Tour, Toast and Taste Promises Rare Glimpse Inside Lombardy Estate

On June 9th, Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s Tour, Toast & Taste will be held at Joe and Missy Walsh’s Lombardy in Unionville. The event will afford guests a rare look inside Lombardy and a great opportunity to socialize and add culinary adventures to their social calendars for the next year. We’ll also be celebrating the Year of the Bird. 2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.

Just around the corner from the 400-acre wildlife sanctuary and nature education center, in Unionville, Lombardy is a perfect fit for this year’s Tour, Toast and Taste event to benefit the education programs of Pickering Creek Audubon Center, the Shore’s premiere environmental center connecting people with birds, habitat and the Chesapeake Bay.

There are two noteworthy buildings at Lombardy. The larger, five part house, known as Lombardy, is a beautiful three story, colonial revival structure of the 1930s with a Mt. Vernon porch.  Immediately adjacent is an early nineteenth century, one and a half story, three bay brick house that was constructed around 1830.  Today’s Lombardy was built and inhabited by the great grandfather of Pickering Creek Audubon Center Board of Trustees member Dirck Bartlett. The father of another recent Pickering Trustee, Colin Walsh, also owned it before being purchased by its current owners, Joe and Missy Walsh, who are not related to the previous Walshs. Joe and Missy Walsh have conducted significant renovations to the buildings and made impressive improvements to the outdoor amenities as well.

The oldest existing building on the site, dating from the early nineteenth century.

The evening begins with a leisurely drive down a long, beautiful tree lined drive. Upon arrival, guests tour seven first floor rooms beautifully decorated by Mrs. Walsh.  The rooms feature significant original woodwork and other detail features as well as artwork that has remained with the house over the course of several owners.  Mrs. Walsh has tastefully decorated each of the rooms, retaining the overall flavor of the house while adding many attractive embellishments.  In addition to seeing seven first floor rooms guests will have an opportunity to view both of the second floor wings from the second floor landing.  Several generations of owners will be on hand to share the history of the house as well as how it got to its present state of perfection.

After the house tour guests will adjourn to a pleasantly breezy riverfront tent overlooking the Miles for cocktails, delicious hors d’ouevres, and light entertainment from Justin Ryan. At the sound of the bell, guests will have the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of intriguing dinners, unique events and auction items offered by strong supporters of the community-based education programs of Pickering Creek Audubon Center. In the spirit of the Year of the Bird this year’s live auction includes a wonderful trip to view migrating Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska, where every March, over 600,000 Sandhill Cranes converge on the Platte River valley in central Nebraska to fuel up before continuing north to their nesting grounds.

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

A view of the main estate house from the Miles River.

The Tour, Toast & Taste committee consists of a group of loyal Pickering supporters including Jo Storey, Bill Griffin, Tom Sanders, Dave Bent, Cheryl Tritt, Dirck Bartlett, Debra Rich, Carol Thompson, and Colin Walsh. This year’s Tour, Toast & Taste is generously sponsored by the Bill Davenport and Bruce Wiltsie, Out of the Fire Restaurant, Capital Blackbook, William and Mary Griffin, the Tilghman Family, Bartlett, Griffin and Vermilye, Wye Gardens, LLC, the Dock Street Foundation, the Chesapeake Audubon Society, The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the Wilford Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Phil and Charlotte Sechler, Tidewater Physical Therapy, Avon Dixon Insurance, Wye Financial & Trust, Shore United Bank, Shorebancshares, Cheryl Tritt and Phil Walker, Colin Walsh and Carolyn Williams, Courtney and Scott Pastrick, Clay Railey and Don Wooters, the Star Democrat, Rick Scobey and Bruce Ragsdale, Ewing Dietz Fountain and Kaludis, Jo Storey and many more.

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 and birds 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 and more information are available online at www.pcacevents.org.  For more information call the Center at 410-822-4903.

Pickering Creek’s Gratitude and Grub a Success!

