Environmental Concern Holds 18th Annual Spring Native Plant Sale

More and more homeowners are planting rain gardens, butterfly gardens and stormwater management gardens. Home gardeners are reaping the benefits by reconnecting with nature and bringing the practice of planting native into their own backyards.

The 18th Annual Spring Plant Sale at Environmental Concern’s Campus in St. Michaels is the perfect place to get inspired, and to pick up native plants grown in EC’s nursery. This year’s sale takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12th   from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Garden lovers will find new species, and the popular favorites that have made this event an annual tradition for Eastern Shore gardeners for nearly 2 decades. Growing more than 100 species of shrubs and herbaceous plants for over 46 years, Environmental Concern hosts one of the largest native plant sales on the Eastern Shore.

In addition to the plant sale, EC will host workshops that will inspire and educate customers. “Milkweeds for Monarchs” will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. each day. Participants will learn about the Monarch butterfly, and the dependence of the Monarch caterpillars on native milkweed for survival. Recommendations for plant selection and habitat creation techniques will encourage even first time gardeners to dig in, and get wet and muddy – and don’t forget to shop for the perfect Mother’s day plant. Our experts will be on hand to help you with your plant selection.

There will be a large selection of flowering herbaceous perennials and hardy shrubs. Highlights include colorful red columbines (Aquilegia canadensis) with red and yellow showy, drooping, bell-like flowers, and the Joe pye weed (Eupatorium dubium) which is very attractive to beneficial pollinators. Additional offerings include the Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor), and the Northern sea oat (Chasmanthium latifolium), known for its interesting flat foliage and unique seed heads.

Visit Environmental Concern’s Nursery in historic St. Michaels at 201 Boundary Lane. Watch for signs along St. Michaels Road. For more information, call 410-745-9620.

Environmental Concern is a 501(c)3 public not-for-profit organization. All proceeds from the plant sale will help fund EC’s mission to improve water quality and enhance native habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Letter to the Editor: Crying Wolf

Identifying with the aggressor is a psychological process. It describes a person who adopts the perspective or the behavior patterns of someone who has been significantly abusing them in one way or another. It’s how captives often begin behaving like their captors.

Those who heard or read Michelle Wolf’s comments at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner may have reacted as I did. Except for one insightful comment, Wolf’s roast had none of the subtlety and ironic touches of the skilled satirist or the witty comedian. It was the blind rage of a liberal hack, and as a liberal, I found it offensive.

I see in her performance a clear diagnostic indicator of what ails America today. In the Guardian, recently, this headline appeared.

“At the White House correspondents dinner, the buzz was reduced to snore, until Michelle Wolf showed up.” In short, we’re asleep but wake up for the salacious stuff.

Today’s national discourse has been so conditioned as to be aroused only by outrageous behavior, salacious accusations, crude commentary and character assassination. Policy issues have grown boring. Trump once dismissed his National Policy Advisor as “boring.” Was his job to entertain? And as we remain titillated and enthralled by burlesque theatrics, the pockets of America’s national policies get systematically picked

Wolf made this sobering statement to the correspondents. I think she was right.

“You guys are obsessed with Trump . . . you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love

him . . . what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you . . .  sell all your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off him.”

The media, regularly abused by its aggressor has now identified with him.

George Merrill
St. Michaels


Learning from the Island with Tilghman Area Youth Association

Slow down as you cross the drawbridge to Tilghman Island so you can take in the beauty of the water and landscape around you.  Roll down your windows and breathe the crisp air that promises a spring soon to come.  Realize that some people are lucky enough to live here — and some young kids are lucky enough to go to school in the middle of this living bay laboratory.

Tilghman Area Youth Association (TAYA) is proud to partner with Tilghman Elementary School to offer the kids on the island unparalleled access to activities that teach them about their surroundings and help them appreciate the beauty of nature in their own backyard.

This spring, kids in TAYA’s award-winning afterschool program enjoy lots of outdoor time on our island as we get wet, wild, dirty, and have fun with special guest educators from many local environmental organizations.  We visit Phillips Wharf Environmental Center each week to see aquatic animals and play games to learn about the Chesapeake Bay.  The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Shore Rivers, and Poplar Island come to us with interesting activities about wetlands, trees, and island habitat.  A local Master Gardener and experts from the University of Maryland Extension continue to work with the kids to plant, harvest, and cook yummy foods from our school garden.

