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Trips and Tips

Featured Tips This Week


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It’s National Pollinator Week!

National Pollinator Week is June 21-27, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting a series of free online seminars to celebrate: June 21, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Solitary Bees of Maryland; June 22, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm; Butterflies and Bees that Need Trees; June 24, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Gardening for Pollinators; June 26, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Pollinator Trivia Night. Programs are being presented via Zoom and led by Kerry Wixted, Education and Outreach Specialist. More information and registration.

Dragonfly Walk & Talk

Join for an educational tour of Unicorn Lake off the Chester River to observe the dragons of the insect world. Unicorn Lake is home to a variety of ecosystems with a great diversity of insects. Participants will learn how to tell a dragonfly from a damselfly and to identify a dozen or more local species. The group will observe them feeding on insects, defending territories, mating, and laying eggs. Throughout the tour, Professor Gillespie will be discussing the biology of these beautiful creatures, their fascinating life-cycle, and the importance of water quality to a functioning insect community. $40 per person. June 24, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Millington, MD. More information and tickets.

Lightning Bugs!

Families are invited to the Black Moshannon State Park Campground Amphitheater to learn about lightning bugs (aka fireflies).  The program will include a short walk in search of lightning bugs, so bring a flashlight! If not camping, parking is located along Rt. 504 near the bridge. June 19, 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm; Black Moshannon State Park, Philipsburg, Pa. More information.

Meet the Beekeepers

Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) at Sky Meadows State Park and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive construction to honey extraction. Discover how to set up and care for your own hives using historic and modern agricultural techniques. Free and open to all ages. June 20, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Sky Meadows State Park, Delaplane, VA. More information.

Shenandoah County Beekeepers, in cooperation with Seven Bends State Park, will also be showing  the ins and outs of an apiary and the vital role bees and other pollinators play in our ecosystem on July 3, 8:30 am to 9:30 am; Woodstock, VA. More information and registration.

Meet the Pollinators

Join Bee City at the Howard County Conservancy to meet some of our most remarkable Maryland pollinators! See different pollinator habitats and learn about bees, butterflies, moths and more! The Beekeepers Association of Howard County, the Community Ecology Institute and the Howard County Bird and Butterfly Club will all have different learning stations to explore! Each registered participant will get to take home a native plant for their own home to help attract and support our pollinator friends! Free, advance registration is required for this outdoor event. June 19, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm; Howard County Conservancy; Woodstock, MD. More information and registration.

Juneteenth Parade and Music Festival

Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The City of Annapolis’ inaugural Juneteenth Celebration wants to create a memorable experience that celebrates freedom and honors the memory of enslaved Africans and their contributions to America.  There will be a VIP Reception and Awards Ceremony on June 18th, and on the 19th a parade at the Annapolis City Dock and a music festival at Bates Athletic Complex. The festival will close with a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, theatrical performance, and tribute featuring local artists and creatives. Find out more about how to join in the celebration!

Juneteenth at Jamestown

Juneteenth is an American celebration that marks the end of slavery in the United States. Though the name originates with an event that took place in Galvestone, Texas, the origins date to Jamestown, Virginia,  as the place where the first recorded Africans in 1619 were brought after landing at Old Point Comfort. As part of the Jamestown celebration visitors will encounter stories of African Americans who fought for freedom. Presentations will feature Claves Unidos, Lisa Reid-Williamson and All 4 Christ, and Nathan M. Richardson will portray Frederick Douglass. Juneteenth programs are included with Jamestown Settlement admission, but tickets to this event must be purchased in advance. June 19, 2:00 pm; Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, VA. More information and tickets.

Rebellion & Runaways

On a day we all celebrate freedom from slavery, York River State Park is hosting two events exploring the beginning of not only African slavery, but European indentured servants and the American Indians resistance as well. A Rebellion and Runaway Walk will take place from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and from 1:00 pm to 2:00 Rebellions and Runaways Along the River presents stories of how Enslaved Africans of colonial Virginia made efforts to secure their freedom long before the Civil War, betrayed uprisings, undaunted maroons, and others who stood against tyranny in the tidewater area. Free and open to all ages. June 19, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; York River State Park, Williamsburg, VA.

