Join the Sierra Club for a promenade along the Potomac River for roughly eight miles round trip on the C&O Canal towpath from Riley's Lock to a beautiful sunflower field. Take a lunch break at the sunflowers, then on the return trip check out the quarry ruins where the sandstone for the Smithsonian Castle came from. With any luck you’ll have a chance to spot some sunflower-yellow prothonotary warblers. Since this is a photo hike, there will be regular stops to photograph birds, bugs, and other critters. July 25, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm; Poolesville, MD. More information and registration.

Can’t make it to this hike? Read Fields of Sunshine at McKee-Beshers WMA and organize a self-guided visit.
Enjoy the beauty of the river and learn about the flora and fauna of the region. Shenandoah River State Park will provide single kayaks for this leisurely paddle on a gentle stretch of the river, beginning with a wagon ride to the launching point. The cost for the trip is $11 per person. Reservations and payment must be made at least one day in advance by calling the visitor center at 540-622-6840. July 24, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Shenandoah River State Park, Bentonville, VA. More information.
Artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi is a global changer, creating art out of actual thrown out plastics and trash littering our beaches and oceans. By displaying her incredibly innovative artwork, the Norfolk Botanical Garden is hoping to spread the word that 300 million pounds of plastic is produced globally and less than 10% is recycled, eventually reaching our oceans and threatening marine life. On display now, until October 31 at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. More information.
The Patuxent River State Park, with the help of volunteers, has been hard at work creating new trails, and the Sierra Club has organized an outing to check them out. The outing will explore the new trails between Annapolis Rock Road and Mullinix Road, on both the Montgomery County side of the river and the Howard County side. The exact route will be determined by progress on trail construction, and distance may vary from 5.5 to 6.5 miles, mostly on good trail over gentle terrain. There is no fee, but participants are asked for a modest donation ($2 or so) to cover first aid, website, and other costs. July 30, 10:00 am to 1:30 pm; Patuxent River State Park, Woodbine, MD. More information and registration.
Yellow Creek State Park is hosting a fun afternoon of kayaking looking for Dragonflies! Search for the beautiful dragonflies and damselflies of Yellow Creek using binoculars as you paddle around the lake. This is a Bring Your Own Kayak event, so you need to have a kayak with current boat launch permit, life jacket, and whistle.  Bring water and binoculars if you have them or borrow the park’s. This program is geared for adults and teens, age 13+ (with adult). Preregistration is required. July 31 at 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm; Yellow Creek State Park, Penn Run, PA. More information and registration. 
Now in its 21st year, the Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend Festival is one of the largest annual tall ship gatherings in North America. The festival features three days of Tall Ship sails, tours, incredible live bluegrass music, lectures, exhibits, family activities, regional food, and more. Tickets sell fast, so don’t wait too long if you want to attend this amazing festival. Oct. 29-31; Chestertown, MD. Downrigging website and tickets.
This is a chance for the novice fishermen in the family to get some tips and try their luck with Masonville Cove’s free fishing poles and supplies. July 31, 9:00 am; Masonville Cove, Baltimore, MD. More information and registration.
Dig into the contents of your recycling bin during this hands-on workshop with Zero Waste in DC Founder Stephanie Miller, presented by the Audubon Naturalist Society. Identify what's recyclable, what's not, and how to reduce waste at home. Everyone will have an opportunity to ask specific questions related to their own recycling. You’ll even find out whether to recycle that little thing that holds the bread bag together! $15 for nonmembers. July 29, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. More information and registration. 
Communities throughout the country will enjoy and connect with the great outdoors during the 7th annual Latino Conservation Week, which began July 18 and runs through July 26. While this year will lean more toward virtual activities like online expeditions, roundtable discussions, Q&A sessions, scavenger hunts, film screenings and the like, nearly 100 events are being celebrated nationwide. More information and event locator map.
Feature of the Week
Camping on Hart-Miller Island
If your idea of a great getaway is to hang out on a beach, pitch a hammock, play a little volleyball, and cruise around an island on a bike, then an overnighter on Hart-Miller should definitely be on your list. Hart-Miller Island is a 1,100-acre island located in Baltimore County on the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of Middle River. One small catch: it is accessible only by personal boat. Blogger Brian Seel decided to turn his visit into a proper adventure by kayaking to the island with friends for a fun overnighter. Read Camping on Hart-Miller Island for some insights into how to pull off this uniquely Chesapeake Bay experience.

Featured Tips
Songbird Sickness
In late May, wildlife managers in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs. In June, there were additional reports from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. So far, no exact cause of death has been identified. The primary species reported are blue jays, common grackles, American robins, northern cardinals, and European starlings. Things we can do include: reporting any birds we find dead from apparent illness using the Bird Mortality Report Form, taking bird-feeders down to increase "social distancing" in birds until such time as the problem has been solved, keeping pets away from sick or dead birds, and using disposable gloves if you need to handle dead or sick birds. If you encounter sick or dead birds in Virginia, please submit an event report. More information is available from the Penn State Extension and Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

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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