The National Aquarium’s Wetland Nursery Program brings hands-on marsh restoration to the schoolyard—and to the far reaches of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed!
In October 2011, the Aquarium Conservation Team traveled to the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake Bay’s largest freshwater source, to teach students in New York how their actions affect aquatic health all the way down in Baltimore.
Students from Chenango Forks High School in Binghampton, NY, and Ridge Road Elementary School in Horseheads, NY, worked to set up ponds at school to grow freshwater wetland plants.
In the spring, the Aquarium will visit again to help students restore their local wetlands by planting the plants they’ve raised throughout the school year!
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’