Environmental Center Ribbon Cutting
On November 14, 2015, the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum celebrated the Grand Opening of its Environmental Center & Classroom. Located on the ground floor of the museum, it shares some of the total space with a boat- and exhibit-building shop. The ribbon cutting ceremony was well attended. Board President Bruce Russell brought the ceremony to order by ringing a VERY heavy deck bell, which got everyone’s attention. The prior museum President of the Board and former mayor of Havre de Grace, Phil Barker, kicked things off by thanking the volunteers, board members, and other parties who had contributed to the creation, funding and outfitting of this new environmental center. Mayor William Martin also spoke and was followed by one of Maryland’s members of the General Assembly, Senator Wayne Norman. The senator presented an Official Citation to Bruce congratulating the facility on its accomplishments.
After the ceremonies, visitors toured the main museum gallery and the surrounding grounds. The Museum’s location, at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, provides not only a beautiful, serene setting; it also makes for a unique venue for studying and preserving local ecology and natural history. Behind, and immediately adjacent to the Museum, is a small tidal wetland, crossed by the Havre de Grace Promenade. The Museum is undertaking the restoration of the wetland and shoreline to create a “living classroom” for its educational programs, and for the enjoyment of the many visitors who come to walk the Promenade. The wetland had been degraded over the years by large amounts of debris and by invasive plants. The goal of the wetland project is to restore the natural tidal flow, and to enhance habitat quality for the wide variety of native flora and fauna. Much of the actual restoration work is being done by volunteers who are interested in learning about local environmental sustainability concerns.
The Environmental Center (EC) at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum is uniquely situated for the study and preservation of our local natural history and ecology. Our goals and strategies will target, and make programs available to, a diverse audience (e.g., age, gender, ethnic background, socio-economic status, and religious affiliation).
We plan to:
Conduct student labs, public lectures, classes, and workshops to educate the regional community about environmental estuarine, wetland, and upland watershed science and environmental stewardship.
Equip the 1800 square foot EC as a classroom, exhibit space, and laboratory.
Develop outdoor demonstration, monitoring, and sampling stations in the shoreline, wetland, and upland areas on the grounds of the Museum and EC.
Remove invasive vegetation, and plant or restore native plants on shoreline, wetland, and upland areas on site, developing these areas as an outdoor living classroom and demonstration project.
Install informative and engaging exhibits and signage in the EC gallery space, the classroom, the laboratory, the Maritime Museum’s main floor galleries, on the museum grounds, and along the Havre de Grace City Promenade boardwalk (above our wetland restoration project).
Our Generous Donors
This wetland restoration project is being supported by a grant from The Chesapeake Bay Trust. This grant provides funding for invasive plant removal, native plants, water quality monitoring kits, and educational materials that will be used in our programs with local schools and the public.
We would also like to thank Octoraro Native Plant Nursery of Kirkwood, PA for the very generous donation of several native wetland trees and shrubs for this restoration project.
Other donors who have contributed towards Environmental Center programs include BGE, the JM Huber Corporation, the Crystal Trust Foundation, Stack & Store, Vulcan Materials, Toni and Darrell Bench, Kuzma Technologies, John and Laura Haug, Bruce Russell, the City of Havre de Grace, and Harford County.
Our Mission Statement
Inspire and educate residents of, and visitors to, the Lower Susquehanna River and Upper Chesapeake Bay region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor, onsite, and online experience, education, exhibits, and support of scientific research.
PRESS RELEASE (4/2017): Submerged Aquatic Vegetation monitoring in the Susquehanna Flats through Citizen Science.
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