Search Results for 'Nassawango'

Education in action: Planting trees at Nassawango Creek Preserve

This spring, the Aquarium’s Conservation Team headed out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to continue work at The Nature Conservancy’s Nassawango Creek Preserve in Wicomico and Worchester counties.

Nassawango Creek Preserve encompasses more than 10,000 acres of bald cypress swamps and upland forests. Over the past three years, we have worked with local community members and area middle school students to plant native Atlantic white cedars.

A group of 120 students from Stephen Decatur Middle School and Berlin Intermediate School participated in this year’s event. With their help, the team planted a total of 895 trees! The planting took place in a 20-acre plot that once served as part of a Loblolly Pine plantation, which was cleared five years ago with a controlled burn to make room for native freshwater wetland species.

Atlantic white cedars were once common along the East Coast in freshwater wetlands, but have been over-harvested and are now rare due to the value of the waterproof lumber they provide.

The middle school students began working with Atlantic white cedar trees in the fall of 2010. With the help of Aquarium staff, they transplanted the Atlantic white cedar saplings to larger pots, and cared for them in wet frame ponds on their school grounds over the winter. Planting the trees at the Nassawango Creek Preserve was the students’ final step in completing their project! Many of the students had grown attached to their Atlantic white cedars and took great pride in being involved in the rebuilding of a forest with native trees.

 

Continue reading ‘Education in action: Planting trees at Nassawango Creek Preserve’

Thoughtful Thursdays: Atlantic White Cedar Restoration Continues!

Recently, more than 150 student and community volunteers helped the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) restore a rare freshwater wetland at Nassawango Creek Preserve. In total, volunteers planted 3,000 Atlantic white cedar trees across 6.5 acres.

The barren area at Nassawango Creek Preserve where our restoration efforts are currently being concentrated.

The barren area at Nassawango Creek Preserve where our restoration efforts are currently being concentrated.

Through the Aquarium’s Wetland Nursery Program, students from three local schools have spent the last year caring for and monitoring Atlantic white cedar trees at their school. In the fall, the students re-potted the saplings or helped to propagate new trees.

A few of the saplings planted at Nassawango Creek Preserve.

A few of the saplings planted at Nassawango Creek Preserve.

Throughout the year, they have watered the trees and monitored their growth. Last week’s planting event was the culmination of all their hard work!

Students and volunteers worked together to plant 6,500 trees!

Students and volunteers worked together to plant 6,500 trees!

Nassawango Creek Preserve encompasses more than 10,000 acres and is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Through controlled burns, regular planting events, and other best management practices, The Nature Conservancy hopes to restore the freshwater wetlands that once dominated the Preserve.

This area is home to 60 species of migratory birds and a number of rare plant species. We’re thrilled to see so many local  join National Aquarium in our commitment to creating a once-again thriving ecosystem at Nassawango!

A special thank you to all of our student and community volunteers! We hope to see you at another one of our conservation events.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Students Help to Restore Atlantic White Cedar Population

As part of this year’s Wetland Nursery Program, our Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) is working with schools along Maryland’s Eastern Shore to repopulate Atlantic white cedar trees.

This project teaches students sustainable methods of raising tree saplings in an indoor ‘greenhouse’ and how to transplant them into nature, with the hope that we can slowly but surely bring back the species!

Juvenile Atlantic white cedar trees

Once common in freshwater wetlands, Atlantic white cedars are now rare. Lumber from these cedars is water-resistant and highly valued for use in boats, furniture and houses. Overharvesting of this natural resource has decimated the population and the species is now on the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s Watch List.

After learning about the history of Atlantic white cedars and the need to restore them, students used clippings from older trees to propagate 500 new trees and helped to re-pot 200 trees that had outgrown their planters and were ready for transfer.

Students show off their healthy juvenile Atlantic white cedars!

All year, our group of students will continue to regularly monitor the trees’ growth and, with the help of their teachers, learn more about freshwater wetlands. In the Spring, the students will join ACT! at Nassawango Creek Preserve to plant their trees.

Owned by the Nature Conservancy, the Preserve encompasses more than 10,000 acres and is home to cypress swamps and upland forests. The planting will take place in a newly cleared 8-acre plot adjacent to Nassawango Creek!

This project would not be possible without the support of our partners: The Nature Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Trust, The Munson Foundation, RBC Wealth Management, and the Chesapeake Conservation Corps.

National Aquarium Awarded RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant

National Aquarium, Baltimore received a RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant to fund its Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI). The $130,000 USD grant represents the largest grant ever received from a corporation that is specifically designated to support the Aquarium’s conservation efforts. National Aquarium’s Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI) is a nationally recognized program that fosters partnerships with local communities to protect and restore habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Each year, CBI recruits hundreds of citizen volunteers and local students to engage in restoring tidal habitats through planting events.

RBC donation to National Aquarium

RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft presenting donation check to National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli

Wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay are being lost at an alarming rate as a result of coastal development, rising sea levels, and damage from non-native species. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an estimated 10,500 acres have been lost in the last 150 years along the middle-eastern portion alone. CBI helps restore and protect wetland habitats, increasing public awareness of watershed issues and providing watershed stewardship actions for citizen volunteers, youth, and community groups.

Grant funding will be focused in three areas – urban restoration and stewardship programs to improve water quality in tributaries to the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay; forest restoration and student education projects at Nassawango Creek Nature Preserve; and the Terrapin in the Classroom project, which takes place in 30 Maryland schools and at an Aquarium restoration site on Poplar Island.

National Aquarium is one of 30 organizations from five countries that are being awarded grants for programs that help protect watersheds and improve access to clean drinking water. RBC’s 2012 grant recipients work on a wide range of projects involving water restoration, conservation, management and education.

National Aquarium has worked in partnership with RBC Wealth Management and the RBC Blue Water Project since 2009.  It was the recipient of three Community Action Grants that helped to support conservation projects at Poplar Island, Fort McHenry, and Westport Academy.

The Leadership Grant was formally presented by RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft at a private event hosted by RBC Wealth Management at the National Aquarium on September 20, 2012. Taft is the author of Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street, which explores the importance of stewardship as a core principle.

Click here to find out more about National Aquarium’s Chesapeake Bay Initiative! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Students Restoring Wetlands

Recently, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) traveled to Snow Hill, MD, to help restore a rare freshwater wetland at Nassawango Creek Preserve. Through an ongoing partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Worchester County schools, local students and community volunteers planted 700 Atlantic white cedar saplings and 700 shortleaf pine trees in two days.

The students have spent the last year caring for and monitoring the Atlantic white cedar trees in their schoolyard. In the fall, the students repotted the saplings and placed them in their schools’ wet frame pond. Throughout the year, they have watered the trees and monitored their growth. Under the students’ care, the trees flourished and this month were ready to be planted!

Nasswango Creek Preserve, the restoration site, encompasses more than 10,000 acres and is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Through controlled burns, regular planting events, and other best management practices, The Nature Conservancy hopes to restore the freshwater wetlands that once dominated the Preserve. Students also had the opportunity to experience another rare habitat within the preserve when they planted the shortleaf pine trees among ancient sand dunes.

With beautiful weather and dozens of eager volunteers, the project finished ahead of schedule! The students enjoyed planting the trees they had raised and were amazed to see their trees at home in their natural habitat.

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