Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Hold “Insect Hotel” Workshop

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Class participants with their finished insect hotel

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners held an Insect Hotel Workshop on Monday, June 12th at the Centreville Library. Attracting Native Pollinators and good bugs are the major focus for many gardeners. Some of our smallest bees only fly a few hundred feet by providing nesting and foraging sites in the same habitat allow them to conserve energy and allow for more efficient use of resources by insects of any size. Providing overwintering sites for these pollinators and good bugs significantly increase nesting opportunities. Here are some steps to insure pollinator populations benefit the most from your home landscape:

  • Provide nesting and egg laying sites for a variety of pollinator species
  • Clean and replace artificial nests regularly
  • Don’t move native bees or previously used nest materials outside of their native ranges
  • Leave some bare, unmulched ground.
  • Hang nesting blocks in a protected location with light shade
  • Make sure that nesting blocks or “insect hotels” are mounted firmly and do not shake or move in the wind

4-H’er Kelsey Higgs, of Centreville shows off her insect hotel

For further information on pollinators and other environmentally sound practices, please visit extension.umd.edu or see us on Facebook.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Adkins Arboretum’s Summer Nature Camps Begin June 19

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Summer belongs to children! For more than a decade, families and children have grown with Adkins Arboretum’s Summer Nature Camps. The camps provide extraordinary ways for children to enjoy summer the old-fashioned way—outdoors. 

Campers ages 2 to 13 will make lifelong memories while exploring the Arboretum’s woodland, meadows, streams and wetland. From grazing on blackberries to splashing in the Blockston Branch, the Arboretum’s Summer Nature Camps provide children with a truly enchanted experience.

Calling our littlest nature lovers! Camp Bumblebee, for preschoolers ages 2 and 3, runs June 19–23. The Arboretum’s littlest campers will search for wiggly caterpillars in the Funshine Garden, blow bubbles under the trees and visit the Arboretum goat herd. From splashing in the stream to hunting for tadpoles in the wetland, Camp Bumblebee is summer at its best. Adults attend this camp with their children and enjoy the experience of discovering nature together.

Children learn through play, and nature is the best playground. Camp Pollywog (June 26–30) campers ages 4 to 6 will float leaf and twig boats down the Blockston Branch, create leafy magic carpets on the forest floor and mix up gooey wetland “sundaes” while listening to a chorus of frogs and red-winged blackbirds. Songs, crafts, stories, games and a healthy snack will round out each morning.

It’s “All About the Birds” in Camp Whippoorwill, a special birding camp for ages 8 to 12 (June 26–30). Campers will look for birds on the grounds with naturalist and educator Jim Wilson and will learn to identify birdsong, dissect owl pellets and meet a real-life falconer. They’ll also learn about nesting, migration, owls and vultures, hike to the Tuckahoe State park aviary, and much more.

In Camp Paw Paw (July 10–14), campers ages 7 to 9 will experience the magic of an outdoor summer. They’ll pick blackberries in the meadow, climb trees, toast marshmallows over a campfire and build forts in the woods. When temperatures rise, campers will cool off with sprinkler time in the Funshine Garden and whip up a batch of icy mint tea. Campers will top off the week with a special hike to the Tuckahoe Tire Park, stopping on the way to wade and search for stream critters.

In Camp Egret (July 17–21), campers ages 10 to 13 will hone their wilderness survival skills. Egret campers will navigate with compasses, build shelters, track wildlife and purify water. They’ll also brush up on first-aid, cook over a campfire, and forage, all while building valuable teamwork and leadership skills.

Registration fees vary, and advance registration is required. A special camp T-shirt is included. Register at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Maryland-based Company Moves Forward on Nation’s First Large-scale Offshore Wind Project.

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Baltimore, Md – Today, Maryland-based US Wind, Inc. took another step forward in its plan to bring the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind project to Maryland. US Wind formally accepted all conditions the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) included in its May 11 approval of US Wind’s Maryland offshore wind project. Officials from US Wind say they are moving forward on their plans to make Maryland the East Coast hub of a vibrant new industry.

