Keep It at Bay A new volunteer program makes restoring the health of the Harbor more fun.

By Micah Castelo



Tammy Dexter, Lanae Jackson and Carmera Thomas clean oyster cages.
Tammy Dexter, Lanae Jackson and Carmera Thomas clean oyster cages.

Flocks of tourists crossing the street, office workers headed to lunch, honking vehicles stuck in traffic and anchored ships by the waterfront…the Inner Harbor is a lively spot. But with all that hustle and bustle comes nature’s number one enemy: pollution. But now, thanks to an initiative from the Waterfront Partnership and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Baltimore residents can work to reverse some of that damage.

On September 1, the Partnership and CBF announced their Healthy Harbor Volunteer Program expected to launch on Saturday, Sept. 24. Participants will help to plant the largest oyster garden in Baltimore at Baltimore Marine Center’s Lighthouse Point, followed by a chance to socialize during happy hour at Bo Brooks. (All program events will take place in the morning of the third or fourth Saturday until June, followed with a happy hour at a local bar or restaurant.)

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Carmera Thomas, Healthy Harbor initiative’s program manager, believes in the importance of combining entertainment with volunteer work. “We set out to build a volunteer program that gives City residents fun and unique experiences that also improve water quality in the Harbor and Chesapeake Bay,” she said in a press release.

Volunteers will be educated and trained by staff on aspects of oyster gardening, including cleaning baby oysters and measuring their growth. The program relies on the powerful bivalves’ filtering power (a whopping 50 gallons of water per day in order to feed and breathe) to improve the state of the water.

Beyond the oyster garden, volunteers can partake in activities including waterfront outreach, advocacy and alley makeovers, which combine removing weeds and litter with painting inspirational murals to spruce up the streets of Baltimore and send out environmentally-friendly messages to locals.

For more information on the initiative, visit the site, call 410-779-4700 (ext. 3109) or email volunteer@waterfrontpartnership.org.

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