Upcoming Programming by Environmental Concern Inc.

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Here are the upcoming events by Environmental Concern Inc.

“Native Plants Create Healthy Habitats”
March 5th
630 pm – 730 pm
Talbot County Public Library – Easton
Environmental Concern will be presenting “Native Plants Create Healthy Habitats: Attracting Butterflies, Bees & Birds to Your Garden” with Tips from the Grower. After the presentation EC will open their Pre-Orders for the upcoming Spring Native Plant Sale featuring the plants that benefit the Birds, Bees and Butterflies.
$5 donation is requested to help fund our Education Outreach Initiatives.
For more information and to register please call 410.745.9620 or visit our website at www.wetland.org.

“Basic Wetland Delineation”
April 30th -May 4th
Environmental Concern has opened registration for“Basic Wetland Delineation” for Wetland Professionals. The course is held from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at EC’s picturesque waterfront campus and includes field trips to various project sites for field-keying and practice.
For more information or to register call 410.745.9620 or please visit http://www.wetland.org/education_professionalcourses.htm

Adkins Arboretum Awarded Funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded funding in the amount of $25,000 to Adkins Arboretum to upgrade and increase the accessibility of its Living Collections Database. These funds were awarded through IMLS’s largest competitive grant program, Museums for America, in the category of collections stewardship. Adkins Arboretum is considered a living museum due to its living plant and land preservation exhibits and its educational mission.

The Arboretum plans to upgrade its current Living Collections Database into a robust, user-friendly database, geographic information system (GIS) and web mapping platform for broader public access and improved future monitoring and management of its living collections. The desired result is an easy-to-navigate Living Collections Database that may be accessed online by all who are interested in learning more about the Arboretum’s flora. The expanded inventory of mapped plants will make it easier for visitors to locate species of interest.

The project will be undertaken over the next 18 months by Adkins staff, including Executive Director Ginna Tiernan, Land Steward Kathy Thornton, Chesapeake Conservation Corps member Blake Steiner, Arboretum volunteers, and local contractors Sylvan Kaufman of Sylvan Green Earth Consulting, Thayer Young of Cicada Systems GIS Consulting and Leslie Hunter Cario of Chesapeake Horticultural Services.

Originally founded as Maryland’s state arboretum in 1980, Adkins Arboretum has operated as a nonprofit since 1992. The Arboretum serves as a model for land management that strives to engage all people in the conservation, appreciation and enjoyment of the Chesapeake region’s native landscapes through education, recreation, art and community events. Located adjacent to Tuckahoe State Park, it operates and maintains a visitor’s center, 400 acres of meadows, woods and wetlands, and five miles of trails under a 50-year lease with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Arboretum’s diverse collection includes more than 600 species of trees, plants, grasses and wildflowers native to the Eastern Shore and the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS’s grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit imls.gov or follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

CBF Notes: How About Home-Grown Oysters and Wine?

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Crabs and Old Bay. Rockfish and lemon butter. Crab cakes and tartar sauce. The bounty of the Chesapeake Bay presents plenty of delectable combinations.

What about a new tradition: home-grown oysters and wine?

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) invites you to “Oysters & Wine on the Eastern Shore” on Sunday, Jan. 21 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to learn how this unconventional pair is perfect together, and also to learn about oyster farming on the Shore, and other oyster-related issues.

The event will be held at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, 114 South Washington Street, Easton.

Oyster aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry on the Shore, thanks in part to a 2010 change in state policy that created new opportunities for oyster farming. The state has approved about 400 shellfish aquaculture leases for 173 different leaseholders covering about 6,100 acres. It’s a $5 million industry, and growing, with production increased 1,000 percent since 2012.

Listen to local oyster growers tell their stories, and enjoy a selection of farmed oysters paired with a variety of wines, champagne, and craft beer. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, Smith Island cake, music by local favorite Kentavious Jones, and a CBF membership are all included in the ticket price–$35 with advance purchase at cbf.org/oystersandwine.

Oysters will be featured from Orchard Point Oyster Company, Hoopers Island Oyster Company, and Madhouse Oysters. Representatives from those oyster farms will be present to speak and answer questions. Oyster policy experts and scientists will also be on hand to provide information.

Johnny Shockley, a founding partner in Hoopers Island Oyster Company, recently hosted staff and board members from CBF at his new hatchery, the state’s first large private oyster hatchery built in decades. The 12,000-square-foot building is a sign of the potential growth in the industry on the Shore. The company plans to produce 700 million oyster larvae a year, some of which will be used to grow its own oysters, and some of which will be sold to other growers. Hoopers just announced the beginning of such sales this month.