On April 15th, 85 of Pickering Creek’s loyal supporters gathered in the Center’s rustic long shed for a dinner of thanks for their financial support of the Center’s work in the last twelve months.  Supporters were treated to a pig roast with a delicious assortment of home made sides.   Pickering Alumni Trustees John Trax acquired and roasted the pig with assistance from Alumni Trustee John Bayliss.  Board of Trustees and Alumni Carol Thompson, Tom Sanders, Debbie Geisenkotter, Colin Walsh, Mary and Bill Griffin, Jo Storey, Debra Rich and Cemmy Peterson all contributed homemade sides and desserts.  The crowd enjoyed the acoustic guitar stylings of the magnificent Kentavius Jones.

Midway through the evening Director Mark Scallion highlighted the work the Center has accomplished in the past year thanks to our supporter’s generosity as well as programs scheduled for this spring.  Supporters donations helped bring programs with Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS) second grade students who learned about seeds and plants, gaining an understanding of how seeds are dispersed, the plant life cycle and how plants meet human needs.  TCPS seventh grade students learned about the importance of biodiversity to the Chesapeake Bay using scientific tools and methods. First grade students learn about schoolyard habitats at their school as well as the importance of wetlands during a field experience to Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s extensive wetlands.  Contributions also support programs with Dorchester County Public Schools students sixth grade students and teachers participating in the Audubon Conservation Team for Birds program. Audubon Conservation Team for Birds gives students and teachers the skills to improve their schoolyard and community for birds while learning about Chesapeake Bay water quality and bird habitat components.  Each of these experiences gives students real life examples of how science works and connects them to their watershed at the same time.  The support of our donors in the community ensures that these programs happen for every student every year.  If you’d like a personal tour of the Center to learn more about supporting this work contact mark or Susanna Scallion at 410 822 4903.

Pickering Creek reaches Eastern Shore students throughout their academic careers with richly structured outdoor learning experiences to assure them the developmental benefits of frequent interaction with nature. Since establishing a well-reputed hands-on elementary education program in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools over 18 years ago, in the last 8 years, Pickering Creek Audubon Center has also added meaningful watershed experiences for middle and high school students to its continuum of education, which include student driven habitat restoration projects in the community. Pickering Creek Audubon Center provides environmental education and volunteer opportunities to students and adults of the Eastern Shore, moving them from awareness of their watershed to conservation action in their communities.

Pickering Creek EcoCamp: Winter Edition Sign Up Opens

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.

Camping under Meteors

The Leonid Meteor Shower lit up the Eastern Shore sky on a cold evening this past month. The annual event happens around November 17th and often requires its viewers to bundle up – and this year was no exception. The near freezing temperatures would not deter the Junior Naturalist of Pickering Creek Audubon Center from an opportunity to spot a meteor.

A periodic warm-up by the fire for some of the Junior Naturalists participating in the Meteor Shower campout.

The Junior Naturalists are local 7th-12th graders who spend the school year learning about and visiting Maryland’s diverse environments and the summer volunteering during Pickering Creek’s popular EcoCamp. The students are as diverse as the habitats they explore – they come with different interests, hobbies, and knowledge of our environment – but all are excited to spend more time outside.

Pickering Creek planned a campout along the waterfront for the Junior Naturalists so they could quickly escape to their warm tents but the teens had another idea. Starting around 8:00 pm, they started counting off meteors. The tents were quickly abandoned. The Junior Naturalists decided instead to zip into their sleeping bags at the end of Pickering Creek’s dock.

“I counted 18 meteors!” exclaimed Harrison, a new Junior Naturalists, the next morning. As they warmed up over a pancake breakfast, the Junior Naturalists shared stories of the meteors, nighttime sounds over the water, and compared the thickness of frost found on their sleeping bags. Hopefully their next monthly meeting won’t be quite as cold as they hike into the forest for an owl prowl.

To learn more about the yearlong Junior Naturalist program, contact Krysta Hougen at Pickering Creek Audubon Center (khougen@audubon.org).

