As we welcome the start of the New Year, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) would also like to take a moment to reflect back on a successful end to 2010. The National Public Lands Day event at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on September 25 was a great wrap-up for our 2010 Field Days. Led by our experienced ACT! members, 189 volunteers spent their Saturday morning removing 20,000 pieces of debris from the Inner Harbor. Since 1998, Aquarium volunteers have collected more than 12 million pieces of debris from this small wetland!
In October, we spent a week at Naval Support Facility Indian Head in Charles County, Maryland. With the help of 50 volunteers, we restored nearly a mile of riparian buffer along the Potomac River. We were very pleased to work with not only local community members, but also AmeriCorps volunteers from the Maryland Conservation Corps, and quite a few volunteers and staff from the National Aquarium Institute. It’s a good thing we had so much dedicated help, because the event involved planting 1,850 trees – and we’re not talking seedlings! The shoreline is now home to a healthy mix of sweet bay magnolia, river birch, black willow, sycamore, and several other riparian species. We will be returning to Indian Head to plant marsh grasses along the lower intertidal area of the rebuilt shoreline in the spring. Sign up to receive e-mail from our Conservation team about upcoming events.
In early November, we switched gears and traveled to Virginia Beach to continue our work restoring the dunes at area naval bases. This trip involved planting 7,000 native dune grasses at JEB Little Creek and 20,000 grasses at NASO Dam Neck. Over the course of four days, we had the help of nearly 150 volunteers – they included dedicated ACT! members, base personnel, local school groups, community members, and partners from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
In total, ACT! planted 50,030 grasses and trees in 2010. Of course, we could not have done it without the help of 731 wonderful volunteers! Many thanks to all of you who spent time with us restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and we hope to see you in 2011.