Rising Sea Levels Claim a Chesapeake Bay Landmark
At a Glance > The island is eroding away. > Tens of thousands of students and teachers have taken part in education programs at the center. > Students say it's "an unforgettable place."
Tens of thousands of teachers and schoolchildren have visited the Fox Island Education Center over the past 40 years, learning important lessons about Chesapeake Bay's waters, vegetation, wildlife and ecology.
Those lessons will be no more. The education center is closing at the end of its current season.
Rising sea levels have claimed so much of the surrounding marshes and wetlands that it has become too hazardous for visitors, a problem that is exacerbated when severe weather hits the area, Chesapeake Bay Foundation spokesperson A.J. Metcalf told weather.com on Monday.
“It’s been losing a significant amount of land over time,” Metcalf said.
The center’s closure highlights "the real and immediate threat climate change poses to the Chesapeake, especially to the island and coastal communities on the frontlines," the foundation said in a statement.
The island's marshes and shallow grass beds that are now inundated by water protected it from erosion. Now that they are gone, the island is washing away.
"Fox Island has survived numerous major hurricanes and frozen winters ... But it cannot survive sea level rise and climate change," Bill Portlock, senior educator at the center, said in a blog post on the foundation's website.