Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Park Service Chesapeake Gateways program, Sultana Education Foundation continues with its most complex project yet—the restoration and preservation of the Lawrence Wetlands Preserve.
Adjacent to the hiking trail and hidden from sight by a wall of phragmites, the 8.5-acre wetlands is a “pocket park” of diversity “including woodlands, non-tidal marsh, shrublands, warm grass meadows, swampland, and a freshwater pond draining into the Chester River.”
This unique environment will become a perfect watershed classroom for Sultana Education Foundations’ ongoing mission to provide students with transformative educational experiences and learn about the Chesapeake Bay watershed and its natural and human history.
President of Sultana Education Foundation Drew McMullin says that projects have already started with the planting of more than 400 trees to create a woodland buffer along with two pollinator meadows, and a network of wetland pedestrian boardwalks.
McMullin calls attention to the fact that the Preserve will also be open to the public as a walking park, an invaluable addition to the community.
In 2022 a 1200 square foot nature center building will be built for indoor classes to allow year-round educational courses.
Sultana Education Foundation has had a 20-year relationship with the National Park Service, reaching back to the Schooner Sultana initiative’s days and the maintenance of interpretative websites for the Chester River Water Trail and Sassafras River Water Trail, part of the greater Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
“We were one of the very first to become a Chesapeake Gateways Network partner and we’ve been incredibly fortunate over the last 20 years to have the support of the National Park Service and role that they have played for us is to jump start every new initiative we’ve ever done,” McMullen says.
Here, Drew McMullen and Bob Campbell, Gateway Planning and Development Manager for National Park Service, share a Zoom meeting with the Spy to discuss the future of Lawrence Wetland Preserve.
This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more about Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, go here. For more about Sultana Educational Foundation, go here. Credits: Still photos by Tyler Campbell and Sam Shoge.