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We Need Your Help and Support to Build a New Maryland Terrapin Outdoor Habitat

We Need Your Help and Support to Build a New Maryland Terrapin Outdoor Habitat

The iconic Diamondback Terrapins on exhibit at Phillips Wharf provide visitors with a window on the current health of the Chesapeake Bay. With a preference for unpolluted brackish water, Terrapins are reliable indicators of the environmental status of the Bay’s estuaries, tidal creeks, and salt marshes. Phillips Wharf is dedicated to studying the Terrapin’s habitat and behaviors and making them available for visitors to Phillips Wharf Environmental Center to learn about and observe. To provide an opportunity for hands-on observation of the Maryland Terrapin and first-hand education about the species and its habitat, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is planning to build a permanent first-class, safe, and natural home for the Terrapin. The Center currently provides medical help and rehabilitation for those Terrapins with health issues. Only Terrapins that were former family pets, and thus familiar with human handling, are used in the Center’s touch tanks. With the help of Dr. Chad Hutchison at Community Animal Hospital, Phillips Wharf has rehabilitated many turtles of all kinds, including the Terrapin.

Once a plentiful food supply for Colonial America, the Terrapin in the late 19th century was considered a delicacy and, as a result, was overharvested. Terrapin populations declined precipitously in the 20th century. In 2007, Maryland banned their commercial harvest.  The official state reptile and mascot to the University of Maryland, the Terrapin is currently classified as “apparently secure” in Maryland. Phillips Wharf seeks to assure that the Terrapin is more than “apparently secure,” but rather permanently secure for future generations.

To advance knowledge about this important environmental bellwether, Phillips Wharf seeks $15,000 to create a new Terrapin habitat. This new exhibit will enable the Center to relocate its resident terrapins out of aquaria and into a more natural setting with plenty of sunlight for basking in a large pool of brackish water and an appropriate environment for the Terrapin’s food supply of small fish and snails.

You can take a look below at our concept drawing for the new Terrapin habitat to get an idea of what it would look like.  This area would be a valuable asset not only for the health and well being of the terrapins but also as a teaching tool.  It would be a great space for children and adults alike to learn about terrapin history, their environment, and what we can continue to do to protect our Maryland state reptile.

With your help we can make this dream a reality.  All contributors to this campaign will have their name etched in a plaque that will sit on the side of the habitat so that all of our visitors can recognize our supporters for their donations.  Cost of the project includes educational signage for the exhibit, as well as approved donor recognition.


If you are interested but would like more information please email [email protected]

Go Terps – Phillips Wharf wants you to live fearlessly into the future!

Phillips Wharf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
New Exhibit! Outdoor Terrapin Habitat

Top Participants
Matt Albers
$225.00Nancy Heay

Bay Hundred Youth Coalition

Pete Howell

Diana Okada

Paul Bartlett

Jerome Freibaum

Gary & Susan Crawford

Melissa Cannon

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Phillips Wharf Announces Oyster Planting Day

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center of Tilghman Island is pleased to announce it's annual Oyster Planting day in conjunction with Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters Project on June 10th, 2017. Phillips Wharf Environmental Center has been coordinating the Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters Project for the past 6 years.  TIGO is a part of the larger Marylanders Grow Oysters…
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Calling All Volunteers – Tidy Up Tilghman

Calling All Volunteers!!! The directions for registering are as follows: Please go the following link- Once there, at the top of the page you will see an orange box that says Volunteer, click on it. Once you click on it, it will say Register to Volunteer, go ahead and put in your information (When asked at…
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Sip & Socialize Saturdays

Executive Director Kelley Cox explains the oyster upweller to visitors and its important function in the lifecycle of oyster farming. Picture credit: Deena Kilmon Phillips Wharf Lecture Series Bringing back a popular event after a year hiatus, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center announces their 2017 winter lecture series. This year the classes incorporate a mini happy…
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