A third-generation waterman from Hoopers Island, Shockley crabbed and harvested wild oysters for 30 years. His goal is not only to grow the aquaculture industry in Maryland, but also to revive the local Eastern Shore economy, and help create a sustainable oyster population.

If you are like us, you will find Johnny’s remarks, as well as those of other oyster farmers, fascinating. They also will show you the best way to eat an oyster. There’s more to it than you might think!

Tom Zolper is the assistant media director at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Pickering Creek EcoCamp: Winter Edition Sign Up Opens

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Summertime is months away and, it seems even further away when you are stuck inside escaping the cold. Help your stir-crazy young ones by sending them to Pickering Creek Audubon Center during a school vacation day.

This winter, Pickering Creek will be offering two single day camps during Talbot County Public School no school days. Survivor Village on Friday, January 26th is for 5th to 7th graders and Animal Olympics on Monday, February 19th (President’s Day) for 2nd to 4th graders. Both days will focus on outdoor exploration and teambuilding.

Pickering Creek will be offering single day camps (modeled from their popular summer camp) during school vacation days this winter.

During Survivor Village, campers will learn how to explore nature during the cold outside temperatures. They will be building winter shelters, learning to track animals, and practice orienteering. The day will end with a large group scavenger hunt for survival supplies and a lesson and practice on safe camp fire building.

Animal Olympics in February will be celebrating our local animal athletes. While records are breaking during the Winter Olympics, we’ll be outside learning about the extreme skills of the animal world. Campers will see who can build the warmest shelter, find and collect the most food, and quickly move their “flock” to safety.

Both days are from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, $60 per camper, at Pickering Creek Audubon Center. Limited transportation from Easton to Pickering Creek will be available at 8:00 am with drop-off at 6:00 pm. Space is limited and you must sign up in advance. Call the office at 410-822-4903 for more information and to sign up.

Need a New Year’s Resolution? Sign Up for Lifelong Learning at Washington College

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Make a New Year’s resolution to rediscover the joy of learning with Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning’s exciting Spring Semester course line-up! There will be no quizzes, papers, or final exams – just learning for the joy of it. Plan to attend Spring Showcase on Thursday, January 11 at 4:00 pm in Hotchkiss Recital Hall on the Washington College Campus to meet teachers, enjoy refreshments and conversation, and learn about the 22 afternoon classes being offered between January 28 and April 27, 2018.

There are classes for every interest and passion.  Highlights of Session 1 (January 28-March 9) include “Sunday at the Movies: A Foreign Touch” with Nancy Hartman, featuring movies from 6 different countries. “From Fake News to Facebook” by Patrick McNabb will explore the new science of media psychology and offer ways to keep up with the breakneck changes in modern mass media and discern fact from fiction. “Technology in Kent County” with Dick Swanson will host a representative from a different local company each week to talk about their business and how technology is used as a key component in bringing their products to market. Health and wellness, astronomy, history, philosophy, and current topics in literature round out the offerings for the first session.

Session 2 (March 18-April 27) has more for literature lovers with “American Immigrant Literature” by Jean Austin and a reading of John Barth’s Eastern Shore historical satire, The Sot-Weed Factor with Jim Block. Cinema offerings will continue with “Latin American Film” by George Shivers, “Silent Cinema: An Introduction” by John Wieczoreck, and another round of “Sunday at the Movies” featuring Asian films. Nautical enthusiasts will enjoy “They Call It a Ditch” about the history and commerce of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by Jack Shaum and the “History of Yacht Design” by Hanson Robbins. Great Decisions, 21st century international art, how to write an op-ed piece for publication, and many more courses on topics of high interest will also be offered.

Ready to learn? WC-ALL is the place for you! You can check out the full course catalog at http://www.washcoll.edu/offices/wc-all/what-were-studying.php/. Sign up for classes at Showcase, on-line, or by mail by Tuesday, January 16. For more information call the WC-ALL office at 410-778-7221.

Winging It at Pickering Creek Audubon Center

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Participants in the recent Introduction to Bird Language public program at Pickering Creek Audubon Center were treated to a unique outdoor experience at the Center’s new Peterson Woods at Pickering Creek Audubon Center. The Introduction to Bird Language public program was a fun way to enjoy outdoors for diverse group of people ranging from very experienced bird watchers to others who simply enjoyed wildlife and spending time outside.  All eyes and binoculars zoomed in on the creek response to lively chattering as a bird flew by. “There goes a kingfisher!” someone excitedly called out.  These visitors at Peterson Woods were enjoying a day outdoors, not just looking for birds, but listening and learning how to interpret what the birds were saying through their sounds and behaviors.

