Maryland Officials Join Opposition to Seismic Tests in the Ocean

Maryland officials have joined a host of congressmen in opposing the Trump administration’s plan to start underwater seismic testing along the Atlantic coast, operations that could lead to increased domestic production of oil and gas, but also could be harmful to marine animals.

The offshore seismic testing would be part of oil and gas exploration from Florida up the East Coast to Delaware, including the coast of Maryland.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and eight other attorneys general joined as parties to a lawsuit aimed at stopping the testing, which they said would subject marine creatures such as whales, porpoises and dolphins to extremely loud sounds.

“While the (Trump) administration continues to place the interests of the fossil fuel industry ahead of our precious natural resources, attorneys general up and down the Atlantic coast will continue to fight these and other efforts to open the waters off our shores to drilling for oil and gas,” Frosh said in a statement. “Our filing seeks to prevent any seismic testing going forward while our lawsuit is pending.”

Frosh’s coalition includes attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Governor Larry Hogan, who called for President Donald Trump to remove Maryland from the states involved in seismic testing, authorized the lawsuit against the federal government.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, also supports the suit against the administration.

“Seismic testing that blasts the ocean floor with high powered air guns threatens marine life, including commercial fisheries that are vital to the economy of Maryland’s coastal communities,” Van Hollen said in a statement to the Capital News Service. “That’s why I have repeatedly opposed proposals to allow this practice – and subsequent oil and gas drilling – off the Atlantic.”

The Trump administration’s plan was initially challenged by National Resources Defense Council, which said the testing violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Seismic testing includes underwater blasts that would occur approximately every 10 seconds for weeks or months at a time, the NRDC said. Right whales, a species that has seen its population dwindle to roughly 400 in the Atlantic, could be fatally harmed, according to the organization.

“Should (seismic testing) go forward, this blasting will irreparably harm marine species, from tiny zooplankton—the foundation of ocean life—to the great whales,” the NRDC said. “The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has authorized one company to harm more than 50,000 dolphins and another company to harm 20,000 more.”

The NFMS, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, gave clearance to these companies under the condition that there be guidelines to protect nearby marine life. Stipulations require acoustic monitoring in the area where seismic testing is being conducted as well as a crew of observers onboard to alert operators if a protected species comes within a certain distance.

“NOAA Fisheries is clear in the documentation related to (authorizations) that we do not expect mortality to occur as a result of these surveys,” said organization spokeswoman Katherine Brogan.

The agency also requires testing to be shut down when “certain sensitive species or groups are observed” in the area.

Michael Jasny, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project for the NRDC, told Capital News Service that the lawsuit is currently awaiting a decision from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

While the administration and environmentalist groups wait for a decision on the lawsuit, seismic testing has yet to begin. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hasn’t issued the necessary permits, but those permits could come out “any day,” according to Jasny.

If the BOEM issues permits to these companies, they would be required to give 30 days notice before beginning seismic testing. If the 30-day grace period passes and no decision is reached on the lawsuits, the companies would then have the green light to begin testing.

Five companies – ION Geophysical, Spectrum, TGS, WesternGeco, and CGG – have received clearance from the Trump administration and now await permits from the BOEM, Jasny said.

Envision the Choptank Partnership Releases New Common Agenda

On April 10th, the Envision the Choptank partnership officially released its Choptank Common Agenda to help restore swimmable, fishable waters to the Choptank River watershed and enhance the health and productivity of native oysters in a way that best meets the needs of surrounding communities.

The partnership celebrated with a Common Agenda Release Party held at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton that was attended by more than 50 individuals, including elected officials, community leaders, and local organization and agency representatives. Attendees explored opportunities to get involved in helping implement the Choptank Common Agenda and enjoyed food and drink from local vendors—Fisherman’s Daughter Brand Oysters, Chesapeake Culinary Center, and Hair O’ The Dog— and live music by Fog After Midnight.

Attendees at Envision the Choptank’s Release Party for the Common Agenda.

To develop the Choptank Common Agenda, Envision the Choptank reached out to 64 conservation and restoration professionals, 730 residents, and experts in economic development, health, and outdoor recreation to learn about priorities and challenges related to watershed health and community quality of life. The input received was formed into 15 strategies to achieve four goals: 1) conserve natural resources, 2) restore habitat and clean water, 3) engage communities, and 4) strengthen and expand the partnership.

