News from the DNR Office of Communications

Park Service Dedicates Janes Island Nature Center In Honor Of Former Ranger Julie Schweikert

Crisfield, MD (March 12, 2010) — The Maryland Park Service honored former Ranger Julie Schweikert by dedicating the Nature Center at Janes Island State Park in her name. An 18-year Maryland Park Service (MPS) veteran, Ranger Schweikert most recently served as park manager of the Somerset County State Park until her untimely death in 2009 at the age of 43.

Governor Martin O’Malley and members of the Board of Public Works (BPW) voted in February to dedicate the Janes Island State Park Nature Center to Ranger Schweikert. At the dedication ceremony, MPS Superintendent Nita Settina acknowledged Schweikert’s enthusiasm to reach youth through environmental stewardship programs as a park naturalist, and for her support and leadership to her staff as a park manager.

“There is nothing more timeless about what we do as caretakers of State Parks, than to share the mysteries of nature with our fellow citizens and to foster the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Settina. “Julie was a dedicated and selfless public servant who loved nature and loved connecting people – especially children – to the Earth.”

The Ranger Julie Schweikert Nature Center will house a permanent snapping turtle exhibit, and a shellfish touch tank, enabling visitors to gain hands-on exposure to crabs and shrimp. The center will offer seasonal campfire programs, kayaking adventures along the water trails of Janes Island, and children’s workshops focusing on the wonders of the waters and salt marshes surrounding the state park.

Schweikert held a degree in Natural Resources Management and began her career with Maryland State Parks in 1990 as a Park Ranger at Smallwood State Park. She led countless environmental programs for area elementary school children and youth organizations as a Park Naturalist at Janes Island State Park, where she was later promoted to park manager in 2007. Schweikert was instrumental in the development of the “Bay Discovery Camp,” a week-long summer camp for children, where she hosted and engaged families in fun, yet informative, outdoor programs. Schweikert’s family, including her husband Stephen and two daughters Hannah and Jessica, attended the nature center dedication, along with Maryland Park Service employees from across the state.

   March 12, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at