Posts Tagged 'restoration events'

Reviving wilderness in Baltimore Harbor

The National Aquarium’s Conservation Team has been busy in Baltimore City this fall! The last week in September, we planted 2,100 shrubs at the site of a new wetland along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in Baltimore Harbor. This was the first planting in the creation of the Masonville Cove wetland, which began with the saltbush community. Three different species of salt-tolerant shrubs were planted: hightide bush, groundsel tree, and wax myrtle.

Volunteers planting at Masonville Cove

Volunteers hard at work

We couldn’t have planted all those shrubs without the help of our fantastic volunteers! A total of nearly 90 students from Curtis Bay Elementary and Middle School, Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle School, and Benjamin Franklin High School assisted us throughout the week.

Community volunteers also showed up in force, as well—close to 50 people turned out! We even had a group of kayakers with the Canton Kayak Club brave the blustery, winter-like conditions we had one day and paddle out to the wetland.

This project is a part of the revitalization that is taking place in the Masonville Cove area as a result of Maryland Port Administration’s (MPA) new Dredge Material Containment Facility at the Masonville Marine Terminal. It will hold material dredged from the shipping channels of Baltimore Harbor.

In addition to the creation of the wetland, a bird sanctuary, hiking trails, and a fishing pier will be built as a part of the mitigation efforts by MPA. Also, the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center was constructed to serve local students and connect them with their natural environment.

The wetland restoration at Masonville Cove is important for wildlife because it provides habitat, which is very rare in an urban area. At the nearby Fort McHenry wetland, more than 200 bird species have been counted.

Shrubs planted at Masonville Cove

After the shrubs were planted

Restoring the harbor’s surrounding land, like Masonville Cove, back to a natural state will increase the amount of habitat for not only the birds, but also the terrestrial and aquatic life found along the Patapsco River.

With the help of community members and students, we will continue to restore this area to a thriving wetland ecosystem. Work at this site will continue with a wetland grass planting in the springtime, so we hope to see you there!

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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’

Simple Action: Volunteer your time

To celebrate Earth Day, every day this week we are sharing a simple action that can be taken to impact change. Everyone can do something to impact the health of our planet. Today, we’d like to encourage the simple action of volunteering.

Volunteering just a few hours of your time at a neighborhood cleanup or planting event is an easy way to show support for a healthy planet, and can really make an impact. In addition to Earth Day, organizations around the country are also celebrating National Volunteer Week.

In 2009, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) helped restore 119 acres of Chesapeake Bay habitat, planted more than 1 million grasses and removed 539,936 pieces of debris from public parks! Only with the help of our dedicated, passionate volunteers are we able to restore habitat and create a cleaner, thriving environment.

While at a dune restoration event last week in Virginia Beach, ACT! stopped by a 2006 project site for monitoring. We are pleased to report the successful revival of the sand dunes at Little Creek, Virginia.

Continue reading ‘Simple Action: Volunteer your time’


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