The strategies include providing resources to inform local decision-making, technical assistance to landowners, new funding mechanisms for restoration, and engaging a broader set of individuals and organizations than are typically involved in restoration. The full Common Agenda can be found at

“We feel the strategies of the Common Agenda will knit together on-going efforts, fill in gaps, and help a variety of organizations and individuals achieve more together than any one can alone,” said Joanna Ogburn, facilitator for Envision the Choptank and principal of JBO Conservation.

Since 2015, Envision the Choptank has brought together nonprofits, universities, farmers, landowners, and government agencies in a growing network focused on maintaining and improving the health of the Choptank watershed.

Joanna Ogburn, facilitator for Envision the Choptank, delivers opening presentation.

“If we all work together, we can deliver results that improve both the environmental and the socioeconomic health of the watershed, creating a swimmable, fishable Choptank for every community,” said Paulette Greene, Envision the Choptank Steering Committee member and director of Mt. Pleasant Heritage Preservation, Inc.

Successfully carrying out the Choptank Common Agenda will depend on the inclusion of a diverse range of people and organizations. Envision the Choptank welcomes new participants to join the partnership and share ideas to restore and maintain a swimmable, fishable Choptank River. To learn more, visit or email

The Envision the Choptank partnership works to provide swimmable, fishable waters and enhance the health and productivity of native oysters in a way that best meets the needs of surrounding communities. Current Steering Committee members include: Caroline County Planning; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Eastern Shore Land Conservancy; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Maryland Department of the Environment; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Oyster Recovery Partnership; Pickering Creek Audubon Center; ShoreRivers, Inc; Mt. Pleasant Heritage Preservation, Inc.; Talbot Soil Conservation District; The Nature Conservancy; University of Maryland Extension, Talbot County, and; University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension. The partnership works throughout the Choptank watershed in Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Queen Anne’s counties in Maryland and Kent County in Delaware.

ShoreRivers Presents State of the Rivers Benchmark

ShoreRivers Director of Riverkeeper Programs Matt Pluta conducting water quality sampling.

With data collected by four professional Riverkeepers and nearly 100 citizen scientist volunteers, ShoreRivers is proud to present its annual State of Rivers Series and Report Card Release. A series of five presentations will feature water quality grades, regional trends and data points, and strategies and solutions to clean our rivers. Maryland’s Eastern Shore waterways are being choked with nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff from both residential and commercial properties. Seasonal flares of bacterial contamination pose risks to human health. Water quality monitoring for these and other pollutants is a signature component of ShoreRivers’ operations and the only comprehensive testing of our local rivers currently being conducted. Learn about your river at the event near you in Cambridge, Chestertown, St. Michaels, Grasonville, or Betterton; details at

ShoreRivers Director of Riverkeeper Programs and Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta remarks, “Water quality monitoring programs are the foundation on which ShoreRivers bases our advocacy, restoration, and education work. These programs allow us to keep a vigilant pulse on our local waterways. We invite all of our volunteers, landowners, elected officials, and everyone who cares about our rivers to join us as we discuss the ways we can work together to achieve clean and healthy waterways in our region.” The 2018 Report Card encompasses four watersheds that span more than 1,650 square miles of the middle and upper Eastern Shore.

All events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. ShoreRivers appreciates its 2019 Marquee Sponsor, Dock Street Foundation, and 2019 State of the Rivers Sponsor, The Easton Group and the Easton Branch at Morgan Stanley. Thanks also to the individual event sponsors:Dukes-Moore Insurance Agency, Tow Jamm Marine Towing & Salvage, and Bayheads Brewing Company.

State of the Rivers presentations will be as follows:

Thursday, April 25, 5:30pm – State of the Choptank
Robbins Heritage Center, Cambridge

Thursday, May 2, 5:30pm– State of the Chester
Washington College Hynson Lounge

Friday, May 3, 5:30pm– State of the Miles and Choptank Rivers
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels

Thursday, May 16, 5:30pm – State of the Chester and Wye Rivers, and Eastern Bay
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Grasonville

Friday, May 17, 5:30pm– State of the Sassafras
Betterton Volunteer Fire Hall

For more information, contact Julia Erbe at or 443.385.0511 ext. 210.

