Click here to view our statement on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 outbreak is evolving across the Chesapeake watershed. Chesapeake Gateways sites and events are managed at the discretion of individual locations and event organizers. Please contact local sites and organizers in advance for any potential schedule changes or closures. The health and safety of residents, visitors, staff, volunteers, and partners is our top priority.

Trips and Tips

Featured Events This Week


A Note About Our Virtual Trips & Tips

We know there is a lot of uncertainty and upheaval in our world right now. We also know how much the parks in the Chesapeake Bay watershed mean to you and how they can be a place of discovery and comfort and hope for us all. We hope that our updated virtual Trips & Tips newsletters will help bring the parks to you while we all do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and communities healthy and well. Share your favorite virtual visits and follow us at @ChesapeakeNPS, #FindYourChesapeake. Sign up for Trips & Tips.

It’s Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom!

According to the National Park Service, peak bloom for Washington, DC’s cherry blossom trees is this week. While it may not be advisable to enjoy peak bloom in person this year, the Trust for the National Mall along with its partners, the National Park Service and The National Cherry Blossom Festival, are bringing the blooming cherry trees to YOU during their ‘peak bloom’ time, so that you can enjoy them this season from the comfort of your home or wherever you are around the world! Live view of the National Mall Tidal Basin via EarthCam.

Falcon, Heron & Osprey Webcam Updates

The Osprey pair, Tom & Audrey, have officially returned to the nest, but all is not settled yet. There are two visiting Osprey (one male, one female) that may be trying to stake their claim on the nest. The female is referred to as Visiting Lady and the male is referred to as Tramp (Lady and the Tramp anyone). The two pairs are currently vying for dominance of the nest. Only time will tell who will succeed! Next, we have the Great Blue Heron colony! Rell & Eddie, the featured stars of Nest 1, have laid 4 eggs so far! Great Blue Herons typically lay up to 6 eggs so we're expecting 2 more eggs soon. Lastly, The Peregrine Falcon pair, Boh & Barb, are currently incubating their 4 eggs! We hope to see the first of the eggs hatch in mid-April.  Check out the live webcams.

Neighborhood Zoofari

Looking for a safe way to entertain the kids, or even yourself, while practicing social distancing? Neighborhoods throughout the watershed are hosting “Zoofari” scavenger hunts. Participants place a stuffed animal in plain sight in their windows or front yards that can be visually found while folks are out on their daily walk. It’s a great way to have some fun while getting your exercise. Inspired by his own neighborhood’s Zoofari, Chesapeake Conservancy Director of Conservation Technology Jeff Allenby built a map where Zoofari participants can log their stuffed animal locations. Check out a sample Zoofari neighborhood map. Create your own neighborhood Zoofari map. 

Can’t ID a Plant or Insect in Your Backyard?

If you love to identify mysterious plants in the Chesapeake Bay area, or even just like looking at photographs of other people’s backyard plants and animals, join the Capital Naturalist Facebook Group. The Group was launched by Alonso Abugattas, a well-known local naturalist, environmental educator, and storyteller in the Washington, DC area. Alonso also weighs in on Facebook postings quite frequently—especially when everyone else is stumped! The postings aren’t all mysteries; there are also just fun photographs, like a fox sleeping in a suburban flowerbed and tips on what to do with injured birds and animals. For a more in-depth dive into the world of local flora and fauna you can also visit Alonso’s Capital Naturalist blog.

Color the Ocean, from A to Z

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has put together a fun at-home coloring activity that allows you to download coloring pages with marine creatures from A to Z and fun facts about each of them. So grab your crayons and get ready to learn your aquatic ABCs—from anemones to zebra mussels and everything in between! Download coloring pages.

Quiz of the Week

This Chesapeake Bay Watershed site was proclaimed a national monument by President Barack Obama, who remarked that it “marks both the beginning and end of slavery in our nation.” Can you identify this site? Submit your answer to [email protected]. Congratulations to last week’s two winners, Richard DeVore, of Harrisburg, and Stephan Armstrong of Watsontown, PA. who knew that Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania is home to 22 waterfalls!

Featured Virtual Water Trail Tour: The Elk River

The Chesapeake Conservancy, in partnership with, has created this virtual river tour along the John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail so that you can make plans for your next paddling adventure, or just soak in the beauty from your screen with the perspective of a paddler. The Elk River is a tidal tributary of the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It is 15 miles long and flows through Cecil County, Maryland and  has served as an entrance to the C&D Canal since the 19th century. Our virtual tour allows you to explore the following sections of the river trail: Elk Creek to West View Shores, Elk Creek to Elk Neck State Park, the Elk River Park boat launch, Rogues Harbor, and Stemmers Run boat ramp. Explore the Elk River.

March 22, 2020

Main image: Photo courtesy Virginia State Parks