Connecting People with Nature
Northeast Region


Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership

full moon walk posted

March 14, 2014

Located on the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, Masonville Cove serves as a mitigation site for a dredged material containment facility, a repository for material dredged from Baltimore Harbor.  To mitigate impacts from the construction of this facility, the Maryland Port Administration and its local community implemented a plan with three core elements: to restore Masonville Cove's natural area, to establish an environmental education center on site and to secure seed funding for environmental education. Also, incorporated into this plan, is the removal or recycling of more than 60,000 tons of debris from the area.

In May 2013, Masonville Cove competed nationally to be designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The Service's Chesapeake Bay Field Office and Patuxent Research Refuge have been working with other Masonville Cove partners (the Maryland Port Administration, the National Aquarium, Living Classrooms, and the local community) for nearly two years to provide assistance with visitor services and wildlife management on the site. One of the main goals of the Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership is to make the outdoors more meaningful and accessible to urban audiences. The partnership is developing innovative ways to enable urban audiences to learn more about the Refuge system, wildlife conservation and to gain a greater appreciation for the outdoors.

The on-site Masonville Cove staff offer a wide variety of educational activities and field trip opportunities for K-12 audiences. Topics for activities revolve around the Chesapeake Bay and range from human impacts to rockfish populations in the Bay, to land and sea explorations, to Chesapeake Bay wetland studies.

Youth visiting the Patuxent Research Refuge also have the opportunity to be involved with Masonville Cove's educational programs. Recently Masonville Cove's staff member Beth Lenker, conducted two interactive programs at Patuxent which focused on the Chesapeake Bay. One of the programs, for ages 8-10, included a hand-on demonstration about run-off pollution followed by an oyster dissection, and study, about how oysters help clean the bay. Another program for Patuxent's Nature Tots introduced toddlers to Bay critters through interaction with live animals, stories, songs, and crafts. By participating in these programs, children, and parents alike, had the chance to learn about the Chesapeake Bay, develop an awareness of what lives in the Bay and learn about some of the problems the Bay faces due to human impact.

With the combined efforts of Masonville Cove, Patuxent Research Refuge and various partners, this Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership will provide a gateway for urban audiences to learn about natural resources and become environmental stewards.

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Last updated: March 17, 2014