News Along the Severn

February 2024

Curious fox in Herald Harbor. Photo by Board Member Ted Delaplaine

Thank you to BayPoint Wealth for being a Diamond Business Sponsor.

Executive Director's Corner

As the frost retreats and the first whispers of spring emerge, we at SRA encourage you to embrace a simple yet impactful practice: letting your yard remain fallow until spring, and planting native plants. By allowing nature to take its course, you’re not just preserving a patch of green; you’re creating a haven for biodiversity. Here’s why it matters:

  1. Wild and Messy: Forget the pristine lawns! In a biodiverse garden, a touch of wildness is a gift to the myriad species of plants, animals and insects with whom we can share our land. If you need some grass to get out and throw a football or turn cartwheels, that’s fine, but consider designating a corner to grow wild—let the grass turn to seed, the leaves pile up, and the twigs scatter. This untamed area becomes a buffet for insects, birds, and small mammals. Consider transforming a patch into a mini wildflower meadow—a blend of long grass and native wildflowers. Splashes of yellow goldenrod, purple coneflower, and black eyed-susans will beckon pollinating bees and butterflies, while providing shelter for other critters.
  2. Plant Diversity: Biodiversity thrives on variety. Opt for a rich tapestry of plant species—different shapes, colors, sizes, and fragrances. From spring to winter, ensure a continuous feast for wildlife by choosing plants that flower and fruit throughout the year. Pollinators, from buzzing bees to delicate butterflies, rely on these blooms for sustenance. And don’t forget the birds—they’ll appreciate the tasty treats from fruit-bearing plants.
  3. Fragrant Blooms: Flowers aren’t just a treat for our eyes; they’re aromatic havens for pollinators. Did you know that most butterflies and insects locate their food plants by smell? Plant fragrant flowers like sweet pepperbush, wild bergamot, and redbud trees. Don’t have the energy to plant? No problem–those dandelions are powerhouse pollinator plants too–just let them be. These plants will guide pollinators from garden to garden, ensuring seed production and a thriving ecosystem.

Apart from the benefits to biodiversity and wildlife, a yard rich with native plants means a cleaner and healthier Severn River. The roots of native plants go far deeper than turf grass and thus infiltrate stormwater more efficiently. Importantly, native plants don’t need fertilizers, so when it rains they contribute less nutrients to fuel algae blooms than exotic plants and grass do. 

So as you peruse the offerings at your local nursery in the coming weeks, dispense with the showy high-maintenance flowers of yesteryear, and opt instead for native plants that are beautiful to behold, a boon to local fauna, and that deliver cleaner water for all of us–when it gets warm enough for a dip in the River you’ll be glad you did.

Yours for the Severn,

Jesse Iliff

Executive Director

John Wright Speaker Series

Date: February 27th 7-8:30pm

Location: Cafe Mezzanotte, Severna Park

Speaker: Gary Jobson

Sailing and Sustainability

Bio: Gary Jobson is a former All-American collegiate sailor. He won the America's Cup in 1977 as tactician for Ted Turner. As a broadcaster/producer (he is ESPN's Sailing Analyst), lecturer, and writer (he is an Editor at Large for Sailing World and Cruising World magazines), Jobson is the pre-eminent ambassador for sailing in the U.S. Gary has authored 23 sailing books and is Editor at Large of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines. He is President of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, and former chair of the Board of Trustees for the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Register Here

Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit

On January 31 advocates from across the state convened in Annapolis for the 34th annual Environmental Legislative Summit to discuss priority legislation for the General Assembly session currently underway. Keynote speaker Senator Ben Cardin lauded progress made on oyster restoration, transportation improvements, and efforts to transition to renewable energy sources in the State, and the chairs of environmental committees in both chambers of the assembly spoke to the capacity crowd about the work at the state level. For more information on the environmental bills under consideration this year and how they might impact the Severn River, reach out to SRA today!

Severn River Action Plan

Thanks to a grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Severn River Association, with partner Center for Watershed Protection, have been working on a watershed-wide analysis of all subwatersheds to rank their need for restoration. Phase 1 has been complete, with the areas of greatest need identified. Phase 2 will be identifying specific projects that will improve the quality of the river.

Read the Report

Business Sponsors

Own a business? Love the Severn?

Businesses have the ability to demonstrate their support for a restored and protected River by making a financial investment towards a Thriving Severn River by 2050 through our Business Sponsorship Program.

Benefits include logos in the newsletter, special sponsor social media posts, and more. Deadline for inclusion in 2023 Annual Report is February 29th!

Questions? Email Sarah Winchester

More Information

Our important work is only possible due to the generous support of people like you. If you are a current donor - THANK YOU! We welcome your support any time of the year. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining the movement today. Any size donation makes you a member.


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