Posts Tagged 'Aquarium Conservation Team'



Volunteer Spotlight: Aquarium Conservation Team Welcomes Its Newest Member!

The Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) is pleased to welcome its newest volunteer, Steph Pully! She will be volunteering with us for one year as a part of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. The Corps, now welcoming its third class, was founded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust as a program to promote the health of the bay through environmental education, community engagement in conservation and energy efficiency. The trust’s 26 volunteers are working with various environmentally-focused host organizations throughout the state of Maryland.

Steph Pully doing restoration work in the field

Throughout the year, members undergo a series of trainings on leadership, professional development, environmental education and watershed restoration.  These trainings are aimed at developing skill sets that will help them in their future careers, as well as teach the members more about the Chesapeake Bay and what we can do to protect it.

Steph, originally from Frederick, Maryland, graduated in May from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  She earned her B.S. degree in Environmental Science.  Steph also spent the summers in Ocean City, Maryland working for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program where she gained valuable, hands-on experience in watershed restoration.

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps allows Steph to combine her love for both restoration events in the field and environmental education programming.  In her short time as a member, she has already connected with her fellow corps members and looks forward to working with them throughout the year. She also appreciates the numerous networking opportunities that the corps provides for young environmentalists.

As a volunteer with ACT!, Steph hopes to gain valuable experience and contribute to the rebuild and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  In the near future, she is looking forward to her first trip with the ACT! to Virginia Beach for a sand dune restoration project this September.  She cannot wait to spend her days out in the field and to get involved with the community volunteers!

Sign up for any one of our conservation events and come meet our newest member!

Thoughtful Thursday: More than 4,000 ft of restored shoreline at Indian Head

The Aquarium Conservation Team spent most of June at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex (Indian Head, MD). Over a period of 11 days, volunteers planted 45,897 native wetland grasses along the Potomac River, restoring more than 4,000 feet of shoreline!

Spring and early summer are ideal times for planting wetland grasses in the mid-Atlantic region, so Aquarium staff and partners worked through record-high temperatures to complete the job! Volunteers from the Maryland Conservation Corps, Mattawoman Watershed Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, Naval Support Activity South Potomac, and the community hand-planted nine different species of grass.

Our volunteers aren’t afraid to get dirty

The National Aquarium has partnered with NSF Indian Head since 2008, restoring sections of shoreline each year. During this spring’s event, Aquarium staff monitored older wetland areas, and found them in full bloom and thriving.

After the planting is complete; look at all those grasses!

Want to join us? The Aquarium Conservation Team will return in the fall of 2012 to complete Phase Two of the shoreline restoration by planting the upland portion with trees and shrubs. We need your help! Dates for the fall planting will be announced in August. Be sure to check here for registration details.

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: For the love of rescues

The National Aquarium truly values every volunteer who lends us his/her time, and some volunteers go far above and beyond what we could ever ask of them.  In fact, we begin to wonder, how would we get by without them?! 

Chuck Erbe is one such volunteer.  Chuck was no stranger to animal rescues when he first came to our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) several years ago; he volunteered in Delaware with the Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute and actually assisted MARP  with rescues and releases even before he came to be part of our program.  He was drawn to the compassion of the MARP staff and the contributions they made to the stranding network, and when he pursued the opportunity to become involved in MARP we knew he would be a perfect fit!

Chuck’s contagious passion for healthy oceans has helped make dozens of MARP outreach events successful, and he has the rare ability to get through to people and really make an impact.  He mentions “participating in the educational outreach workshops and seeing the enthusiasm of the young children as we talk to them” as a source of inspiration to continue his volunteer work.  Chuck is generous with more than just his time, and he is always donating to our cause – take, for instance, the larger-than-life sea turtle model that he decided our MARP outreach display simply could not do without!

Continue reading ‘Volunteer Spotlight: For the love of rescues’


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