Baltimore residents flock to Masonville Cove to connect with nature

For Immediate Release September 24, 2022

Contact:

Curtis Bennett National Aquarium, 410/576-1508

Katrina Jones Port of Baltimore, 410/370-6585

Lorraine Warnick Living Classrooms Foundation, 410/274-4398

Monese Delara The Links Inc. Harbor City Chapter, 443/756-7356

Baltimore, MD – To celebrate National Public Lands Day, families today explored the nation’s first urban wildlife refuge partnership through a variety of activities at Masonville Cove. The site, which includes 70 acres of water and 54 acres of restored wetlands and nature trails in the heart of Baltimore City, has hosted kayaking, bird banding, monarch butterfly tagging and animal tours. a dredged material containment facility. Masonville Cove is located at 1000 Frankfurst Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21226.

“Through our urban national wildlife refuges and partnerships, people are connecting with nearby wild places, public lands and the wonders of nature,” said Martha Williams, director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “With 80% of Americans living in cities, these programs and places encourage new generations to connect to the land, water and wildlife. Connecting with nature and wildlife also enhances vitality. social and economic aspects of urban communities.

The Service’s Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is creating a modern conservation legacy in and around cities. This community-driven model includes improving accessibility to green spaces, restoring and connecting wildlife habitat, improving resilience to the effects of

Learn more about climate change and community recreational and educational activities. The Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership works with community organizations, government agencies and other institutions to connect local residents to nature and wildlife, improving the social and economic vitality of Baltimore communities. The partnership also extends to other communities in key watersheds like Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls and the wider Patapsco River.

“We are very pleased to host the ninth BioBlitz at Masonville Cove on National Public Lands Day,” said William P. Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Authority and the Port of Baltimore. “Masonville Cove is one of Maryland’s greatest environmental restoration stories. The Maryland Port Authority led a massive cleanup effort years ago that removed more than 60,000 tons of trash and debris from the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. Today, Masonville is the premier partnership of U.S. Fish and Wildlife designated urban wildlife refuge with walking trails. , incredible birding opportunities, kayaking, and an environmental center visited by over 2,000 students each year.

BioBlitzers citizen scientist last year recorded 139 different plant and animal species, including rare bee species, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, green frogs, painted turtles, eared sliders red, American kestrels, osprey, American goldfinches, barn swallows and Canada geese. , as well as a variety of fish, insects, spiders and molluscs, trees, flowers, grasses and mushrooms.

With the help of plant and animal experts, adults and children researched, identified and recorded a diversity of wildlife during the annual BioBlitz held on site by the National Aquarium. All observations are recorded on the iNaturalist, a free application.

“In celebrating National Public Lands Day and urban wildlife conservation, it is important to the National Aquarium that there are many unique activities like the BioBlitz that create opportunities for the community to connect with Masonville Cove from in the most meaningful, relevant and relevant way to them,” said Curtis Bennett, director of equity and community engagement at the National Aquarium.

The Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center and Campus is nestled on the middle fork of the Patapsco River in an industrial area adjacent to the neighboring communities of Brooklyn, Curtis Bay and Cherry Hill. A containment facility was constructed just east of the Masonville Cove campus for the purpose of receiving dredged sediment from the annual maintenance of the Baltimore Harbor shipping channels. To mitigate the impacts of this construction, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland Port Authority (MPA) restored derelict land on Masonville Cove and built a low-energy environmental education center and energy efficient to accommodate environmental and community education programs. . What began with the restoration of the coastal aquatic ecosystem and the previously contaminated parcel of land near the Port of Baltimore has grown into a nationally recognized federal/state/local partnership connecting city residents to the outdoors and developing a thriving habitat for hundreds of wildlife species.

“The Port was proud to work with residents, community organizations and stakeholders to transform this brownfield site, once overflowing with legacy contamination, into a beautiful green space that now welcomes thousands of students each year,” said Kristen Fidler. , Director of Port Development at MDOT. AMP. “Working with Masonville Cove partners and the communities surrounding the Masonville Containment Facility, the campus is now a true community resource, providing opportunities to experience nature, participate in free events and programs, and enjoy one of the best views of the harbor waterfront, a great place to see our working harbor in action.”

The Living Classrooms Foundation hosts environmental education activities throughout the year at the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center as well as other locations in the Baltimore metro area. At this year’s celebration, they offered kayaking opportunities for those who want to explore the aquatic life of Masonville Cove.

“The Living Classrooms Foundation strives to improve the lives and futures of children, youth and families as we serve the communities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. with holistic and transformative opportunities,” said Lorraine. Andrews Warnick, director of the Living Classrooms Foundation, Masonville Cove Environmental Education Campus. . “At the Masonville Cove campus, we are able to provide safe, fun, and hands-on learning experiences outdoors in nature, instilling a sense of lifelong stewardship. I often find myself telling students ‘Don’t grow up and leave Baltimore to be successful. Stay here and do great things to make your city amazing. Explore. Discover. Engage.'”

Another objective of the partnership is to improve career opportunities for young people in the fields of conservation and the environment. Urban youth engagement has taken off with programs like WildSTEM, run by The Links Inc. and the National Wildlife Federation, providing opportunities for young children through college students to become agents of positive change in their communities. The Harbor City (MD) chapter of The Links, Inc. (Baltimore), along with other members of the partnership, introduced Coppin State University students to careers and internships in the environmental sector.

“We are proud to support National Public Lands Day and Urban Wildlife Conservation again this year in conjunction with our wonderful partners,” said Savonne L. Ferguson, President, Harbor City Chapter of The Links Inc. “We are excited to play a part in helping the Baltimore community, especially communities of color, understand how essential it is to be good environmental stewards. We know this work is long-term and incremental, and we will remain committed to doing our part.

“We are very pleased to host the ninth BioBlitz at Masonville Cove on National Public Lands Day,” said William P. Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Authority and the Port of Baltimore. “Masonville Cove is one of Maryland’s greatest environmental restoration stories. The Maryland Port Authority led a massive cleanup effort years ago that removed more than 60,000 tons of trash and debris from the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. Today, Masonville is the premier partnership of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Designated Urban Wildlife Refuge with walking trails. , incredible birding opportunities, kayaking, and an environmental center visited by over 2,000 students each year.

US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams released a tagged monarch during her visit to Masonville Cove Urban Partnership in September 2022

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