Winging It at Pickering Creek Audubon Center

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

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.

10th Annual Gilbert Byron Day to be Observed on October 8

The Gilbert Byron House. Photograph by George Hatcher

The tenth annual Gilbert Byron Day will be observed on Sunday, October 8 during the annual Pickering Creek Harvest Hoedown.  In addition to the many other family oriented activities of the day, visitors will have the opportunity to visit Byron’s home. The small self-built house, pictured above, has been relocated from San Domingo Creek near St. Michaels to the Pickering Creek Audubon Center where it is undergoing restoration. With only his pet dogs for companions, Byron spent nearly half of his life in this house. It was here that he produced what is likely the largest collection of writing about the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay Regions authored by a single person. His published work includes 14 books; scores of poems; more than 170 short stories and general interest articles; and over 2,000 area newspaper columns.

During the Hoedown, the Gilbert Byron house will be open to visitors where they will have to opportunity to learn about the life and literary work of this “Voice of the Chesapeake.” Information: gilberbyron.orgpickeringcreek.audubon.org/about-us

Pickering Creek’s Harvest Hoedown Celebrates Fall October 8

Pickering Creek celebrates fall on the Eastern Shore at this year’s Harvest Hoedown on Sunday October 8. Harvest Hoedown features music at three locations, unique craftspeople, nature walks, wildlife exhibits, boat rides on the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Winnie Estelle and entertaining kids and adult activities as well as food prepared by the Easton Lions Club and new local food vendors. Activities and vendors will be found throughout Pickering Creek. Explore the property with hay wagon rides or take a stroll on the forest trail for a sampling of the Eastern Shore’s natural beauty from wetlands to 100 year-old trees, all highlighted in vibrant fall colors.

Great Family Fun at Harvest Hoedown.

Harvest Hoedown 2017 will feature live music, puppet shows, a family friendly scavenger hunt with prizes and storytellers will give families great entertainment and fun throughout the day.  Milkweed plants and pollinator seed balls will be available for guests who participate in fun activities about monarch butterflies, pollinators and climate. From deep in the vaults of Pickering Creek the Harvest Hoedown T-Shirt Art collection will be on display, featuring the great folk art that has graced the back of each Harvest Hoedown T-Shirt for the last seventeen years.  These works will be on display at the Center’s Welcome Center.  Scheduled events will include not only music on the main stage, but also brief nature talks by area naturalists including topics such as Bird Rescue, Poplar Island, Monarchs, Honey Bees and more.

This year features a number of great returning craftsmen including Matt Redman’s Chesapeake Soaps and Bee George Honey.  Both Matt and George have great interactive displays and are mainstays of our local community. Craftspeople from across the peninsula including Joan Devaney, Damaris ToyWorks, Plein Air Painters, Sisters Clay Art, Birdworx and Wacky Wind Chimes and more will have locally made quality items on sale that make great Christmas gifts and birthday presents while supporting our local economy.

Harvest Hoedown features great music for all ages!  The Harvest Hoedown main stage, framed by Pickering’s historic corncrib, will host toe tapping blues and bluegrass with four acts throughout the day. The kid’s stage is just down the lane right next to Pickering’s beautiful gardens, surrounded by a bevy of fun educational activities led by Audubon Naturalists and budding volunteer leaders.  The musical artists featured frequently perform in their own right, but Pickering puts them all together for a wonderful fall day of music and fun.

Slim Harrison and new Sunnyland Band’s youngest members.

The kid’s stage features a very accomplished act from Western Maryland. First Slim Harrison and the Sunnyland Band return for their sixteenth year.  The best thing about the Sunnyland Band is that it is you!  With over 40,000 members worldwide it may very well be the biggest band around. For over 25 years, Slim has performed at Schools and Festivals, Hoedowns & Throwdowns all over North America and around the world.  He is a “Master Artist” with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts and full-time “Artist in Residence” with the Maryland State Arts Council – Artists in Education, Touring Artists Program.

