The Chincoteague Natural History Association (CNHA) is a non-profit, cooperating association established in partnership with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The CNHA was established as a friends group to promote a better understanding and appreciation of the Chincoteague refuge, the Eastern Shore of Virginia refuge, and the natural history and environment of Virginia's Eastern Shore in general. The CNHA produces and provides interpretive and educational material for refuge visitors. Proceeds from memberships and items sold in the gift shops are used to support and enhance interpretive programs, projects, and activities at the refuges. http://www.piping-plover.org/
Assateague Island is divided between the states of Maryland and Virginia. Assateague Island National Seashore encompasses the entire island and adjacent bay areas from the Ocean City, Maryland inlet to Fishing Point on Toms Cove Hook in Virginia.
On the Virginia side of Assateague Island, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), with the exception of 448 acres in National Park Service (NPS) holdings. The National Park Service assists the FWS in providing public use programs and recreation management in the refuge's Toms Cove area. NPS maintains beach parking, picnic areas, and bathhouse facilities. The NPS also provides lifeguards, law enforcement, and first aid care during the summer beach season.
On the Maryland end of the island, Assateague is owned and managed by three separate agencies: the National Park Service, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For more information on the Assateague Island National Seashore contact them at (757) 336-6577(Virginia side) or (410) 641-1443 (Maryland side).
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 marked the Grand Opening of the Kegotank Elementary Schoolyard Habitat Outdoor Classroom! This joint project between Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Accomack County Schools was started by one of our park rangers, John Fitzroy. “Really the goal is to create a platform for teaching environmental education,” said Fitzroy.
The refuge’s plan for this schoolyard habitat was ambitious however the final product was shaped by the teachers at the elementary school. Thanks to the help of our partners, we have completed a space to be used by both children and pollinators for many years to come, and one that can serve as a model that can be replicated at other county schools.
This project included a combination of contractors, community volunteers, teachers, and students to design, prep, and develop the space. Our partners include Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Chincoteague Bay Field Station, Eastern Shore of Virginia Master Gardener Association, Virginia Cooperative Extension U.S. Department of Agriculture, Eastern Shore Soil & Water Conservation District, U.S. Coast Guard and Lowe's Home Improvement. We even have Eagle and Gold Scout projects onsite. You can view photos of the project during construction here.
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Over the past 200-300 years, these modern-day descendants of domestic horses have adapted to the hardships of living near the ocean. Prior to the refuge's establishment in 1943, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company purchased the ponies and continues ownership to this day. The Firemen are allowed to graze up to 150 ponies on refuge land through a Special Use Permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.