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

Land Conservancy’s Planning Conference to Focus on Regional Transportation Issues

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a key artery that moves people and goods throughout the state, keeping Maryland’s heart pumping. Unfortunately, increased traffic has clogged that artery and continues to hurt Marylanders from the perspectives of business, quality of life, and more. From beach travelers to daily commuters, all would benefit from a suite of solutions reducing traffic congestion as soon as possible. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) believes that now is the time to have that conversation.

Held on Thursday, April 18th from 9am to 4pm and (fittingly) hosted at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club with the bridge as a backdrop, ESLC’s 19th Annual Planning Conference – Congestion Ahead: Rerouting… – will stimulate conversation around ways to reduce traffic congestion today. Through interactive panel discussions and keynote speakers, guests will leave with a better understanding of this regional issue and the possible solutions for traffic congestion.

Tickets for the affair are $55 ($25 students) and are available for purchase at Attendees will be treated to a delicious, locally sourced buffet, as well as a mindfulness session entitled “Meditation for Road Rage Relief”, courtesy of Easton’s Ebbtide Wellness.

“We encourage planners, commuters, and any resident concerned about this pressing issue to not sit on the sidelines while decisions regarding the future of transportation affecting the Chesapeake Bay region are being decided,” says ESLC’s Director of Communications David Ferraris. “This is your opportunity to learn more about all of the traffic mitigation concepts on the table – from high-speed toll lanes and potential mass transit options to creating tech-friendly workspaces where commuters can work remotely – there are solutions that can be incorporated now and we intend to focus on them.”

Speakers and panelists include regional decision makers from organizations such as Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Commerce, Maryland Transit Administration, American Farmland Trust, engineering/infrastructure firm AECOM, and others.

ShoreRivers Receives $10,000 Perdue Foundation Grant for Conservation Drainage Program

ShoreRivers received a $10,000 grant from the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. Along with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Bailey Wildlife Foundation, this grant supports work to accelerate agricultural conservation drainage best management practices that improve water quality while sustaining or increasing crop production.

“This project represents the first partnership between ShoreRivers and the Perdue Foundation,” said Tim Rosen, director of agriculture and restoration for Shore Rivers. “New and diverse partnerships such as this help achieve water quality and agricultural goals aimed at creating a sustainable future for Delmarva.”

“At Perdue, we’re proud to join ShoreRivers in this new partnership that will help improve the Delmarva community and make local farms, including some of those farmers who raise poultry for Perdue and sell us their grain, more economically viable and environmentally sustainable,” said Steve Levitsky, vice president of environmental stewardship for Perdue Farms.

From L-R: Somerset County poultry and grain farmer Rantz Purcell, ShoreRivers Director of Agriculture and Restoration Tim Rosen, and Perdue Vice President of Sustainability Steve Levitsky. Photo by Bill See, Perdue

The Perdue Foundation was established by company founder Arthur W. Perdue in 1957 as the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms. It is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue and provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of their associates live and work.

Conservation drainage is a selection of best management practices that allows for traditional agricultural drainage needed for production while also reducing nutrient and sediment pollution. ShoreRivers works with farmers on Delmarva to implement conservation drainage projects with the objective of installing demonstration projects that showcase how environmental and agricultural goals can be mutually met to maintain a healthy environment.

“The implications of this work have far-reaching, positive effects by allowing Delmarva farms to be more economically sustainable while addressing uncertain future weather conditions and improving water quality, thus creating a landscape that can be cherished for generations,” said Rosen.

Using the funding from Perdue Foundation, ShoreRivers has installed two projects in Dorchester and Somerset counties. In total, ShoreRivers will install seven conservation drainage projects on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. Specific practices being installed are blind inlets, saturated buffers, water control structures, and new drainage tile designs for use with a drainage water management plan.

For more information about ShoreRivers’ conservation drainage programs, contact Tim Rosen at ShoreRivers at or 443.385.0511 ext. 209.