In a letter to the PSC, US Wind indicated its “acceptance of all conditions of approval set forth in Appendix A of the Order.” US Wind also provided its 20-year price schedule for the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs).

“This is one more step forward on the path to bring renewable energy, jobs and infrastructure improvements to Maryland,” said Paul Rich, director of project development. “We continue our outreach to partners in business, labor and state and local governments to ensure this project provides the maximum benefit for all Marylanders.”

The PSC’s decision awarded 913,845 offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to US Wind on May 11, 2017. This corresponded with the company’s request to support a 248 Megawatt project planned 12 to 17 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Md. Ultimately, US Wind plans to construct up to 187 turbines and produce power for more than 500,000 homes.

US Wind, Inc was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. US Wind is owned by Renexia S.p.A., a leader in renewable energy development in Italy and a subsidiary of Toto Holding Group. Toto Holding Group has more than 40 years of experience specializing in large infrastructure construction projects, rail transportation, and aviation. Visit US Wind Website .

Chestertown Residents Forming Solar Co-op

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Residents of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties can join a solar co-op to save money and make going solar easier, while building a network of solar supporters. The group is seeking members and will host two information meetings Thursday, June 1, 7 p.m.  and Saturday, June 3, 11 a.m. at the Chestertown Town Hall to educate the community about solar and the co-op process.

MD SUN expands access to solar by educating Marylanders about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them organize group solar installations, and strengthening Maryland’s solar policies, as well as its community of solar supporters. MD SUN has helped more than 400 homeowners go solar, saving them $1.5 million in the process.

“I am excited to work with Chestertown and surrounding county residents to educate them about the benefits of solar energy,” said Corey Ramsden, MD SUN Program Director. “If you’ve ever thought about going solar before, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

Co-op members will select a single company to complete all of the installations. They will then have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20% off the cost of their system.

Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Once the group is large enough, MD SUN will help the co-op solicit competitive bids from area solar installers.

Chestertown residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op web page. 

 

 

 

 

Op-Ed: Chesapeake Bay Foundation Says Teamwork is Needed

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“We are stronger together than alone.” It’s an idea that can benefit many people and situations – even those who serve us in government.

In today’s political climate, it’s hard to imagine government officials standing together in unity on much of anything.

Yet just this week representatives of six local jurisdictions on Maryland’s Eastern Shore signed off on a proposal to work collaboratively to control polluted runoff – one of the few sources of Bay pollution that’s increasing.

The collaborative comes out of the Healthy Waters Round Table – a network of county and town officials on the Shore that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and partners helped launch in 2015. The network helps participating communities share resources to keep pollution out of local rivers and streams.

County and town collaboration is a win-win idea. Under the Clean Water Blueprint, Maryland’s local governments are partners in the multi-state commitment to get projects in place by 2025 that will collectively meet water quality standards for the Bay. The problem is that most rural communities like those on the Shore have limited resources at their disposal to contribute to the effort.

Leaders of some jurisdictions are charging new fees to help fund pollution control. Salisbury, for example, assesses homeowners about $20 per year to pay for street sweeping, new plants and trees, and other practices that filter and treat runoff near its source.

But even with this extra effort, Salisbury finds it difficult to get the necessary work done to protect local water quality. That’s why it recently joined Cambridge, Easton, Oxford, Queen Anne’s and Talbot in the new partnership to try share resources. (Round Table partners including Caroline, Cecil, Chestertown and Kent declined to participate.)

The time and effort it takes to bring a municipal or county pollution control project from conception to completion is not insignificant. Scoping out projects, ushering them through design and approval, and managing construction, can sometimes slow projects almost to a halt.

With CBF’s help, county and town partners agreed to work collectively to try to get through this bottleneck. For instance, localities this week partnered on a grant application to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to bring in new technical support staff and funding that can speed up project delivery.