Anne Arundel County Public Libraries Celebrate Pride Month

Anne Arundel County Public Library officials have announced a series of special events in recognition of Pride Month, including LGBTQ Book Club meetings. Book club meetings are available for adults, teens, and children, and family storytimes. Join in for a discussion of Black and Queer in Media and Entertainment, and a Rainbow Entrepreneur Panel Discussion. On June 28 the Mountain Road Library will be hosting a parked pride parade, with pride crafts, queer authors, storytime, dance party and chalk the walk. Learn more about the library’s Pride Month events and get book recommendations here.

Snakehead Fishing Derby

No catch and release here, this is catch and REMOVE. Of course snakeheads are delicious to eat! Snakes on the Dundee is a Maryland DNR event, taking place at Gunpowder State Park, with the express purpose of raising awareness of invasive snakeheads and removing them. After check-in there will be an introductory discussion of snakeheads, a fishing demo, fish printing, weight-in, door prizes and pop prizes for  boat and shore anglers, and a filleting demonstration. Kayaks launch free, $10 launch fee for boats, and grills will be available for cooking fillets. June 26, 8:00 am to 2:30 pm; Gunpowder Falls State Park. Registration and more information.

Anacostia River Tours

As part of the Anacostia River Discovery Series, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Anacostia River, observe wildlife in their natural habitats, and get out on the water. The Anacostia Watershed Society will be hosting recreation activities every Thursday evening and some Saturdays of every month from May - October, including Canoe Tours and Motorized Boat Tours. Register soon, tours are filling up fast! More information and the summer of 2021 schedule.

Dad and Me Canoe

Spend quality time with Dad while paddling through the marsh of Otter Point Creek in Harford County, Maryland. June 19, 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm; Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, Abingdon, Maryland. $12 per person; ages 8+, under 13 with an adult. Registration and more information.

Take a Cruise On a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack

Dee of St. Mary’s is one of the very few skipjacks ever built on the Western Shore, and one of only a handful of surviving skipjacks certified to carry passengers. The Calvert Marine Museum offers two-hour public sails aboard the Dee, a great way to experience the Patuxent River aboard an iconic Chesapeake Bay Skipjack. Guests will have an opportunity to help raise and lower the sail. June Public Sail dates include: June 12, 2:30 to 4:30 pm; June 18, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm (adults only); June 19, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm; June 27, 2:30 to 4:30 pm. More information and tickets.

Summer Solstice Sunrise Canoe Tour

Enjoy an early morning paddle out on Holliday Lake to watch the lake come alive for the day on the longest day of the year, and learn about the plants and animals that call the lake home. This tour will journey to several points of interest to see the variety in this ever-changing ecosystem. No canoe experience is necessary. All equipment is provided. $6 per person; at least 4 years old  and 40lbs. June 20, 7:00 am to 9:00 am; Holliday Lake State Park, Appomattox, VA. More information and registration.

Guided Sunset Paddle

 How about treating dad to a guided evening paddle that wraps up the day by catching the sunset over the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel from the James River. Beginners and experienced paddlers are welcome! June 19, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Hoffler Creek, Portsmouth, VA. $40 for nonmembers, $35 for BYO. Hoffler Creek is also offering a guided full moon paddle on June 24. Launch onto Lake Ballard in the center of the Preserve under the light of June's Strawberry Moon. Stay close to the group to learn about our unique history and wildlife or paddle off on your own for a more intimate experience. The flat water of Lake Ballard is perfect for beginners. Registration and information for both paddles.

Bat Wagon

Looking for something a little unusual to do on Dad’s Day? How about hunting for bats at dusk from the comfort of a park wagon? Join Chippokes Plantation State Park to learn about these important flying mammals as we traverse the park from the comfort of a wagon to try and catch sight of them. Special guest and naturalist Joni Carlson will be recording bat calls to identify them. Free and open to all ages. June 19, 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm; Chippokes Plantation State Park, Surry, VA. More information and registration.

Bugs 101 Webinar

Join Capital Naturalist Alonso Abugattas and the Audubon Naturalist Society and learn all about the little things that run the world - the insects and arthropods, their importance and natural history. These invertebrates play a crucial role in nature in so many ways. Learn about their roles, conservation, and news of their decline during this eye-opening presentation. June 16, 7:00 pm. Registration and more information.

Anacostia River Tours

As part of the Anacostia River Discovery Series, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Anacostia River, observe wildlife in their natural habitats, and get out on the water. The Anacostia Watershed Society will be hosting recreation activities every Thursday evening and some Saturdays of every month from May - October, including Canoe Tours and Motorized Boat Tours. Register soon, tours are filling up fast! More information and the summer of 2021 schedule.

