What are your pleasures in this winter season of short days and long nights? Perhaps you enjoy sitting by your window admiring the amazing beauty and variety of songbirds and woodpeckers at your bird feeder or relish long evenings by the fire with a good book, possibly Bringing Nature Home. You could follow the lead of the Friends of Waterford Park, who made edible ornaments for resident birds and decorated their donor trees for the holidays!
Take heart as you read about Watershed Stewards LaRue and Gilbert Kelbaugh who have established healthy native shrub and evergreen edge plantings, lovely warm season grass meadows, and successful tree plantings and spring improvements, all significantly reducing erosion flowing into Muddy Creek and increasing habitat diversity. Check out tree planting events at Urbana Middle, Kemptown, Tuscarora or Walkersville Elementary or High School. I think you’ll enjoy hearing about your friends’ and neighbors’ restoration work. Read about native tree planting projects along streams in both the Linganore watershed in Mt. Airy and at Holly Hills and in the Tom’s Creek watershed on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s (MSM) University. Staff of Frederick County’s Division of Parks and Recreation, joined neighbors and Alliance partner, Potomac Conservancy, to build three linear rain gardens at Libertytown Park, helping filter run off from the parking lot and creating native habitat.
All of us are learning as we go. Dr. Jeff Simmons and his students are studying sources of sediment in St. Mary’s Run on the MSM campus. Frederick County teachers are learning and testing wetland lesson plans to incorporate in their classrooms. Strategies are being studied for managing the invasive Japanese Hops weed that grows along waterways with great abandon. And many are working to devise strategies and find funding to suppress the enormous threat of gypsy moths in 2008.
Certainly you and I are a part of the solution as well as the problem so check out the Alliance calendar to see how you can get involved. Might you qualify for the free Backyard Buffer program providing 25 native tree and shrub seedlings to landowners along streams and swales? What about volunteering to help plant native trees, learning to practice “greener” lifestyles and joining the efforts of local conservation groups. Come, bring your friends and help improve the health of Frederick County’s watersheds!