Baltimore’s National Aquarium educates
thousands of students every year and serves
Baltimore as an economic engine for tourism.
MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER
Hands-on activities, a planetarium, and an IMAX
theater at the Maryland Science Center provide
entertaining education for visitors of all ages.
HELEN BARNETT APPEL
CBF’s Maryland Water Quality Scientist Jenn
Aiosa and author Loren Barnett enjoy steamed
crabs with Bo Brooks owner Chris Hannan.
Baltimore City’s public transportation system
includes train, rail, bus, water taxi, subway, and
a new free shuttle service.
CBF’s education program expanded into
Baltimore Harbor in 1979, exposing students
and teachers to an environment “under stress.”
Baltimore’s Battle for Clean Water
Baltimore fights another battle today—a
battle for clean water. Leading the army
with a goal of a fishable and swimmable
harbor by the year 2020 is the Waterfront
Partnership of Baltimore.
The partnership, which includes Blue
Water Baltimore, the National Aquarium,
the Maryland Science Center, and Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has gained substantial support from the businesses surrounding the harbor since forming in
2005. Founding member and Chair
Michael Hankin is also President and CEO
of Brown Advisory, an investment firm that
set up waterfront offices in Fells Point in
2002. Hankin remembers the trash, the
lack of green, and the ugly water. He now
expects a triathlon in Baltimore’s future and
promises to be the first entry.
The Waterfront Partnership’s plan to reach its
goal will be finalized this fall. Components of
the plan will include increasing the city’s
ability to correct sewer leaks, establishing
standards for stormwater outfalls, stabilizing
eroding stream channels, piloting innovative
pollution control practices like floating wetlands, and tracking progress with regular
water-quality monitoring. In the meantime,
“Green Teams” that concentrate on removing
trash, planting green spaces, keeping visitors
safe, and informing the public are already
making a difference.
Baltimore’s battle is part of a war for clean
water that requires reducing pollution across
the Bay watershed (page 10). On this front,
Baltimore is fortunate to have clean water
champions at the federal level: Ben Cardin
and Barbara Mikulski in the Senate; and
Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, and
John Sarbanes in Congress.
Locally, the partnership’s 2020 goal is impressive, especially given that Baltimore Harbor
has been polluted for a very long time.
A History of Reinvention
Baltimore Harbor became a point of entry
for Maryland’s tobacco industry in 1706,
23 years before the town was officially
founded. Population growth and a desire
for self governance led to the city’s incorporation in 1796.
At that time, the Port of Baltimore was a
center for commerce and local tradesmen
led the nation’s shipbuilding industry.
The Baltimore-built USS Constellation—
the first Navy ship ever launched—rests
at the Inner Harbor in tribute.
In the 1800s, Baltimore became a hub for
oyster canning, peaking with more than
100 packing houses by 1870.
In 1893, an even more powerful economic
engine arrived when Pennsylvania Steel built
a mill at nearby Sparrows Point. Acquired by
Bethlehem Steel in 1916, the mill attracted
workers from rural Maryland, Pennsylvania,
and the South looking for decent pay and
housing in the company town.
Industrial Baltimore’s steel mills, shipyards,
and factories reached extraordinary output
during World War II. Fueled by jobs and
immigration, the population peaked at just
under one million in 1950.
After World War II, with better transportation and suburbanization, many Baltimore
residents spread into the surrounding counties causing economic decline in the city.
By the 1970s, the Inner Harbor area had
become a neglected tangle of empty warehouses. But, in 1976, a bicentennial celebration featuring visiting tall ships helped
kick off a renewed Inner Harbor. The first
major attraction to come was the
Convention Center in 1979. In 1980,
Harborplace opened restaurants and retail
shops. Maryland’s largest tourist destination—the National Aquarium—followed,
opening in 1981. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
quickly became a center of tourism and
model for waterfront revitalization.
CBF started laying a green foundation in
Baltimore in 1979, expanding its environmental education program into the harbor with a 44-foot work boat (Osprey) as a
classroom. To this day, CBF educators
take school, community, and other groups
into the Port of Baltimore and Patapsco
River to study an environment “under
stress.” The message focuses on pollution
and pollution controls in an intensively
Thanks to teachers like Myrtha Allen, who
spent decades teaching science to inner city
kids, that message made its way back to
Baltimore’s classrooms. Ms. Allen became
interested in environmentalism at the begin-