If the proposal is approved, a “Regional Service Provider” will be hired who helps locals plan, prioritize and invest grant dollars in high-value projects. The process also will ensure that pollution reduction efforts get results, and that local governments get credit.

The Hogan Administration likes the idea. State agencies under the Governor’s purview have pledged resources of their own that together with cash contributions from participating local governments will provide some significant horsepower to get work done. If awarded, the three-year initiative would begin as soon as this August.

On the Shore, limited resources are a major impediment to county and town progress on controlling polluted runoff. The new collaborative may be just what’s needed here to get communities what they need to help them do their share to finish the job of restoring the Bay to health.

by Alan Girard

Alan Girard is the director of the Eastern Shore Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Riverkeepers Present 2016 Report Card at State of the Rivers Party

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Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) will host its annual Cambridge State of the Rivers Report Card Party on Thursday, May 25 at 6 pm at the Cambridge Yacht Club, located at 1 Mill Street, next to Long Wharf Park. Light fare and drinks will be served.The event is free and open to the public.

MRC is excited to partner again with the Cambridge Yacht Club for the evening. The yacht club also participates in MRC’s Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) program.

During the State of the Rivers Party, MRC Riverkeepers will release the results of the 2016 State of the Rivers Report Card. Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta, along with other experts and educators from MRC’s staff, will explain and interpret results from last year when scientists and MRC’s 50+ Creekwatcher volunteers collected water quality samples at over 115 sites.

The City of Cambridge is located on the shores of the Choptank River, which will be the focus of this presentation. Special guest speakers for the evening will be partners from the Cambridge Clean Water Advisory Committee, including Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, City of Cambridge, and University of Maryland Extension. Each partner will give a short update about various initiatives underway in the region.

The 2016 Report Card results will reveal whether grades improved over the past year and how specific testing parameters contributed to overall scores.Production and presentation of the Report Card was supported by a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the waterways that comprise the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River watersheds. For more information, email matt@midshoreriverkeeper.org or call 443.385.0511.

Guided Kayak Tours at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

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The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) located at 600 Discovery Lane in Grasonville, Maryland has as its mission promoting stewardship and sustainability through environmental education and habitat restoration. CBEC is located on a peninsula offering visitors unique outdoor, recreational opportunities. Kayak rentals and Guided Kayak Tours allow visitors to glide around the Marshy Creek, Kent Narrows and Cabin Creek tributaries viewing underwater grass beds and acres of marsh and restored shoreline. Kayaking is one of the best ways to experience the wonders of these wetlands. Never been kayaking? Always wanted to kayak! Sign up for one of the monthly Guided Kayaks Tours from May-October. Courtney Leigh, CBEC’s Volunteer/Adult Education Coordinator and Certified Interpretive Guide, will guide you through basic kayak instruction and then will lead you on a paddle to explore the watershed of Marshy Creek. During the tour you will get the opportunity to encounter wading birds, waterfowl, and migratory raptors hunting the marshland. Other common sightings include otter, muskrat, terrapin turtles, mating cownose stingrays, schooling silversides, undulating jellyfish and slithery water snakes!

Tours are designed to give participants, beginners and intermediate levels, an introduction to the basic skills of kayaking. Paddling techniques, vessel orientation, loading and unloading, and kayaking safety will be covered. No experience is necessary. An estimated 2 hours of paddling time is scheduled. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

2017 Dates
Sunday, May 7 at 1:00pm
Thursday, May 18 at 5:30pm
Sunday, May 21 at 1:00pm
Thursday, June 1 at 5:30pm
Sunday, June 11 at 1:00pm
Thursday, June 22 at 5:30pm
Thursday, July 13 at 5:30pm
Sunday, July 16 at 1:00pm
Sunday, July 23 at 1:00pm
Thursday, August 10 at 5:30pm
Thursday, August 20 at 1:00pm
Thursday, August 31 at 5:30pm
Sunday, September 10 at 1:00pm
Thursday, September 21 at 5:30pm
Sunday, September 24 at 1:00pm
Thursday, October 5 at 5:30pm
Sunday, October 15 at 1:00pm
Thursday, October 19 at 5:30pm

To make reservations register on CBEC’s website form: https://www.bayrestoration.org/guided-kayak-tours/ or please email Courtney Leigh, cleigh@bayrestoration.org, for more information. The cost is $15 for CBEC members and $20 for non-members.

