Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center

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Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center

Photo Credit: Thomas Henderson

The Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center is situated on 20 acres of marsh in southern Dorchester County, Maryland. Participants explore pine forests, underwater grass beds, and native oyster reefs that surround the center. The nearby Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest tidal wetlands on the East Coast, also provides opportunities from which to investigate this ecosystem. Once one of the great Chesapeake hunting lodges, the Karen Noonan Center was completely renovated in 1995 to create an environmentally sound, state-of-the-art residential center. Participants in our program can see how a "green building," with its alternative energy sources and composting waste facilities, can function not only as a learning tool, but also as a home.

The purpose of life is to serve others, the joy of life is to love others.

– Karen Elizabeth Noonan

On December 21, 1988, five days before her 21st birthday, Karen was tragically killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. At the time, Karen, an early childhood education major at Boston College, was returning home from a semester of studying abroad in Vienna, Austria.

As a child in elementary school, Karen determined that she wanted to be a teacher and dedicate her life to helping the "little people." She loved all children and she loved them far beyond their station in life. Her life was one of support and caring for those less fortunate than herself. Upon her graduation from high school, she received the outstanding student award for her "distinguished volunteer service over a period of four years to the needy of her Maryland community."

Dedicated on April 20, 1996 to Karen and for the "little people," the Center provides visitors a place to explore the wonders of the natural world and the beauty of their own lives.

Learn more about CBF's Karen Noonan Environmental Education Program.

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