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Category Archives: Forests

Return of the Thrush (supporting the arts)

wood thrushI always note with a great deal of pleasure each spring when I hear the first flute like calls of the wood thrush. His return in May is like an old friend showing up with a big smile. He calls from the tallest trees early and late in the day and when the clouds cover the sun. He slows down my pace and makes me turn toward the canopy and smile.

This year at about the same time as the return of (more…)

Saving the Future – Howard County’s Central Park

CrescentOur online community is not only focused on restoring and maintaining the wonderful streams, forests, lakes and mountains that were preserved for us by previous generations. We are also focused on opportunities for creating new special places or redefining ones as they change with the growth of our population. Urban and suburban redevelopment will provide us with these opportunities. All of us who desire (more…)

Threats To Our Trees

Adelges_tsugae_3225077They provide shade, purify the air, and support millions of delicate ecosystems – there’s no denying that trees are a vital part of the world we live in. When a problem strikes the forests that blanket North America, or even threatens a single tree, it’s important to identify it and mitigate it as quickly as possible to save nearby trees. If trees around your home or in a local forest aren’t as fresh and green as they should be, or you notice something looks a little off with tree growth, don’t wait to act or you could lose your trees. Here are some telltale signs you can keep an eye out for, which will help you narrow down the problem and solution: (more…)

Ten Tips on Taking Your Kids Camping

campfireThe goal of course is to get your kids outside. All the studies show that getting kids to enjoy and spend time outdoors is healthy for them, but where do you start if you have never camped before as a family? First of all start researching campgrounds nearby and get the whole family engaged in selecting a destination. There are so many places to go. Once you have picked a place to camp, here are a few other things to consider: (more…)

Top Ten, Kid-friendly, Camping Grounds in Maryland

tent at nightimeWhat makes a campground kid-friendly? It often is a place that is easy to get to and has the basic, easily accessible and well maintained facilities. Some campgrounds have many more amenities, play areas, and access to trails and water bodies, but the most important aspects to me are places that are quiet and relaxed and where a family can go to explore the great outdoors.

I have camped at private and public sites all across Maryland. We are so lucky to have such a broad variety of natural habitats from the coast to the mountains. I have selected a few sites here that are spread around the state and all of which deserve your attention. Go out and explore the closest ones first and then expand out if you like. Many people just find one they like and keep going back. Do what you can to help preserve and maintain these treasures and be sure to let me know what you think. (more…)

Ned’s Top Ten Maryland Hikes

Billy_Goat_Trail_bouldersI have not done all the trails in Maryland but these are the memorable ones that I have done that are easy to locate. Many of the places I have hiked were along rivers or shorelines where there were no trails. Some of these required walking in the streams or in the shallow estuaries. It was all fun. But the ones listed here can all be found on maps and are (more…)

Ned’s Top Ten Hikes in Howard County, Maryland

nature walkWell here they are. My new rankings for 2015!! All are good for walking, some are fine for jogging or biking. A few are used by horseback riders. My challenge to you is to get outside this spring and explore each of these. If you have a group to inspire, feel free to contact me at I routinely lead interpretive hikes on all of these paths. (more…)

The National Trail System

Appalachian-TrailCan you imagine exploring a mountainous region without a good trail system? It would take far longer to find your way through the mountains or to find the tallest peak. You might even wander around lost for weeks trying to find your way in and out.

Fortunately, today there is a great system of trails throughout the country, and in many cases good apps for finding your way. For the most part, they are well marked and maintained, largely by volunteers. For example, the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail is maintained by 6,000 volunteers in small clubs all along the way. This is true for many (more…)

Berenty Preserve – A Gift to the Land of Lemurs

One Family’s Gift to the Land of Lemurs: Guest Post by Mary Klett and Mark  Southerland

Colonialism is often justifiably decried for its pillaging of natural and cultural resources; yet there are times when those who came to conquer, learn to appreciate and value these resources. Such was the case of Alain and Henry de Heaulme, who came to Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, in the early 1920s to build a sisal plantation for fiber production. They settled in the arid region of the Tandroy (people of the thorns) obtaining a French government “Concession” to exploit almost 15,000 acres of land beside the Mandrare River. Recognizing the uniqueness of the land, the de Heaulmes set aside 2,500 acres (more…)

Lessons from a City Park – a guest post by Julie Dunlap

800px-East_Rock_from_SSS_Hall,_October_17,_2008Most people ascend East Rock for the views. Atop the 366-foot basalt cliff, they can admire office towers, steeples, neighborhoods, and harbor views of New Haven, Connecticut, and, on a clear day, glimpse Long Island Sound. But for me, climbing the stony Giant Steps Trail recalls my first heady night in graduate school, when new friends suggested a moonlit hike in a city park. That dark scramble, more than the starry summit vista, filled me with wonder and freedom as only an outdoor adventure can do.

The 427-acre East Rock Park originated as a naturalistic landscape in 1884, designed by Donald Grant Mitchell as a respite from (more…)