For 10 years, the National Aquarium’s Conservation team—in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Trust—has been working to restore valuable habitats at Nassawango Creek Preserve. This area is home to 60 species of migratory birds and numerous rare plant species.
In the past, the Atlantic white cedar was abundant along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. However, these trees have been over-harvested and the wetland ecosystems they depend on have been drained.
Since 2009, more than 36,000 Atlantic white cedars have been planted at Nassawango Creek Preserve. This year, a total of 4,768 Atlantic white cedars were planted by 200 students, 13 teachers and 147 volunteers! Fifty bald cypress trees were also planted this year, bringing the grand total of trees planted to 4,818.
While these young trees appear small right now, time will allow them to eventually grow into full Atlantic white cedar swamps. With experts estimating that up to 75% of these swamps are gone from the area, these restoration efforts are vital in protecting local wildlife and filtering stormwater runoff.
This annual Atlantic white cedar tree planting is part of an ongoing restoration effort through the National Aquarium’s Atlantic white cedar program. Each year, National Aquarium staff visits three schools in Worcester County and provides them with 250 Atlantic white cedars to plant in their school yard. With this program, we hope to inspire students to become environmental stewards by planting trees at their schools!
Learn more about the National Aquarium’s habitat restoration efforts and the actions you can take to help!