What a difference a year makes! In spring 2017, the Ellen O. Moyer Nature Park at Back Creek was in a state of disrepair. The Annapolis Maritime Museum had recently leased the land from the City of Annapolis and was in the process of transforming it into new teaching space.
“The park was overgrown and neglected when we acquired it,” said Alice Estrada, executive director at the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park (AMMP). “Our volunteers and operations staff have worked tirelessly over the last year and a half to transform the space into a safe and beautiful waterfront park for the Annapolis community.”
The immediate focus of these efforts has been the historic waterworks building located at the 12-acre park off Edgewood Road. A space once used for storage is now a clean and comfortable education center, complete with two classrooms and updated facilities for the over 8,000 students the Museum sees each year.
“This first phase of park revitalization was a must for the Museum,” said Estrada. “We had reached capacity at the McNasby campus and have big plans to increase our educational offerings.”
Once the main floor renovation of the building was complete, the refurbishment of the building’s green roof and patio area took center stage. A grant from Unity Gardens provided the plants necessary to redesign the green roof. The update has increased the curb appeal of the building and aligns with the museum’s green efforts.
Unity Gardens is a non-profit organization based in Anne Arundel County that supports the building of community partnerships through the creation of greening projects, environmental enhancement and education. The green roof provides an extra layer of vegetation in an otherwise urban environment, reducing both storm water runoff and the urban heat island effect.
The replanting was coordinated and executed by a volunteer team from Thompson Creek, who also donated and replaced the windows in the waterworks building.
“Thompson Creek has been a stalwart supporter of the museum’s expansion,” Estrada said. “Thanks to their assistance, we have been able to welcome an additional 1,500 students at the park’s facilities over the past year.”
Public access to the park campus is also a priority for the museum. Many residents along Edgewood Road in Annapolis have used the space for hiking and dog walking; however, the gathering areas near the Waterworks building were overgrown and uneven. The existing plaza around the historic building has been recently redone, creating an attractive and environmentally-friendly space for future community and educational events.
This patio project was funded in part by a grant from the Henry A. Jordan, M.D., Preservation Excellence Fund for the Mid-Atlantic States of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded non-profit organization that works to save America’s historic places.
“Organizations like the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park help to ensure that communities across America retain their unique sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We were honored to provide a grant to AMMP, which has used the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage.”
Students and local residents passing through the park can also take advantage of a smaller addition: a Little Free Library. The library is an expansion of the Read for Jane program, a literacy initiative established by the Sisco Family Fund. It works to engage underserved children through readings and activities related to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Little Free Library at Back Creek Nature Park features books related to the museum’s mission of educating the community on the Annapolis region’s close relationship with the Bay. All are welcome to take a book, leave a book.
Future plans for the park include additional classrooms and a new pavilion. These and other community-building initiatives are currently in the planning stages. Stay up-to-date on the park’s progress at www.amaritime.org.