Programs, Events, & Volunteers

A group of volunteers and children
Photo: MD DNR

Celebrate Juneteenth at Mallows Bay

park ranger presenting to a group of kids next to the mallows bay

Join Mallows Bay Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary and Blue Star Families DEPLOY Fellows as we gather June 19, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm to honor and commemorate Juneteenth with a morning outdoors focused on family, connection, and community. Created and led by three women of color, all of whom are members of the inaugural cohort of DEPLOY Fellows, the event is hosted at no cost to participants as we seek only to honor and commemorate this important day in our nation's history.

With everything from yard games to nature activities, we will have activities for all ages to enjoy the day. Come play cornhole or try your skills at giant Jenga. Be sure to hike along Mallows Bay Park's nature trails where you can use the Seek app to support citizen science and discover the many local plants and animals. And if you are looking for something a bit quieter, take advantage of the guided mindfulness session or just sit back and connect with other families from across the area.

Learn more about the event and register at:

Celebrate PRIDE Day at Mallows Bay!

a group of kayakers pattling on mallows bay

Take pride in yourself and take pride in your national marine sanctuary by joining Mallows Bay–Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary as we celebrate Ocean Month and LGBT Pride Month in conjunction with the #PrideintheOcean campaign! The event is being hosted at no cost to participants, as we seek to only honor and commemorate the month.

You are invited to join us on June 25 from 10 am to 3 pm for a day on the bay to appreciate the historical treasures and ecological wonders of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. This event is geared towards creating a safe space for folks in the LGBTQ+ community and allies to recreate and enjoy the sanctuary. There will be a guided kayak tour, guided birding activity, an ecological scavenger hunt, and more! Limited kayaks will be provided by Atlantic Kayak and the tour will begin at 1:00 pm. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own kayak or paddleboard outside of the tour as well!

Other things to bring:

  • Binoculars, camera, and phone
  • Seek (Download the app on your phone)
  • Sun protection
  • Rain gear if needed
  • Insect repellent
  • Lunch
  • Blanket or chairs
  • Kayak or canoe
  • Open mind and willingness to explore!

Contact for any questions. View a flier with more information on the Pride Paddle.

Pride in the Ocean Career Panel

drawn figures of people with many speech bubbles above their heads

During the month of June, the National Marine Sanctuary System will be celebrating Ocean Month and LGBT Pride Month through our #PrideintheOcean campaign! campaign. Our goal is to raise the visibility of LGBTQ+ ocean scientists, athletes, appreciators, and more. Our ocean is for everyone, no matter who you love, and we want to know how you take pride in this blue planet.

In conjunction with the Pride In the Ocean Campaign, we are excited to announce the Pride Career Panel on June 23rd, 7 pm to 8 pm Eastern. This event is hosted by Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Mallows Bay - Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary to celebrate the careers of four marine scientists.

Contact for more 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.