Spring brings with it much new growth in the forest, some of which is edible! Spice up your kitchen and learn a new skill while taking an evening hike in the park. Ages 6+, under 13 w/adult; $5 per person. April 11, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm; Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, Abingdon, MD. More information and registration.
One of the best ways for the whole family to get in touch with nature in the spring is to visit a vernal pool…but don’t wait too long, like spring wildflowers they are fleeting. The National Aquarium’s Teeming and Temporary blog provides everything you need to know about the vernal pools of the Chesapeake Watershed, including a beautiful photo gallery to provide the inspiration! The DC Audubon Naturalist Society is also offering The Magic of Vernal Pools; Frogs, Fire Lizards, and Fairy Shrimp, a webinar that looks at crucial habitat for the reproduction of spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and fairy shrimp. $15 for nonmembers. April 14, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. More information and registration.
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.

Join Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia for a free webinar on container gardening basics, including growing flowers and vegetables in containers, bio-containers, growing medium, moisture, fertilizer, plant selection and care, and overwintering your potted garden. Trending topics will include container gardening with roses, citrus, and other fruits, shade plantings, porch pots, and more! April 23, 10:00 am to 11:30 am. More information and registration.
Join a park ranger on this guided hike on the trail to the pond area for a discussion of the benefits, beauty, and bounty of Eastern Shore native plants during this exciting spring season. Free and open to all ages. Before your visit, find the most up to date health and safety information at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/besafe. April 11, 10:00 am to 11:00 am; Kiptopeke State Park, Cape Charles, VA. More information.
Many of the world’s historic lighthouses have been “manned” by women who kept the lamps lit night after night while also performing daring rescues and raising children. Join The Mariners’ Museum for an enlightening virtual lecture with Shona Riddell, who will take you on a fascinating journey to some of the world’s most remote lighthouses as well as to some not so far away, and share inspiring stories of heroic lighthouse women through the ages. April 8, 7:00 pm. More information and registration.
Maryland DNR’s Kerry Wixted has recommendations for her top ten native plants for the Piedmont region of Maryland, based on ease of growth and wildlife value. Kerry will share tips on what to plant, how to convert lawn to garden while keeping neighbors happy, and will address your concerns and questions. Join in learning more about how we can do our part to improve biodiversity right in our own yards. Free and hosted on Zoom. April 18, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Registration and more information.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed site pictured in last week’s quiz is Milton State Park, an island in the Susquehanna River north of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Though no one identified Milton State Park, astute readers Ed S. and Anita T. weighed in with another state park in the watershed that is an island, pictured above. Name the island! Submit your answer. Note: Find Your Chesapeake watershed places can be found in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Last week’s quiz site was Milton State Park, an island on the Susqehanna River. The park’s rich floodplain soil supports a diversity of vegetation. The southern part of the island is undeveloped and covered in a forest of predominantly silver maple, river birch, and sycamore. The island is a rest area for migrating songbirds and waterfowl. A boat launch is on the east side of the island. River elevations vary with the seasons and generally are not deep enough for large watercraft. The island provides fishing access for smallmouth bass, panfish, and catfish.
Feature of the Week
Whether due to the pandemic, as some have suggested, there does seem to be an increased interest in foraging for wild edibles. Avid forager/blogger Saki shares some of his favorites, including wild grapes, American lotus seed pods, paw paws, wineberries (yes invasive, so the more we eat the better), wild persimmon, chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms, lion’s mane mushrooms, and morels. Peak foraging season for the much-coveted morel is around April 15 to May 15 in our area. Read A Foraging Revival.
Featured Tips
Are dying and dead trees no longer of any use? Not by a long shot! As the tree ages and eventually dies, changes in the bark and wood create habitat for animals suited to each stage in the life and death of the tree. Dead trees are called "snags" and when snags fall to the ground, they are called logs. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides an in-depth look at the various flora and fauna that live in both snags and logs. For example ospreys, some hawks, and the great horned owl will nest on top of very tall snags, and cavities and loose bark can also serve as a safe place for butterflies and moths to hibernate or metamorphose. Read all about how to optimize all the benefits of snags and logs on your property and see a list of “users.” 

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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