Say Farewell to Jug Bay’s Director Chris Swarth at Saturday Send Off

The directors of our great local community historic and natural sites seem to have selected 2012 to be the year to move on. We announced earlier this month that Donna Ware is leaving her post at London Town and Gardens at the end of the year.

This week we got word that the director of Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Park Superintendent Chris Swarth, is leaving at the end of this year after 23 years of service.

Chris Swarth

To celebrate Swarth’s two decades of service, there will be a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 15). The event will be held at the Sanctuary’s McCann Wetlands Center, 1361 Wrighton Road in Lothian. Come down and say farewell.

Presentations from state and county government officials will start at 5 p.m., along with expressions of appreciation for his service. There will be a gift presentation at 6 p.m. and then revelry and live music. Please RSVP to 410-741-9330.

Swarth is an estuarine ecologist and ornithologist. At Jug Bay, he oversaw a corps of 350 research and education volunteers and two to three university research interns every summer.

Swarth will be returning to his home state of California to help direct the newly-established Vernal Pool Reserve at the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at University of California-Merced. Swarth earned a BS in zoology in 1978 from Humboldt State University and a Masters of Science in biology in 1983 from California State University-Hayward.

Aside from running Jug Bay, Swarth has been busy with a variety of research, university, ecology, estuary- and ornithology-related organizations, including:

  • President, Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (2003; 2005)
  • Estuarine Research Federation (2003-2005) board member
  • Maryland’s Sea Grant Research Advisory committee member
  • Site manager for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Former vice-president of the Golden Gate Audubon Society (San Francisco)
  • Former Education Chair of the Audubon Naturalist Society (Washington, DC)
  • Life member of the American Ornithologist’s Union
  • Research associate with Hudsonia (NY) and with the San Diego Natural History Museums
  • Co-editor on fresh water tidal wetlands publication for the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
  • Patuxent River Commission member
  • Maryland DNR Wildlife Diversity Advisory committee member
  • Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas coordinating committee member

Swarth working with volunteers.

Swarth’s research interests include waterbird distribution and population abundance on estuaries; patterns of songbird reproduction on Maryland’s Coastal Plain; turtle population structure, home range, diet and habitat use; and nutrient dynamics in freshwater tidal wetlands.

Swarth is a member of the field team for the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s biological/geological research in the Australian Outback (1994; 1997; 2007; 2010). He has been biology professor at Diablo Valley College (Calif.) and at Anne Arundel Community College, and he was a biology instructor at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a part-time faculty member in the Johns Hopkins University, Kreiger School of Advanced Academic Programs.

Swarth and friends cut the ribbon on the Plummer House at Jug Bay.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian was established in 1985. Swarth has been at the helm since 1989.

The sanctuary is the largest park operated by the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks. It includes 1,600 acres of tidal freshwater wetlands, forests, meadows, and fields.

The sanctuary is an estuarine site on the Patuxent River within the Chesapeake National Estuarine Research Reserve System, Maryland. It is a research and education program administered join by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources and Anne Arundel County.

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About Mitchelle Stephenson

I've gotta tell Mitchelle! Send your South County news tips, brag on your fab volunteers, talk traffic, police and fire or just say "howdy" to Mitchelle Stephenson, co-founding editor of the South River Source. Mitchelle@SouthRiverSource.com or reach me in person on mobile: 410-353-4706.

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  1. Wetlands Boardwalk Dedication at Jug Bay Celebrates Outgoing Director | South River Source - December 17, 2012

    [...] staff engineered a nice going away present for out-going Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Director Chris Swarth. They named a newly opened wetlands boardwalk after him. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the [...]

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