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.
Witness the amphibian life cycle and see aquatic invertebrates up-close when you hike below High Bridge to a few of the park’s abundant vernal pools along the Appomattox River floodplain. In the cool late winter and early spring days, frogs and salamanders make their way to these temporary bodies of water in the wooded low ground to lay their eggs. Access to the site is a round trip hike of about a mile. Free with standard parking fees or admission; open to all ages. March 16, 9:30 am to 11:00 am; High Bridge Trail State Park, Green Bay, VA. More information.
You are invited to the Calvert Marine Museum to celebrate one the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s favorite mammals. Learn otterly terrific facts about the North American river otter at learning stations throughout the museum and make an otter craft. Don’t forget to visit Chumley, Calvert, and Chessie Grace, the museum’s resident otter ambassadors. All activities will be included with museum admission. March 26, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, MD. More information.
The official change in season from winter to spring occurs on Sunday, March 20, at 11:32 a.m, and is called the Vernal Equinox. Join Jug Bay Volunteer and Maryland Master Naturalist, Mike Quinlan, to welcome in the new spring season and enjoy a rare, after hours visit to the Sanctuary. You’ll look for signs of spring and end the day at the observation deck to hopefully watch a beautiful sunset. $5 per person; open to all ages able to walk 2-4 miles . March 20, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm; Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary; Lothian, MD. More information and registration.
In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, grouse is listed as a species of greatest conservation need. “A grouse sighting shouldn’t become a rare bird alert on birdwatcher lists,” said Linda Ordiway, a wildlife biologist in Pennsylvania with the Ruffed Grouse Society. Join in this virtual lecture presented by Little Buffalo State Park to learn about the ruffed grouse, why it is declining, and what biologists and parks are doing to help. The program will be held via Microsoft Teams, but there is no need to download the program. March 16, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. More information and additional lunchtime programs.
The James River Association is kicking off another great season of boating with your choice of a pontoon birding excursion or a pontoon sunset cruise. The Pontoon Boat Outing and Bird Tour will take you up the tidal freshwater section of the James to the mouth of Chickahominy River – an Audubon Important Bird Area, for a chance to see quail, turkey, prothonotary warbler, bald eagle, osprey, and kingfisher. March 26 and June 11. Or, you can join fellow river enthusiasts and learn about the natural and historic resources of the James River on the Sunset Pontoon Boat Tour departing from Hopewell on March 30. More information and registration.
Team of biologists distributing redhead grass seeds in the Tred Avon River, with Wye Island in the background. Photo courtesy of ShoreRivers
ShoreRivers.org is once again reaching out to local volunteers to help monitor and map underwater grasses in the rivers of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ShoreRivers shares its volunteer data with the Virginia Institute for Marine Science and the Chesapeake Bay Program to measure progress toward increasing SAV acreage. They also use the data to select sites to plant grass seeds in Shore rivers in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. To be an SAV Watcher, you must have access to a kayak, and be available to monitor your assigned SAV bed at least twice a season. This year’s virtual SAV Watcher training will be on March 29 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. For more information and to sign up, email Amy at anarimatsu@shorerivers.org  
Enjoy forging demonstrations in Mt. Pleasant’s historic Blacksmith Shop, tours of the 1800s farmhouse, and presentations from local groups on animal husbandry and other historical practices relating to life on the land. Free, but advance registration is required. March 26, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm; Mt. Pleasant, Woodstock, MD. More information and registration.
Baby oysters are being grown in oyster gardens along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, including the Baltimore Museum of Industry’s waterfront campus. Oysters have an amazing ability to filter pollution out of the water – a full-grown oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water every day! You can volunteer to help install and maintain large public oyster gardens in Canton and near Federal Hill. Oyster gardening events will be hosted two Saturday mornings per month from Oct-Dec and Mar-June. Children 10+ are welcome. Registration for workshops on March 19 and March 26 is now available. More information and registration.
Feature of the Week
It's Cherry
Blossom Time!
The National Park Service has predicted that peak bloom for the cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC this spring will be March 23-25. The Park Service’s Bloom Watch  page has regular peak bloom updates, a record of previous years' blooms going back to 2004, and illustrations of the bloom stage – from green buds to puffy blossoms. The park service has made it possible to experience this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival virtually (a great way to preview!). From this page, you can walk or boat the Tidal Basin with 360° views, join park ranger programs, virtually visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival, too, and watch performances from their stage.

Featured Tips
No Mow Month
Kudos to Greenbelt and College Park! Plants that grow in lawns in April provide food and habitat benefits for pollinators that emerge early in the spring, and by not mowing, you can help their populations for the coming months. If you live in Greenbelt you can sign up by March 21 and you will receive your No Mow Month yard sign to display in your yard during the month of April. More information and sign up.  For residents of College Park who wish to participate in the City’s No-Mow April initiative, you must register at www.collegeparkmd.gov/nomowmonthform, also by March 21, in order to receive your yard sign. No Mow Month is a conservation initiative first popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in the United Kingdom, but it is gaining traction across North America, with the help of Bee City USA. Bee City’s website has lots of ideas for starting No Mow Month in your community, including signage and other suggestions. Of course, when you don’t have a lawn, every month is no mow!

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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