A Note About COVID-19 and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and follow all current directives from your governor and local health officials about wearing face masks and physical distancing.
This year’s Eagle Festival will be a unique mix of virtual and limited in-person activities. A guided bird walk will kick off each morning in search of ducks, geese, swans, songbirds, and bald eagles. Kids ages 8+ can sign up for youth archery safety and instruction, or dissect an owl pellet, and little ones can take a “story walk” on the Woods Trail. Refuge staff will lead a guided 5-mile bicycle tour of Wildlife Drive. Pre-registration is required for all programs. The Wildlife Drive will be free-of-charge both weekends. March 5-6 and 12-13, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge, MD. More information and registration.
It’s that time of year when the sap is running, so be a part of the fun at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources annual Maple Festival at Cunningham Falls State Park. Watch as park staff demonstrate the traditional way of simmering sap, starting every half hour from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm each day. You can take a hike on the self-guided Storybook Trail and end the day by purchasing maple syrup and maple flavored treats. Pancakes and sausage will not be served this year, but light fare and hot beverages will be for sale at the Nature Center. A $3 donation per person is requested. March 12-13, 19-20, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm each day; Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, MD. More info.
Strategically located at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, the Port of Baltimore plays a critical role in national and international maritime commerce. As part of their Winter Speaker Series, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is hosting a discussion examining the Port of Baltimore’s history and current happenings, as well as the Port’s preparations for the future, and its role in developing regional trade. $7.50; this is a virtual session to be held via Zoom. March 9, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. More information and registration.
Join the Sierra Club for a 5-mile mostly level that follows what was once an oxbow bend in the James River, and is now a tidal basin. Bring your binoculars, as waterfowl are likely to be spotted. The trailhead is adjacent to the Henricus Historical Park, a recreation of an old colonial settlement along the James River that predated Jamestown. Hikers may want to visit the park after the hike. Free. March 19, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm; Henricus Historical Park, Chester, VA. More information and registration.
Come for an evening walk through the woods to one of the park's large meadows. Listen for the call of the male woodcock and hopefully see his amazing courtship display and flight. Bring a flashlight for this approximately 1.5 mile walk on uneven terrain. Ages 6+; $9 per person. March 5, 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm; and March 19, 6:45 pm to 8:15 pm. Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. More information and registration. Read American Woodcock, The Forest Species Few Have Seen, to learn more about this rather mysterious species.
You are invited to the Zimmerman Center’s seasonal Bioblitz of Native Lands County Park to help identify local plants, animals, bugs, birds, and more. iNaturalist and Seek are free applications for most smart devices that aid in species identification. The Center will lead tutorials to guide you step by step through this process. For those who prefer good old paper and pencil, the Center will provide supplies for creating a log and field guides. Free and open to all ages. March 5, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Zimmerman Center for Heritage, Wrightsville, PA. More information.
Nassawango Creek is one of Maryland's most pristine waterways. The preserve is home to an abundant diversity of life, including many species of orchids, warblers, and other plants and animals. Join the National Aquarium's Conservation team—in partnership with The Nature Conservancy—to plant Atlantic white cedar trees and help perform site maintenance at Nassawango Creek Preserve. March 26, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Registration and more information.
The beavers are up to something at Belle Isle’s White Oak Swamp. Beavers, nature's most cunning engineers, are building something. Join a ranger on an easy, one-mile hike along White Oak Swamp Trail to see for yourself just what these industrious mammals are building and to learn why they're building it. Beavers are nocturnal, so you’re not likely to see any beavers, but maybe you’ll will hear some snoring from inside the lodge. Free and open to all ages. March 12, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Belle Isle State Park, Lancaster, VA. More information.
Feature of the Week
As We Await
Their Return...
Now is the perfect time, as we wait for the return of our ospreys, to brush up on their time spent here on the Bay. Photojournalist Michael Weiss has written a wonderful account of what our ospreys are up to, from when they arrive (usually in early March) to their departure in late fall. And Michael’s photographs chronicle the whole saga. Check out The Season of Chesapeake Ospreys.

When the ospreys do arrive you can watch the whole drama in real time on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s webcam, featuring osprey superstars, Tom & Audrey, along with running commentary (they've already started!) from their hosts, the Crazy Osprey Family.

Featured Tips
Ocean Institute has announced the 2022 Virtual Marine and Environmental Sciences College and Career Fair for students, parents, and counselors. Live presentations, college and university exhibits, potential career paths, and more aim to help students learn more about post-high school opportunities. Speakers and exhibitors include NOAA, Stony Brook University, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and more. The interactive day is from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on March 12, and will inform and encourage students about post-high school, college, and career opportunities. More information and registration.

Head out on the water and learn firsthand the experiences of Captain John Smith's Voyage on NOAA's Chesapeake Bay interpretive Buoy System. CBIBS provides real time weather and environmental information, as well as a glimpse into living Chesapeake Bay History. You can also download the app for your Android or iPhone from the website. Note: some buoys may be offline with no data currently available.

Take a virtual tour of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail from your computer or mobile device! To help you plan your trip before you go, the Chesapeake Conservancy partnered with Terrain360 to bring you virtual tours of the trail’s great rivers. Sit back and virtually explore the Elk, James (sponsored by the James River Association), Nanticoke, Northeast, Patapsco, Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahannock, Sassafras, Susquehanna, and York rivers. Check out some of the Chesapeake’s special places like Werowocomoco, Fones Cliffs, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Mallows Bay. We hope to eventually bring you a virtual tour of the entire Chesapeake Trail! Explore the Chesapeake's great rivers on our website.

Chesapeake Trips and Tips is a partnership publication of National Park Service Chesapeake Gateways and Chesapeake Conservancy.
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