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The Otter's Tale Newsletter

The following articles are selections from our quarterly newsletter: "The Otter's Tale". The entire newsletter is available at the Estuary Center or you can download it here.

Celebrate Two Decades of Fun with our 20 for 20 Drive in 2017!

Twenty years ago, a unique partnership between federal, state and county resources came together to create one of Harford County’s hidden gems. The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center at Otter Point Creek is one of the few remaining large freshwater tidal marshes in the upper Chesapeake Bay accessible to th e public. To celebrate our anniversary, we invite you to be part of our 20 for 20 Drive.

From January through December 2017, we are offering a very special opportunity to everyone who renews or joins as a member at the $20 rate or above. With your membership, you will receive $20 in Bay Bucks, valid toward the programs or gift shop items of your choice.

After you join, you will receive your Bay Bucks in the mail. Simply bring the coupon in to the Center to redeem it for the programs or items of your choice. And for readers of our newsletter, we’re starting our offer a bit sooner – you can take advantage of this opportunity as soon as you receive your newsletter.

Since your membership is virtually free with your Bay Bucks coupon, why not make this the year that you make a gift to the Center, too? Our 20th Anniversary is the ideal time to make a donation of $20 or more, and you’ll know that you’re helping to preserve and promote our critical education and outreach efforts if you do.

To join or donate, stop in the Center or visit online at www.OtterPointCreek.org.

The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center offers everything from sunset canoe trips to family-friendly science and nature programs, summer camps, weekend activities, exhibits on the Chesapeake Bay, a Discovery Room with a 300-gallon freshwater turtle pond and other critters and more. Citizen scientists regularly assist with research and monitoring efforts like fish seining, plankton monitoring and plant life cycle research. Your gift and membership will help us keep this programming available and affordable for everyone.

Education Profile: High School Students Investigate How Land Use is Connected to Plankton at Reserve Sites

by Amy Henry, MD DNR

“What IS that???” Broadneck High School AP biology student exclaims, squinting
into the microscope eyepiece. “Ooooh…..” squeals another. “Check out this thing!
It looks like a segmented hair, but it’s totally moving on its own!” It’s plankton
identification lab time at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary as part of the Plankton Land
Use and Nutrient Studies (PLANS II) field trip for Broadneck students. PLANS II,
offered to high school students in Anne Arundel, Prince Georges and Harford
Counties at CBNERR component sites, provides a student-driven, investigative
meaningful watershed educational experience based on real life environmental
issues. Students who participate learn first hand the issues associated with
sediment and nutrient runoff and the consequent eutrophication of our waterways.
Their experience begins in the classroom. Teachers work with Reserve educators
from Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Patuxent River Park, or Anita C. Leight Estuary
Center to prepare students for their field work. At school, students explore nutrient
enrichment, culturing algae with varying amounts of liquid fertilizer. Next, the
students participate in a day long field trip at a Reserve site; learning to identify
plankton and participating in a nutrient limitation experiment and collecting water
quality data aboard a pontoon boat. The students test for water clarity,
temperature, nitrogen, phosphorous and pH. They also conduct a bioassay to
explore the grazing capacity of oysters to demonstrate the important role that filter
feeders play in helping to clean the Bay.
Through experiential learning, students have shown improvements in attitude and
knowledge toward the health of the Chesapeake Bay. PLANS II provides a model
for teacher training, a curriculum and Meaningful Watershed Educational
Experiences (MWEE) to help students increase their understanding of their role in
the eutrophication of Chesapeake Bay and their role as stewards in helping to
restore the health of this iconic estuary.
PLANS II is a partnership between
CBNERR, the Department of Natural
Resources, and The Society for Ocean
Sciences and Morgan State University’s
Patuxent Environmental & Aquatic
Research Laboratory, funded through a BWet
grant from NOAA. Currently in the
third year of offering this high quality,
rigorous environmental education/science
field trip to high school students, the sites
are looking to expand to other interested
high schools. If you would like to learn more about the project or have your students
participate, please contact Lauren Greoski, Park Naturalist, at 410-612-1688 or
lmgreoski@harfordcountymd.gov.

“What IS that???” Broadneck High School AP biology student exclaims, squinting into the microscope eyepiece. “Ooooh…..” squeals another. “Check out this thing! It looks like a segmented hair, but it’s totally moving on its own!” It’s plankton identification lab time at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary as part of the Plankton Land Use and Nutrient Studies (PLANS II) field trip for Broadneck students. PLANS II, offered to high school students in Anne Arundel, Prince Georges and Harford Counties at CBNERR component sites, provides a student-driven, investigative meaningful watershed educational experience based on real life environmental issues. Students who participate learn first hand the issues associated with sediment and nutrient runoff and the consequent eutrophication of our waterways.

Their experience begins in the classroom. Teachers work with Reserve educators from Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Patuxent River Park, or Anita C. Leight Estuary Center to prepare students for their field work. At school, students explore nutrient enrichment, culturing algae with varying amounts of liquid fertilizer. Next, the students participate in a day long field trip at a Reserve site; learning to identify plankton and participating in a nutrient limitation experiment and collecting water quality data aboard a pontoon boat. The students test for water clarity, temperature, nitrogen, phosphorous and pH. They also conduct a bioassay to explore the grazing capacity of oysters to demonstrate the important role that filter feeders play in helping to clean the Bay.

Through experiential learning, students have shown improvements in attitude and knowledge toward the health of the Chesapeake Bay. PLANS II provides a model for teacher training, a curriculum and Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE) to help students increase their understanding of their role in the eutrophication of Chesapeake Bay and their role as stewards in helping to restore the health of this iconic estuary. 

PLANS II is a partnership between CBNERR, the Department of Natural Resources, and The Society for Ocean Sciences and Morgan State University’s Patuxent Environmental & Aquatic Research Laboratory, funded through a BWet grant from NOAA. Currently in the third year of offering this high quality, rigorous environmental education/science field trip to high school students, the sites are looking to expand to other interested high schools. If you would like to learn more about the project or have your students participate, please contact Lauren Greoski, Park Naturalist, at 410-612-1688 or lmgreoski@harfordcountymd.gov.

 

HOURS OF OPERATION

Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

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CREEK ALLIANCE

OPCA is a non-profit organization
which supports all the great opportunities and programs at the Estuary Center. Find out more click here.

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Anita C. Leight Estuary Center / 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon MD 21009 / 410-612-1688