Posts Tagged 'Aquarium Conservation Team'

Our Conservation Re-cap for 2013!

2013 has been an exciting year for our Conservation team! We continued our work at some of our existing restoration sites, and also celebrated some exciting new events and projects!

None of our success would be possible without the help of our volunteers and partners. With their help, we restored over 24.6 acres this year! This awesome feat required the help of 1,312 volunteers who spent 3,057 hours planting 50,845 plants and removing 54,227 pieces of debris.

national aquarium conservation debris

Many of our projects this year took place right in Baltimore City. We planted living shorelines at the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center and planted a forest buffer at Farring-Baybrook Park, the largest open space in Baltimore City! At our wetland field station adjacent to Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine, we held our annual Spring Fort McHenry field day where we removed debris and planted trees to celebrate Arbor Day.

ft. mchenry

The National Aquarium spread conservation efforts outside of the city as well, with restoration projects all over the state of Maryland. In Salisbury, we worked with local students, community volunteers, and The Nature Conservancy to restore an Atlantic White Cedar swamp. In Southern Maryland we continued our long term efforts to restore shoreline on the shores of Naval Support Facility- Indian Head. In New York, the northern end of the watershed, we worked with local students to restore unique freshwater wetland habitats.

Here are just a few of the groundbreaking initiatives we participated in this year: 

  • In May, we congratulated our first class of Maryland Master Naturalists. This program is run by the University of Maryland Extension program, and trains volunteers in Maryland’s flora and fauna.
  • In June, the Choose Clean Water Conference was held in Baltimore, and the Aquarium hosted multiple field trips for participants to showcase our Chesapeake Bay Restoration work.
  • In May, we were joined by Maryland’s First Lady Katie O’Malley and our partners at the National Wildlife Federation, announced our part in a new initiative to make Baltimore truly a city for the birds! We’re cooperating to make Baltimore one of the greenest cities in the country by certifying Baltimore City homes and businesses as backyard wildlife habitats.
  • In September, The US Fish & Wildlife Service named Masonville Cove the first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. This new initiative is an effort to make more of our nation’s beautiful, natural areas accessible to all populations, including urban ones.

Want to join in the fun and be a part of our conservation successes in 2014? Sign up for our newsletter!

Potomac River Restoration at Indian Head Continues!

Since 2008 the National Aquarium has worked with the US Navy to restore portions of the Potomac River surrounding Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex. This newly created riparian buffer protects the shoreline from severe erosion while providing habitat to the local wildlife.

In June, 2013 the conservation team along with the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) returned to plant native wetland grasses best suited for the restoration area.

indian head conservation team

In total the operation included 15 Aquarium staff and 20 MCC to plant 20,000 grasses. The 1,806 trees planted in the fall of 2012 by community volunteers were also monitored and yield a survival rate of 95 percent!

Riparian buffers are essential to healthy ecosystems by preventing sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants reaching the waterway. They also provide valuable habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors. During the restoration several American bald eagles and osprey were observed occupying the area.

indian head restoration

The Aquarium has plans to complete the planting portion of the restoration by the end of 2013. At this time the success of the shoreline will be monitored annually with staff and volunteers.

Want to get involved with our conservation initiatives? Join us at our next field event

Re-cap: Wetland Restoration in New York

Last week, our conservation staff traveled to upstate New York to engage students in local wetland restoration projects. Two schools, Chenango Forks High School and Ridge Road Elementary School, participated in a modified version of our Wetland Nursery program.

ny wetland restoration

For the students who live in the northern end of the watershed, it can be difficult to understand the connection between their community and the Chesapeake Bay. But after learning about and caring for different kinds of wetland plants, the students began to see how wetlands in their area can help clean-up waterways throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

A total of 95 students from Chenango Forks High School and Chenango Forks Elementary School planted 1,500 freshwater wetland plants in a swamp on their school’s property. Additionally, the students removed four trash bags of invasive plants to make room for the native species.
Thirty-two students from Ridge Road Elementary School planted 1,500 freshwater wetland plants in a vernal pond at Tanglewood Nature Center. Afterwards, they took a tour of the Nature Center and the beautiful property around it.

ny wetland restoration

The Wetland Nursery Program aims to create a lasting connection between students and the Chesapeake Bay. By raising wetland plants and helping to restore a local wetland, students become invested in the health of the ecosystem and feel a closer connection to their watershed.
The students’ hard work did not go unnoticed; check out the local news channel’s coverage of the planting event.

A special thank you to our partners on this project: Elmira Corning Community Foundation, the Upper Susquehanna Coalition and Tanglewood Nature Center!

 

Thoughtful Thursdays: REI Grant Award for Environmental Stewardship

The Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) was recently granted $10,000 dollars by REI for environmental stewardship!

As part of their community outreach program, REI supports nonprofit partners that focus on both environmental conservation and promoting active volunteerism through grant funding. REI first began supporting National Aquarium’s education and conservation efforts in 2003. They have long been a great supporter of our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Please join us in thanking them for their generous and continued support!

REI have been on-site at many of our conservation events!

REI have been on-site at many of our conservation events!

This grant will help support our conservation efforts at Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Located here in Baltimore, the wetlands surrounding Ft. McHenry are home to a diverse array of wildlife including hundreds of species of birds, reptiles like box turtles and diamondback terrapins, and aquatic animals like juvenile blue crabs and small fish.

Since taking over stewardship of the area in 1999, staff and volunteers with ACT! have collected nearly 600,000 pieces of debris from the area. In addition to seasonal cleanups, our field days at Ft. McHenry include trail maintenance, light construction, or planting native flowers in our rain and butterfly gardens.

A volunteer picking up debris along the shoreline at Ft. McHenry

A volunteer picking up debris along the shoreline at Ft. McHenry

REI first began supporting National Aquarium’s education and conservation efforts in 2003. They have long been a great supporter of our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Please join us in thanking them for their generous and continued support!

Want to get involved with our Ft. McHenry initiative? Join us at our fall field day!

Thoughtful Thursdays: Supporting Urban Parks!

For more than a decade, our Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) of staff and volunteers has worked to restore habitat for wildlife and maintain the trails at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore.

fort mchenry before and after

Together, we’ve collected more than 600,000 pieces of debris! Our efforts at Fort McHenry are about more than just cleanup! Our work there includes everything from trail maintenance and light construction to planting native flowers and butterfly gardens.

All of these efforts add up to create a valuable green space in the heart of Baltimore City that is utilized by hundreds of species of birds, reptiles like box turtles and diamondback terrapins, and aquatic critters like juvenile blue crabs and small fish!

As part of a partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association and ioby, our cleanup at Fort McHenry has been selected as an urban park project worth crowdfunding! The term crowdfunding refers to a collective effort by individuals to financially support a certain initiative online.  Click here to support our efforts to restore habitat for wildlife, remove debris and maintain the trails at this National Monument!

The goal of this partnership is to finally take the support and advocacy for national parks into the digital age. We’re proud to be a community partner for this pilot program and can only hope that this is one of MANY crowdfunding projects we see across the country. The beauty of programs like this is that even if you can’t literally get your hands dirty, you can still contribute to causes YOU believe in!

Already supported our crowdfunding page on ioby’s site? About to? Help us spread the word online! Share this link on your Facebook page or on Twitter using #UrbanParksIOBY! 


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