What is IBC?
IBC is a week-long conference geared to consummate and novice beachcombers alike who are fascinated by the stories, science and history behind things they find on the shore. The conference offers ample opportunities for participants to explore new beaches, expand their beachcomber networks, deepen their understanding of coastal conservation issues and learn more about the region in which the conference is held.
Activities include tutorials, coastal arts workshops, museum visits and historic tours, beach treasure ID sessions, and beachcomb expeditions. In addition, family-style meals encourage participants to become better acquainted with beachcombers from across the globe.
What IBC is not is a weekend sea glass festival whose main focus is on commercialism. Nor is the conference something one attends simply to identify the most productive beaches in the region (especially since some of the beaches we take you to can only be accessed via private property…).
So, why Annapolis?
Annapolis lies in the heart of one of the most extraordinary beachcombing regions in North America. It is situated where the Severn River meets the Chesapeake Bay, just south of Baltimore and east of Washington, DC. With Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers to the south and west, few places rival the number of beachcombers found exploring the shorelines of the historic, watery region.
The settlement history spans 10,000+ years beginning with Piscataway Indians through colonial settlers, revolutionary and civil war ships, slave traders, pirates and privateers, Victorian summer resort goers, professional sailors and watermen.
Few places in America share such an extensive or colorful history, and much of it you will find beneath your feet on a beach, washed in with a wave, exposed by a crumbling cliff or stranded in the sand at low tide. You may find treasures include Miocene-era fossil teeth, coral and bone; Native American arrowheads; quartz stones and hematite; shells; driftwood; marbles and sea glass; pottery shards and old bottles.
Phew! For many beachcombers, this is nirvana.
The region also boasts some of America’s leading coastal authors, scientists and artists, many of whom helped launch the inaugural IBC in 2009 and who will return to share their knowledge at IBC ’21. The founder of IBC herself grew up in the region, and is looking forward to sharing its calm, quiet beauty with you.
But perhaps the most compelling reason to bring IBC ‘21 back home is environmental. For this low-lying, gentle area of marshes and wetlands, sandy clay cliffs and riverbanks, is a temporal world. Ephemeral. Highly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of weather patterns. Threats posed by increasingly virulent hurricanes, storm surges and rising sea levels come with greater and greater frequency, leaving homes flooded, beaches and cliffs eroded, and entire islands submerged. In the not too distant future, the beloved pastime of beachcombing might become a hobby of past times. That is, at least, until the next ice age.
IBC ’21 Overview
IBC ’21 is a 7-day, 6-night conference beginning with Registration and a wine and cheese reception on Monday, 9/27 and ending with the “Long Good-Bye” brunch on Sunday, 10/3.
Learning activities include expeditions to different beaches, museum visits, tutorials, films, small discussion groups and tech/arts workshops, all of which are led by anthropologists, geologists, marine scientists, historians, artists and experienced beachcombers. Participants have ample opportunity to expand their beachcombing know-how as all activities are designed to provide a broader view of factors affecting where and how to beachcomb; why certain things appear on certain shorelines; and what tricks to employ to determine the age and/or origin of beach finds.
Field trips include a heritage walk and boat excursion; museum and historic plantation tours; and beachcombing, beachcombing and more beachcombing on river, bay and ocean beaches!
We have added an extra day this year so we could include not one but two Full-Day beachcomb expeditions. An extra day also gives everyone a chance to enjoy making coastal crafts and/or have some personal time to explore or relax between tutorials, classes and field trips. (We know how much we wear you out. Us, too. But there's so much to see and do...!)
There will also be beach treasure I.D. sessions; ‘goody’ bags filled with a variety of beach treasures; a sea glass and coastal arts bazaar; and a swap table teeming with donated sea glass, shells, pottery shards, buoys and more, which are yours to comb through and keep.
Along with expanding your knowledge base and building your beach treasure collection, you will also develop lifelong friendships with other beachcombers from across the globe. Above all, you will have a BALL!
IBC is like a summer camp for adults but without the naps, curfews, lousy food and spiders.
Conference fees include
- family-style meals and box lunches
- all tutorials, museum, entrance and ferry fees
- beachcomb expeditions and
- unlimited access to the beach treasure swap table.
Art Workshops are extra. Lodging is located at nearby AirBnbs or hotels.
So if you have a thirst for knowledge about a region, want to become more proficient in beachcombing and in eco-stewardship, grow your social network of beach buddies and fill your pockets with beach treasures all at the same time, then treat yourself to an unforgettable experience at IBC ’21! Space is limited, so best to book early.
LET’S GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!
Deacon Ritterbush, Ph.D. (aka 'Dr. Beachcomb')
Founder & Coordinator