show my film on the big screen in our nation’s capital but to have those who influence public policy view my film”, Laura said after the screening.

“The film is right on target”, says Tommy Leggett, a Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration and Fisheries Scientist, and for years a working waterman himself. “Every emotion the watermen feel in the film, I have felt. Every decision they struggle with, I have struggled with. They’re in a tough, tough spot.”

Laura is thrilled that ‘Last Boat Out’ is receiving attention already, and hopes the film motivates people to push for change for the better. “It’s great to have the cachet of a showing on PBS or a viewing by Congress, but if people don’t use it to help save the Bay then what use is it?”. Laura decided to become a documentary filmmaker after working in commercial photography and then film production after attending film school at NYU. “I volunteered on a documentary and that was my turning point. I wanted to make films that inspire people and I’ve been doing that for 15 years. My goal is to produce films that inspire change.”

Bethesda Green will host an evening with Laura Seltzer on April 21 at Hard Times Café from 7-9:30 p.m. Laura, you’ve done a great job and we can’t wait to see ‘Last Boat Out’. We’ll be there at the Hard Times Café on April 21!

Bethesda Green is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located on the second floor of the Chevy Chase Bank Branch at 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. Bethesda Green will host a Premiere Party on Wednesday, April 21 from 7-9:30pm at the Hard Times Café for Laura Seltzer’s PBS documentary “The Last Boat Out”, about Virginia’s Watermen and the Chesapeake Bay, narrated by Sam Waterston. Suggested donation for the Premiere Party is $10 to go toward education programs for Bethesda Green and communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Please RSVP to attend the Premiere Party to Melissa (at) or 202-210-4689.

Four financial and investment professionals engaged in a stimulating panel discussion at Bethesda Green February 18 around the topic of Sustainable Investments and the Green Economy.

The panelists and audience covered topics from microfinance to macroeconomics, as well as socially responsible investing, credit unions, small business loans, green jobs and sustainable agriculture.

Participating as panelists were Paul Hilton, Director of Advanced Equities Research at Calvert Investments; Tim Brown, Manager of the Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union’s Bethesda branch; Chris Belchamber, owner of CB Investment Management; and Art Stevens, Relationship Manager at the Calvert Foundation.

Panelists at the Sustainable Investments event

(L to R) Paul Hilton, Calvert Investments; Tim Brown, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union; Chris Belchamber, CB Investment Management; Art Stevens, Calvert Foundation

Hilton, Brown and Stevens discussed what their organizations are doing to promote sustainable business practices and a healthy environment. For example, Calvert Investments–a mutual fund company–pushed Dell to start a computer recycling program. Mid-Atlantic Federal will give you a lower car loan rate if you’re buying a car that gets 25 mpg city or higher. And Calvert Foundation invests in things public investors usually avoid, such as low-income housing and elder care.

Belchamber gave an overview of the current economic mess and explained how the current U.S. monetary system, with its exponential debt and growth, is unsustainable. Investors are moving into physical assets, he said, and more people are becoming aware of the shortcomings of the current system, giving him hope we’re moving toward a better way.

At times the talk rose to esoteric and technical levels about first-loss funding, currency debasement, fiduciaries and community development financial institutions.

But there were some simple messages to take away. Hilton noted that your money has social and environmental value, in addition to financial, and that you can use it as leverage to create change, just like Calvert Investments does. For example, he said if your company’s 401K plan does not have a Socially Responsible Investment option, ask for one.

Belchamber recommended thinking about who has your money: Is it a big national bank or a smaller local institution? If you keep your money in the community, you have more control over it—and what gets done with it.

Brown echoed that sentiment and explained how credit union members are actually owners, too—unlike bank customers. When you join a credit union such as Mid-Atlantic Federal, you have a say in board elections and credit union policy.

Stevens added that credit unions do not face market pressures that publicly-traded banks do. Often credit unions have 5 to 10 year strategic plans; their vision doesn’t stop at the next quarter. Taking the long view makes them inherently more sustainable.

It was an information-packed evening. In the end, the main messages included: There are Socially Responsible Investment options out there for investors big and small; your money and investments can have an impact on corporate behavior and the environment; local, community banking options exist that give you more of a voice and may be more responsive to you; and it pays to become more mindful of your money management.