News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Hosts Horseshoe Crab Field Days for 13 Schools

Annapolis, Md. (May 17, 2011) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom field days at Sandy Point State Park’s east beach to give students hands-on activities that teach about a current aquatic natural resource management issue.

The field days mark the culmination of months of study for students involved in the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom program, a partnership program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which teaches Maryland students about horseshoe crabs and the management of this important species.

“This is a great opportunity for the students to celebrate what they have learned, release horseshoe crabs they have raised, and participate in a host of hands-on activities,” said Stacy Epperson, DNR Education Specialist.

At each event, students who were involved in the raising of the crabs will visit several stations where they will learn about the horseshoe crab’s life history, the ecological relationship between the crabs and migratory shorebirds, and horseshoe crab and shorebird adaptations for survival.

Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom is a DNR program that affords teachers and students alike the opportunity to better understand the scientific process through the collection of valuable scientific information.  Teachers are provided with the equipment, an activity guide, and horseshoe crab eggs to support the learning of ecological, medical and historical importance of the species. Schools participating in the program include elementary, middle and high schools in the public, private, and home school domains throughout the state of Maryland.

Teachers are required to attend a 6-hour training workshop.  At the workshop, they learn about the life history, management, and development of both eggs and juvenile horseshoe crabs.  In addition, they will receive horseshoe crab eggs collected by DNR biologists, learn to set up and maintain their aquarium, monitor the environmental and chemical conditions, and review lesson plans.  The program accepts 30 new teachers each year.

The Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom Field Days are as follows:

Tuesday, May 17
Severn School, Anne Arundel County, 45 students
Pointers Run Elementary School, Howard County, 15 students
Vansville Elem., Prince George County, 45 students

Thursday, May 19
Seat Pleasant Elementary School, Prince George County, 30 students
St Marks School, Baltimore County, 40 students
John Poole Middle School, Montgomery County, 30 students

Tuesday, May 24
Murray Hill Middle School, Howard County, 40 students
Harbor School of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, 30 students
The Summit School, Anne Arundel County, 13 students
Calverton School, Calvert County, 19 students

Thursday, May 26
Broadneck Elementary, Anne Arundel County, 48 students
The Learning Community Home School Group, Anne Arundel County, 4 students
Indian Creek School, Anne Arundel County, 20 students

For more information on the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom program, contact Stacy Epperson at 410-260-8775 or by email at

   May 17, 2011

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million 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 11 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