Once registered you will receive an email confirmation explaining pre-trip preparations. CBEC reserves the right to cancel any trip due to unsafe weather conditions or if the minimum participant amount has not been reached.

Midshore Riverkeepers Announce Tour the Shore Kayak Series

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Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC)is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Tour the Shore Kayak Series, which explores local rivers, creeks, and parks. Tours will be hosted by MRC Riverkeepers, educators and scientists on paddling trips along the rivers they strive to protect. Participants will learn about local ecology, history and water quality. Tour the Shore is open to the public and enables community members of all ages and paddling abilities to rent a kayak, or bring their own, for a guided tour of some of the Eastern Shore’s unique creeks and rivers that. MRC values time spent on the water connecting people to the waterways they drive past every day. This year MRC is introducing new paddles to the roster that highlight narrow creeks, flooded forests, and sunken marshes. Trips may combine water and land exploration. Whether paddling, hiking, or both, MRC wants to help paddlers reconnect to nature while meeting new people. Tours are $40 for non-members and $25 for members. A limited number of binoculars and guide books are available to borrow during the paddles.

Date: Wednesday, May 2
Time: 2 PM – 5 PM
Location: Tuckahoe State Park
Paddle the upper Tuckahoe River through a flooded forest filled with swamp maples, black gum, and green ash trees rooted in the sandy soil. A beautiful paddle when spring will be showing itself through floral blooms and emerging wildlife.

Date: Friday, June 16
Time: 10 AM – 2 PM
Location: Blackwater Wildlife Refuge
Pack a lunch and prepare to paddle one of the Eastern Shore’s most famous marsh systems, and for good reason. Be sure to bring or borrow binoculars for eagle sightings. The tour will stop off at a small island for lunch.

Date: Friday, July 21
Time: 10 AM – 1 PM
Location: Upper Choptank River
Leave from Greensboro and paddle past red clay riverbanks and gravely stream beds.

Date: Friday, August 18
Time: 10 AM – 1 PM
Location: Skeleton Creek
Launch at Windyhill Landing, cross the Choptank River to paddle the narrow and winding Skeleton Creek as it transitions from a brackish marsh to fresher waters with corresponding changes in plant and animal species.

Date: Friday, September 22
Time: 1 PM – 4 PM
Location: Miles Creek
Explore this undisturbed creek in Talbot County when pickerel weed and groundsel tree are beautifully blooming.

Preregistration is required. Space is limited, so don’t wait to get on the list. Contact Suzanne@midshoreriverkeeper.org or call 443-385-0511 to sign up and get all the details. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Grab a paddle and get out there to tour the shore!

Project Clean Stream on April 30

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Some volunteers take to canoes to clean up the rive, but most remove trash from the shoreline. Either way, come join the fun and make an impact in your community.

Let’s give the Corsica River a good spring cleaning!

The Corsica River Conservancy is seeking volunteers for the annual “Project Clean Stream” to pick up trash and debris from the watershed Sunday, April 30, from Noon to 4 p.m. (rain or shine).

Meet up with friends and neighbors at one of three clean-up locations in Centreville: Millstream Park at 416 S. Liberty St., Centreville Wharf at 101 Water Way, or Northbrook at 301 Trickling Brook Way.

Gloves and trash containers will be provided.

The event is sponsored by the Corsica River Conservancy, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Town of Centreville.

For more information visit www.corsicariverconservancy.org.