Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom
This project provides equipment, Teachers' Guide and horseshoe crab eggs to schools for students to learn the ecological, medical and historical importance of the vanishing species.
The goals of the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom Project are to:
- Teach students about the life history, anatomy and management of horseshoe crabs.
- Provide students with experience using scientific skills and processes to raise horseshoe crabs.
- Give students a meaningful outdoor experience on the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays of Maryland.
- Enable students to understand the ecological connection between horseshoe crabs and shorebirds.
- Provide teachers with an opportunity to use horseshoe crabs as a tool to explore different natural resource management issues.
In 1998, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) started the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom Project. DNR's Environmental Stewardship Division and Fisheries Service developed and implemented the project to educate students about horseshoe crabs and the management of this important species. An Aquatic Resource Education Grant provided funding to purchase classroom equipment for the project.
During the first year, 24 schools signed up to participate in the project. The project culminated in a DNR-sponsored Horseshoe Crab Field Day at Flag Pond Nature Park in Calvert County. Students participated in outdoor activities to learn more about the issues surrounding horseshoe crabs.
Beginning in 2002, DNR reorganized the project based on lessons learned from
teacher feedback. Each year, a teacher workshop is held for registered schools
to give them the most up-to-date information on how to successfully raise
horseshoe crabs in the classroom and provide their students with an exciting
- Stacy Epperson
Aquatic Resource Education Dept
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401