Did you know that Maryland is home of over 40 natural native nature centers?  One nature center in particular is linked to baseball.

Cathy Allen

Cathy Allen

Eddie Murray, a Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer, left an endowment to the City of Baltimore to open the first of its’ kind urban nature center, after he was traded in 1988 to the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Carrie Murray Nature Center, named after Eddie’s mother, is the oldest urban nature center in the America.  Nestled in a heavy forested setting covering over 1,200 acres of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park in Baltimore Maryland.

Although surrounded by an urban environment, some areas of the park and nature center are so heavily wooded that it gives the impression of the wilderness.  So much so, that the popular horror film, The Blair Witch Project” was filmed there.

The center’s spectacular setting offers youth and adults the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in a fun and educational environment.

The Carrie Murray Nature Center, located at 1907 Ridgetop Road in Baltimore City, features native meadows, springs and marches and is host to wild animal habitats of hawks, owls, deer, red fox, raccoons, beavers, possums, turtles and numerous songs birds.

The center is a wildlife rehabilitation clinic for disables birds of prey and exotic reptiles as well as the home to the largest insect zoo in the region.

Lead by Corinne Parks, director since 1988, and her team of naturalist and wildlife experts the center is Baltimore’s nucleus for environmental and wildlife education outreach.

“I am happy to say that I have raised many children here at the Carrie Murray Nature Center over my 39 years of being the director. I am so proud to see children from all walks of life, ages and colors who have benefited from their experiences here at the center. Even though they live in the urban city through our environmental education they can find nature in their backyards,” said Parks.

In addition, visitors can get up close and personal with live permanently injured birds of prey such as: Retailed Hawks, Black Turkey Vulture, Barred Owls, and Ravens. Plus, visitors can learn about the environment through specialized native and natural curriculums on recycling, watershed/stream, soil, plant and tree studies.

Environmental education classes are offered all year around on-site at the center and off-site for schools, social and faith-based organizations, private corporations and individuals. Visit carriemurraynaturecenter.org for more information.

Cathy Allen is an award-winning Urban Environmentalist, the co-creator of G.R.A.S.S. (Growing Resources After Sowing Seed) as well as Chair of the “Grow-It Eat It” campaign. G.R.A.S.S. is an environmental entrepreneurial nonprofit program based on the fundamentals of gardening, agriculture and ecology. In conjunction with Baltimore City Public Schools, Allen’s campaign has planted over a half-million trees on the lawns of Baltimore City public schools.


Cathy Allen

AFRO Science Writer