Slim’s solo performance titled: “Exploring the Roots of American Folk Music” teaches children about the many cultures that brought lots of different flavors to the American Musical Gumbo.  Kids are given an opportunity to join the “Sunnyland Band” and play along on spoons, jugs, washboards, skiffleboards, limberjacks, washtub bass, PA Dutch “stumpf-fiddles”, African tambourines, Cajun frattrois,  Native American whammy-diddles, Chinese gaos, Latin maracas, clave`s & quiros.

The main stage kicks off at 11:00 am with local favorites Alan Girard and Meredith Lathbury, followed by Baltimore musician Norm Hogeland. Playing next at Harvest Hoedown on the main stage are Slim Harrison and the Rock Candy Cloggers.

Headlining the main stage is the New and Used Bluegrass band, based on the Eastern Shore with members from across the shore. New and Used Bluegrass features Alan Breeding on banjo, Jim Bieneman on bass fiddle and vocals, Toby Price on mandolin and vocals, Ed Finkner on guitar and vocals and Jon Simmons on fiddle, mandolin and vocals. New and Used Bluegrass performs various flavors of bluegrass music, ranging from the traditional  – like the Stanley Brothers “How Mountain Girls Can Love” to “Eastbound and Down” from the Smokey and the Bandit movie, to “Caravan”, a Duke Ellington tune, as well as assorted banjo and fiddle tunes and songs.  They are well known locally for their excellent bluegrass pickin’.

Harvest Hoedown is generously supported by the following sponsors: Bartlett Griffin and Vermilye, Shore United Bank, Wye Gardens, LLC, Johnson Lumber Company, Colin Walsh & Carolyn Williams, Richard & Beverly Tilghman, Stuart and Melissa Strahl, The Star Democrat, the Chesapeake Audubon Society, Out of the Fire, Kelly Distributing, and Pepsi Cola. Please contact the Center for if you would like to be a sponsor.

Harvest Hoedown means fun for all ages!  Music, hayrides, boat rides, local arts, and great family activities put smiles on every face. Mark your calendar, dig up your overalls, boots and hat and make your way out to Pickering Creek on October 8.  We will be having fun from 11 am- 4 pm.

Audubon and Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage offer Habitat Workshop for Landowners

Pickering Creek Audubon Center and Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage (CWH) will present an exciting educator and landowner training on September 28th, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The training, Restoring Habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Region of the Atlantic Flyway, includes lunch and is offered free of charge for participants thanks to a 2016 grant from Waterfowl Chesapeake, the conservation arm of the annual Waterfowl Festival. Pickering Creek and CWH have previously partnered to restore 90 acres of non-tidal wetlands, plant 11 acres of woodlands, and create 48 acres of warm season grass meadows at Pickering Creek. All of these projects are used to showcase habitat restoration and land management activities.

The training is designed for large landowners and caretakers, staff and volunteer leaders of local land conservancy, environmental education and other conservation and community organizations in an effort to encourage each organization’s constituents to restore large tracts of farmland to bird and wildlife habitat. During this one-day workshop staff and lead volunteers from partnering organizations will receive in depth training on the value of these projects to birdlife, wildlife and water quality.

The workshop will focus not only on the benefits, but will also touch upon the methods of restoring cropland to a variety of habitats including warm season grass buffers and meadows, forest buffers and freshwater wetlands. The training will emphasize the value of these habitats to birds along the Atlantic Flyway, particularly field size restoration projects that can affect landscape scale improvement to local ecosystems. At the conclusion of the training, participants will have a stock presentation and script that they will be able to use to give short presentations to the local community groups they are in contact with on the value of habitat restoration projects, the basic methods of implementation and contact information for technical and financial assistance required to initiate a project.