And we continue our fun programs on half-days of school with support from local artists, the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum, and Talbot County Arts Council with a special Arts on the Island day where the children will explore island landscapes through both plein air painting and photography.

TAYA also supports a variety of environmental science activities during the school day at Tilghman Elementary School.  Angie Asmussen’s third-grade students raise a juvenile terrapin in their classroom all year long, caring for it and collecting data for scientists.  In the spring, they travel to Poplar Island, just off the coast of Tilghman Island, to release their terrapin.  Teachers Lindsay Grow and Katie Fox (Talbot County School’s 2017-18 Teacher of the Year) lead a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) night that includes a variety of science activities for families.  For the second year in a row, the school will host a week-long visit from a mobile science laboratory brought by the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation.

TES teachers incorporate many environmental science activities into their day, even without TAYA support, to meet curriculum guidelines and provide authentic experiences for the students.  They regularly host visits by Nate Bratko, with the University of Maryland Extension Service, who leads nutrition education programs.  Pickering Creek taught the primary grades about natural vs. man-made landscapes, and 4th and 5th graders will be visiting Annapolis on a Chesapeake Bay Foundation field trip won by Katie Fox as part of her Teacher of the Year experience.

The arts also support the environmental science messages at TES, and TAYA is happy to have the support of the Talbot County Arts Council for these programs.  Local artist Sue Stockman worked with all the kids in the school to design and create gorgeous silk banners reflecting the diversity of island plants, animals, and habitat.  And in May, Drew Anderson from Young Audiences of Maryland will bring his science-themed hip-hop and comedy to the school.

This summer, TAYA will host a week-long summer camp from August 13-17 that will continue to include ways to learn about and enjoy Tilghman Island’s unique location.  For information, contact Ann Farley, TAYA’s Executive Director, at tayadirector@gmail.com or 410-253-0967

Did you know that Tilghman Elementary is accepting out-of-area students for the 2018-19 school year?  Come for a visit and see what our fantastic school has to offer!  Please call the school at 410-886-2391 to schedule a tour and get more information.  Learning about the science and art of the island environment is just the beginning of the great things you will find at Tilghman Elementary.

Election 2018: Former NATO Commander Endorses Colvin

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark has endorsed Jesse Colvin for Congress on Thursday.

In an op-ed published by The Baltimore Sun, Clark explains why he believes veterans like Jesse are running for Congress all across the country and why he thinks they are likely to win in November.

“Former Army Ranger Jesse Colvin, who is running to represent Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, is perhaps a perfect embodiment of the unique qualities of leadership veterans possess and of the trajectory that has led them to where they are today,” Clark writes.

The piece goes on to highlight the similarities between Jesse and former marine and recently elected Pennsylvania Congressman Conor Lamb.

“Like Mr. Lamb, Mr. Colvin is running in a rural district that President Donald Trump won handily, one that until recently was considered “out of reach” for Democrats. And like Mr. Lamb, Mr. Colvin is running on a platform focused on uniting people behind practical solutions to local problems. He is running with the integrity and sense of duty that so many in Congress lack.”


Easton Rotary’s 7th Annual Flags for Heroes Launched

The Rotary Club of Easton will hold its 7th annual Flags for Heroes event during Memorial Day Weekend. On the heels of six successful years of raising nearly $200,000 and benefitting 30 different local hero-related organizations, the Rotary Club of Easton is again fulfilling its mission of “Service above Self.”

Flags for Heroes provides members of the local community a way to honor their personal heroes including family members, friends, veterans, active members of the armed forces, teachers, firefighters, police officers, or any other individuals who have made a positive impact on their lives.

The 1000 American flags, which stand 8 feet tall, can be sponsored for $50 each in honor or in memory of personal heroes and will be displayed at multiple locations around Easton with the largest displays at the Talbot Community Center and Black & Decker field. The deadline for sponsorship is May 21st.