Intro to bird Language participants scanning for birds over the creek.

Jon Young of BirdLanguage.org says, “The calls, postures, and other behaviors of birds convey much information to those who understand their patterns. The attentive, trained observer can deduce through bird language the location of predators and other forces on the landscape.

The reaction of birds and animals also speaks volumes about the awareness and behavior of the observer. In this way, birds become a barometer for one’s own awareness of the landscape, both inner and outer.”

One of the goals of the program was to help participants sharpen their perception beyond the everyday things they might ordinarily notice.  Participants spent time tuning into birds and other nature sounds.  After many minutes of concentrated listening, several were surprised at the variety of things they heard– from the splashing of fish in the nearby creek, to the rat-ta-tat drumming of woodpeckers in the distance, to the dim drone of a plane high overhead, and the tiny scraping of leaves scattering across a concrete patio in a gentle breeze.  They listened to and practiced identifying different types of bird sounds-calls, alarms, songs- then applied their new knowledge and heightened awareness listening for birds on a woodland walk.  “ I think that’s an alarm. I’ve heard that bird in my yard before ” noted one person.  They also observed the interactions of birds at a feeder and discovered common patterns behavior birds display when people or potential predators disturb them.

The highlight of the morning included having bluejays call back during a bird observation activity to human crow calls. Everyone left the program eager to try out their new skills observing birds more closely at their homes.

Peter Yungbluth and Dave Bent listening at bird calls being played on ipad by Jaime Bunting.

Introduction to Bird Language kicked off several bird-centered public programs geared to people of all ages and bird watching skill levels as well as a wide range of interests in the outdoors planned through this spring at Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

Adults new to the bird watching can come out for the Beginner Bird Basics program on Saturday February 10, 10:00am to 12:00pm.  Join Pickering Creek staff and knowledgeable birders for a fun and engaging morning honing your birding skills at Peterson Woods.

Birders of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in Great Backyard Bird Count at Pickering Creek on Saturday, February 17 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Several birding groups will be lead by experienced birders who will count and tally species we find along the Centers trails during this annual nationwide winter census of birds.

Enjoy a unique evening birding experience during the Flight of the Timberdoodle program on Tuesday, March 13 from 7:00 to 8:30pm.  Look for the male woodcocks as they call and perform a dazzling display in Pickering Creek’s warm season grass meadows.

Gather up some gardening ideas in time for spring during the Planting for Birds program on Saturday, April 14, 10:00am to 12:00pm.  Find out how you can invite feathered friends to your yard with plants that provide birds with what they need.

And if you are bit disappointed that you missed an opportunity to understand what birds are chattering about in your backyard, you is still another chance to find out this spring when Pickering Creek Audubon Center holds a second Introduction to Bird Language on Tuesday, May 1 from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Pickering Creek Announces Late Fall Programs for the Public

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Pickering Creek’s four miles of trails are open to the public dawn to dusk every day.  In addition to wandering on your own the Center invites the community to join us at one of our upcoming programs, they are a great opportunities to get outside this fall.

A student at the Center looking at a skink he captured on his woods walk.

Introduction to Bird Language will be held on Saturday, November 4 from 9:00 – 11:00am. Participants will discover the language of birds and listen in on what they tell us about the world around us during this fun morning at the Center’s newest tract, Peterson Woods at Pickering Creek Audubon Center. You will sharpen your observation skills and uncover the keys to understanding unique patterns of behavior common to birds through guided instruction and outdoor activities. You’ll see birds and the world we share with them in a whole new way. The program requires no experience in bird watching and is for adults. More bird fun is offered the following week with Hoot and Holler Owl Prowl on Friday, November 10 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Take a break from the crowds in town and use your senses to discover nightlife on an evening hike at Pickering Creek! Participants will listen for Barred Owls calling, “Whoooo cooks for youuu,” identify the rambunctious hoots of the Great Horned Owl, and awe at the whinnies coming from our smallest, the Eastern Screech Owl.  Adults and families with children are welcome as we search out Owls at the Center.

Pickering offers a pre Thanksgiving exploration for our youngest friends with their parents and grandparents at Tiny Tots:  Totally Turkeys! on Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 10:00 – 11:00am. Bring your 3 to 5 year old to Pickering Creek for a morning of turkey tales, gobbling, outdoor exploration, and a craft.  We’ll start with a fall-theme turkey story before adventuring outside in search of turkey habitat.  Your tiny turkey will leave with a fun and creative turkey craft.

