Volunteer Spotlight: Maria Harwood, Chesapeake Conservation Corps

Maria Harwood, National Aquarium volunteerMaria Harwood is the newest addition to the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!). She will be volunteering with us for a year as a part of the inaugural class of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. The Corps was founded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust as a program to promote the health of the Chesapeake Bay through environmental education, community engagement in conservation activities, and energy efficiency campaigns. The 16 Corps volunteers are working with various environmentally focused host organizations throughout the state of Maryland.

During the year, volunteers will undergo a series of trainings on leadership, energy conservation, environmental education, and watershed restoration aimed at developing skill sets that will help them in their future careers.

Maria is from northern Virginia, but sought out new experiences for her college years. She attended Pitzer College in southern California and graduated with a B.A. this past May with a double-major in environmental studies and human biology. While she enjoyed learning about the different environmental issues that the West faces, she always knew she wanted to return to this area and work on the Bay. One of her favorite memories from college was replacing a grass lawn with native, drought-tolerant plants. She got to operate a Bobcat when they removed the grass!

Maria wanted to join the Chesapeake Conservation Corps because she saw it as a perfect introduction to the world of conservation on the Chesapeake and she feels extremely lucky to have been placed with the National Aquarium’s Conservation Team. The most exciting part of the upcoming year for Maria is the opportunity for hands-on experience at the Aquarium’s conservation events. She can’t wait to get out there and plant and hopes to see you there too!

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