Over the past six years, with the support of Easton’s mayor, Bob Willey, Easton Utilities, The Star Democrat, Talbot County Government, and countless donors, Flags for Heroes has presented donations totaling nearly $200,000 to 30 local community organizations, many of which provide service to veterans. Among the organizations who received funds were: Talbot Goes Purple, a substance abuse awareness program that engages the community and its youth to stand against substance abuse; Talbot Mental Health Association, which received funding for its Veterans Fund which assists Eastern Shore Veterans in need; Operation Open Arms, an organization that provides service men and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with vacations to Talbot County; Talbot County Paramedic Foundation, which received funding toward the purchase of life-saving equipment; Talbot Hospice, which received specific funding for veterans, who comprise 20 percent of the patients spending their last days at Hospice House and half of whom are in the low-to-no income category; Easton Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer organization and official auxiliary of the United States Air Force that follows a military-style program for cadets ages 12 to 21 who are interested in enlisting, entering a military academy, or perusing ROTC scholarship opportunities; Easton High School NJROTC; the Easton Police Department; the Easton Volunteer Fire Department; the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, which received full funding to bring the wall to Easton; and many more.

For more information about Flags for Heroes or flag sponsorship, please visit www.flagsforheroes.org or call Jackie Wilson at 410-310-5664 and contribute by May 21st.

Recovery: Healthy Tilghman Sponsors Workshop on Mental Health and Addiction Stigma

For Bay Hundred residents seeking to understand those suffering mental challenges or substance use and dealing with the stigma of addiction and mental health, Healthy Tilghman is co-sponsoring a free community workshop Stigma … in Our Work, in Our Lives on Tuesday, April 24 at the Tilghman Island Fire Hall from 6 -8 pm.

Stigma … in Our Work, in Our Lives is an interactive workshop designed to help attendees identify stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors, examine their impact, and formulate a plan to combat these harmful beliefs. The program is open to anyone in the Bay Hundred community interested in or dealing with mental health and addiction issues, including family members and mental-health professionals.

“The workshop will help us challenge perceptions and learn tools and strategies to identify stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors that might impede a person’s recovery,” said Rose Regan, Peer Coordinator of Healthy Tilghman. “We’d like to share how to carry a positive message to all in our community.”

The workshop, which is being presented by On Our Own of Maryland Inc.’s Anti-Stigma Project, will take place on Tuesday, April 24, at the Tilghman Volunteer Fire Department, 5996 Tilghman Island Road, Tilghman Island from 6 – 8 pm. No sign up is required.

For more information about Healthy Tilghman contact Michael Flaherty 412-260-6946 or the TUMC website www.tilghmanumc.org. For more information about the Anti-Stigma Project visit www.onourownmd.org

Healthy Tilghman is an outreach program that includes mental health and substance abuse counseling, educational programs to foster healthy body, mind and spirit, peer support, and substance abuse programs to support families and those with addiction issues in the Bay Hundred area. Healthy Tilghman is partnership between Tilghman United Methodist Church and For All Seasons, Behavioral Health and Rape Crisis Center.

Quakers extend Discussions on Race series

Emboldened by the success of its recent series of Discussions on Race, Third Haven Friends Meeting has added a fifth discussion to the series.

At 6 p.m. Friday, April 13, the community is invited to join the Quakers for a complimentary supper of soup, bread, fruit and nonalcoholic beverages in the Third Haven common room (parish hall), at 405 South Washington Street.

At 6:30, those in attendance will see Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class. This documentary is written, directed and narrated by journalist Bob Herbert, an accomplished reporter who has worked at the New York Daily News, NBC and the New York Times. It examines the extraordinary difficulty African-Americans have faced in their efforts to establish and maintain a middle class standard of living. Nearly 40 percent of all black children are poor. And the black middle class remains proportionally much smaller and far less healthy than the white middle class. With a compelling narrative, dramatic historical footage and a series of deeply personal interviews, Bob Herbert shows why this is still the case a half century after the heyday of the civil rights movement, and more than a century and a half since the 13th Amendment abolished slavery.

