Earlier this fall, Baltimore had many storms come through the area which increased the amount of trash and debris accumulating in our waterways, including the area surrounding Port Covington’s West Covington Park.

In response to the noticeable increase in trash, New Era Academy in Cherry Hill partnered with the Port Covington Community Affairs and Property Management teams to organize a community conservation experience. On October 24, students from the school visited the park, participated in a cleanup service project and learned about the environment.

The students began their visit to West Covington Park with an introduction to a range of topics including ways to protect the environment, using biodegradable materials, recycling, and composting through open discussion and interactive games.

The games were provided by Curtis Bennett, the Director of Community Conservation from the National Aquarium. The Aquarium’s conservation team provides communities with hands-on opportunities to help restore habitats, learn about watershed dynamics and develop the knowledge and skills to serve as participants and leaders in “environmental stewardship.”

Aside from being an incredible learning opportunity, the park cleanup was a way to help introduce students to opportunities to help with environmental preservation efforts in their communities and empower them to take action both at school and in their neighborhoods.

Many of the students mentioned they were unaware that there was so much debris in the Inner Harbor and were surprised to learn that materials like Styrofoam and plastic bags are both harmful for the environment and non-recyclable. During the cleanup, one student exclaimed, “If there was a way I could stop this, I would!”

With some help from the Port Covington Property Management team, the students filled almost eight bags of trash and earned community service hours for their time spent cleaning up West Covington Park.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to keep your community clean, visit https://aqua.org/care/chesapeake-bay.