Every spring and fall, the National Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) recruits volunteers to restore habitat for wildlife, remove debris, and maintain trails at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore.
Recently, ACT! hosted a group of Patterson High School students and their mentors as a part of Legg Mason’s Workplace Mentoring Program. At the Fort McHenry wetland, they participated in a variety of environmental education activities and a debris cleanup over the course of the day.
The students' excitement couldn’t be damped by the light rain as they seined for fish along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River and caught a wide variety of critters including a blue crab, marsh crabs, Atlantic silversides, a northern pipefish, comb jellies, and grass shrimp.
On their nature walk in the 7-acre wetland, they encountered all sorts of wildlife that call the wetland home: an osprey, a snapping turtle, a box turtle, a pileated woodpecker, a common loon, and many more birds!
The students and their mentors also helped the National Aquarium team weed and plant a butterfly garden with native perennials like goldenrod, milkweed, mountain mint, and joe pye weed.
Since the National Aquarium took over stewardship of this marsh in 1999, volunteers have helped collect nearly 600,000 pieces of debris! Click here to learn more about the National Aquarium Fort McHenry conservation initiative.