Join the Sultana Education Foundation staff for a unique kayak excursion on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Choose from 16 great paddles, with themes that include a Blue Heron Paddle, Bald Eagle, Oysters and Indians, Lotus, Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet, Full Moon, Turtle Paddle, and more. Paddling destinations include the Sassafras, Turner’s Creek, Tuckahoe State Park, Bohemia, Choptank, Blackwater NWR, and more. The first excursion is May 7, and the last is October 23. Paddles are 2.5 hours long and $30 per person. Kayaks and gear are provided. Minimum age to participate is 12. These paddles are extremely popular and fill up fast. More information and registration.
Get a behind-the-scenes tour of Brookside Gardens’ state-of-the-art greenhouse facility. Opened in 2018, the greenhouse consists of four growing areas totaling 10,000 square feet under glass. Learn about the technology and how it enables the greenhouse staff to grow a variety of beautiful plants year-round. Explore the thousands of plants being grown for the garden displays, including summer annuals. April 13, 10:00 am to 11:15 am and April 14, 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm. $12. Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD. More information and registration.
Herbs are wonderful additions to delicious meal preparation, but in this workshop you will go beyond culinary uses of herbs and learn the medicinal qualities of some of the most common cooking herbs and spices. Explore the medicinal qualities of culinary herbs and what they offer in terms of beneficial bioactive compounds for aiding digestion, circulation, assimilation of nutrients, and protection against unfavorable microbes. You’ll get a chance to taste herbs and take a sample pack of herbs and a few recipes to try at home. Ages 16+; $30. April 9, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm; Irvine Nature Center, Owings Mills, MD. More information and registration.
It’s spring cleaning time, and the Potomac Conservancy is looking for volunteers who want to donate their time to giving the Potomac River some much-needed TLC. It’s a fantastic time to spot and pick up litter before ground-level vegetation sprouts to life. All the gear will be supplied for a fun outdoor outing. There are a number of event locations and dates: from April 9 to April 23 (Earth Day!) with opportunities at Roosevelt Island, Fletcher’s Cove, Jones Point Park, Columbia Island, and more. More information and registration.
Black Moshannon is a unique bog habitat in Pennsylvania that is home to more northerly species due to its elevation and the lake’s basin shape that traps cooler, heavier air. Birds that can be seen include Canada warblers, secretive wood ducks, various songbirds, great blue herons, and more. Loons, mergansers, scaups, buffleheads, grebes, tundra swans, and snow geese are migratory visitors. April 2, 9:00 am to 10:00 am; Black Moshannon State Park, Philipsburg, PA. More information.
The Falmouth Forest Garden is a restored, five-acre Susquehanna River floodplain forest within the Conoy Wetlands Nature Preserve, located along the Northwest River Trail in Columbia, PA. The restoration project endeavors to restore fallow farmland to long-lived perennial crops such as black walnuts, persimmons, pawpaws, serviceberries, and hazelnuts for improved wildlife habitat and a unique visitors’ experience. In this Lancaster Conservancy online Nature Hour learn how forest gardens can be places of beauty, bounty, and biodiversity that provide us hope that we can re-establish our relationship with the natural world. April 6, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. More information and registration.
Bring the entire family for a day of interactive learning and fun with archaeologists from across Maryland and Virginia, including hands-on activities for kids of all ages, archaeological site and lab tours, exhibits, games, giveaways, and cool crafts. Have artifact experts identify and date your finds, join in an artifact scavenger hunt, watch experts compete in an arrow-making competition, mend broken pottery, create your own rock art, and more. Free admission. April 9, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, St. Leonard, MD. More information.
Calling all explorers! Search the ponds of the protected Harford Land Trust property (next door to the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center) for frogs and salamanders, and help to identify and record species. Ages 5 to adult; $10 per family. April 2, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm; Anita C. Leight Estuary Center; Abingdon, MD. More info and registration.
Today's oyster harvest is 1% of what it was 100 years ago. Learn everything there is to know about oysters, their importance to the Bay’s health, and efforts to restore them. The Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and others invite you to view their displays about this keystone creature and discuss the work they are doing. April 2, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; York River State Park, Williamsburg, VA. More information.

Feature of the Week
Little Known Park Is a Passive Enjoyment Gem
Franklin Point State Park, located in southern Anne Arundel County, has been open for five years now, but it is still relatively undiscovered, due in part to its lack of amenities and the fact that most people can’t be bothered to complete the required “Gate Combination Request Form.” But it’s both of these factors, in addition to its intrinsic beauty, that translate to an “ah, solitude” feeling you won’t find in most state parks. Conservancy blogger, Saki, explores its charms – from spotting a snowy egret and surf scoter on a summer paddle, to a March hike ISO spotted salamander eggs. Read The Year-Round Charm of Franklin Point State Park.

Featured Tips
Kid-Friendly Hiking
If you are thinking of starting the youngest family member hiking, blogger/parent Kenny Fletcher has some tips for parents of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Kenny covers topics like adjusting expectations, planning ahead, things to pack, and how to deal with the “unholy trinity” – ticks and biting insects, poison ivy, and snakes. Read Hiking with Young Kids.

3 Great Parks
There are, of course, lots of great options for beginner trails to enjoy with your kids, but if you need suggestions, Virginia State Parks has three great parks for beginner hikes. For example Bear Creek Lake State Park is recommended because of its three very short trails that are ideal for environmental study and wildlife observation. Read Hiking with Kids: 3 Trails for Beginners at Virginia State Parks.

Virginia state parks have two great perks for getting kids started hiking. “Park Packs” are available to borrow at every Virginia state park and contain fun stuff like field guides, magnifying glasses, sifters, and more. You can also sign up for Trail Quest and the whole family can earn five unique and attractive pins. Get one for your first park visit and others after visiting 5, 10, 20 and all Virginia state parks.

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.

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