Philips Wharf Environmental Center

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center's (PWEC) mission is to inform, inspire, and involve those who live near the Chesapeake Bay to take action by becoming good stewards of the Bay and its inhabitants. Through hands-on learning experiences it teaches children and adults how the plants and animals of the Chesapeake Bay are impacted by the decisions humans make every day.

The center offers many events and programs to engage you with life in and around the Chesapeake Bay.  From its signature Fishmobile, to activities on the Bay itself, PWEC strives to provide exciting hands-on experiences that engage your curiosity and spark your sense of wonder.

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization staffed by volunteers. We need people who care about the environmental impacts to the Chesapeake Bay and its inhabitants. By volunteering at PWEC you will help us promote our mission to inform, inspire, and involve those who live near the Chesapeake Bay to take action by becoming good stewards of the Bay and its inhabitants.

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Image Credit: Philips Wharf Environmental Center

Hours

The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is open to the public Thursday through Monday from April to November, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Visiting the center is free and includes animal exhibits and oyster restoration exhibits. The kayak launch is also free and open to the public until dusk and there is free parking at the site. 

Educational Programs:

Spatutti costs $24.00 per student.

Its a Crab's Life costs $22.00 for Students and $24.00 for Adults

The Fisheries Management Program costs $22.00 for Students and $24.00 for Adults.

The Fishmobile is a traveling marine science program that includes a 50 minute structured educational module aligned with the State of Maryland performance standards. One hour basic visit costs $300.00 for non-profit organizations and schools, $500.00 for others.  The 50 minute educational module is $5.00 per student (minimum of 25 students).  A mileage charge of $1.50 per mile applies, both ways, if your location is more than 15 miles from the Center.

Activities

PWEC offers many events and programs to engage you with life in and around the Chesapeake Bay. We adapt our programs to meet your group’s needs.  The following programs are offered by PWEC:

  • Spatutti: Learn about the Oyster and what an oyster bar looks like by dredging some up with Captain Wade Murphy.
  • It's a Crab's Life: A one day field trip for History/Environment/Science and Social Studies curriculums. Arrive in the Fishing Village of Tilghman Island at the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, and begin your journey through the life of the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab.
  • Fisheries Management Program: Our Fisheries Management Program, developed with a grant from Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association, delves into multiple aspects of the menhaden pound net fishery in the Chesapeake, from biology to economics.
  • Fishmobile: The Fishmobile is a traveling marine science program that includes a 50 minute structured educational module aligned with the State of Maryland performance standards. The program teaches students the environmental issues imposed on the Chesapeake Bay and its inhabitants.
  • Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters: “Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters”, a cooperative program with MD-DNR and the Oyster Recovery Partnership, where waterfront property owners in the Harris Creek area raise baby oysters (called spat) in cages each year for release on a sanctuary bar in upper Harris Creek.
  • Buffer Garden: The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center has partnered with the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Program in Talbot County to design a demonstration "Buffer Garden" based on best practices in native landscapes to reduce pollution from water runoff and encourage healthy habitat on the land and in the Bay.
  • Tree Project: The Tree Project aims at helping property-owners plant new and replacement trees, of the right sorts, in good locations. We do that by giving out information about the types of trees that thrive in our area, the conditions each species prefers, and guidance about  where to purchase good specimens at fair prices, how to get help planting and caring for trees. 

By volunteering at PWEC you will help us promote our mission to inform, inspire, and involve those who live near the Chesapeake Bay to take action by becoming good stewards of the Bay and its inhabitants.

Water Flow Info:

Facilities

Our unique Chesapeake Bay “estuarium” features aquariums filled with the fish, amphibians, reptiles and crustaceans unique to North America’s largest estuary.

Phillips Wharf features a working oyster aquaculture operation, including grow tanks, spat farms, and more.

The waterfront at Phillip Wharf features a sand and concrete launch for kayaks and canoes to easily access Tilghman Island and Bay Hundred water trails.

History

In September 2003, Hurricane Isabelle hit the Eastern Shore, inundating Tilghman Island with a 7-foot storm surge that took away 200 feet of the Cox family’s seafood buying dock. Although the family was no longer buying seafood here, Kelley Cox had a vision for the property to preserve her family’s five generation watermen heritage and teach the public the importance of being good stewards of the Bay. Through this vision, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center was born in 2005.

During its first year of operation Phillips Wharf Environmental Center created a hands-on learning program about the Life of the Blue Crab. The program was taken to various day camp groups, elementary schools and local Girl Scouts. The Life of the Blue Crab became the foundation and spring board for future hands-on learning programs.

In 2007, the success of our programs led the center to apply and become a non-profit 501(c) 3 environmental organization based in the lower Bay Hundred area on the Eastern Shore. In May of 2009, through the use of a converted book mobile Phillips Wharf Environmental Center began to offer a traveling marine science program now called the Fishmobile. In 2011, the Fishmobile has received over 10,000 visitors from people of all ages who express an interest in learning more about the marine life that lives in the Chesapeake Bay.

Weather

Last updated: August 22, 2019
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