Rebuilding the Bay in her memory

Professor's legacy lives on in the Chesapeake Bay

BALTIMORE - Susan Slattery poured her heart and soul into her work as a faculty member at Stevenson University. Much of that work revolved around the Chesapeake Bay.

So, as we near the one-year anniversary of Susan's death, it's fitting that a tribute to her life and work made its way into the Bay: the object of all her passion.

Dr. Susan Slattery died instantly when the driver of a tractor trailer fell asleep and crashed into her family's car. Her son Matthew suffered a traumatic brain injury nearly paralyzing him.

Matthew has been getting healthy every day for the past nine months finally able to grasp his mother's passion to make the Bay healthy.

At Stevenson, Dr. Slattery oversaw a Chesapeake Bay Reef Project that was only on paper at the time of her passing. On Wednesday, family, friends and former students traveled out on the Bay to drop artificial reefs which they hope helps the oyster population.

Former collegue, Dr. Susan Gorman explained the importance of the oysters. "The oysters are important because they are filter feeders and so they are going to essentially filter the water and clean it. So the more oysters there are to do that then overall the cleaner the water in the bay is going to be."

For Ed Slattery, the day was filled with appreciation for the woman he loved so dearly but lost so early.

"This a the project that Susan didn't get to see but Susan did projects like this every year every place she ever lived. It's a bitter sweet, this is a reflection of her life."

Along with his older brother Peter, Matthew showed signs of joy and laughter as the reefs were lowered into the Bay knowing that his mother's desire has been fulfilled.

"Susan's project will just get bigger and bigger and will have implications 100 years from now. Hopefully when the Bay is in better shape than it is today people will be able to say that Susan and Stevenson helped to do this."

As Matthew is healing through love and medical treatment, Stevenson is hoping the Bay responds to the love from Dr. Slattery's life and continuing legacy to become healthier and life-sustaining.

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