Making a Local Impact: It seemed like there wasn’t a single day our dedicated teams weren’t out in the community doing field conservation work! Events such as our BioBlitz at Masonville Cove, the International Coastal Cleanup at Masonville Cove, Fort McHenry Field Day and more provided locals with the opportunities to connect with nature while making a difference right here in Baltimore. Special thanks to our Conservation team and all the wonderful volunteers who worked hard at this year’s field conservation events!
This work is crucial to the health the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which has showed some signs of improvement in recent months with the return of underwater grasses. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Harbor Heartbeat Report Card also showed promising results for the health of Baltimore’s waters!
Welcoming UCAN: We welcomed the first crop of the next generation’s conservation leaders to Baltimore this summer! The Urban Climate Action Network (UCAN) is a new national climate change youth corps consisting of five teams of high school-aged students and an adult supervisor.
During their Aquarium visit, the students worked with science professionals to build leadership and practical skills and explore careers in conservation science, urban planning, communications, civic engagement and more. Following their time in Baltimore, the teams returned to their hometowns equipped with the skills to create action plans addressing real problems in their communities with the assistance of a technical expert from the American Planning Association.
Polystyrene Foam and Plastic Bans: In Baltimore and Maryland, bans on polystyrene—commonly known as Styrofoam—and plastic were abundant in 2018. Many local Baltimore establishments, ranging from restaurants to hotels, have switched to more eco-friendly or compostable straw options, including paper and pasta straws! Baltimore City Council also voted in March to ban polystyrene foam containers for food and drinks, similar to bans previously passed in Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.
Plastic bans are taking place nationwide as well! Throughout the year, many different large businesses announced plans to eliminate plastic straws. Many cities from coast to coast have also taken action to eliminate plastic use, including banning plastic bags from grocery stores and encouraging the use of reusable bags.
Stay tuned for more highlights of this year’s biggest stories!