The Allegheny Highlands Conservancy (AHC) will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday, May 15th at The Discovery Center at Deep Creek Lake State Park. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm with a covered-dish supper. At 7:00 pm Kevin Dodge, Garrett College Director of Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology, will present “Amphibians and Reptiles of the Allegheny Highlands”. The annual election for AHC officers and board members will take place following Dodge’s program. The public is welcome to attend both the covered-dish supper and evening program, but those coming to the covered-dish are asked to make a reservation in advance by phoning Ron Boyer at 301-895-3686.
The forests, streams, and wetlands of Garrett County and the surrounding Allegheny Highlands are home to a variety of interesting reptiles and amphibians, including an especially rich diversity of salamanders. Kevin’s presentation will cover a number of species frequently found in our area, as well as some less common species unique to the region. The conservation issues faced by these species will also be addressed.
Kevin Dodge received his B.S. in Biology from Southwest Missouri State University in 1981 and his M.S. in Biology from Michigan Technological University in 1983. Since 1987, Kevin has worked at Garrett College where he is Professor of Wildlife and Biology and Director of the Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology program. Kevin’s courses emphasize field experience and many classes include field trips to other parts of the Mid-Atlantic/Central Appalachian region. Active in natural resources issues in Garrett County and the surrounding area, Kevin is president of the Allegheny Highlands Conservancy, a board member of the Youghiogheny River Watershed Association, and a member of the Savage River State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Board and the Garrett County Commissioners’ Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Advisory Committee. He is a frequent local consultant to The Nature Conservancy. Kevin has traveled extensively, studying the natural history of many locations, including Arizona and Alaska. Kevin lives in Bittinger with his wife, Carolina, and their daughter, Rhiannon.
This northern red salamander was found crossing a local road during a thundershower late one recent April evening. Normally found in streams and seeps and under rocks and logs throughout our region, this species is enticed to the surface during rainy or very humid weather. Salamanders and other amphibians and reptiles are lured onto roads during rainy nights following warm, sunny days. These “cold-blooded” animals take advantage of the heat radiating from the sun-warmed pavement. Snakes slither and frogs and toads hop across the road, while salamanders literally appear to “swim” through the water running across the road surface. The northern red salamander is just one of the species of amphibians and reptiles that will be featured during the presentation.
For additional information about AHC or becoming a member contact info@AlleghenyHighlandsConservancy.org
The Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) is looking for adult volunteers to help locate, count, and rescue young red spruce trees on several mornings this spring. Volunteers who are comfortable walking through rough terrain are needed from 9:00 am until noon on April 11, 12, 14 and/or 15. Volunteers will help determine red spruce survivability and also rescue seedlings covered by debris from Hurricane Sandy. As time and energy allow, garlic mustard and trash will also be removed. For more details or to volunteer, contact Ron Boyer, SRWA red spruce coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-895-3686.
Over the past four years, SRWA volunteers have planted over 4,000 red spruce plugs along streams in the Savage River State Forest. The goal of these plantings is to maintain conifer cover along native brook trout streams where hemlocks may be killed by the hemlock woolly adelgid, an exotic invasive insect. Now it’s time to take a break from planting and assess how many of our red spruce have survived. Wade Dorsey, Savage River State Forest manager, is providing logistical support. SRWA is coordinating the project and providing snacks for volunteers.
For more information visit the SRWA web site at www.SavageRiverWatershed.org SRWA is a non profit charitable organization and donations may be sent to: Savage River Watershed Association, PO Box 355, Frostburg, MD 21532.
The Ultimate Egg Hunt is back at New Germany State Park on Saturday March 23rd from 11 am to 1pm, with more than 1,500 prize-filled eggs hidden in the park! Participants will be divided into three age groups ─ 1 to 3 years, 4 to 7 years, and 8 and older. Participants ages 8 and up will be challenged to complete the Ultimate Hunt Hike to find eggs hidden along the “Bunny Trail.”
Where: New Germany State Park Lake House, 349 Headquarters Lane, Grantsville
The Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) will meet at Route 40 Elementary School on Thursday March 21st at 7:00 p.m. for a presentation by Donnelle Keech of The Nature Conservancy. During her program “Better Roads, Cleaner Streams: A Win-Win for Streams and Communities”, Keech will explain how well-established management techniques for unpaved roads and stream crossings can reduce pollution and reduce long-term maintenance costs, while improving the condition of roads. The public is welcome to attend.
Donnelle Keech grew up in Frederick, Maryland. She studied anthropology at New York University, and environmental science and applied ecology in Bloomington, Indiana. She returned to Maryland to work for The Nature Conservancy in December of 1996. After five years as Assistant Director of Stewardship, she became the first Allegany Forests Project Director in 2001. Donnelle lives in Cumberland, MD where she and her husband enjoy juggling two careers and parenting their two sons.
