What do we do here at Phillips Wharf Environmental Center?
Hands-on Chesapeake Bay Environmental Education
Phillips Wharf Environmental Center's mission is to encourage, educate and engage Chesapeake Bay stewards of all ages through interactive experiences showcasing the ecosystem and its inhabitants, with a vision to enhance and sustain the Chesapeake Bay's ecosystems.
Visitor Center & Estuarium
Our 3-acre, waterfront campus is open to the general public for tours of our aquariums and touch tanks full of live bay animals. Guided tours of the estuarium, gardens, and oyster aquaculture operation are available 7 days a week from Memorial Day to Labor day, Wednesday – Monday from March 1 – December 1st and weekends during the winter. We are open 10 am – 4 pm.
Fourth Grade Oyster Education Week
All fourth graders from Talbot County Public Schools visit the Phillips Wharf campus during October for a full day of oyster education. Students dissect oysters, dredge for oysters on the historic skipjack Rebecca T Ruark, identify animals that live on an oyster reef, learn about shucking oysters from an experienced Bay shucker, and try their hand at tonging oysters from our land-boat. This trip is provided free-of-charge to students thanks to grant funding.
Aquaculture Education Programs for Students and Working Watermen
We are treasuring our working waterfront by educating both students and working watermen about sustainable shellfish aquaculture. As an incubator for working watermen to get started in oyster aquaculture we have the equipment needed to help them move forward. Today in Maryland we have nine counties in Maryland with shellfish aquaculture operations, we are creating a training course that could be used in those nine counties to train high school students in the latest methods of shellfish aquaculture. Through our relationship with Chesapeake College, they are willing to help with the student’s business and marketing classes to help students become oyster entrepreneurs.
Winter Lecture series
A diverse mix of scientific, heritage and just fun weekly lectures that educate the general public about topics effecting the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday nights January - March.
Citizen Science growing restoration oysters to help repopulate the Bay
100 citizen growers give oysters a head start by growing them in cages off their docks. The oyster spat start out at the size of a dime or smaller and are put off of docks in September/October. Our growers tend their cages by shaking them or hosing them off once a week or so. The oysters are collected in June and put out in the Harris Creek Sanctuary to grow and reproduce and help bring back the natural population.
Educational Outreach with the Fishmobile
Our rolling aquarium the Fishmobile goes to schools, events, and festivals across MD, VA, and DE to educate people about the animals that live in the Bay and how through stewardship they can help them. The outside of the bus was also designed to be a student lesson on predator prey, land use and Chesapeake Bay Icons.
Conservation landscaping with our improved ditches
Our ditches that lead to the Bay have been landscaped so that the water flow is slowed and nutrients are taken up by water-loving plants and trash is collected in our trash trap so that the nutrients and the trash do not enter the Bay.
Partnering with Tilghman United Methodist Church on their Healthy Body, Healthy Minds and Healthy Spirit initiative for the Tilghman community. We are initiating the Healthy Body piece by offering garden boxes to families that are served by the food pantry. We are educating them about eating locally, sustainability & stewardship of the environment. As well as how to prepare raw vegetables and preserve vegetables for the winter.
As a private, non-profit organization, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center relies entirely on grants and donations to fund our educational programs, maintain the Fishmobile, sponsor lectures, and support our operations and activities. You can help support the children and adults served by Phillips Wharf by making an online gift here.