If you don’t associate native plants and wildlife with Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, maybe it’s time for a closer look. In the past week along the busy waterfront I have spotted turtles swimming at the surface, cormorants, and a water snake that slithered across the promenade and dropped down into the water.
The Waterfront Partnership has just launched a new , self-guided walk series called “Waterfront Walks” allowing visitors to enjoy what’s all around the harbor, beyond the tourist attractions.
The first self-guided walk, Native Plant Gardens, takes visitors on a 1.25-mile walking trail of native plants in planned gardens around the Inner Harbor promenade. There are 13 stops stretching from the Maryland Science Center to the Harbor East neighborhood.
An interactive online map serves as a guide to help visitors learn about and identify more than 23 native plants and common pollinators like butterflies, birds and bees that live along the harbor. Waterfront Partnership is asking those who take the tour to post photos to social media using #YourWaterfrontNature to show off the species you spot.
“The Waterfront Walks series encourages outdoor recreation and education along one of Baltimore’s most treasured assets,” said Laurie Schwartz, president of Waterfront Partnership.
According to the National Audubon Society, native plants are crucial to a healthy environment and serve many benefits–not just looking pretty, but also contributing to cleaner air and water and serving as habitat for birds and other wildlife.
For the guided walk, visit waterfrontpartnership.org/waterfront-fun/waterfront-walks-native-plant-gardens/. Directional signs for each stop will be installed later this summer.
Waterfront Partnership plans to release other self-guided walks with themes like art sculptures and top waterfront photo spots.
-Meg Walburn Viviano