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

ESLC’s Darius Johnson Would Like Your Attention on Bay Bridge Traffic Solutions

While the Mid-Shore has been fixated on issues related to a third Chesapeake Bay bridge possibly landing in their backyard, The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Darius Johnson would politely suggest that the region turn its focus on the problems that exist now with bridge traffic and the real consequences for our communities along Route 50.

As the recently hired project director with ESLC, Johnson has been tasked with managing one of the organization’s oldest traditions; its annual planning conference, now in its 19th year. And the one day program, suitably named “ReRouting,” will place most of the attention on “here and now” traffic and transportation challenges.  How appropriate it that it will be held at the base of Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club.

The Spy caught up with Darius at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center last week to chat about the conference.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s ReRouting Conference on April 18 please go here.





Local Painter Nancy Tankersley Selected as 2019 Festival Featured Artist

The Waterfowl Festival is pleased to announce the selection of painter Nancy Tankersley as its Featured Artist for the 2019 Festival taking place on Nov. 8-10. Tankersley, a 15 year resident of Easton, has been an exhibitor at the Festival since 2015 and welcomes the opportunity to be part of what makes her town so special.

“As a resident of Easton, I’m privileged to see the excitement build as our little town is transformed into the site of a major art and conservation festival,” she said. “The enthusiasm of the crowds, the local businesses, and the volunteers make the months of preparation and labor well worth the effort. The fact that this festival is in its 49th year is a testament to the vision of its founders, the support of the local community, and the wisdom and hard work of the people that keep it going year after year!”

It’s been a busy few years for Tankersley who was invited to participate in the annual Masters Exhibit at the Salmagundi Club in NYC in both 2017 and 2018. Last year she also became a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists and participated in their juried exhibit in Charleston in November.

“We are so excited to be working with Nancy this year,” commented Kevin Greaney, Waterfowl Festival Board President. “She is an amazing artist and a valued member of the arts community in Easton. Nancy is someone who understands the value of the organization and its mission to support conservation efforts on the Shore. We couldn’t be happier to have such a local treasure as our 2019 Featured Artist.”

Tankersley began her career as a portraitist in 1983 but entered the gallery scene with figurative paintings of people at work and at leisure. Currently her creations move between landscape, figures and still life. Incorporating non-traditional tools, supports and technologies for her paintings she remains faithful to her impressionistic style.

“In the years I have lived on the Eastern Shore my interest in painting figures at work has extended to images of our working watermen,” Tankersley said when asked about her inspiration for the Featured Art Piece she is creating for the Festival. “Yet I know that environmentalists and watermen are sometimes at odds, so I hope to portray the importance of a well-balanced and symbiotic relationship. My painting will certainly have watermen, boats and some of the wildlife that is native to the Chesapeake Bay and its environs. I like activity and color so my painting will have plenty of both.”

Active in the current plein air movement, and a founder of Plein Air Easton, she travels worldwide participating in competitions, judging and teaching. In 2018 and in 2019 she was invited to be an instructor and demonstrator at the Plein Air Convention in Santa Fe and released her first instructional video with Lilliedahl Videos. In 2016 and 2017 she was invited to exhibit at the prestigious Masters Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in NYC. Recent honors include Best of Show at Parrsboro, Nova Scotia International Plein Air 2018, Best of Show at the Lighthouse Plein Air Festival 2017 and the Dickinson Award for Best Painting by a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society 2016 Annual Juried Exhibit.

Tankersley is a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society, the American Society for Marine Art, and the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters and also holds memberships in the Washington Society for Landscape Painters and the Salmagundi Club. Founder and Director of the Easton Studio, a workshop facility begun in Easton in 2010, the artist mentors and teaches and sponsors workshops by nationally known painters.

‘Sorting the Oysters’ Copyright 2019 Nancy Tankersley.