The season’s final offering is an opportunity to get outside, volunteer and make your community nature center even better.  At the Fall Cleanup on Saturday, December 9 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm you are invited to join Center staff for the last Saturday Service Day at Pickering Creek Audubon Center of the year. We will be painting inside our garden classroom during this down time between the fall and spring school field trip season.  We’ll also be clearing the leaves from the waterfront picnic area and making adjustments to the trails. Join us for a hearty morning of activity then stay for potluck lunch. If you’d like to sign up to attend a program at the Center please call 410 822 4903, reservations are strongly recommended as programs do sell out.

Midshore Riverkeepers Receive Major Grant for Agricultural Conservation

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Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) was recently awarded a grant of $451,960 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to create a regional program that advances the implementation of conservation drainage practices and tests new agricultural best management practice technologies that have great potential to reduce nutrient and sediment from entering the Chesapeake Bay.

Many local farms were initially drained using a system of drain tiles. Unfortunately, over the decades these structures have deteriorated. MRC will work with agricultural landowners to retrofit old and failing drain tile lines with the latest conservation practices and create a drainage water management plan to maximize the benefits of the new conservation drainage system. These innovations will reduce sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus losses from agricultural land that has drain tile lines. A goal of this program is to accelerate the implementation of the outlet and infield best management practices by incentivizing farmers through offering the replacement of antiquated existing drain tile and surface inlets.

MRC Staff Scientist Tim Rosen installs an updated conservation drainage system at an agricultural site.

This work will create a framework for a conservation drainage program that can be used to justify the funding of a state-run program administered by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. In addition, the program will provide a blueprint for other Bay states to adopt their version of a conservation drainage program. This program will help bring Maryland to the forefront in addressing agricultural drainage pollution and help position our farm community to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. MRC’s program will focus on four watersheds—the Choptank, Nanticoke, Pocomoke/Tangier, and Chester—that span eight Maryland counties.

Completion of this grant will result in the installation of eight separate projects that incorporate either a denitrifying bioreactor, saturated buffer, or structure for water control and blind inlets. It is anticipated that 2 denitrifying bioreactors, 2 saturated buffers, and 4 structures for water control will be installed with an estimated 14 blind inlets. In total, this will reduce a total of 3,456 pounds of nitrate-nitrogen per year, 49 pounds of phosphorus per year, and 46,666 pounds of sediment per year.

MRC has obtained commitments from private and state sources to provide a match of $467,980, enabling the organization to devote a total of $919,940 to this important work.

For more information contact MRC Staff Scientist Tim Rosen at 443.385.0511 or trosen@midshoreriverkeeper.org.

Adkins Arboretum Hosts Jill Jonnes for Urban Trees Talk Oct 5 at Academy Art Museum

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Jill Jonnes, author and historian

Nature’s largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinary role in our landscapes. They are living landmarks that define space, cool the air, soothe our psyches and connect us to nature and our past. Learn about the fascinating natural history of the tree in American cities when Adkins Arboretum hosts author and historian Jill Jonnes speaks about Urban Forests on Thurs., Oct. 5 at the Academy Art Museum in Easton. The talk begins at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing.  The academy Art Museum is located at 106 South Street, Easton, MD, 21601.  Call the museum during business hours at 410-822-2787.

Jonnes’s latest book, Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape, celebrates urban trees and the Americans—presidents, plant explorers, visionaries, citizen activists, scientists, nurserymen and tree nerds—whose arboreal passions have shaped and ornamented the nation’s cities. Ranging from Thomas Jefferson’s day, to the postwar devastation of magnificent American elm canopies by Dutch elm disease, to the present, Jonnes lauds the nation’s arboreal advocates, from the founders of Arbor Day, arboretums and tree surgery to the current generation of scientists who engage technology to illuminate the value of trees as green infrastructure and their importance to public health.

Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape by Jill Jonnes

Jonnes holds a Ph.D. in American history from Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of numerous books, including Eiffel’s TowerConquering Gotham and Empires of Light. Founder of the nonprofit Baltimore Tree Trust, she is leading the Baltimore City Forestry Board’s new initiative, Baltimore’s Flowering Tree Trails. As a staff member of the 2010 Presidential National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, she wrote the first chapter of the report Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling. Jonnes also has been named a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation.

The talk is $15 for Arboretum members and $20 for non-members. Advance registration is requested at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature, conservation and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum    12610 Eveland Road     Ridgely, MD 21620     adkinsarboretum.org     info@adkinsarboretum.org