In Maryland, wetlands have declined by 70% according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Wildlife populations have suffered from that loss of habitat including, according to Audubon’s State of the Birds, Northern Pintail (decline of 77%), Eastern Meadowlark (72%), Grasshopper Sparrow (65%) and Northern Bobwhite (82%). The USGS notes that 95% of nutrients in Chesapeake Bay drainage of the Delmarva Peninsula comes from agriculture (USGS Circular 1228). In forested habitat Wood Thrush have declined 30% and continue to decline 1.7% each year. Attention to opportunities by community leaders to optimize habitats of these species is critical to their survival.

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, 20-500 acre properties are still commonly found. Though rich in traditional ‘environmental’ organizations, individual landowners have a great opportunity to learn about, implement and spread the word about land management practices that can improve the health of the Bay and wildlife.

The workshop will conclude with a session on Audubon’s “Plants for Birds” program. More native plants mean more choices of food and shelter for native birds and other wildlife. To survive, native birds need native plants and the insects that have co-evolved with them. Most landscaping plants available in nurseries are exotic species from other countries. Many are prized for qualities that make them poor food sources for native birds—like having leaves that are unpalatable to native insects and caterpillars. With 96 percent of all terrestrial bird species in North America feeding insects to their young, planting insect-proof exotic plants is like serving up plastic food. No insects? No birds.

The workshop is sponsored by Waterfowl Chesapeake as part of their effort to connect financial resources with environmental needs and also increase community engagement and people’s understanding of the importance and benefits of healthy waterfowl habitats and populations on the Shore. Pickering Creek Audubon Center has been educating citizens on the Eastern Shore of Maryland about the environment for twenty-five years. A strong relationship with local school programs and community groups helps facilitate more than 12,000 program contacts with individuals each year. The Center’s 400 acres of forest, wetland, tidal marsh and agricultural fields exhibit the broad diversity of habitats that represent Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

To register for the training please contact Mark Scallion mscallion@audubon.org or Samantha Pitts spitts@audubon.org at Pickering Creek Audubon Center, 410.822.4903

Summer Butterflies and Migrating Monarchs at Pickering Creek

Visit Pickering Creek Audubon Center this August and September for three excellent opportunities to learn about local butterflies! On Saturday, August 12 from 10:30AM to 12:30 PM, butterfly experts Theresa Murray and Frank Boyle are returning for a second year to lead a “Spectacular Summer Butterflies” talk and walk. Theresa Murray has been learning about butterflies and their life cycles over the past 20 years. She currently maintains gardens with nectar plants and host plants for several butterflies including monarchs. Frank Boyle is a naturalist and butterfly specialist from Rohrersville, MD. He leads several NABA (North American Butterfly Association) annual 4th of July butterfly counts in Maryland and the mountains of Virginia. He has been chasing and gardening for butterflies for 23 years. A short presentation about the most common butterflies on the Eastern Shore of Maryland will kick off the program. The group will then walk along Pickering Creek’s meadow trails to look for various species and the native plants that attract them. Participants will Learn about identifying features of these exquisite insects and observe the beautiful blooming plants that bring them in.

Participants in Pickering Creek’s Monarch Watch Tagging program try to carefully catch butterflies sipping nectar on wetland plants.

On September 13th and 20th from 4:30 to 6:00 PM, Pickering Creek naturalists will lead two Monarch Tagging events during the butterflies’ fall migration. Each year, monarchs migrate from their breeding grounds in North America to their overwintering grounds in Mexico. This year the University of Kansas’s Monarch Watch predicts high numbers of monarchs migrating south. Participating in their nationwide citizen science tagging program is a great way to learn about this charismatic local animal and contribute to scientific research on its population, challenges and resiliency. Both tagging events at Pickering Creek will include a short program on the lifecycle and migration of monarchs and how climate change is affecting them followed by an excursion into the wetland meadows where monarchs will be sipping nectar as they fuel up for their journey south! No experience is necessary.

Register for these programs by calling 410-822-4903 or emailing Mary Helen Gillen at mgillen@audubon.org.