Tabb woman champions Chesapeake Bay in charity competition

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Bonnie Kersta of Tabb is representing Hampton Roads in a statewide contest to benefit environment charities. (Courtesy Cox Communications)
Bonnie Kersta of Tabb is representing the Hampton Roads region in a statewide contest to benefit environmental charities. (Photo courtesy of Cox Communications)

A Tabb woman hoping to raise money for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is one of three Virginia finalists in this year’s Cox Conserves Heroes Program.

Bonnie Kersta, the Hampton Roads region finalist, is competing against finalists from the Fairfax County/Fredericksburg and Roanoke regions for a $10,000 prize that will be given to the environmental charity of the winner’s choice, along with the title of Virginia’s Cox Conserves Hero.

Voting began Tuesday in the competition, which is conducted in partnership by Cox Communications and the Trust for Public Land. Voting will remain open through June 17.

The contest aims to recognize volunteers who create, preserve or enhance shared outdoor spaces, according to a Cox Communications press release.

A total of $20,000 will be donated to local environmental nonprofits on behalf of the three finalists. Each finalist already has secured a $5,000 donation for their environmental nonprofit of choice; now they are competing for an additional $5,000 – bringing the total award for the winner’s nonprofit of choice to $10,000.

Kersta was selected as a finalist because of her work promoting oyster gardening along the span of Virginia’s coastline. Oysters are one of the Chesapeake Bay’s best natural filters, according to the press release, and Kersta is restoring their declining population and planting underwater grasses. She also removes litter along the bay’s shoreline.

To vote for Kersta or to learn more about the causes the other finalists are supporting, click here.