News from Phillips Wharf Environmental Center

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center (PWEC), seeks volunteer docents, exhibit experts and aquarists. Located in the last crab shanty on Tilghman, we seek those with knowledge of or an interest in the flora and fauna of the Chesapeake Bay.

Watermen, their families and Bay historians are encouraged to participate.

PWEC is a 501(3)c located at 21604 Chicken Point Road that is volunteer run and member supported. Volunteers assist both in daily operation of the center and that of our Fishmobile, a mobile educational aquarium for children and adults. The center is an educational and research facility that seeks to foster stewardship of the Bay through various programs.

“This is the time of year when people have tired of winter and they want to get outdoors. We offer volunteer opportunities that are good both for their health and that of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Kathy Stevens, PWEC Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. “These opportunities enable people of all ages to get outdoors, bond with creatures in their own back yards and teach others about the Bay.”

We seek volunteers for the following:

Docents: Conduct tours of PWEC while teaching visitors about plants and animals native to the Bay. Center hours are Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A four-hour weekly commitment is requested and training is provided. Docents work at the last crab shanty on Knapps Narrows where sailors, watermen and anglers are happy to share a smile and casual history lessons. Come spend a beautiful day on the water.

Exhibit Experts: Board PWEC’s Fishmobile during its travels statewide to help children and adults bond and learn about critters native to the Chesapeake Bay. The Fishmobile is a rolling educational aquarium that travels to schools, festivals and other events. Exhibit Experts receive training about marine life in the Bay. Individuals must be comfortable talking with adults and children as well as touching horseshoe crabs and turtles. A one-month commitment (about four five-hour days) from April to October is requested.

Critter Caretakers: This position is for folks who enjoy marine life and wish to assist in caring for our volunteer critters that travel in the Fishmobile. The critters live at Phillips Wharf Environmental Center from April until their release in October. During that time, volunteers prepare critter diets, feed the critters and assist with tank maintenance. Volunteers work indoors and out while bonding with critters including seahorses, turtles and crabs that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

Fishmobile drivers: Only a rare few have the opportunity to drive this rolling educational aquarium that was painted by Tilghman Elementary School students. It is a magic bus that needs a few special drivers to move the bus from its home in Tilghman to various events statewide. A valid driver’s license is required. We provide the training, free passes to area events and you commit to a one-month stint (about four trips) during our open season April through October. You’ll work with enthusiastic colleagues whose love of the Bay drives them to educate people of all ages about life in and on the Chesapeake.

Fishmobile set-up/take-down: A few nimble folks with strong backs are needed to assist in set-up and take-down of PWEC’s Fishmobile. These special volunteers will feel comfortable netting fish, filling buckets and tanks. Nor will they mind lifting five-gallon buckets filled with water and critters. This is the gritty and necessary part of our Fishmobile, which in its first year hosted more than 7,500 visitors. Set-up occurs at the Fishmobile’s home on Tilghman; take-down occurs at various festivals and events. We seek a one-month commitment (about four events) during our open season April to October. We provide training, enthusiasm and an opportunity to help us educate visitors, residents and children about the Chesapeake Bay.

Additional volunteer opportunities exist. Those interested in conducting environmental research, youth education and other environmentally friendly projects are encouraged to get in touch. Here, you’ll work marine scientists whose knowledge runs the gamut from birds to oysters to sustainable seafood. Whether through membership or volunteerism, we’d like you to consider joining us in education efforts that foster stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay. If you’d like to assist, please contact Kathy Stevens at or 410-886-9200; learn more at or stop by the center during hours of operation at 21604 Chicken Point Road, Tilghman, Md. 21671.