ShoreRivers Adds Three to Staff

Share

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce three new additions to its staff.

Josh Biddle is ShoreRivers’s new Agricultural Specialist. Biddle is an Eastern Shore native who grew up on a farm between Denton and Ridgely, where for the last 15 years, he has worked in his family’s greenhouses growing flowers. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Salisbury University. For the past two years, he has been employed as a Soil Conservation Technician at the Talbot County Soil Conservation District working with a number of state and federal conservation programs, and assisting in the planning, design, and installation of a variety of best management practices throughout the county. Biddle will be working with state, federal, academic, and farm partners to apply agricultural conservation projects within Eastern Shore watersheds. Along with Director of Agriculture and Restoration Tim Rosen and Restoration Specialist Josh Thompson, Biddle will assist in ShoreRivers’ expanding agricultural project work, including conducting outreach within the agricultural community to promote conservation programs and encourage responsible and river-friendly farming all across the Eastern Shore.

Julia Erbe has joined ShoreRivers as Development and Events Coordinator. A lifelong Marylander, Erbe attended Washington College and went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Goucher College. “Ever since my time studying at Washington College, the Eastern Shore has been my place of solitude and comfort,” she says. “It makes perfect sense that I would find myself back here, working for such an amazing organization that I respect so highly. I am honored to join this passionate, hard-working group of like-minded individuals, and I am eager to contribute to their important work.”

Josh Biddle, Agricultural Specialist; Julia Erbe, Development and Events Coordinator; Rachel Plescha, 2018-2019 Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

Erbe will be working on many events throughout the region to help educate local communities and raise funds to support ShoreRivers’ programs and mission. Her local ties, environmental background, and experience will bring tremendous help to support the organization’s mission throughout the region.

Rachel Plescha is the new 2018-2019 ShoreRivers Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) Volunteer. A native of Oviedo, Florida, she recently graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Environmental Policy with a minor in Economics. She will take the place of the 2017-2018 CCC Volunteer, Rebecca Murphy, who is staying on with ShoreRivers as Education and Outreach Coordinator.

ShoreRivers has participated in the CCC program since 2012, hosting 11 volunteers, several of whom have become permanent staff members. The CCC program is funded through the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Plescha made ShoreRivers her first choice from over 70 other competing nonprofits in the Bay area. She explains, “I am looking forward to learning about how the community plays a role in shaping positive outcomes for environmental health. I am most excited to work with the agricultural and community outreach programs. I have always been interested in the connection between the food we eat and our environment, so much so that I even worked on an organic farm for a few months! I am excited to meet new people and help them realize their connection to the land around them. I cannot wait to move to the Eastern Shore and experience the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay in person!”

ShoreRivers Executive Director Jeff Horstman says, “With ShoreRivers’ expanding role and growth, these talented and passionate young people will bring energy and enthusiasm to our efforts toward healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We are happy to welcome Josh, Julia, and Rachel to our team!”

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

shorerivers.org

ShoreRivers Awarded 2.2 Million Dollar Grant

Share

At the end of June, ShoreRivers was awarded a $2.2 million dollar grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to support ShoreRivers’ regional agricultural restoration work. The grant will fund projects in the watersheds of the Bohemia, Sassafras, Wye, and Choptank Rivers. Together these projects will prevent over 14,200 lbs. of nitrogen, 740 lbs. of phosphorus, and almost 270 tons of sediment from entering Eastern Shore waterways.

A treatment wetlands system helps maximizes nutrient removal.

The new grant funds will pay the construction costs for:

• An ecologically engineered design that will stabilize excessive gully erosion that has resulted in a ravine adjacent to Kings Creek in Talbot County; it will create a wetland and grassed buffers, and restore 1380 linear feet of stream and agricultural ditch.

• A treatment wetland system and stormwater retention ponds at the bottom of four agricultural drainages and above a natural stream. The project is designed to maximize nutrient removal at the top of the watershed of Little Bohemia Creek in Cecil County and it will create almost six acres of wetland and three acres of stormwater ponds.

• Stormwater ponds and over eight acres of lined treatment wetland to treat 33 acres of dairy farm operations and several hundred acres of row crop land that is irrigated with lagoon effluent from a Kent County dairy in the Sassafras watershed.

• Completing restoration of a 1,000-linear-foot traditional agricultural ditch into a two-stage ditch with wetland benches on a grain farm on the Wye River in Talbot County.

This grant signals the effectiveness of ShoreRivers’ new combined capacity to implement regional projects on a large scale throughout the Delmarva peninsula. ShoreRivers is a certified Technical Service Provider for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is engineering and implementing innovative pollution reduction projects cooperatively with the agricultural sector to restore and protect Eastern Shore rivers.

ShoreRivers is honored that the Department of Natural Resources supports the pollution- reducing projects that ShoreRivers is implementing in communities across the Eastern Shore. Other traditional bay funders and strong community support enables ShoreRivers to attract this type of significant outside grant funding for clean water.

For more information, visit shorerivers.org or contact Director of Agriculture & Restoration Tim Rosen at 443.385.0511 or trosen@shorerivers.org.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

shorerivers.org

Are Our Waters Safe for Swimming?

Share

After regretfully canceling the inaugural Maryland Freedom Swim on the Choptank River in May, ShoreRivers is continuing to work toward swimmable rivers that are regularly monitored for harmful bacteria. In addition to the 15 existing sites being monitored on the Chester and Sassafras Rivers, ShoreRivers has added four new monitoring sites on the Choptank, Miles, and Wye Rivers.

The strain of bacteria sampled, Enterococci, indicates pathogens that may cause human illness. This bacteria can originate from a variety of sources, including failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry, livestock, and pet waste. During significant rainfalls, the possibility always exists for elevated and unsafe bacteria levels. As a general precaution, be sure to avoid water contact for 48 hours after profuse rain events or any time if you have an open cut or wound. Always shower after swimming.

ShoreRivers works toward swimmable rivers by regularly monitoring for harmful bacteria. Photo credit: Sam Morse

ShoreRivers monitored sites include:

Choptank River
• Bill Burton Fishing Pier
• Oxford Strand on the Tred Avon River

Wye River
• Drum Point Beach on Wye Island

Miles River
• Miles River Yacht Club

Chester River
• Duck Neck
• Morgan Creek
• Rosin Creek
• Chestertown at High Street
• Chester River Yacht and Country Club
• Rolphs Wharf
• Camp Pecometh
• Langford Bay
• Grays Inn Creek
• Conquest Beach
• Corsica River Yacht Club
• Centreville Wharf

Sassafras River
• Georgetown Bridge
• Dyer Creek
• Indian Acres

ShoreRivers will test these sites weekly throughout the swimming season until Labor Day. Results will be posted on SwimGuide, a website (theswimguide.org) and smart phone app that allows users across the Chesapeake Bay region to check the health of local swimming beaches. Additionally, Shorerivers’ Riverkeepers will post the bacteria results on their social media pages for local beaches. Follow the Chester Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper on Facebook for updates. You can also follow the hashtag SwimmableShoreRivers.

For more information, please visit shorerivers.org or call 443-385-0511. Here’s to a great, safe summer enjoying our rivers!

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

WC Environmental Science Students Embark on Collaborative Groundwater Study

Share

Most people think of sea level rise as something visible, but in Rebecca Fox’s field methods in environmental science class at Washington College, students have begun long-term research into an invisible potential effect—saltwater intrusion into agricultural fields on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. And, they’re collaborating with students from the University of Maryland, learning what it’s like to work with fellow researchers who aren’t even in the same county, let alone on the same campus.

Fox, assistant professor of environmental science and studies, came up with the idea with her friend and collaborator Kate Tully, assistant professor of agroecology at UMD’s Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. To jump-start the project, the pair applied for and received funding through MADE CLEAR, which is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Climate Change Education Project.

Fox used her portion ($5,000) to establish a permanent research station on a farm on the lower Chester River, where she and students installed eight groundwater wells equipped with instruments that can gather a variety of data about the groundwater.

“The data loggers collect information every 15 minutes to half an hour, data on groundwater temperature, how high the groundwater is, and the salinity of the groundwater,” Fox says. “We’re hoping we can use this data that will be collected over the next five to ten years to monitor whether saltwater is intruding into the farm fields. The goal is to bring our classes together every fall to the farm to do this research project and to look at the data… And we’ll have this long-term dataset so we can do some analyses, and there’s no reason we can’t use it for research and publish it.”

Ben Nelson ’18, an environmental science major and biology minor, was among the WC students who worked on the project last fall.

“We can look at the data and see what is going on over time, because that’s what is important,” he says. “Looking at things short-term is great, but we have to look at the bigger picture, and this research opportunity allows us to see what’s going to occur over time. We’re going to have to mitigate these issues or adapt to these changes.”

Last fall, the two groups of students met once at the site, where they spoke with the landowner about changes he has seen already, and examined how the groundwater wells work. Though looking at the same data, the classes are approaching the research from slightly different perspectives. The UMD agroecology students are focused on agriculture and food production, but also on soil health and the entire agricultural system, while the WC students, with their focus in environmental science, are thinking more broadly and about other aspects than just traditional agriculture.

“The intention is to get the students together, get them to talk, get them to look at this data, and then at the end of the class we have them come up with a plan to produce collaborative podcasts,” Fox says. “Half the podcast team was at College Park, half the team was here, and they had to figure out how to put a podcast together from different locations. So much science is collaborative, and you aren’t always in the same location as the people you’re working with. The hope was that the students would get this experience of remote collaboration and see how different it is when you have to cooperate remotely, and how clearly you have to communicate.”

Nelson says this real-world collaboration was one of the trickiest but most valuable parts of the project.

“These are people who are over an hour away, and this is when we rely on technology to communicate. And that was good practice,” he says. “It really made you plan and consider others… In the beginning when we first started communications with them we were a little bit hesitant on both ends…. But as we progressed through the project I think we realized the only way we were going to get this done is to learn and adapt.

“We could interact with people of different backgrounds and further expand our collaborative skills,” he says. “This will definitely be helpful in the workplace, because you don’t just work with the same five people every day.”

In the upcoming year, the WC students will also have the opportunity to travel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, where Tully’s side of the research is examining how different cover crops can sequester carbon dioxide.

“For that lab, instead of coming here and looking at saltwater intrusion, we’re going to look at the ability of cover crops to mitigate climate change,” Fox says. “They have all of these long- term experimental plots where they’re trying different types of cover crops, and so it’s very much more an agricultural perspective, but it’s looking at how we can diversify our crops to maybe make a difference in terms of how much carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Maryland Governor Hogan Proclaims 2018 the Year of the Bird

Share

Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed 2018 as the Year of the Bird in Maryland. The declaration celebrates native and migratory birds making their way through Maryland, as well as the Free State’s remarkable landscapes and water resources that support them.

“Maryland is home to some of the most beautiful and iconic birds in the world – from the majestic Great Blue Heron on the Chesapeake Bay to our state bird, the Baltimore Oriole,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “The Year of the Bird is an opportunity for Maryland citizens and tourists alike to celebrate the educational and recreational role of birds that live and migrate through our state, as well as a great reminder of the importance of conserving our natural resources. I want to thank the National Audubon Society for their efforts to protect birds and their habitats in Maryland and beyond.”

Governor Hogan’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio delivered the proclamation to more than 200 guests at Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s “Annual Tour, Toast and Taste” fundraiser. Held at Lombardy Estate in Easton, MD, this event helps raise funds for Audubon’s efforts to further environmental education for school-aged students.

Photo: Audubon’s Dr. David Curson, David O’Neill, Governors Hogan’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Audubon’s Mark Scallion, Jaime Bunting and Southern Maryland Audubon Society’s Mike Callahan with a Red-tailed Hawk with Governor Hogan’s Year of the Bird Proclamation.

Audubon is proud to work with a host of state and federal agencies on important bird area protection, environmental literacy and sea level rise adaptation, including the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland State Department of Education on Governor Hogan’s Project Green Classrooms.

Maryland is home to 42 Important Bird Areas, more than 400 observed species and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which serves as an important breeding and stopover area for millions of migratory birds each year. The Governor’s declaration recognizes that Maryland’s natural resources provide important habitat for birds.

People around the world are celebrating 2018 as Year of the Bird to mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of the oldest wildlife protection laws in the United States. In honor of this milestone, National Geographic, Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and dozens of other partners around the world joined forces to celebrate 2018 as the Year of the Bird.

“Year of the Bird is an easy way people can take small everyday actions to help birds along their journeys,” said David Yarnold, president and CEO for National Audubon Society. “Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay provides wintering grounds for approximately one-third of the Atlantic coast’s migratory population, including iconic waterfowl species like the Tundra Swan, Canada Goose, Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal for centuries. We’d like to thank Governor Hogan for declaring 2018 as Year of the Bird and recognizing the importance of birds and the places we share.”

Many conservation organizations, agencies, businesses and academics have been instrumental in protecting birds and the places they need in Maryland. In celebrating 2018 as the Year of the Bird, there is great appreciation for the efforts of many organizations, including local Audubon chapters and centers, the Maryland Ornithological Society, the Department of Natural Resources, waterfowl associations and duck clubs, and many others.

To learn more about Year of the Bird, visit: https://www.audubon.org/yearofthebird.

About Audubon:

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more and how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

Letter to Editor: Eastern Neck Refuge Needs Help

Share

As a member of the community, you understand the importance of Eastern Neck Refuge to wildlife, our community and visitors.

The board of directors of the Friends of Eastern Neck has been working over the past year with local politicians and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) personnel to encourage FWS to fill the vacant Wildlife Specialist (Refuge Manager) position at the refuge. Not filling the vacancy could lead to the refuge being closed for the foreseeable future.

Although the FWS budget has been approved in Washington, we have received no indication that the position will be filled, we believe we need your help to further encourage the FWS Regional Chief, Scott Kahan to fill the position.

The Friends of Eastern Neck Board of Directors are asking that you communicate your thoughts in support of this effort using the following contact information:

Scott Kahan
Regional Chief
National Wildlife System
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035-9589
scott_kahan@fws.gov
413 253-8245

Please describe what the refuge means to you and the community and encourage FWS to fill the position and not “shutter” the island.

Time is of the essence; please communicate to Scott Kahan before June 30. Thank you for your support in helping to keep the refuge functioning.

Very truly yours,

Phil Cicconi
Vice President
Friends of Eastern Neck

ShoreRivers Honored with Prestigious Environmental Award

Share

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters announced this week that it would honor ShoreRivers this year with its prestigious John V. Kabler Memorial Award, presented annually to Maryland’s most outstanding environmental leaders and organizations.

Past recipients have included such noteworthy environmental champions as Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, former Maryland Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, former Maryland Governor Harry R. Hughes, and former Maryland DNR Secretary John Griffin.

ShoreRivers protects and restores the waterways of the Eastern Shore and the living resources they support. The organization was formed January 1, 2018, from the merger of three river-protection organizations, and now serves Delmarva from Cecilton to Cambridge, representing rivers and watersheds draining to the Chesapeake Bay.

Photo: Front row, L-R: Elle Bassett, Jeff Horstman, Tim Trumbauer, Suzanne Sullivan, Tim Junkin, Kristin Junkin, Matt Pluta; Back row, L-R: Kristan Droter, Isabel Hardesty, Laura Wood, Tim Rosen, Ann Frock, Kim Righi, Emily Harris, Emmett Duke, and Rebecca Murphy.

“As ShoreRivers, we are a powerful voice for clean water with a dedicated team of staff, board members, and volunteers,” said ShoreRivers Executive Director Jeff Horstman. “We are having a greater regional impact in advocacy, restoration, and education. We are honored and thankful for the recognition the Kabler Memorial Award brings to our work for healthier waterways and for all the great work the Maryland League of Conservation does for the environment.”

ShoreRivers employs 18 professionals including four Riverkeepers, scientists, educators, policy advocates, lawyers,and restoration specialists who work from offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Georgetown, Maryland. Its work is supported by over 3,500 community members and families and engages over 1,000 students and volunteers each year. The organization works at every level including policy and legislative advocacy, regulatory enforcement, agricultural outreach and restoration, education, oyster repopulation, and community engagement to improve our rivers.

The award ceremony will take place Tuesday, October 9 at the Westin Annapolis, located at 100 Westgate Circle, beginning with cocktails at 6pm, followed by dinner and program at 7pm. For program details or to sign up as a sponsor, contact Karen Polet Doory at kdoory@mdlcv.org or 202-281-8780.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

Graphite Drawings and Watercolors by Lee Boulay D’Zmura at Adkins Arboretum

Share

“Lichen” by Lee D’Zmura

The pure beauty and precision of Lee Boulay D’Zmura’s botanical drawings and watercolors are astonishing. But in her exhibit Wabi Sabi, on view at the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center through July 28, this Saint Michaels artist departed from the botanical art tradition of illustrating perfect plant specimens in order to explore the ongoing changes plants experience in their life cycles. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., June 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. in conjunction with a reception for the ninth biennial Outdoor Sculpture Invitational.

Two things happened to inspire this show. D’Zmura found a branch from a box elder tree that had fallen in a storm. Although dying, its crinkled leaves still clung to it, as did its samaras, the winged seedpods often called “helicopters,” so that the branch was both dying and giving life through its seeds.

Shortly afterward, she found herself reading a magazine article about wabi-sabi, the Japanese art aesthetic that recognizes beauty in things that are imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. The idea of honoring the ever-changing cycle of growth and decay and the dignity of aging with grace resonated strongly for her.

“I have been on the hunt for the dead and dying ever since,” she said.

Before the advent of photography, scientists relied on botanical illustration to accurately record the distinct characteristics of plant species. Trained as a botanical artist at Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration, D’Zmura has been teaching botanical art classes at the Arboretum since 2006 and has become known for her remarkable skill in accurately reproducing every detail of a plant, from the subtlest colors to the finest webbing of its veins. But in this show, she uses her expertise to capture the fascinating beauty and poignancy of individual plants throughout the stages of their lives, including the death and decay of their blossoms and leaves.

In her graphite drawing of the box elder branch, D’Zmura sketched its clusters of samaras and each elaborately complicated curve of its crinkled leaves with lines finer than a single hair. Likewise, she captured the stages of anemone plants at different times of year, from blossoms through dormancy.

As any gardener knows, decaying plant material is an important nutritional source for other plants. In one of four compelling watercolor studies of bark through the seasons, D’Zmura shows a cluster of fragile, frilly gray-green lichen spreading across a decaying log.

“I came across this while hiking with my daughter and grand dogs,” she said. “I loved the contrasting colors and surfaces of the decaying log and lichen.”

D’Zmura’s extraordinary sensitivity to the myriad kinds of nuanced beauty found in plants is a magnet for looking closer and closer at her work to discover all the extraordinary details she was able to find. Studying her unbelievably fine line work and stunning color range has the quietly exhilarating effect of honing the eye to nature itself. It’s an invitation to see our everyday environment with fresh eyes and deeper understanding.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through July 28 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

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.

Outdoor Sculpture Invitational—Artists in Dialogue with Landscape at Adkins Arboretum

Share

The ten artists in Adkins Arboretum’s Outdoor Sculpture Invitational—Artists in Dialogue with Landscape share a passion for working in nature. Throughout May, they could be found in the Arboretum’s forest and meadows collecting branches, moss, grasses, pinecones and other natural materials and using them to create sculptures.

On view through Sept. 30, this is the ninth biennial Invitational show the Arboretum has hosted since 2002. There will be a reception and a guided sculpture walk on Sat., June 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. in conjunction with the reception for Lee D’Zmura’s show in the Visitor’s Center.

“Nature is my studio. Nature is my teacher,” wrote Diane Szczepaniak, an artist from Potomac, Md., whose sculpture “Octagon of Grass, Watching the Grass Grow, Going at the Speed of Nature” is an invitation to slow down and observe and meditate on nature.

“Guardians,” a beehive-shaped sculpture by Towson, Md., artist Bridgette Guerzon Mills.

Szczepaniak installed a low octagon of steel flanked by a simple bench in a mown area beneath tall loblolly pines. The grass inside the octagon will be left to grow and mature throughout the summer, and visitors may come to sit and enjoy the quietude and the slow changes as the sculpture develops.

There’s a sense of play and discovery throughout this show. Both Ben Allanoff of Joshua Tree, Calif., and Baltimore artist Eliezer Sollins came to Adkins with no specific plans for their sculptures. Walking the paths through its forest and meadows, they found places and materials that triggered ideas. Sollins collected fallen branches laden with pinecones and armloads of meadow grass for his sculpture, “Haycone,” while Allanoff balanced long, slim branches and vines in a small grove of trees in “Pick-up Sticks,” a sculpture that visitors can actually enter.

Natural materials are the basis for most of these sculptures, including the swoop of branches framed by a cube (all painted a magical blue) in Washington artist Julia Bloom’s “Forest Cache” and Baltimore artist Marcia Wolfson Ray’s “Tumble,” four rustic boxes made of dried plants angled as if to tumble down into the wetland beside the Visitor’s Center. Using a collection of richly colored and textured materials from the forest and meadow, Susan Benarcik, of Wilmington, Del., employed classic geometry to illustrate a universal natural pattern of growth in her sculpture, “The Golden Ratio in Nature.”

“Modern-Day Fossils,” by Laurel, Md., artist Melissa Burley.

Several of the artists made sculptures exploring their concerns for the well-being of the earth. Melissa Burley, of Laurel, Md., created “Modern-Day Fossils” in which plastic bugs and leaves encased in glittering balls of amber-colored resin stand in for fossilized plants and animals.

Three of the artists created sculptures about the current severe decline in bee populations. Both Elizabeth Miller McCue of Yardley, Penn., and Bridgette Guerzon Mills of Towson, Md., constructed beehive-shaped sculptures made of many small hexagons. An intricate web of glistening wire, McCue’s is a ghostly skeleton of a beehive, long deserted by its denizens. Mills’s mixed-medium hive is more colorful, but while some of its hexagons are empty, others are mirrored so that visitors may see their own faces, implicating our human role in the disappearance of the bees but also suggesting that by promoting healthy ecosystems, we can be the agents of restoring their dwindling populations.

That possibility was the impetus for Ashley Kidner’s “Pollinator Hexagon V,” one of a series of sculptures this Baltimore artist has created in parks and art centers around Maryland. Like his other hexagons, this is a large circular garden filled with hexagonal sections where native pollinator plants are growing. Functioning not only as a work of art, its nine species of flowering plants provide a healthy source of nectar for the Arboretum’s bees.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Sept. 30 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

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.