Posts Tagged 'university of maryland'

Thoughtful Thursdays: Becoming a “Master Naturalist”

On February 2, the National Aquarium and Living Classrooms Foundation welcomed 18 new trainees into the Maryland Master Naturalist Program. Volunteers from the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) and the Friends of Masonville Cove will work collaboratively to sharpen their outdoor skills and boost their knowledge of Maryland’s natural environment. The program’s mission is to engage citizens as stewards of Maryland’s natural ecosystems and resources through science-based education and volunteer service in their communities.

Throughout the program, Master Naturalist trainees will learn about various environmental topics in Maryland, specifically tailored to our coastal plains region and the Chesapeake Bay. Topics include ecology, flora and fauna, natural history, interpretation, and many more.

Master naturalists students learning how to properly identify local species of fish.

Master naturalist students learning how to properly identify local species of fish.

Upon completion of their training, Master Naturalists pledge to complete 40 hours of conservation-related volunteer work per year! The extensive training will give them the skills and knowledge to interpret natural settings for members of the public and hopefully inspire our community to conserve our natural resources.

Thus far, our volunteers have learned about interpretation, ecology, botany, science, and fish. Instructors range from nonprofit professionals, to Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists, to biology professors from local universities. During the botany training, students learned about common plants in Maryland and how to identify them, and why all of the different Maryland species of plants are important. Perhaps most importantly, they discussed the common invasive plant species in Maryland, and how to help manage them. Trainees closely examined flowers to learn about plant parts, which can be useful when following a field guide to identify flora in the field.

The Aquarium’s first class of Master Naturalists will graduate in May and plans are in the works to host another training session in 2014! For more updates on our many conservation initiatives, click here to sign up for our Aquamail newsletter!

Animal Update – April 27

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our WATERlog blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Diamondback Terrapin

We’ve added a young Diamondback Terrapin to our Tidal Marsh exhibit in the Maryland: Mountains to the Sea gallery!

These turtles are distinguished by their unique diamond-shaped rings on the scutes of their upper shell. Their skin is speckled with dark dots and markings unique to each animal. No two animals’ markings are identical.

They are excellent swimmers, with strong webbed feet that allow them to not only glide through the water, but also to forage and dig in the sand and sediment on the bottom. These strong swimmers are not sea turtles, however, which have flippers, not feet.

Aside from being the official Maryland State Reptile, they are the University of Maryland’s mascot — go Terps!

Leopard Shark

A new leopard shark has joined our Kelp Forest exhibit!

These sharks are typically gray or brown, with black saddles across the back and black blotches along the length of the body.

If you’re looking for it, check out the exhibit floor — leopard sharks spend much of their time near the sea floor. Because of this, their food animals are typically bottom dwellers as well, such as crabs, shrimp, clams, marine worms, and small fish.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

National Aquarium has been selected to be a MSDE Gifted & Talented Summer Center!

We are proud to announce a new opportunity for gifted and talented middle school students this summer. The National Aquarium has been selected to be a Maryland State Department of Education Maryland Summer Center for gifted and talented middle school students, offering the Maryland Summer Center for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Investigations.

At the National Aquarium’s Summer Center, students will work alongside scientists at the National Aquarium and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, Maryland. Over a span of two weeks, the students will conduct scientific studies on water quality and biodiversity in different areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to determine the impact of water quality on biodiversity of the watershed as well as human impacts and possible solutions.

During the first week, a day program, students will use our exhibits to learn how water quality pertains to a closed aquarium system by identifying necessary water parameters for fish to survive and how to resolve water quality issues in a closed system. Using our fish collection as a study tool, students will identify local plants and animals and create a biodiversity study. The students will also have field visits to a freshwater and brackish water site where they will collect field data on water quality and biodiversity by kayak!

The mission of the National Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. By working with our scientists and staff, these students will be able to explore human impacts on watersheds, what possible solutions are being pursued and what we can all do to increase conservation.

In week two, a residential program, students will work at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point Laboratory. Working with the resident scientists, students will learn about and assist with current research efforts on key Chesapeake Bay species.

Dates of Operation:
Week 1: Daily program
July 23 – July 27 – 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (daily)
Week 2: Residential program
July 30 8:30 a.m. – August 3 5:00 p.m.

Tuition:
$400 total
Financial assistance is available

Applications:
In order to apply, students must demonstrate outstanding ability through the Maryland Summer Centers application process and/or be identified as gifted and talented by their school. Students must be able to attend both weeks of the program. Parents/guardians are responsible for transportation to the National Aquarium. Transportation to the field sites and residential site will be provided. Applications are due by April 15, 2012.

Click Here for more information or to apply!


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