Larry Laird remembers the first time he set foot on Great Fox Island. It was a summer Sunday in the early 1990s. The Smith Island native was curious to get a closer look at the lodge on stilts that rises dramatically above its marsh, surrounded by open water.
The 51-year-old has gotten to know the place intimately over the past seven years, staffing educational programs the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has operated from the century-old former hunting lodge since the late 1970s. He’s taken kids crabbing, mucked through marsh with them and fished right out of his bedroom window.