Science in the Field – Measuring Your Soil Acidity

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Forester of The Mariners’ Museum and Park employed 1930-1935

One of the coolest things about working at The Mariners’ Museum and Park is seeing how science has been, well, a thing, since the very beginning.  The fact that we were doing soil pH measurement as early as the 1930’s is something that deserves a little more discussion.

A Little History

Early in the creation of the Park, our forester George Mason (shown below) and consultant Ralph Hayes, a professor at North Carolina State University, conducted a pH (acidity) soil survey of the grounds at the direction of the Museum’s Garden Committee. Mason and Hayes performed tests to ensure the success of 3,920 azaleas and rhododendrons on Lake promontories. Over time, the plantings disappeared through natural forest succession. However, that early soil testing was vital in the planting of the entire Park.   Read more

Discovering Nature’s Splendor with the Education Team at the Mariners’

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Andrea Rocchio (Science Educator) with young visitor looking at macroinvertebrates.

A biodiverse watershed

The Mariners’ Museum Park is 550 acres of lake and forested land brimming with wonder and diversity. Our very own Chesapeake Bay is considered to be ecologically diverse, and The Mariners’ Museum Park, located right off the James River, is a microcosm of that spectacular diversity. With our most current datasets from a combination of research from local universities, government entities, citizen science efforts, and our own internal data collection, we know the Park has approximately 96 species of trees, 187 bird species, 88 herbaceous and woody plant species, and a plethora of insects, amphibians, reptiles, fungi, and so much more. With more of a focus on the Park in recent years across many Museum departments, there has been a concerted effort to increase programming and informational sessions that pertain to the Park’s living collection and the Park’s history. If you want to learn more about the Park history, watch out for blog posts from Erica Deale, the Park Stewardship Coordinator.      Read more