1. Go to a Tree Planting Event
This is a great activity for families with children! Meet new people and enjoy lunch on April 30, 2016 from 11:00am – 3:00pm at Pinecliff Park. Check out the event page to find out more: http://bit.ly/23SJF02
2. Check out the Earth, Water, Faith Festival
This festival has eco-art, shirt decorating, music, and free paper shredding on Sunday, May 1 from 1:00pm – 3:30pm at the Annapolis Towne Centre. Check out more on the Earth, Water, Faith Festival here: http://bit.ly/1Vxpqn3
3. Attend a Workshop
Want to learn a new skill? There are 5 different free workshops on Saturday, April 23 from 8:30am – 12:30pm at 535 Riverside Drive, Salisbury, Maryland 21801. Find out more information on the available workshops here: http://bit.ly/26aLZS5
4. Learn about Sustainable Landscapes at the National Arboretum
Are you in the business of landscaping? This field day is designed for you! Get a tour of the Fern Valley Native Plant Collection and learn about the Springhouse Run Stream Restoration plus refreshments are provided! Sign up for this experience on Saturday, April 23 here: http://bit.ly/1QhTiMe
5. Head over to the Native Plant Palooza
Do you enjoy gardening? This native plant sale has vendors from all over with knowledge about how to increase the beauty and sustainability of your garden. Proceeds from the sales at this event on Sunday, May 15 will benefit educational programs! To get more information on vendors and native plants check out the website here: http://bit.ly/1XEOhmR
6. Take Part in the Celebrate Baltimore Birds Festival
This festival is great for people of all ages! There will be rock climbing, food trucks, archery, face painting, live bird showings, and appearances by Baltimore’s sports mascots! The festival is on May 21 from noon – 5:00pm. Learn more here: http://ow.ly/4mS9o0
7. Attend a River Clean up
Our rivers need help and this is a great way to give back to the Earth. Volunteers to to help remove trash from the Susquehanna at the 5th annual spring clean up on May 7th from 9:00am – 2:00pm. Learn more at http://bit.ly/RiverCleanUpDanville
Marie Paterson is an intern at the Chesapeake Bay Trust in the Development and Communications Department and a junior at UMBC majoring in Psychology and Media and Communications.
For many adults, the start of summer means rolling down the windows during the drive to the office and looking out the window a little more longingly while we’re there. So when I was offered a chance to spend a Friday with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps at Arlington Echo, an Outdoor Education Center that sees every fourth grader in the county each year, for one of their “All Hands on Deck” events I accepted immediately. Expecting nothing more than a few hours in the sun and maybe a decent lunch, I was completely unprepared for the experience I received.
As I arrived, I caught glimpses of pavilions and picnic tables tucked behind trees, several inviting trails branched off of the main road, and a cloud of butterflies and bumblebees hovered over the flower gardens that surround every building and field. Having not been to an outdoor education center since I was about 12, I was afraid that I would no longer enjoy an entire day of environmental education geared towards a pre-teen age group. While I parked my car and walked towards my Corps group I couldn’t help feeling like I was walking into a new elementary school, worried that the other kids would make fun of my shoes. But my fears evaporated instantly under the infectious smile of Anna, our group’s camp guide, as she led us towards the low ropes course. Minutes later I was being passed through a gigantic spider web, lifted over a 12 foot wall to escape the “zombie apocalypse,” and testing the limits of my balancing skills on “Don’t rock the boat.”
Feeling much more comfortable with my new friends and our teamwork potential, we met up with the rest of the Corps members and Echo staff for lunch. Before we could eat however, we had to learn the rules of Wheel of Echo! , a game after lunch where a lucky 4th grader (usually) gets to show off their ecology chops by answering a random nature question. Despite my personal, grouchy aversion to cheesy audience participation, I soon found myself joining the rest of the dining hall in enthusiastically shouting “SPIN THAT SQUIRREL!” and straining to see what category it landed on. However, lunch wasn’t over until after the traditional weighing of any leftover food waste. Thankfully our group of career environmentalists was able to finish our veggies, earning us a coveted spot on the food waste wall of fame.
After a short digestion break, the Conservation Corps split into two groups and prepared for an afternoon hike/canoe through the Severn Run natural area. Not satisfied that we were soaking in all that Arlington Echo had to offer the staff challenged us to see which group could spot the most plant and animal species before we left later that day. So with our eyes and ears peeled looking for types of life we began paddling up the Severn Run. Focused mostly on not getting stuck in the shallows, and then of course on having to get ourselves un-stuck, we were only able to identify six different types of birds including a great blue heron, a kingfisher, and even a bald eagle. The real fun began once we met up with the other group and our mystical forest guide Sean.
Leading us through stands of chestnut oak and Virginia pine, pointing out lady slipper orchids and wild cherries, rainbow tie-dye socks poking out of the tops of his boots, Sean McGuinn could only be described as the cool counselor in every movie about summer camp. As he led down the trail leaking tidbits of information like “Jewelweed can help counteract poison ivy,” I was reminded of my childhood camp experiences just like when I was in 4th grade and looked up to older kids working at Arlington Echo and decided that’s what I want to be when I grow up.
It wasn’t until we had finished the hike and I sat under a red cedar rehydrating that I realized how much fun the entire Arlington Echo experience had been. Not only was the location right on the Severn River beautiful, you could tell the staff truly cared about their program and wanted every visitor to leave with a newfound passion for supporting local habitat. On top of Arlington Echo itself, I was blown away by the Chesapeake Conservation Corps members: their enthusiasm for environmental stewardship, and the incredible projects they are working on outside of this event. Somehow it made even my own healthy environmental passions and career goals feel shallow. The worst part of the day was driving away and realizing that I had to go to work on Monday and there are kids that are going to get to go there every day of the week this summer.
Will Cameron is an intern at Chesapeake Bay Trust and a senior at John Hopkins University.