The University of Virginia Bay Game was launched in an effort to find ways to conserve the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. David Smith discusses the importance of the game.

More than 100 University of Virginia students, faculty members and guests showcased the UVA Bay Game on Thursday at Clark Hall. The interactive computer game simulates conditions on the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, and how human decisions affect the health of the bay.

Hosting the event were Thomas C. Skalak, UVA vice president for research; Philippe Cousteau, co-founder of the environmental education organization Azure Worldwide; and Dave Smith, environmental sciences professor.

The Bay Game, conceived and developed at UVA, allows players to take on the roles of Chesapeake Bay stakeholders, including farmers, watermen, developers and policymakers. Each player’s decisions affect the outcome for every other player or stakeholder, and, ultimately, the health of the bay.

Participants at the event included real farmers, watermen, developers and policymakers. Guests included Jeff Lape, director of the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program; Ann Jennings, Virginia executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and Joe Jasinski, distinguished engineer at IBM’s A Smarter Planet.

The Chesapeake Bay Game is a tool to help demonstrate the importance of political and civic collaboration in conservation efforts. The goal is to find a balance between creating the conditions needed for a healthy environment and maintaining strong economies.

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