The Lady Maryland is an authentic replica of a pungy schooner, a Chesapeake Bay workboat that sailed the Bay in the 1700s and 1800s. Pungies were fast sailing vessels and were primarily used to transport perishable cargo such as watermelons, tomatoes, fish, oysters, and other items that needed speedy delivery to prevent spoilage. Pungy schooners were traditionally painted pink and green and their flat, wide decks made them very efficient cargo vessels. Pungies sailed the Chesapeake for over 150 years and were considered to be the best and most beautiful of all craft native to the Chesapeake. Today Lady Maryland is the only pungy in the world.
The Lady Maryland sails daily with area school children who learn about the history, ecology and economics of the Chesapeake Bay in a hands on educational program that provides leadership development and team building skills. Lady Maryland was built by Living Classrooms Foundation shipwrights and students at Baltimore's Inner Harbor in 1985.
The Mildred Belle is a Chesapeake Bay buyboat, a motor vessel whose function was to purchase oysters, crabs, and fish directly from the fishing fleet and transport the catch to the market. Built in 1948, Mildred Belle also dredged for crabs, trawl fished, and was used for sport fishing. Today, the Mildred Belle serves as one of the Living Classroom Foundation's research vessels, where students can use state-of-the-art scientific equipment as part of their learning.
The Sigsbee is an authentic Chesapeake Bay skipjack, a sailing vessel designed and built to dredge for oysters. In the late 1800s thousands of skipjacks fished in the Bay. Today, less than thirty skipjacks comprise the last commercial sailing fleet in the nation. Originally built in 1901, Sigsbee served in the oystering fleet for 88 years before becoming disabled. Students and shipwrights in the Living Classrooms Foundation's Save Our Skipjacks program spent ten months reconstructing the vessel. Today Sigsbee sails as part of the Foundations educational fleet and is instrumental in Living Classroom's oyster restoration project.
The Living Classrooms Foundation is a non-profit organization providing hands-on education and job training that motivates and empowers youth to learn by doing so that they may succeed academically, in the work place, and in their lives. The Foundation's challenging outdoor education involves over 25,000 students each year. Living Classrooms Foundation vessels visit more than 25 ports in the region from Philadelphia to Norfolk and thousands of youth also experience innovative programs at the Living Classrooms Maritime Institute in Fells Point.
The Living Classrooms Foundation owes its success to its many benefactors, the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland.