Paddle Jam on June 24

Talbot County Young Professionals and Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy through a grant from Toyota SPLASH Event Series will present Paddle Jam on Saturday, June 24, 2017.  Paddle Jam is a community event on the Tred Avon River with post paddling festivities at Easton Point Marina. Supporters and sponsors making this event possible include: Easton Point Marina, Wahe SUP, Bay Imprint, National Premium, Shore United Bank, Tawney Accounting Group, Pixel Post & Print, CBIZ, Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Green Eyes LLC, Easton Economic Development Corp, Konsyl Pharmaceuticals, M&T Bank and What’s Up Magazine.

This six-mile paddling event will leave from and return to Easton Point Marina. Paddle Jam is scheduled to take place rain or shine.  Launch will begin at 10:30 a.m. Following the six-mile Tred Avon River paddle, there will be a community event at Easton Point Marina until 6 p.m. with food and drink vendors and live music by the Justin Ryan Band.

The Paddle Jam will include a poker run, where participants can pick up poker cards from designated boats along the river, and at the end participants can turn in their hand for a chance to win a prize. The grand prize is Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 foot Kayak that comes with a paddle!

Registration fee for Paddle Jam is $35 in advance. People who wish to register the day of will pay $40, and to just attend the after party without participating in the paddle will cost $5 per person. People who are registered for the entire event will receive an event T-shirt.  Register for Paddle Jam at www.talbotchamber.org or call the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce at 410.822.4653.

Don’t have a vessel to paddle, no problem. Rental may be reserved and waiting for you at Paddle Jam:
• Wahe SUP – (410) 924-0919 or easternshoreyoga@gmail.com
• Easton Point Marina – (410) 822-2355
• Easton Cycle and Sport – Call (410) 822-7433 or visit www.eastoncycleandsport.com

Paddle Jam is still looking for sponsors, prizes and participant goodie bag items.  Please call, 410.822.4653, or email, khanna@talbotchamber.org, if you would like to support.

 

Riverkeepers and Cambridge-South Dorchester High School Dedicate Outdoor Classroom

On June 2, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) and 9th graders at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School (CSDHS) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new outdoor classroom and meadow they created on campus. MRC has been working with 9th graders in Dorchester County Public Schools throughout the school year, providing a Meaningful Watershed Education Experience through MRC’s Students for Streams initiative, a sustained program of study that is part of Maryland’s environmental literacy graduation requirement.

Funded in Dorchester County by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Students for Streams is MRC’s high school environmental education program. This yearlong program includes multiple in-class lessons led by MRC education staff, field trips to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, and a student-led action project focusing on local water quality.

Students, educators, and dignitaries at the ribbon cutting of the Cambridge South Dorchester High School Outdoor Classroom and Meadow.

As part of the program, students proposed a project to improve local water quality. For their action project, the 9th grade environmental science classes at CSDHS created an outdoor classroom and meadow. Students researched native plants, constructed benches and bird boxes for the outdoor classroom, installed an outdoor whiteboard for classes, designed and painted pavers to create a walkway through the meadow, and planted native species that help with nutrient runoff and act as natural pollinators for butterflies and bees.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, students welcomed everyone and explained the projects from start to finish to audience members, including Delegate Johnny Mautz, Delegate Chris Adams, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce Bill Thompson, Chamber of Commerce board members, MRC Founder Tim Junkin, and funders Britt Slattery and Amanda Sullivan from DNR.

Students explained that they selected this particular student-led action project because the meadow helps reduce the runoff coming from campus which feeds into Maple Dam Creek and ultimately Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. After submitting a proposal and gaining permission from Principal Bromwell, every 9th grade student played a role in accomplishing the project. The students were excited to share what they had learned during the Students for Streams program and to cut the ribbon on the new outdoor classroom and meadow.

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 about Students for Streams, contact Elle O’Brien at elle@midshoreriverkeeper.org or 443.385.0511.

St. Luke United Methodist Church Sets Environmental Example in Community

On May 30, volunteers and congregation members gathered at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Cambridge to plant 440 native flowers and grasses in a bioswale on their property. A bioswale is a drainage ditch filled with native plants that slow, collect, and filter pollution from rainwater before it enters local rivers. St. Luke planted its bioswale through Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy’s Stewards for Streams program. Stewards for Streams is a program that connects faith-based organizations of any denomination with environmental stewardship activities. St. Luke’s congregation members learned about stormwater runoff and the benefits of their bioswale. They were inspired to pursue further projects to “green” their campus, including planting native trees and a rain garden.

Members of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Cambridge recently planted 440 native flowers and grasses in a bioswale on their property.

Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta noted the importance of the St. Luke project as it is applicable to many residential and business properties that have drainage ditches running through them. “It’s a model for what can be done,” he said. “On the Eastern Shore, many properties have ditches and swales that rush water away from a site as quickly as possible. All of the water ends up in local streams and carries trash, debris, and pollutants picked up along the way. With a simple retrofit—digging out clay soils, adding new soil, and planting native plants—a property can slow and treat water before it enters our streams, and will look great too!”

At the close of the planting, Reverend Jerome Tilghman of St. Luke led a blessing of the plants and volunteers and reminded his congregants of their obligation to take care of the planet they are blessed to be a part of.

Stewards for Streams has also partnered with Waugh Chapel in Cambridge and Grace Lutheran in Easton to install rain gardens. Stewards for Streams not only offers restoration and planting opportunities, but environmental education for youth and adults, faith-environmental workshops, rain barrel installations, and youth day trips on local rivers. Stewards for Streams is funded by a Chesapeake Bay Foundation Community Outreach and Restoration Grant. For more information or to involve your congregation, contact Suzanne at Suzanne@midshoreriverkeeper.org or call 443.385.0511.

Riverkeepers Named St Michaels Middle High School Partner of the Year

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) was recognized as St. Michaels Middle High School Partner of the Year at the Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS) partnership celebration on May 24, 2017. MRC has been working with TCPS for the past five years on a robust and engaging environmental education program, Students for Streams. This past year, MRC educators provided multiple in-class and outdoor lessons teaching students about local watersheds, how the school may impact local rivers, and how students can help to improve local water quality.

MRC obtained a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant to promote healthy waterways by working with students in environmental science classes as part of the Students for Streams program across the entire Midshore. Since last August, MRC educators Elle O’Brien and Suzanne Sullivan brought programing to each school once or twice a month. Activities included planting native plants, oyster dissections, schoolyard assessments, and field trips to Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge. MRC helped students understand the connection between human actions and water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. They led students in creating action projects that will have a positive impact on local water quality.

Pictured (L-R) are SMMHS Principal Tracy Elzey, MRC Education & Outreach Coordinator Elle O’Brien, MRC board member Meta Boyd, and TCPS Superintendent of Schools Kelly Griffith. Photo courtesy of TCPS.

St. Michaels Middle High School (SMMHS) became a leader in student-led action projects, installing over 200 native plant species, painting a beautiful Chesapeake-themed storm drain mural, and reinvigorating the school’s recycling and waste management programs. Perhaps the largest accomplishment is being awarded the national recognition of becoming a Maryland Green School.

“We choose Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy for our Community Partner Award this year because of their quality programing and commitment in my classroom,” says SMMHS science teacher Lauren Greer. “Their education team is great to work with and extremely supportive of the projects in the classroom. They have a natural ability to work with students and know how to motivate every student. Because of their support with students’ action projects, the St. Michaels Middle High School campus was able to become a Green School.”

MRC Education & Outreach Coordinator Elle O’Brien says, “The students at St. Michaels Middle High School and all of our partner schools are incredibly creative, inquisitive, and enthusiastic to get their hands dirty and work toward a healthier Chesapeake Bay. MRC thanks the dedicated teachers in this program and their commitment to educating future environmental stewards.”

MRC is pleased to announce that Students for Streams is expanding to work with every 9th grader in Talbot County in the 2017-2018 school year through continued funding from Chesapeake Bay Trust.

To learn more about Students for Streams, please contact Elle O’Brien at elle@midshoreriverkeeper.org, 443-385-0511.

Adkins Arboretum’s Summer Nature Camps Begin June 19

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.

Discover the Chesapeake Bay this Summer with Scientists from UMCES

The scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have a deep understanding of Chesapeake Bay, its value to the region, and by extension, to the public. Studying its rises and falls, its comebacks and creatures, has helped them to recommend best management practices to natural resource managers and elected officials that better serve our region, and have made our efforts in restoration world renowned.

Starting Monday, June 5, discover the Bay through the eyes of our scientists with a new YouTube series called “Discovering the Chesapeake.” Our scientists will talk about research studies they’re proud of and the impact they made, popular and oft-overlooked creatures that live in the Bay, and even the marvels of the Bay that have impacted them after years of research in the Chesapeake Bay’s waters and watershed.

Throughout the summer, you can visit the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s page on YouTube every Monday at noon for a new conversation.

Subscribe to our page at http://bit.ly/youtube-umces to receive notifications about new videos.

JUNE SCHEDULE

June 5:
Estuarine ecologist Walter Boynton on the disappearance—and return—of seagrasses in the Chesapeake Bay.

June 12:
Chemist Michael Gonsior on the Chesapeake Bay in relation to its neighbor Delaware Bay.

June 19:
Quantitative ecologist Matt Fitzpatrick on how growing up on in the Bay watershed led him to his research there

June 26:
Fisheries scientist Michael Wilberg on the mighty little fish menhaden.

July schedule to come.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound evidence and advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

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

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.

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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 .

Riverkeepers Seek Volunteer Creekwatchers

Creekwatcher Dick Bemis uses a YSI meter to measure water quality parameters.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) is seeking volunteers to join our Creekwatchers program on the Wye River, Cox Creek, Crab Alley, and Harris Creek. Creekwatcher teams conduct water quality monitoring at approximately 115 sites on nine rivers and Eastern Bay. Volunteers measure salinity, temperature, water clarity, and dissolved oxygen, and test for nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll a concentrations. MRC provides all equipment and training necessary for volunteers to collect the samples. The only requirement of volunteers is access to a boat.

Data collected by Creekwatchers is a vital component in producing MRC’s annual State of the Midshore Rivers Report Card. The data is also shared with other agencies to help monitor trends in water quality.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is a non-profit 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, visit midshoreriverkeeper.org.

Interested Creekwatcher volunteers may contact Tasha at keitasha@midshoreriverkeeper.org or call 443-385-0511 to learn more about the program.

Stewards for Streams Seeks Volunteers for Cambridge Church Planting

Waugh Chapel in Cambridge also worked with Stewards for Streams to plant a native rain garden.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy and St. Luke United Methodist Church in Cambridge are seeking volunteers to help plant over 400 native flowers and grasses on Tuesday, May 30 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Volunteers will be helping to plant a sloped ditched called a bio-swale that collects rain water draining into our rivers. Native species help filter and clean rain water, thus reducing pollution before it reaches our rivers, all the while beautifying the church grounds. Native species to be planted include black-eyed Susans, seashore mallow, and switchgrass. St. Luke is planting their bio-swale as a part of the Stewards for Streams: Faith Based Conservation program, funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Stewards for Streams works with congregations of any denomination to connect faith with environmental stewardship action.St. Luke is located at 712 Bradley Avenue. If you would like to volunteer please contact Suzanne at Suzanne@midshoreriverkeeper.org or call 443-385-0511. Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is also looking for more congregations to join the Stewards for Streams movement and spread environmental stewardship actions throughout local communities. Please contact Suzanne if you would like to get your congregation involved.

Pickering Creek Audubon Hosts Toast & Taste at Historic Harleigh

On Saturday, June 10 Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s Tour, Toast & Taste will be held at Chip and Sally Akridge’s Harleigh on Oxford Rd. The event will afford guests a rare look inside Harleigh and a great opportunity to socialize and add culinary adventures to their social calendars for the upcoming year.

Each year, Pickering Creek selects one of Easton’s finest estates to host its largest fundraiser of the year. The event includes a home tour, food, drink, entertainment, live and silent auction and an opportunity to purchase seats at unique events held throughout the year. In 2017, the Tour, Toast & Taste committee is extremely excited to have Harleigh join the list of other magnificent properties to have hosted this spectacular event including Hope House, Forrest Landing, Myrtle Grove, Wye House, and Knightly.

Fronting a tranquil Eastern Shore tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, the property’s original clapboard farmhouse dates to the mid-1800s. But it wasn’t until 2007, that the couple initiated an extensive renovation with the Baltimore architectural and design firm Johnson/Berman.

The team lavished equal attention on the estate’s grounds, which swelled as the Akridges acquired surrounding agricultural parcels that had been destined for high-density residential development. These days, a stroll around the property reveals areas of horticultural identity that are distinct and yet expertly play off of each other to create one of the most enchanting residential gardens of the Chesapeake region.

Under Sally’s direction, the English-style formal garden the beds are resplendent with hostas, roses, and stunning ornamental onion blooms that suggest an explosion of purple summertime fireworks. “This whole place is a canvas for almost any kind of expression,” Sally says. “We like to honor those who were here before us, because we’re just custodians for a while.”

On the opposite side of the house, Chip has modeled a huge kitchen garden and perennial bed after the ones tended by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Starting uphill and sloping toward the water, twenty-nine raised beds sprout strawberries, sweet peas, collards, okra, heirloom tomatoes, and Chip’s favorite—popping corn. “When I was growing up, my grandparents were big garden folks,” Chip says. “We always canned vegetables and it stayed with me.”

Beyond the vegetables are swaths of red poppies and chamomile in four small wildflower meadows, a transitional zone to the estate’s less-manicured environs. The Akridges have turned two-thirds of the commercial agricultural acreage back into wildlife habitat, providing terrific food and shelter for ducks, geese, songbirds, wild turkeys and quail, and bird watching opportunities for local wildlife enthusiasts.

Chip & Sally’s appreciation for wildlife and the need to improve habitat, which they have demonstrated along Oxford Road makes Harleigh a terrific location to celebrate Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s work to reconnect people with nature and their own role in stewarding the Chesapeake regions natural resources.

The evening of June 10th will begin with a guided first floor tour of the home, where docents will discuss the history of the home and the notable renovations and improvements the Akridges have made to make it the outstanding place it is today. Both Chip and Sally will be on hand to answer questions.

At the conclusion of the tour, guests will move to the spacious green behind the home overlooking the Tred Avon River to enjoy cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres while signing up and purchasing seats at a wide variety of dinners and events that will be held throughout the year. Dinners and events ranging from gourmet meals to themed ethnic dinners, local and historical specialty dinners, brunches, and Crab Feasts will be available for purchase. There is something for everyone, and they all benefit the conservation education conducted daily at Pickering Creek.

Naturalist and friend of the Center, Mike Callahan will conclude the evening with a special presentation of live raptors of Maryland. Callahan is an expert on barn owls and raptors and introduces the public to them through his work with Southern Maryland Audubon Society and Charles County Public Schools. Guests will have an opportunity to learn about the birds and see them up close.

This year’s Tour, Toast and Taste is generously sponsored by Chip and Sally Akridge, the Dock Street Foundation, the Frederick Richmond Foundation, Shore Bancshares, The Wilford Nagel Group at Morgan Stanley, Bruce Wiltsie and Bill Davenport, Chesapeake Audubon Society, Bill and Mary Griffin, Cheryl Tritt and Philip Walker, Richard and Beverly Tilghman, Jo Storey, the Star Democrat, Colin Walsh and Carolyn Williams, Bartlett, Griffin and Vermilye, The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley, Clay Railey and Don Wooters, George and Cemmy Peterson, Wye Gardens, LLC, Wayne and Jodi Shaner, and many others.

For over 30 years, Pickering Creek Audubon Center has provided environmental education opportunities to students of the Eastern Shore, moving them from awareness of their watershed to conservation action in their communities. Since establishing a well-reputed elementary education program in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools 25 years ago, Audubon has added meaningful watershed experiences for middle and high school students to our continuum of education along with community outreach education about our regions unique saltmarshes. Pickering Creek reaches the people of the Eastern Shore throughout their academic careers outdoor learning experiences that encourage them to continue interacting with the outdoors frequently.
Tickets can be purchased online and more information can be found at www.pcacevents.org. For more information call the Center at 410-822-4903.

For more information:
Mark Scallion
410-822-4903
mscallion@audubon.org
For more information on the event:
www.pcacevents.org