Open House returns to the Horn Point Laboratory with largest attendance ever

October 18, 2022
Understanding how we treat our water is essential to a healthier Bay

Nearly 700 visitors came out to experience the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory Open House on Saturday, October 15, the most in its history. Hands-on exhibits, the oyster hatchery, a sturgeon exhibit, and cutting-edge marine equipment were all part of the experience for visitors. 

“This is the best day of the year for the community to learn about the science of the Bay. Everyone at the lab is on deck to explain their research with activities and displays that make it easy to understand,” said Horn Point Laboratory Director Mike Roman.

Young scientists extracting water samples

Exhibits helped visitors explore how runoff is impacted by terrain and shorelines, how gravity impacts currents in our rivers and oceans, how climate change is impacting our waters with increased minerals and acids, how eDNA tells us what is swimming in our water, and how microbes found in the Bay’s mud are charged with electricity and work as environmental batteries.  The largest oyster hatchery on the eastern seaboard was in full operation and added a touch tank to observe and touch the critters found in local waters. Visitors could travel back to pre-historic time observing sturgeon who have lived, unchanged, in local waters for thousands of years.

Exploring what is in our local water by extracting eDNA deposited by swimming fish

Free t-shirts were available for all kids who completed a scavenger hunt of the Open House exhibits. The Ruritans' local chapter served up delicious burgers, hot dogs and french fries. Graduate students baked up delicious treats for all to enjoy at their bake sale. Horn Point’s tractor and wagon ran along the campus road taking visitors to the various exhibit sites, and visitors enjoyed looking out over the beautiful Choptank river from the campus. 

The Horn Point Laboratory, located on more than 800 acres on the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, has advanced society’s understanding of the world’s estuarine and ocean ecosystems. Horn Point scientists are widely respected for their interdisciplinary programs in oceanography, water quality, restoration of seagrasses, marshes and shellfish and for expertise in ecosystem modeling. With ongoing research programs spanning from the estuarine waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the open waters of the world's oceans, Horn Point is a national leader in applying environmental research and discovery to solve society’s most pressing environmental problems.


The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound evidence and advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.