2018 – Award of Excellence, American Impressionist Society National Annual Juried Exhibit
2018 – Bold Brush Award, June, Fine Arts Studio Online Competition
2018 – Best Architectural Painting, Plein Air Easton
2018- Best of Show, Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival, Nova Scotia
2017 – Life on the Farm Award, Plein Air Easton
2017 – Best of Show, Lighthouse Art Center Plein Air Festival, Tequesta, Florida
2016 – Dickinson Signature Member Award, American Impressionist Society Annual Juried Exhibit
2016 – Best Painting by a Maryland Artist, Plein Air Easton
2016 – Plein Air Richmond, Honorable Mention
2015 – Oil Painters of America Eastern Exhibit, Award of Excellence
2015 – American Impressionist Society Annual Juried Exhibit, Honorable Mention
2015 – Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD Members Show – Best Landscape
2015 – Door County Plein Air Quick Draw, Artist’s Choice Award
2014 – En Plein Air Texas, Award of Excellence for Capturing the West Texas Light
2014 – Plein Air Richmond, Gamblin Award
2014 – January Finalist in Raymar On-line Competition
2013 – Plein Air Easton, Second Place
2013 – Plein Air Richmond, Third Place
2012 – Finalist, February Bold Brush Competition
2011 – Jane Shannanhan Offutt Memorial Award, Excellence in Painting in the Realist Tradition Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD.
2010 – Finalist, Fine Art Studios Bold Brush on-line competition
2010 – Vasari Award for Excellence in Oils, Plein Air-Easton! Quick Draw Competition
2010 – Honorable Mention, Wayne Plein Air Festival
2009 – A. Brittain Banghart Award for Excellence in Painting the Figure, Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD
2008 – Best in Show and First Place in Professional Category, Chesapeake College Open Competition, Wye Mills, MD.
2007- A. Brittain Banghart Award, Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD
2006- Artist’s Choice Award, for painting River Bend Paint-out, Great Falls, VA
2006- Directors Award, First Place. Art League, Alexandria, Virginia
2005 – Award of Merit, Urban Landscapes, Art League, Alexandria, Va
2005 – Equal Award, Art league, Alexandria, VA
2005 – Finalist, Raymar National Art Competition
2004 – Kirstein Award, Best in Show, Art League of Alexandria, VA
2000 – First Place, Patrons Show, Art League, Alexandria, VA.

For more information, visit or call 410-822-4567.

About the Waterfowl Festival
Waterfowl Festival Inc., a partner of Waterfowl Chesapeake Inc., is dedicated to wildlife conservation, the promotion of wildlife art, and the celebration of the life and culture of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The 49th Annual Festival will be held November 8-10, 2019 in historic Easton, MD. General admission tickets are $15 for all three days (if purchased prior to October 31) and $20 after or onsite. VIP and corporate sponsorship packages are also available. For more information, to volunteer, or donate, visit or call 410-822-4567.

ShoreRivers Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week – March 31 to April 7

ShoreRivers has launched its fourth annual Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week (LFAW) from March 31 to April 7, 2019. For this initiative, ShoreRivers partners with other organizations throughout the

Chesapeake Bay watershed to provide awareness about lawn fertilizer usage. Last year, LFAW reached over 24,000 individuals via social media, and aims even higher for this year.

The goal of Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week is to inform the public about the effects of lawn fertilizer, while encouraging individuals and lawn care professionals to reduce fertilizer use and turn to organic products for healthier lawns and waterways. This social media campaign includes daily posts that highlight native plant landscaping that requires less fertilizer, as well as ways to make composted fertilizer. LFAW also focuses on the impacts of nitrogen and phosphorus—two key ingredients in fertilizer—on water quality for the Chesapeake Bay. Runoff of these nutrients from lawns into waterways is known to cause harmful algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, rob the water of oxygen, and threaten underwater life.

Last year, this campaign introduced ShoreRivers’ new River-Friendly Yards program. ShoreRivers, with support from Chesapeake Bay Trust and Queen Anne’s County, is working to empower residents in the Chester and Sassafras watersheds to implement best practices and establish more river-friendly yards that mimic the natural environment to benefit water quality. ShoreRivers encourages residents to adopt river-friendly practices to achieve healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The 2019 campaign will give an update on the program and highlight Maryland laws and regulations. It will include fun, simple, and attractive ways to transform yards. Maryland’s Nutrient Management Program has the goal of protecting water quality by ensuring that both farmers and urban land managers are safely applying fertilizer. Lawn fertilizer accounts for approximately 44 percent of the fertilizer sold in Maryland. There are over 1,300,000 acres of lawns in Maryland; almost 86 million pounds of nitrogen lawn fertilizer will be applied to these properties each year. It is critical that everyone know the importance of applying fertilizer in an effective and environmentally sound manner for the health of Maryland’s tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.

