The Oyster Dudes of Horn Point Lab: A Chat with Drs. Matt Gray and Louis Plough

As Horn Point Laboratory’s Louis Plough pointed out during a recent Spy interview, the oyster world of research is a small one, so it was no real surprise for he and his colleague Matt Gray would finally be working together after knowing each other for so long. And because of that fact, it’s also not a shock to see how much enjoyment they have working together. But there should be heavy stress on the word “work” since their current research project might have significant implications for the Chesapeake ecosystem.

Over the next three years, Drs. Plough and Gray, along with a team of students and research assistants, will be exploring the impact of oysters raised in a hatchery environment. While there may be a common assumption that these oysters would be no different from those that breed naturally in the Chesapeake, these scientists have more than a hunch that their biological makeup is altered enough in that environment to have some impact of the Bay and its existing sea life. How much impact is yet to be known at this early stage of the project, but with the increasing growth of oyster hatcheries, their findings could be essential information as this new industry moves forward.

The Spy sat down with Matt and Louis at Horn Point last month to get to know them and their important work.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Horn Point Laboratory please go here. To learn more on genetics and what is in our waters from Louis Plough at Science Bytes Thursday, October 18 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Piazza Italian Market. Register here 

Preservation Group Announces Phillips Packing House a New Preservation Project

As a part of Preservation Maryland’s strategic efforts to save threatened historic places, the organization recently announced its fourth class of Six-to-Fix projects from around the state. The Phillips Packing House revitalization project, spearheaded by Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Baltimore’s Cross Street Partners, is among them.

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is tackling an ambitious project to rehabilitate and reuse the historic Phillips Packing Plant. Preservation Maryland will support the effort by identifying funding to support the critical repair of the iconic smokestacks and increasing public awareness of this important preservation project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Preservation Maryland will host a fundraiser known as Phoenix Rising in support of these projects and the organization’s work across the state on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, also the location of an on-going preservation partnership with the Museum to save the WWII crane on their property.

The Six-to-Fix program, which continues to evolve and expand since its launch in 2015, now represents a diverse portfolio of projects from around the state where Preservation Maryland has assisted in supporting efforts to preserve threatened historic resources. From cultural landscapes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to a WWII-era crane in Baltimore’s harbor, the program has succeeded in advancing preservation at dozens of sites around the state.

Previous year’s projects are also quickly becoming a repository of best practices and case studies for community preservation – providing local preservation groups around the state with opportunities to learn from their peers. A complete list of all 24 previous and current projects is maintained at sixtofix.org.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them. More at www.eslc.org.

Plein Air Oil Paintings by Diane DuBois Mullaly at Adkins Arboretum

There’s something magnetic about Diane DuBois Mullaly’s tiny plein air oil paintings in her show Light and Life, on view in the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center through Dec. 1. At only six inches square, their energy and color entice you to take a closer look. At the show’s reception, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 20, this Easton artist will explain why she came to the Arboretum again and again over the past year to paint its trees, meadows and wetlands in all kinds of light and weather.

Whether flooded with brilliant sunlight or glowing with the suffused light of an overcast day, these little paintings are all about the different qualities of light, color and texture she found. While many of them show wide vistas of autumn meadow grasses or paths winding into the forest, as Mullaly grew more and more familiar with the Arboretum’s landscapes, she also began to paint some of the things that make it special, including gourds hung up for nesting purple martins, the rainbow picket fence of the children’s garden, a tree decorated for last year’s Candlelit Caroling event and even one of the Arboretum’s goats.

Mullaly paints with a palette knife, troweling the paint on, sometimes scraping it back, sometimes adding more on top, until each painting hums with textures and layers of surprising color. Each one is a fleeting portrait of a specific place in the Arboretum at a specific time in a specific season. On another day—or even a few hours later—each scene would have been different.

“Filled with Life” is part of Light and Life, Diane DuBois Mullaly’s exhibit of plein air oil paintings.

