Posts Tagged 'Aquarium Conservation Team'

Thoughtful Thursdays: Indian Head Restoration is Complete!

Since 2008, National Aquarium has actively worked to restore a riparian buffer (a bank of water that naturally filters out pollution and prevents erosion) along a section of the Potomac River at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex.  This four-year project, which involved 81,268 grasses and 5,902 trees, was a partnership between the National Aquarium, Department of Defense, and Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development.

This past November marked the Aquarium’s last volunteer planting event, where we were able to finish the third phase of this cleanup and restoration project.

One of our amazing community volunteers hard at work planting saplings!

One of our amazing community volunteers
hard at work planting saplings!

The project began when the Navy experienced severe erosion along their shoreline, weakening base infrastructure and threatening operations.  The Navy proposed a plan and provided funding to reconstruct the shoreline in areas most vulnerable to base activity.  The Aquarium was brought on board to lead community-based, hands-on restoration events to vegetate the shoreline.

Volunteers from the NCCC braved the brisk weather to help us finish our final planting.

Volunteers from the NCCC braved the brisk weather to help us finish our final planting.

The 15 acres of shoreline were restored with the help of 622 volunteers donating 4,938 hours to the project since 2008!  Volunteers included the local community, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), Maryland Conservation Corps, National Civilian Community Corps, Charles Master Gardeners, and Navy personnel.

A glimpse at the freshly restored shoreline at Indian Head

A glimpse at the freshly restored shoreline at Indian Head.

Riparian buffers are environmentally critical to providing habitat for local wildlife and improving water quality.  The buffer intercepts sediment and nutrients that can lead to what’s known as “dead zones.”  The Aquarium has plans to return to NSF Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex to further monitor the success of the project.  For more information on this project, please visit

Rock the Boat and Support the Chesapeake Bay TONIGHT!

Join our staff and volunteers on the USS Constellation tonight from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM for our 8th annual “Rock the Boat” fundraiser, supporting our Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI)!

the USS Constellation

With a $10 donation, guests are welcome on board to enjoy free tours, live music from local band Wolve, and great, sustainable food from local restaurants. Beer, wine, and soda will be available for purchase. Guests will also receive a glow in the dark mug with their donation. All proceeds support preservation and restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Tonight’s donations will help our CBI team purchase much-needed field equipment for upcoming habitat restoration projects! This event will be a great kick-off for our team who will be doing a week long tree planting  at Indian Head next week. Every year, our staff and volunteers plant a variety of Chesapeake Bay native wetland grasses, trees, and shrubs along the water’s edge to help stabilize the area, reduce the potential for erosion, and protect existing land while providing habitat for many animal species.

These funds will also help support a second habitat restoration project in March, stay tuned for details on how you can get involved!

This is a family-friendly event and all are welcome! No RSVP required; just make your $10 donation at the entrance to the ship. Come out and rock the boat for conservation!

Thoughtful Thursdays: Give a day for the Bay!

The National Aquarium has been engaging community volunteers and students in restoring a tidal marsh adjacent to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine since 1999.  In that time, more than 4,000 citizens have planted more than 55,000 native wetland grasses and removed more than 500,000 pieces of debris! The wetland is also used as a living classroom for hundreds of local Baltimore City students each year, giving them an opportunity to see local wildlife flourishing in the middle of an urban environment and teaching them the importance of habitat conservation and clean water.

You can help continue this tradition by taking part in our upcoming Fort McHenry Field Day event!

Fort McHenry Field Day!

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Saturday, October 6, 2012

Join the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) for debris cleanup and garden and trail maintenance at Fort McHenry on October 6, 2012. Our fall field day is a part of National Public Lands Day and the International Coastal Cleanup.

Click here to register!

Our coastal wetlands need YOUR help!

Click here to find out more about upcoming conservation events! 

Pre-registration is required for all conservation events. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Please contact if you have questions or would like additional details.

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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