Tides & Tunes

The Annapolis Maritime Museum’s Tides & Tunes Summer Concert Series kicks off June 17th, offering 10 weeks of popular music–from rock to folk to blues–with the incomparable backdrop of the Chesapeake Bay. Concerts are free; however, donations are gratefully accepted. Food and spirits are available for purchase. Beverage sales support the Museum’s education program. Bring a chair or blanket. Concerts start at 7:00 pm at the Museum’s waterfront McNasby campus. More information and schedule.

Antique & Classic Boat Festival

Wooden and fiberglass classics, vintage racers, and other antique and Chesapeake Bay-related boats are returning to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for the 33rd Antique & Classic Boat Festival. This year’s festival celebrates a theme of Cruising on the Chesapeake, with classic-style cabin and express cruisers and sport fishing boats expected to attend, and a full slate of boating history seminars. The festival brings juried fine artists, craftspeople, and vendors, offering nautical and maritime-themed items for boat and home. June 18 through June 21, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD. More information and tickets.

Father’s Day Cruises on the Wm. B. Tennison

Treat dad to a uniquely Chesapeake event, a cruise taking in the sights and sounds of the Solomons Harbor and Patuxent River. Wm. B. Tennison is a nine-log sailing bugeye hull converted to a powered buy-boat. June 20, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Solomons, Maryland. Regular one-hour river cruises are also available Wednesday-Sunday, May through October. More information and tickets.

Guided Kayak Tours

Would you like to experience the wonders of the wetlands via kayak?  A certified naturalist/kayak guide will lead you through basic kayak instruction and then on to a paddle to explore the watershed of Marshy Creek at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville, Maryland. There’s a good chance of encountering wading birds, waterfowl, migratory raptors, otter, muskrat, terrapin turtles, mating cownose stingrays, and more!  Tours can be scheduled for both beginner and intermediate level kayakers. $20 for nonmembers. Dates (beginning May 23)  and registration.

Music in the Park

Pocahontas Premieres is a music series with something for everyone. From oldies and Motown to classic rock and current country, the series brings big-arena experiences to Virginia’s most visited state park. All shows are held at the Heritage Amphitheater. Performances include the Richmond Symphony (free), a bluegrass festival, and the Latin Ballet of Virginia (free). Tickets, including free presentations, must be purchased in advance.  May 28 to October, 2; Pocahontas State Park, Chesterfield, Virginia. Complete schedule and tickets.

Tour the Exciting New Annapolis Maritime Museum Exhibit!

The brand-new exhibit, Our Changing Waterfront, allows visitors to the Annapolis Maritime Museum to experience the Bay and local history through the interactive and immersive exhibit displays. The re-imagined exhibits – costing nearly $1,000,000 –include two 500 gallon aquariums, a touch screen table game that features oyster harvesting methods, and a virtual reality boat where visitors can join a race mid-stream, jump onto a contemporary oyster boat, and slip across the Bay in a kayak. Watch the Our Changing Waterfront video tour.

Susquehanna Float & Films

Paddlers! The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership has put together the perfect summer event combo: Kayak on the river in the morning and watch the best of international paddling films in the afternoon – you can choose either one or do both. Part 1 begins at Milton State Park, where participants will launch into the West Branch Susquehanna River and float a few miles down to Lewisburg, enjoying the ecology and wildlife of the river along the way. After a light lunch, part 2 of Float & Films begins at the Lewisburg Campus Theatre where you can watch worldwide paddling films from the 2020 World Tour Paddling Film Festival. June 26, Milton and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. More information and tickets.

Susquehanna River Discovery Boat Tours

Enjoy a free 70-minute guided tour of the Susquehanna River in the Susquehanna National  Heritage Area’s comfortable pontoon boat. This is a great way to hear stories of the river and view beautiful scenery and wildlife. Boat tours are available four times a day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays  from Memorial Day Weekend through June 27, but don’t delay – some time slots have already been sold out. More information and registration.

Shore Rivers Expeditions

ShoreRivers, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring Eastern Shore waterways , has just announced a series of unique outdoor expeditions led by local experts. The June expeditions include sailing on the Chester River, hiking the Turner’s Creek area, edible plants foraging, a family-friendly hike at the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge, a full moon paddle and more! Expedition participation is limited, so be sure to register soon. More information and registration.

