On August 25, 2020 Stratford Hall’s 1738 kitchen became center stage with historical interpreter and chef, Dontavius Williams. On this almost two-hour video, African American Foodways, Williams shares stories of plantation kitchen labor and prepares one of his signature “something from nothing” stews in the 1738 open hearth. While Lee family chef, Caesar, cooked complex and sophisticated banquets in this same open hearth, the Enslaved peoples at Stratford Hall had meager and simple rations, including foods like chitlins considered substandard at the time. Watch the video.
As part of the Smithsonian Associates Streaming series, Historian Richard Bell, a professor at the University of Maryland, examines Douglass’s life to reveal more than another great man on a pedestal. “His talents were nothing short of extraordinary and he put his exceptional gifts to use in the service of freedom, helping to drive American slavery into oblivion.” But he was not without flaws and contradictions, Bell explains in his recounting of this complex man’s life. Feb. 25, 6:45 pm. More information and registration.
Last month, Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr. told the story of how Baltimore’s Union Baptist Church played a historic, central role in the civil rights movement. He shares his own personal experience working for the B&O Railroad, and how Maryland’s law permitting segregation on train cars was overturned. A video of the presentation is now available to view.
Ice and snow are just irresistible sliding media to American river otters. We came across some great fun videos that demonstrate just how excited they were by last week’s winter storm. First check out these nighttime revelers caught on the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s game camera. “These river otters did not do a good job plowing the snow on our docks this week. But we'll give them extra points for enthusiasm.” Watch SERC video. At Huntley Meadows Brian.in.the.wild caught a display of under-the-ice swimming prowess followed by belly slides on top of the ice. Watch Huntley Meadows video.
Are you interested in learning more about using game cameras to look at the wildlife around you at night? Join SERC education specialist Karen McDonald for a two-hour introductory online workshop on how to use game cameras for tracking some of the common wildlife found in and around your home. You’ll learn the features of what makes a good game camera and how to set them up. $25; all funds go to support the SERC Education program. Feb. 23, 5:30 to 7:30. Registration and more information.
Director of Horticulture Les Parks at Norfolk Botanical Garden will be leading a Zoom presentation on choosing the hardiest and easiest to grow fruiting trees, shrubs, and vines. Also included for consideration are perennial herbs, which can be used ornamentally as well. $10. Feb. 23, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. More information and registration.
This Chesapeake Bay watershed site was pivotal in the movement towards racial integration and improved recreational access in America. When this park opened in 1952, it became the only state park in Maryland that Black people could use. However, the beach’s public bathhouses and facilities were still separate. The east side of the beach, designated for “coloreds,” saw considerably less maintenance and upkeep than the white-only south side of the beach. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court, who ruled that segregated facilities lacked equal quality. Subsequently the park welcomed all visitors and now, expanding on its inclusivity, offers a bilingual interpretive outreach program. Submit your answer. Note: Find Your Chesapeake watershed places can be found in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Kudos to Curtis C. who correctly identified last week’s watershed site as Twin Lakes State Park. Virginia's Twin Lakes was created in 1976 when two parks – one all white and one all Black – were merged. Read more about the history of these parks.

Trip of the Week
Where Every Month Is Black History Month
It’s still possible to learn a lot about “the first Black man of science” at Benjamin Banneker Park and Museum in Catonsville, Maryland, even though the museum portion is currently closed. Thanks to the park’s robust interpretive signage visitors can follow the storybook trail and learn how Banneker built his first clock, and visit the orchard Banneker started with pear trees. There is also an apiary, nature play space, herb garden, vegetable garden, and a reconstructed cabin that archaeologists believe to be similar to the style of cabin Benjamin Banneker built for himself when he lived on the property in the mid-1700s. Read more about blogger Diamon Clark's winter visit to Benjamin Banneker Park and Museum.

Featured Tips
Join the Taking Nature Black Conference
The Audubon Naturalist Society and its sponsors and partners will present the fourth annual Taking Nature Black Conference. The conference will include thought-provoking speaker presentations by regional and national environmental leaders, and feature discussions of climate change, environmental justice, and environmental joy! TNB 2021 will run for five days, primarily virtually, from Feb. 23 to Feb. 27, with some select outdoor events that follow governmental guidelines for social distancing. More information and tickets. 

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.
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