​Cindy Etgen
Aquatic Resources Education Section Chief - Chesapeake and Coastal Service
MD Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401

Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom Program

The Raising Horseshoe Crab program will continue in a maintenance-only program for the foreseeable future. Teachers currently participating may continue to receive horseshoe crab eggs each June.

Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom

Student working on the classroom projectThe 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.

Project History

In 1998, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) started the Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom Project. The department'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 Department of Natural Resources-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, the department 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 educational experience.

To learn more, visit the links on the left.

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