The idea for this series of paintings grew from the Daily Painting movement, which began a dozen years ago when artist Duane Keiser began posting a new painting each day and offering it for sale online. Mullaly learned about the movement and was subsequently able to study with another of its leaders, Carol Marine. Marine’s book Daily Painting helped define the process as a practice of creating a small painting every day by working in a fresh, loose manner with the emphasis on spontaneity and experimentation.

“Part of the whole point is making it a daily habit,” Mullaly explained. “It takes away the ‘preciousness’ of each one so that if you fail, it’s fine because you’re going to do another one tomorrow. It’s a good way for artists to create an income, too.”

Daily painting practice can help an artist overcome procrastination and gain confidence. Painting so often also can lead to a steady stream of ideas and self-discovery.

A graduate of Tyler School of Art of Temple University and an award-winning plein air painter, Mullaly teaches workshops in Daily Painting at Easton’s Academy Art Museum. In addition, she recently completed Maryland Master Naturalist training at the Arboretum.

“With the Master Naturalist training, I was here a lot,” she noted. “I wanted to do that to figure out a way to connect art and science, and it was so interesting to learn everything that was taught.”

With this new perspective and her artist’s eye, Mullaly found a seemingly infinite variety of things to paint in the landscape she was coming to know so well. Many of her paintings were created outdoors, but when weather or her schedule didn’t allow, she worked in her studio using field studies, memory and photos for reference.

“It was just a joy to do this,” she said. “It’s amazing what I found here.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Dec. 1 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.

CBF’s ‘VoiCeS’ Adult Education Classes Will Be Held in Centreville

Are you interested in learning how you can do more to help the Chesapeake Bay?

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation can help! Join other people who care about the environment and come “back-to-school” for a six-week course taught by scientists, non-profit leaders, and others about how to improve water quality on the Eastern Shore and in the rest of the Bay’s watershed.

Classes will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings from October 9 until November 13 at Wye River Upper School in Centreville. Registration is open on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s website.

Attendees will be able to learn about Bay science and fisheries, pollution problems and solutions, and how volunteers can help restoration efforts in their local waters and the Bay.

In this professionally taught course, you will learn from experts about crabs and oysters, farm and urban issues, Bay history and ecology, and how to play a personal role in the future of clean water restoration.

Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards (VoiCeS) is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) most comprehensive adult education program available to the public. This year CBF is offering the program in Centreville for the first time! Registration costs $25 per person or $40 per couple and includes one Saturday field trip – a guided canoe paddle on the Corsica River.

Space is limited, so register now for a deep-dive exploration of issues that affect the Chesapeake Bay. Registration is required at www.cbf.org/voices-qa. For more information, contact CBF Grassroots Field Specialist Hilary Gibson at hgibson@cbf.org or 410-543-1999.

Science Bytes with the Horn Point Lab

The Horn Point Laboratory (HPL) invites you to join them for Science Bytes a witty, interactive offering where one can learn, sip, and taste.  Join us Thursday, October 18 from 6 to 7:30 pm at Piazza Italian Market in Easton.

These gatherings are designed to share science relevant to our communities in a casual, fun setting.  Mike Roman, HPL Director, will discuss with faculty member, Louis Plough, his research and its impact for the Shore.  Louis will share his research on genetics and their role in oyster adaptability to changing water conditions as well as his work with DNA sampling to identify what is in our local waters.

Louis Plough and Research Assistant, Ben Lee, in the lab testing DNA samples from local water’s to identify what has been swimming there.

Savor wine, beer, and antipasto from Italy. Get to know the scientist behind the science and mingle with old friends and new acquaintances in this casual, local setting.

Tickets are $25/ person.  To register visit umces.edu/events/science-bytes or contact Carin Starr at cstarr@umces.edu, 410-221-8408.

This event is an activity of the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc. (USM Foundation). Funds earned or contributed will be managed by the USM Foundation for the benefit of the Horn Point Laboratory. Please make your check payable to the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc.”