Follow along with Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week 2019 by tuning into ShoreRivers’ social media pages.

More details are available at Additional guidance, along with seasonal and yearly fertilizer rates, is available at county extension offices or online at For more information about Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week, visit or contact Rachel Plescha at ShoreRivers at or 443.385.0511 ext 208.

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

Adkins Arboretum Announces Spring Open House, Native Plant Sale

Adkins Arboretum, offering the Chesapeake gardener the largest selection of native plants for more than 20 years, announces its Spring Open House & Native Plant Sale weekend, April 26–28. The sale benefits the Arboretum’s education programs and affords the public an opportunity to learn about the Delmarva’s native plants and their connection to a healthy Chesapeake Bay.

Plants for sale include a large variety of native perennials, ferns, vines, grasses and flowering trees and shrubs for spring planting. Native flowers and trees provide food and habitat for wildlife and make colorful additions to home landscapes, whether in a perennial border, a woodland garden or a restoration project. Native honeysuckle entices hummingbirds, while tall spikes of purplish flowers grace blue wild indigo. Milkweed provides critical energy for Monarch butterflies on their winter migration to Mexico, and native azaleas present a veritable rainbow of colorful blooms.

Open House and plant sale hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fri., April 26 and Sat., April 27, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sun., April 28. Presale orders may be placed at through April 4. Simply place your order, and your plants will be ready for pick-up during the Open House weekend. Following the Open House, plants will be for sale at the Visitor’s Center throughout the growing season.

The Arboretum gift shop will be open during the Open House weekend and will offer books and nature-inspired gifts for gardeners. Members, including those who join during the Open House, receive a 10% discount on plant, gift shop and book purchases. Members at the Contributor ($100) level and above receive a 20% discount on plants.

For more information, call 410-634-2847, extension 0 or visit

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 or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Remembering Harry Hughes by Rob Etgen

Harry Roe Hughes, two term Maryland Governor from the Eastern Shore, foremost champion of saving the Chesapeake Bay, and long-time Chairman of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), passed away comfortably at home last week after a long and very full life. Harry was a true statesman who had an incredible impact on Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, and all of us here at ESLC.

Just after Harry left the State House and his leadership role in stimulating the multi-state Bay cleanup, he was recruited to ESLC by his high school physics teacher – Howard Wood – one of ESLC’s Founders. Once on our Board Harry jumped right in and quickly started presiding at meetings, raising funds and shepherding me around the halls of government in Annapolis. Harry stayed active with ESLC in various roles even through his later years. During 2005, Harry and John Frece used the ESLC offices for the drafting of his autobiography, My Unexpected Journey.

Harry often loosened up ESLC crowds with stories of baseball and growing up in Denton when you could ramble unhindered across field and forest throughout Caroline County. He also took pride in his mischievous streak often telling about pushing his parent’s car out of the driveway and down the road before starting it to conceal nighttime joy rides. Many of his stories were prefaced by Harry saying he was killing time to avoid leading everyone in the ESLC fight song – “Don’t Bring In Sprawl” – which he hated singing.

My favorite Harry memory was in 1995 when he recruited the USDA Secretary to speak at ESLC’s annual gala in celebration of our proposed Security Corridor of protected farmland on the Eastern Shore. The morning of the sold out event at the Tidewater Inn the USDA Secretary was called out of the Country, and when I called Harry with the terrifying news, he simply said, “Let me see what I can do.” By that evening Harry had choreographed a speech by Maryland Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretaries and with Governor Glendenning on speakerphone that announced a major new State effort to protect our Corridor – and our crowd cheered! Now known as Maryland’s “Rural Legacy Program,” this initiative that Harry started that evening has now protected 920,694 acres of beautiful farmland and habitat. A nice day’s work!

Harry would often tell a joke about how someone in an elevator once asked him, “Didn’t you used to be Harry Hughes?” And his punch line was “Still am!” Truthfully, that joke is not that good, but when Harry told it, people roared with laughter. That was just Harry’s way – low key, comfortable, and lighthearted. We could use more of that today in our leaders.

Rob Etgen is the president of the East Shore Land Conservancy

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