ERA Celebration Week Continues: Cruising Along the Potomac River

The sun sets behind Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The sun sets behind Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport during the Potomac riverboat cruise on October 1, 2019. The cruise was part of the Environmental Respect Awards program’s Celebration Week, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.

It’s not often you get to hear Happy Birthday sung in nine different languages, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that happens during Celebration Week, when companies around the world are rewarded for their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

The not-so-spontaneous singing took place during dinner on a three-hour, Potomac riverboat cruise, which sailed up and down the river past many of Washington, DC’s iconic sights, including Nationals Park, which was hosting the National League’s wildcard playoff game. Ray Forney, Corteva Agriscience’s Global Product Stewardship lead, identified Shabnam Hussain, Corteva sales representative based in India, as the focus of a little birthday love. The entire group sang Happy Birthday to Shabnam in English. That was followed by different contingents singing in Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Arabic, Kannada (from the India delegation), Chinese, Turkish, and French.

Harriet Cameron, Sales Manager – Canterbury at Farmlands Cooperative, talks with Francis Karanja, a Corteva sales representative based in Kenya.

Harriet Cameron, Sales Manager – Canterbury at Farmlands Cooperative, talks with Francis Karanja, a Corteva sales representative based in Kenya.

The day started with a workshop where the Corteva team took the attendees through a survey about the Environmental Respect program, the meaning of environmental stewardship, and their thoughts on how the message the program supports can be shared with an audience outside agriculture. The delegates were then provided time to explore Washington, DC before returning to the hotel where they boarded buses for a short ride to the pier where they boarded the Capital Elite yacht charter.

On board the attendees got to mingle and relax with beautiful weather as the sun set on the city. Conversation strayed from agriculture to more personal issues as the delegates from several countries and continents got to know one another on a more personal level.

One of the things everyone learned, of course, was that Shabnam Hussain had just celebrated a birthday. After the singing finally died down, Bill Belzer, Corteva’s Director of Global Stewardship, offered a toast to the honorees. “we couldn’t be prouder to host everyone,” Belzer says. “You’re teaching us. Here’s to our farmers and here’s to our environment.”

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and enjoying the sights and sounds along the river.