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 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

Blackwater NWR Announces Closures for Deer Hunts

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge will close a majority of the Wildlife Drive for 8 days during the 2018-19 deer hunting season.  The Drive closures will take place on the following dates:  Thursday, October 18; Friday, October 19; Friday, October 26; Monday, November 26; Friday, November 30; Friday, December 7; Friday, December 21, and Friday, January 4, 2019.  The west section of the Wildlife Drive (approximately one mile) will be open and free of charge for these days. Visitors may enter from what is normally the first exit of the Wildlife Drive, one-quarter mile west of the Visitor Center, on Key Wallace Drive.  The tire shredders normally operating at the first exit will be locked down to provide access to the Wildlife Drive.

In addition, the Key Wallace hiking trail, located at the corner of Key Wallace Drive and Egypt Road, will be closed periodically during the deer hunting season.  The trail is scheduled to be closed on the following dates:  October 18, 19, 20, 26 and 27; November 26 and 30; December 1, 7, 8, 21, 22, 28 and 29; and January 4, 5, and 26, 2019.  The Tubman Road Trail, located on Hip Roof Road, will be closed October 26 and 27 for a mentored deer hunt.

The daily operation of the Blackwater Visitor Center remains unchanged.  Normal operating hours of the Visitor Center are Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm, and Saturday – Sunday 9am – 5pm.  Blackwater’s Visitor Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, but the Wildlife Drive and trails will remain open.  Call 410-228-2677 for more information, or visit the refuge web site at www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 29,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwoods and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife.  To learn more, visit our website at www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater or follow us on Facebook @BlackwaterNWR.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Pickering Creek’s Harvest Hoedown on October 14

People around the world are celebrating 2018 as Year of the Bird. This year marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the oldest wildlife protection laws in the United States. In honor of this milestone, Audubon, National Geographic, 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.

The CBMM’s Winnie Estelle will offer rides on Pickering Creek.

Pickering Creek Audubon Center will celebrate birds and fall on the Eastern Shore at this year’s Year of the Bird themed Harvest Hoedown on Sunday October 14. 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 about birds as well as food prepared by the Easton Lions Club and new local food vendors. Activities and vendors will be found throughout the Center. Explore the property with 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.

Harvest Hoedown 2018 will feature live music, puppet shows, a family friendly scavenger hunt with prizes and Year of the Bird themed fun throughout the day.  Native plants will be available for guests who participate in activities about birds, plants and habitat. 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 twenty 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 pertinent to the Year of the Bird, the Chesapeake Bay and life on the Eastern Shore.

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.

The kid’s stage features Slim Harrison and the Sunnyland Band from Western Maryland and returning for their seventeenth 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.  The main stage kicks off at 11:30 am with local favorites Fog after Midnight, followed by Baltimore musician Norm Hogeland. Playing next at Harvest Hoedown on the main stage are Slim Harrison and the Rock Candy Cloggers.

The New and Used Bluegrass Band headlines the Mainstage

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, Johnson Lumber Company, Shore United Bank, Shorebancshares, Donald and Dorothy Whitcomb, Stuart and Melissa Strahl, Wye Gardens, LLC, Dorothy and Donald Whitcomb, Jo Storey, Bountiful, Hank Spies, Richard and Beverly Tilghman, 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 14.  We will be having fun from 11 am- 4 pm.

Open House at Horn Point Laboratory October 13

For the 17th year, rain or shine, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s (UMCES) Horn Point Laboratory invites the public to a FREE Open House on Saturday, October 13, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Sustainable Solutions through Science” is this year’s theme.  Hands-on exhibits allow visitors to explore the science happening at Horn Point Lab (HPL) and its impact on Chesapeake Bay to make it healthy and keep it healthy. Learn how marshes, oysters, sediment, tiny zooplankton, computer models, and more help restore and sustain the Bay.

