Raising Horseshoe Crabs
Field Days

Each year students and teachers participate in a DNR-sponsored horseshoe crab field day at Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County.

Click Here for Photos from Last Year's Field Days

2013 Horseshoe Crab Field Days at Sandy Point State Park

Tuesday, May 14
Thursday, May 16
Tuesday, May 21
Thursday, May 30

Students will participate in several educational activities on the beach related to horseshoe crab biology or management. DNR sponsors these annual field days in May.

Sessions will typically include:


Students conduct an investigation of the physical adaptations of shorebirds to their natural environment.

Using a variety of materials representing avian adaptations, the students will transform some of their fellow students into shorebirds.

Horseshoe Crab Anatomy & Life History

DNR educators use live adult Horseshoe Crabs to review their anatomy and interesting life history with the students.

Simulated Horseshoe Crab Beach Survey

Each year hundreds of scientists and volunteers survey spawning horseshoe crabs. Students will perform a simulated survey on the beach estimating the current spawning population and how it changes over time.

Horseshoe Crab Fishery Management

DNR Biologists lead a discussion on the management of horseshoe crabs in the mid-Atlantic. Students will view techniques DNR uses to tag Horseshoe Crabs and learn about the influence people have on horseshoe crab habitat. At the end of the activity the students will release 1-2 tagged Horseshoe Crabs into the water.

Beach Ecology

Students look at the diversity of aquatic organisms at the near shore environment. Using a beach seine, DNR or park staff collect marine organisms, identify them and discuss their role in the ecology of the near-shore environment.

Where Have You Been?

An activity that will educate students about bird banding, the why of it and what kind of information can be gathered from reading bands on birds. Students will work in teams to complete a data sheet while sighting through binoculars the ‘cardboard’ shorebirds on the beach.

Eat and Go

Students will learn the global importance of the horseshoe crab spawning event to shorebird migration and reproduction. Students will role play Red Knots as they attempt to gain enough weight to continue their northward migration to the Arctic nesting territory.

Students will come away with a better understanding of horseshoe crabs and the important issues surrounding them.

They will also have a sense of accomplishment for helping to maintain a healthy horseshoe crab population in Maryland.


  • Stacy Epperson
    Education Specialist
    Aquatic Resource Education Dept
    Watershed Services
    Department of Natural Resources
    580 Taylor Ave., E-2
    Annapolis, MD 21401
    Phone: 410-260-8775