COVID-19 Update (August 1, 2021)
TNC’s public preserves in Maryland remain open. We ask all visitors to observe our preserve access guidelines and follow current health and safety precautions, including guidance from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Thank you for helping us in our efforts to protect our visitors’ health and well-being.
Nassawango Creek is one of the last pieces of true wilderness left on the East Coast. Dominated by bald cypress and black gum, the massive trees of this primeval forest envelop visitors with ample shade and security.
Starting with a gift of 154 acres given by E. Stanton Adkins in 1978, the effort to establish the preserve was spearheaded and led by a group of Worcester County residents who recognized the beauty and diversity of Nassawango Creek and its intrinsic value to the region.
For more than 40 years, TNC has worked to protect 14,787 acres of swamp and upland forest along Nassawango Creek. Today the preserve includes 9,953 acres of this land, and is one of the northernmost remaining examples of a bald cypress swamp.
Current Conservation At Work
Since 2009, more than 36,000 Atlantic white cedar trees have been planted at Nassawango Creek Preserve in partnership with the National Aquarium and with the help of the Maryland Conservation Corps. Many of the seedlings were grown in the classrooms of Wicomico and Worcester County middle schools, and the students come out to the preserve every spring to plant their trees.
We’re also using fire and selective thinning to restore habitat that would have historically been found here—a savanna-like habitat of undulating grasslands punctuated with mixed pines and oaks and other drought-tolerant hardwoods. Habitat that will help support millions of songbirds that flock to the Eastern Shore to rest and replenish themselves.
Fire is an important tool in our restoration kit. A frequent cycle of controlled burns mimics the natural occurrence of fire on the landscape, stimulating grass and wildflower seeds that can lay dormant in the soil for decades.
In addition to profound ecological benefits, restoration forestry at Nassawango provides work for local loggers and mills, supporting an industry that has existed on the Eastern Shore for generations.
TNC has a long-standing relationship with the Eure family whose logging business has been in operation for three generations. Selective thinning requires adopting practices such as power washing equipment to prevent spreading invasive weeds. The cutting itself requires close attention to different management zones, selecting or leaving individually marked trees. Pine trees that are removed from the preserve are trimmed, sorted and loaded onto trucks for delivery to a nearby mill.
“It’s the satisfaction of doing what’s right in the long run,” says owner Frankie Eure, adding that his seat high up on the loader allows him to appreciate the future forest he sees beginning to take shape.
A legacy of support
The Nassawango Creek Stewardship Committee was formed in 1979, and has been going strong ever since! The committee ranks among the longest-serving groups of preserve volunteers in the history of The Nature Conservancy.
Contact Joe Fehrer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can become a part of this dynamic committee and help ensure the ongoing care of this beloved preserve.