New Germany State Park is currently seeking applicants for a volunteer Camp Host position for the 2013 camping season. Camp Hosts are a valuable part of the volunteer team at the park. Hosts provide assistance with a variety of tasks throughout the camping season, including welcoming new campers, keeping campsites and fire rings clean, promoting park programs and events, and providing campers with general information about the park and surrounding area. Camp Hosts are required to contribute at least 20 hours of volunteer work each week, for a minimum of four weeks. In return for their efforts, Camp Hosts receive a free campsite with electric hook-ups. The Camp Host site is located in the White Oak Loop of the campground, where pets are prohibited. Interested persons are encouraged to apply at the New Germany Ranger Station. A background check is required.
For more information, please call 301-895-5453.
The daily limit is two trout with no minimum size and no closed season, except in special trout management and put-and-take areas. Put-and-take areas have a five-trout limit and specific closures depending on location. Anglers should consult the 2013 Maryland Fishing Guide for closure dates and special management area restrictions.
The stocking schedule is available online and at DNR Regional Service Centers and license vendors. DNR also offers online maps of stocked streams and daily stocking updates to help anglers find their way to the hot spots. Weekly updates are available by calling 800-688-3467 and pressing option #2.
Anglers should clean and dry their gear between streams and outings to prevent the spread of harmful invaders such as didymo and whirling disease. This can be done using dish soap or a five percent salt solution, or at a wader wash stations available at many locations where anglers wade.
Remember to take a child along. Anglers under the age of 16 do not need a license or trout stamp.
Anglers that catch and register a trout which meets or exceeds the Angler Award sizes ─ 20 inches for a rainbow and 21 inches for a brown ─ will earn a certificate, free passes to the Maryland Seafood Festival and the chance to win great prizes at the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale in September.
DNR’s trout stocking program is funded entirely by the sale of non-tidal fishing licenses, trout stamps and Federal Sportfish Restoration Program funds which are generated by a dedicated excise tax on fishing and boating equipment.
The Western Mountains Chapter of the Maryland Native Plant Society will hold its regular meeting at the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg on Tuesday February19th at 7:00 pm. The guest speakers will be Dr. Katia Engelhardt and Dr. Steve Keller of the University of Maryland. Their presentation titled “Citizens Restoring American Chestnuts” will begin immediately following a brief chapter meeting. The public is welcome to attend.
Native plant species play critical a role in maintaining ecosystem services within a watershed, such as maintaining high water quality, filtering nutrients, supporting complex food webs, and stabilizing the ecosystem in the face of natural and human-induced perturbations. This program, Citizens Restoring American Chestnuts (CRAC), is a citizen science effort that directly involves western Maryland residents in “cracking the code” to re-establish an important native tree in our forests, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata). The goal of the CRAC program is to increase western Maryland citizens’ awareness and knowledge of native plants and the importance of their restoration by focusing on the American chestnut—a charismatic native species that once dominated our forests but has disappeared as a canopy tree because of a non-native fungal infection called the chestnut blight.
Katia Engelhardt was introduced to ecology and field research as an undergraduate at Oregon State University when she tracked feral horses through the desert of NV and CA for two summers. At Utah State University, she studied Trumpeter and Tundra swans for her MS, and found her love for plant biodiversity during her PhD when she studied the effects of biodiversity loss on wetland ecosystem functioning. Her passion for biodiversity has only grown since coming to the Appalachian Lab in 2000. Ongoing research projects focus on the maintenance of biodiversity in tidal marshes, the importance of genetic diversity in restoration success, and the restoration of American chestnut.
Steve Keller was first captivated by the ecology of native and non-native plants as an undergraduate student at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. He did his PhD research at the University of Virginia on how genetic diversity influences invasion success, focusing on species in the genus Silene (Caryophyllaceae) that were introduced to North America with European settlement. Since coming to the Appalachian Lab in August of 2011, he has been excited to start several new research projects focusing on the biology of native plants and their conservation under environmental change, including restoration of American chestnuts to western Maryland forests.
Directions: From I-68 take exit 33 (Braddock Rd & Midlothian Rd). Follow Braddock Rd ~ .2 miles to the entrance to the Appalachian Lab on the left side of the road (301 Braddock Road). There is plenty of parking in front of the building.
Put your chili to the test at New Germany State Park's 2nd-annual Chili Cook-off.
The 2nd-annual Chili Cook-off will be held at the New Germany Lake House on Saturday, February 16th, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. Participants must pre-register for the cook-off no later than February 15th. Registration is free and electricity will be provided. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Home-style, Fiery Cauldron, and Ladle of Glory (Best Overall).
Cross-country skis and snowshoes will be available for rent at the New Germany Lake House (weather permitting). A service charge of $3/ person for Maryland residents, and $5/ person for out-of-state residents will be collected at the park entrance.
For more information or to register for the Chili Cook-off, please call 301-895-5453.