Against All Odds traces the history of blacks in America, going back to slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Great Migration of 6 million people to northern cities during and after the Second World War in search of a promised land. Among those he interviewed are Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, the son and grandson of sharecroppers.
Herbert documents the obstacles that have held blacks back ever since emancipation: landowners who cheated their sharecroppers, company stores that kept them in debt, mass incarceration, segregation, discrimination, ghettoes, redlining, violence (including lynchings), inferior schools and chronic relegation to low-wage jobs.

“Against a backdrop of crime, poverty, violence and disastrous relations with law enforcement,” Herbert asks, “where does the middle class fit into this picture?”

Originally released just six months ago, Against All Odds is a hit with users of the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com). Out of a possible 10 points, they gave it a rating of 9.1.

Attendance will be limited, as in the past, to 50 people. So if you plan to show up, do yourself a favor and sign up. To register or for more information, contact Pete Howell at piratepete@goeaston.net or 410-924-5752.

The Trippe Gallery: Kevin Garbar and Meg Nottingham Walsh

Red Shoulder Hawk by Kevin Garber

The Trippe Gallery is featuring the opening of two new exhibits to celebrate the return of First Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Easton this Friday. Watercolor artist Kevin Garber will be showing new work in his popular “Avian Landscape” collection.

Garber has been drawing and painting birds for over 40 years and his watercolors are eye-catching and full of movement and excitement. Garber will be on hand during Gallery Walk to talk about his art. In addition the gallery is presenting “Welcome Spring Blossoms,” featuring oil paintings of Meg Nottingham Walsh, the Botanical watercolors of Lee D’Zmura and garden photographs by Nanny Trippe.

Opening reception for the exhibits is Friday April 6 from 5-8 pm so please come out enjoy some spring inspirations. The gallery is located at 23 N Harrison St. For more information, please call 410-310-8727.

Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

Letter to Editor: NextStep 190 Code Revision Does Not Protect Residential Neighborhoods

The County’s NextStep 190 Code Revision process has been going on for months. The current revision has been vetted by the Planning Office, the County attorneys, the Planning Commission, and is expected to go to the County Council soon for a vote. Many people have contributed time and recommendations to the process, including those from several neighborhoods with or threatened with short-term vacation rentals (STRs). A growing number of people advocating for reasonable limitations on STRs has been increasingly vocal about the problems these unsupervised “mini-hotels” bring to neighborhoods, the most basic of which is disruption to the peaceful quality of life for the residents who live near them.

Among the suggestions offered by these concerned neighbors are limiting the length and number of STRs, requiring the rental property to be the owner’s primary residence (beneficial to residents), requiring the rental property to be accessible by public and not private roads, and improving County monitoring. The most important and foolproof recommendation is that the County find a way to allow neighborhoods to opt out of STRs, whether by zoning or through neighborhood bylaws and covenants prohibiting such activity.

However, instead of protecting our quality of life by adopting reasonable STR limitations that would help preserve our neighborhoods, the current code revision proposes to continue issuing unlimited STR licenses (including opening the door to “corporations” while insisting that STRs are not commercial businesses!) almost anywhere, anytime. Talbot County considers neighborhood covenants “private agreements,” an absurd cop-out, and is unwilling to change that interpretation or to respect those “agreements.” The County also absolves itself of any responsibility for causing havoc for homeowners in STR-impacted neighborhoods. Mistakenly assuming that a few regulations and a nod to better monitoring will change human behavior, County leaders continue to ignore the basic fact that vacationers and residents have different and conflicting lifestyles.

Fully three-quarters of the STR licenses issued by Talbot County this year went to property owners who are not County residents. Who benefits from these STRs and who doesn’t? Nonresident investors (who do not vote here) get what they want, realtors and property managers make a buck, lawyers get more clients, and the County receives revenue from rental taxes, while our residential neighborhoods get the shaft and commercial hotels and B & Bs get less visitor business. As supposed stewards of the public good, the County Council has been fully involved in this process. Councilmembers Callahan, Pack and Williams have so far failed to offer or support any additions or changes that would protect and strengthen the rights of resident property owners over business, wedding and entertainment interests.

What happened to the “unusually high quality of life” vision for residents in the County’s recently-approved Comprehensive Plan? It’s time to start looking at the new 2018 candidates for County Council. We deserve better leadership.

Donna and Bill Dudley
Holly and Paul Fine
Ashby/Easton, MD