DNR Celebrates Six Years of Raising Horseshoe Crabs in Maryland Classrooms - Southern Maryland Headline News

DNR Celebrates Six Years of Raising Horseshoe Crabs in Maryland Classrooms


ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Watershed Services Division, in partnership with the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC), US Fish and Wildlife, Cambrex Inc., Flag Pond Nature Park and Assateague State Park, is pleased to announce another successful year of the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom program. The program is designed to give students hands-on activities that teach them about a current aquatic natural resource management issue.

“Raising horseshoe crabs in the classrooms is a great way for students to learn about the vital role all sea creatures play in a healthy Chesapeake Bay,” said DNR Secretary C. Ronald Franks. “Early environmental education is critical to the development of future Marylanders who will work to protect and preserve our natural resources.”

Known as Horseshoe Crab Field Days, these events mark the culmination of months of study for students involved in the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom program, which teaches students about horseshoe crabs and the management of this important species. It is an opportunity for the students to celebrate what they have learned and to participate in a host of hands-on activities. Each student will visit several stations where they will learn about how the medical industry uses horseshoe crab blood, the relationship between the crabs and shorebirds, tagging and anatomy, and how to survey and predict horseshoe crab populations.

The following is the schedule for upcoming Horseshoe Crab Field Days.

May 11 at Flag Pond Nature Park (Calvert Co.):

River Hill High School (Howard Co.)—22 students

Mt. Rainier Elementary School (Prince George's Co.)—25 students (2nd-6th grades)

May 18 at Assateague State Park (Worcester Co.):

Sudlersville Elementary School (Queen Anne's Co.)—32 students (4th grade)

Relay Children's Center (Baltimore Co.)—8 students (1st-5th grades)

Kingsview Middle School (Montgomery Co.)—45 students (6th grades)

Emmanuel Lutheran School (Baltimore Co.)—40 students (5th-6th grades)

May 24 at Assateague State Park (Worcester Co.):

Stephen Decatur Middle School (Worcester Co.)—80 students (8th grade)

Thurgood Marshall Elementary School (Montgomery Co.)—20-22 students (4th-5th grades)

Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom is a DNR program that affords teachers and students alike the opportunity to better understand the scientific process through the collection of valuable scientific information about horseshoe crabs. This project provides equipment, activity guides and horseshoe crab eggs to schools for students to learn the ecological, medical and historical importance of the vanishing species. Schools participating in the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom project include elementary, middle and high schools in the public and private domain.

The program is limited to 30 new teachers each year. Before they receive horseshoe crab eggs collected by DNR biologists, teachers are required to attend a six-hour training workshop where they learn to set up and maintain their aquariums, monitor its environmental and chemical conditions, and review lesson plans. There is still limited room for teachers interested in participating during the 2005-06 school year.

For more information on the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom program, check out DNR Online (http://dnr.maryland.gov/) or contact Elena Takaki at 410-260-8715 or by e-mail at etakaki@dnr.state.md.us.

Directions to Flag Pond Nature Center: From Washington’s Capital Beltway (I-95): Take Route 4 South into Calvert County. From the Baltimore Beltway (I-695): Take Route 301 South to Route 4. From Route 4: Just 10 miles south of Prince Frederick, look for the sign and turn left into the Nature Park.

Directions to Assateague State Park: Take Rt. 50 East towards Ocean City. Just outside of Ocean City, make a right on Rt. 611. Follow south until you reach the park.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov.

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