A scavenger hunt will enhance the kid’s exploration of exhibits and campus activities.  Come aboard UMCES research vessel Rachel Carson and explore new advances in aquaculture at the boat basin.  Hop on the hayride for a campus tour and learn how much energy is being produced by the 10-acre solar field.  It is a great day filled with educational activities for all ages. Children will receive a free t-shirt.

“This is the best day of the year for the community to learn about the science of the Bay. Everyone at the lab is on deck to explain their research with activities and displays that make it easy to understand,” said Horn Point Laboratory Director Mike Roman.

From the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore just outside Cambridge, HPL scientists engage in world-renowned research in oceanography, water quality, restoration of sea grasses, marshes and shellfish, and expertise in ecosystem modeling.  At Open House you can be a part of it all.

Visitors to the Open House will be able to:

• Play in a digital sand box to create shorelines and model weather’s impact around the Bay with laser imaging.
• See an animation of the travels of oyster larvae as they move from the reef where they spawned to their new, permanent home reef.
• Match up a DNA sequence to microscopic creatures important to the food chain.
• Observe and learn about sturgeon whose ancestors date to the Jurassic period
• Build a healthy marsh and learn who are our best partners in this effort.
• Meet and talk to graduate students about their environmental career goals.
• At the children’s activity booth, create eco-friendly animals that live in our waters. Play games that teach fun facts about the Bay. Go on a scavenger hunt through the exhibits to learn how the Bay’s lasting health starts with each of us making a cleaner environment today.

The open house is for all ages and takes place rain or shine. The Horn Point Laboratory campus is located at 2020 Horns Point Road on Route 343 outside of Cambridge, Maryland.

For more information, visit http://www.umces.edu/hpl/openhouse or contact Carin Starr at cstarr@umces.edu, 410-221-8408.

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 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

Spy Moment: Adkins Arboretum Plays in the Meadow

The weather gods were watching out for Adkins Arboretum last Saturday night for its annual Magic in the Meadow gala; an event far more dependent on good weather than most, given it celebrates the 400-acre native garden and preserve.

The gift of a perfect, cool evening was awarded that evening as guests enjoyed the hoop dance performance by Baltimore artist Melissa Newman and the jazz of the Peter Revell Band, while Adkins friends and supporters lined up for hiking trails, tours, plant shopping, and auction bidding all accompanied by a Piazza-sponsored dinner and wine selection.

The Spy was there with a camera to capture this reconnaissance video.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about Adkins Arboretum please go here.

 

Eliminate Litter and Enjoy Public Lands at Blackwater NWR

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is celebrating National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 22, by hosting its annual volunteer litter cleanup day and offering free admission to the refuge. The public is invited to work with staff, Friends of Blackwater members and other volunteers as we clean up refuge roads to promote the health of the forest and wetlands. This year’s event is being held in conjunction with International Coastal Cleanup, a worldwide effort by the Ocean Conservancy to keep litter from entering our oceans. In addition, the usual entrance fee for Wildlife Drive will be waived so that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy their wonderful public lands!

Blackwater NWR’s annual litter cleanup will be held on September 22 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Trash will be collected from the roads around Blackwater NWR, beginning at the Blackwater Visitor Center, located on Key Wallace Drive near Cambridge.  Snacks and drinks will be supplied by the Friends of Blackwater for everyone who comes.  In addition, the first 30 people who register for this event will receive an appreciation gift.  Individuals and groups of all ages are invited, and low-traffic litter areas will be set aside for those with young children.  Participants are encouraged to bring gloves and wear brightly colored clothes for working along the roads.  If you, your family, or your organization is interested in registering for the Litter Pick-up please contact Tom Miller or Michele Whitbeck at 410-228-2677. Information about the refuge can be found at www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater.

More information about National Public Lands Day can be found at www.neefusa.org/npld.  If you wish to learn more about the International Coastal Cleanup, please visit www.oceanconservancy.org .

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 29,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwoods and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife.  To learn more, visit our website at www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater or follow us on Facebook @BlackwaterNWR.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.