Kayak Rental Season Opens at Hoffler Creek

Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve in Portsmouth, Virginia is a 142-acre sanctuary for urban wildlife, including deer, foxes, river otters, crabs, oysters, and over 200 species of birds. Though it is tidal, Hoffler Creek is generally flat water, making it accessible to novice and seasoned paddlers alike. Beginning May 1, both individual and tandem rentals will be available daily from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. Pricing is per kayak per hour. More information, rates, and reservations.

Container Gardening for the Birds  

Just because you live in an urban setting and don’t have space for a garden doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants to attract and feed birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology has tips on which plants are most beneficial for birds and how to master container gardening. Read more about container gardening to benefit birds.

Forever Maryland Webinar Series

This year the Forever Maryland Foundation’s webinar theme is “Preserving for a Purpose” and will address issues and topics related to the future of land conservation in our region and will help further the Forever Maryland Foundation’s mission of collaborative ventures to increase the connection between the people and the land. The first of the series will be Personal Resilience: The Mental & Physical Benefits of Open Space on March 31. The program runs through the fall of 2021, and other topics include pollinators and backyard habitat, climate change and agriculture, urban agriculture, and soil and climate change. More information and registration.

Reserve Now! Connect with the James Paddles

The James River Association has just posted its schedule for their Connect with James public paddles for the 2021 season. The first guided paddle will be an exploration of Turkey Island by canoe on March 20. Other paddles in March include Explore James River National Wildlife Refuge by Canoe, Pontoon Boat Tour and Fish Trawl at Herring Creek, and Explore Four Mile Creek by Canoe. More information, schedule, and booking.

Sultana 2021 Public Paddles Epic Line-Up

After a long year indoors, Public Paddles are an incredible way to get outside and beat the winter blues! Discover local waters, learn the history and ecology of the area, all while meeting new people and socializing in a safe distanced way!  Most paddles take place on Maryland’s upper Eastern Shore, and each paddle features a unique theme. Paddles are 2.5 hours long at $30 per person. Kayaks and gear are provided so all you need is water, a snack, and your binoculars! Minimum age to participate is 12. The Foundation is taking extra steps to ensure the safety of its staff and program participants. Social distancing guidelines will be followed, each paddle will be kept to 8 participants on various days throughout the week. The season kicks off on May with the Blue Heron paddle, but don’t delay these paddles book quickly.  Complete lineup and registration information.

Great Falls Walks and Birding

Learn about the Great Falls of the Potomac and the impact it had on our history on this 45-minute Falls Walk to Overlook 3 at the Great Falls Park. Find out how geology created the falls, the importance of the canal that bypassed the falls to our nation’s history, and much more. The walk covers level ground, and is about ½ mile in length round trip. This free 30-minute walk is offered every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm. Meet at the Great Fall Visitor Center courtyard. On Sundays at 8:00 am join knowledgeable volunteers for a 2.5 hour Great Falls Bird Walk. Bird lovers of all skill levels welcome. Beginners will learn tips and tricks for spotting and identifying birds, while more experienced birders will enjoy observing species in a diverse environment.

Getting to Know Horses

The Greenwell Foundation has created a unique approach to horsemanship – learn about horses first in a series of lessons in which the participants are “unmounted.” Their unmounted program is designed to offer you and your family a fun, relaxing experience learning with horses. Each lesson will offer an opportunity to observe horse behavior, how to approach, halter and lead a horse, the fundamentals of horse care including grooming, anatomy, colors, and breeds, and concluding with a challenging obstacle course to lead your horse through.  There is a minimum of two participants, maximum of ten participants and will include one to four horses depending on number of participants. Minimum age is 5 years old. You can try a one hour session or opt for one session per week for four weeks. More information.

Breakfast in the Barnyard

In a continuing effort to share the benefits of animal-watching, this Accokeek Foundation video of the daily breakfast routine at Piscataway Park should bring smiles to viewers of all ages. From filling the trough for rambunctious Ossabaw piglets, to providing fresh water for the ducks to bathe in, tossing fresh bails of hay to the herd of heritage cattle, and collecting eggs, the morning chores couldn’t be more fun. Watch Breakfast in the Barnyard.

June 6, 2021

Main image: Larry Helms photo, courtesy Virginia State Parks