PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, an electrical fire started in the basement storage room of the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Nature Center. The Maryland State Fire Marshal is investigating the exact cause of the fire and will release further information after the investigation has concluded. 

Thanks to the swift response from volunteer fire departments, the fire was contained to the basement storage room. Based on initial assessments, all contents of the storage room were destroyed, including all nature program equipment, materials and supplies. Other areas of the basement and animal care room have been damaged by water and smoke. Upstairs offices, classrooms and exhibit room also sustained smoke damage. 

Because the fire began after hours, there were no staff or volunteers in the building at the time of the fire. However, with heavy hearts, we inform the public that a barn owl – affectionately called “Buddy” by staff and animal care volunteers – did not survive. The loss of Buddy is particularly distressing to our staff and volunteers, who are deeply dedicated to providing the best available care to our ambassador animals. 

The rest of our animals have been moved to safe, suitable locations and are being carefully monitored under veterinary guidance for their health and well-being. 

We thank you all for your overwhelming show of support and concern for our staff, ambassador animals, our nature center and the park. For those who may wish to help, Calvert Nature Society is accepting donations to help replace equipment, materials and supplies used for our public educational programs:

At this time, all Battle Creek Cypress Swamp trails and nature center are closed until further notice, as staff continues to assess impacts and determine the best plan for moving forward. We ask for your patience as we work to recover. Future updates will be provided as available through social media and our website. 

All photos courtesy of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department

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