Posts Tagged 'Fort McHenry'



Volunteers clean up Fort McHenry Wetland

Together, what can 83 volunteers accomplish on a Saturday morning?

In just four hours on Saturday, September 24, these volunteers, along with the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), removed 23,839 pieces of debris from the Fort McHenry Wetland in support of National Public Lands Day and the International Coastal Cleanup.

“Before I went through this experience, I never knew there was so much trash out there,” was one volunteer’s response to the overwhelming sight of the Patapsco River shoreline.

Fort McHenry Before Cleanup

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is a well-visited piece of history for both Baltimore residents and out-of-town visitors. The Fort McHenry Wetland, located adjacent to the Fort, can be seen from the popular walking path. As one of the very few living shorelines in Baltimore City, the 8-acre Fort McHenry Wetland is well functioning, doing exactly what it’s meant to do: remove excess nutrients from the water; provide habitat for local wildlife; and filter the marine debris that is carried in from the tide. Since 1998, ACT! has hosted multiple community-supported debris cleanups here.

Fort McHenry After Cleanup

Volunteers have dedicated 250 hours to remove the urban debris (aka trash) and maintain the butterfly and rain gardens located on the site. Partners for this event included the Steinweg Baltimore, Maryland Port Administration, REI, Royal Bank of Canada, Constellation Energy, Maryland Environmental Trust, Toyota, and the National Park Service. To participate in a future Fort McHenry Field Day or another ACT! event, sign up to receive the Aquarium’s Conservation e-newsletter, and we’ll let you know about upcoming conservation events.

A day of cleanup

Last Saturday a dedicated group of community volunteers joined the Aquarium Conservation Team at Fort McHenry to clean up debris in honor of Earth Day. They worked until the dumpster was overflowing, removing 10,944 pieces of debris from the marsh! 

Each spring the marsh is transformed into a living classroom for hundreds of students from Baltimore City schools. The cleanup day came just in time to give the education areas a much-needed facelift before the Aquarium’s AquaPartners students arrived this week. New gravel was added to the walking areas, and the butterfly gardens were weeded and given new mulch!

Fort McHenry Field Days could not be successful without the volunteers who step up to spend a Saturday morning in the mud. A sincere thank you goes out to all of our volunteers. And judging from the pictures, it seems like everyone had an enjoyable day!  Click here to see for yourself!

Green Tip: Say no to styrofoam

Last week we explained how precipitation flows downstream. Keep in mind that as the snow in the Mid-Atlantic states begins to melt, trash that is on streets will be picked up with the water and flow downstream into the Chesapeake Bay.  In Baltimore, a lot of that trash washes into a 10 acre urban wetland at Fort McHenry.

A few times a year the Aquarium’s Conservation Team (ACT!) takes on the task of cleaning up the trash and debris that collects in the wetland. And at each event they can count on one thing – finding lots and lots of polystyrene (better known as Styrofoam, which is a trademarked material). 

Continue reading ‘Green Tip: Say no to styrofoam’

Fort McHenry Field Days

The National Aquarium’s Conservation Team once again hosted several Fort McHenry Field Days throughout the year to tackle Chesapeake Bay pollution on the home front.  Thanks to an outpouring of hard work and support from 304 volunteers, we were able help the small marsh by removing debris that would eventually choke out native plants and reduce the habitat value for the animals that make the marsh their home. 

In all, roughly 33,000 pieces of debris were removed from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  These Field Days involve more than just clean-up, and in 2009 volunteers also helped maintain native rain and butterfly gardens and plant trees. This wetland at Fort McHenry is one of the only living shoreline areas in the Harbor, and it is heavily utilized by many Bay dwellers and migrating birds.  We thank all of you who came together to make this a cleaner and safer place for these animals.

The Aquarium’s conservation team will hold more clean-up events in 2010. For details on how you can participate, please click here.


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