Kayla Fairfield

Please remind us, what was your position when you worked with us at Phillips Wharf? *
General Manager
What are you doing now? Please be specific, we want to brag about what you are up to these days.
I am an animal care technician at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology's Aquaculture Research Center. I care for cartilaginous and bony fish, crustaceans, bivalves, and turtles.

How did working/volunteering with Phillips Wharf impact you?

I have been able to develop skills that are vital in my field: animal handling, administering medical treatments, animal identification, and much more. And from managing interns, hosting educational events, working with volunteers: I have been able to develop decision-making and leadership skills, and can wholeheartedly value the people who donate their time and effort to help.

Can you share a story about an event or a moment when you felt like Phillips Wharf made a difference for someone?

I loved being able to educate people who may not have ever had the opportunity to interact with these animals. Seeing the joy and curiosity (and occasional horror) on children's faces as they sighted a horseshoe crab for the first time was meaningful to me. But the sense of bravery and wonder that is sparked in child after mustering the courage to touch its shell, I know is a moment that will be marked in their memory for years to come.

Since your time at Phillips Wharf, what have you done? Share with us some of the neat experiences you’ve had since you left.

I traveled to Europe to get my master's in aquaculture. It was so much fun to be able to take my experiences at Phillips Wharf and my passion for the Chesapeake Bay and share it with 23 other people from around the world. While there, I presented on aquaculture in Maryland, worked with experts from all over the world, conducted research for my thesis, and worked in several hatcheries. Since returning, I worked in oyster restoration, volunteered for terrapin surveys, received various certifications for freshwater systems, and I go turtlin' every spring.

Making a donation to our #GivingTuesdayNOW campaign means supporting education!  The funds used from this campaign will allow us to adapt our education programs so that we may continue to offer interactive environmental education experiences.

To check out other past intern and staff individual responses please click on their name:

Dear Phillips Wharf Environmental Center Supporter,

I want to share with you how Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is pivoting towards new horizons that strengthen our longevity into the future and make our educational programs much more accessible to diverse audiences.

In Phillips Wharf’s 14-year history – two challenges have remained constant—the rising costs of maintaining a waterfront campus and old buildings, and addressing the inaccessibility of Tilghman Island to many school systems and others unable to afford the cost or the time for the long trip from more urban areas like Easton.

With this in mind, Phillips Wharf’s Board of Directors have made a bold decision to ensure the sustainability of our future and educational programs by liquidating our assets on Tilghman Island—including the real estate and property—and re-focus the expected gains from the sale to re-open a location in Easton that the Board will determine.

Be assured—Phillips Wharf will always bring our students to meaningful interactions with the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem and inhabitants. We know technology and our FishMobile, for example, can bring experiences and education to more students when we can focus our operations more on education, and less on maintaining an underutilized campus with mounting deferred maintenance costs and more.

Phillips Wharf will continue to carry the essence of encouraging, educating, and engaging Chesapeake Bay stewards from a new location soon. In addition, we’ll be sure to share this exciting news when it comes to fruition with you.

In the meantime, thank you for caring about our students and the Chesapeake Bay as a natural resource and source of healthy seafood and productive jobs for the Shore’s residents. We are excited to bring the Chesapeake Bay closer to our students and the public in ways that are more meaningful. This is a bold step forward not only in Phillips Wharf’s survivability, but also in our thrivability.

Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have. You can reach me at [email protected] or 410-886-9200.

Warmest regards,


Matthew Albers

Board President, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center