Programs, Events, & Volunteers

A group of volunteers and children
Photo: MD DNR

Get Into Your Sanctuary (July 31-August 2, 2020)

a man fishing from a small boat
Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

This event occurs each year, during the first weekend in August, at all national marine sanctuaries throughout the system. In 2020, the inaugural event at Mallows Bay Park will bring together community and partners for a day of activities on the water and along the shore. Bring your kayak or favorite walking shoes and join the fun for all ages! Some of the activities include:

  • Trash clean up. The river and its resources need your help to clear the plastics and other debris that clutter the shore and waterway.
  • Paddle among the Ghost Fleet. Bring your own kayak and grab our interpretative water trail guide.
  • Guided interpretative tours. Don’t have your own kayak? Paddle among the Ghost Fleet with a local outfitter to experience the history and incredible wildlife.
  • Water quality monitoring. Test the waters (literally!) – join the Potomac Riverkeeper to take samples and tour the Sea Dog floating laboratory.
  • And, lots of other family-friendly activities!

COVID-19 Update: Due to precautions associated with COVID-19, the event at Mallows Bay Park has been postponed. A virtual activity is currently being developed for these same dates. Please continue to check back here and on the official Get Into Your Sanctuary webpage for additional information.

Become a Citizen Scientist!

a volunteer holding a water ph test kit
Photo: Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Come join the Potomac Riverkeeper to achieve the goal of a swimmable Potomac River. Although swimming in the river is currently prohibited, all users who come in contact with the water should be aware of bacterial levels and the potential for health concerns. The Potomac Riverkeeper is part of an international network of scientists and volunteers who sample and report the status through Swim Guide.

A new partnership between the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network will develop a citizen science monitoring program at Mallows Bay focused on bacteria levels. This work will add to the body of weather and water data already available on the Mallows Bay water quality buoy that supports science and education as well as recreational and commercial uses. Potomac Riverkeeper will process the water quality samples aboard their floating laboratory Sea Dog. The monitoring results will be posted to Swim Guide and will help fill gaps in Potomac Riverkeeper’s existing network along the river and contribute to a larger data set for more than 7000 beaches and waterways.

COVID-19 Update: Due to precautions associated with COVID-19, Potomac Riverkeeper is not able to host in-person training sessions for new volunteers. However, they are working to develop an online training module. In the interim, they will be asking their network of trained volunteers to conduct sampling at Mallows Bay this season with the hopes of adding new volunteers later in the year. Please continue to check this page for updates.

Be a Volunteer

the view of a sunrise from a kayak
Photo: Stephen Badger/MD DNR

All national marine sanctuaries rely on the energy and passion of volunteers. There are so many ways to be involved. Please consider adding your name to those who make it happen at Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary by contacting Sammy Orlando, Chesapeake Bay Regional Coordinator, at

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Logo

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation enhances national marine sanctuaries in their goal to protect essential U.S. marine areas and to ensure a healthy ocean.