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It’s a pretty simple choice, keep mowing the lawn under a hot sun on warm weather weekends, or let the forest that was once there return.
A program on “The Woods in Your Backyard: Simple Tips for Environmentally Conscious Homeowners” will be presented by the St. Mary’s Arboretum from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Aug. 11, in Cole Cinema at St. Mary’s College’s campus center.
Weather permitting, a portion of the class may take place outdoors, so guests are encouraged to dress appropriately and wear good walking shoes.
Craig Highfield, program manager for Forestry for the Bay, will provide simple techniques useful for small landowners in Southern Maryland who wish to be good environmental stewards of their properties.
“I’m trying to encourage people to get out, ... to just get out on their property,” Highfield, an employee of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, said earlier this week. “You have to get out and figure out what it is about the woodlands that you like. People can start thinking about goals, and what they can do to meet those goals.”
Owners of even just a few acres can make a positive difference in their environment through planning and implementing simple stewardship practices. By enhancing wooded areas or creating natural areas on their lot, landowners can enjoy recreation, aesthetics, wildlife and improved water quality.
“They’re not really aware of how nature works, and that this whole area was forested at one time,” Highfield said. “We’re just preventing a forest from coming back ... If you let that go, eventually a forest will return.”
Topics on Saturday will include forest ecology, woodland management principles, tree identification, converting lawns into natural areas and invasive species identification and control. Bring a piece of suspected invasive vegetation to the session to have it identified by Highfield.
For more information, go online to smcm.edu/arboretum/index.html.
Eat steak, shrimp Aug. 17 in Avenue
American Legion Post No. 221 in Avenue will hold its monthly steak and shrimp dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, featuring New York strip steak, steamed shrimp and burgers. Platters and sandwiches both will be available, for eat-in or carryout service. For more information, call Mike Barbour at 301-769-4569, or at 301-769-4346 on the day of the event.
Driver safety planned for school workers
The American Association of Retired Persons is offering a driver safety program open to any employee of any educational system, including home schooling personnel, at a special rate of $5 per participant.
The course is four hours long in a classroom setting, with no age limit for participants, and they each will receive a certificate of completion. The refresher course covers age-related changes that drivers experience, with reminders of things they might have forgotten over time. The class is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, with a noon lunch, at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Health Connections in Leonardtown. To register for the class, call 301-475-6019.
Chaptico run/walk returns Aug. 25
The 27th Annual Chaptico Classic, the region’s longest-lived running event, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25, with the starting gun for the 10K or 5K courses sounding at 8 a.m.
People living life at a slower pace can meander along a scenic, 3-mile walk. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female runners, as well as the top racers in several age categories for each event. Healthy snacks, T-shirts and other goodies to take home will be available to all participants.
Preregister online at www.active.com, call 301-475-2886, send email to email@example.com, or sign up beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of the race. Proceeds will benefit Three Oaks Shelter, St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen, Southern Maryland Community Network and the Mary Lou Gough Food Pantry.
Registration will take place and the race will start at Christ Episcopal Church Parish Hall, located at 37497 Zach Fowler Road in Chaptico.
Tri-county kickball tourney set
The Community Foundation of Charles County will hold its second Tri-County Kickball Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Hallowing Point Park off Route 231 near Prince Frederick.
Teams will be made up of 10 players, a mixture of males and females. Individual registration is $15 and sponsored teams are $250. All players who register by Aug. 14 will receive a T-shirt. Sponsors will get their business logo on all T-shirts and printed materials, choice of team colored T-shirt and recruit their own team players. Check-in on the day of the tournament will begin at 8 a.m. Each team is guaranteed to play two games. Prizes will be given to the first- and second-place teams. Players must be at least 10 years of age.
For additional rules and details, to volunteer, sponsor or register, go online to www.somdgiving.org or contact Nick Rogers by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 301-980-8333.
Children’s fishing tournament set for Aug. 26
The Golden Beach and Patuxent Knolls Civic Association is sponsoring a children’s fishing tournament, for youths up to the age of 16, starting with 11 a.m. registration on Sunday, Aug. 26, at Long Point off Waterview Drive at the Golden Beach neighborhood near Mechanicsville. Trophies will be awarded. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. For more information, call 301-609-1005.
Sponsors, advertisers sought for wine festival
The 10th Annual Riverside WineFest at Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood will be held on Oct. 6 and 7, and Sotterley is seeking companies and individuals to be sponsors and advertisers for the event. Commitments and artwork should be completed by Friday, Sept. 4. For more information, contact Eileen Miller, Sotterley’s marketing manager, by sending email to email@example.com or calling 301-373-2280.
Fire marshal offers grilling safety tips
Summer evenings leading up to the Labor Day weekend and beyond include a lot of grilling at the beach, on the mountains and in the backyard, prompting the Maryland state fire marshal’s office to recently release some tips that will help Marylanders enjoy a safe summer season, and reduce the chance of a tragedy.
Outdoor cooking safety tips for using gas grills include a reminder that all liquefied petroleum gas cylinders always should be transported in an upright position on the floor of a vehicle, with all windows open, and never should be transported in the trunk of a car. Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.
Use a proper-size wrench to ensure all connections between the grill and tank are tight. Check all connections with soapy water. The appearance of bubbles indicates leaks, and leaking connections must be retightened. Make sure grease is not allowed to drip onto the hose or gas cylinder. Store the cylinder, including those attached to barbecues, outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight. Read thoroughly and follow manufacturer’s instructions for gas grill use, and save the instructions.
When using charcoal grills, use only a small amount of charcoal starter fuel, because a little goes a long way. Consider using charcoal that does not require starter fuel for ignition. Once a fire has been started, never add more starter fuel, because fire easily can follow the stream of fluid back to the container, causing an explosion. Use great caution in disposing of ashes, because ashes may contain live coals that can start a fire if not disposed of properly. The safest method is to wet the ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the barbecue.
With any outdoor cooking equipment, never be tempted to use the equipment inside, not even in a garage with the door open or on a porch or a balcony. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas which even in small quantities can cause injury or death. Gas cylinders that develop a leak indoors can cause an explosion with devastating results.
Sotterley speaker series continues Sept. 9
Sotterley Plantation will host a Speaker Series event titled “The War of 1812 at Sotterley & Southern Maryland,” to be presented by Edward C. Papenfuse at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the barn of the Hollywood landmark.
The event is free to the public. Advance reservations are required due to limited seating. Call 301-373-2280.
Sotterley Plantation offers audio tours
Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood offers audio tours to visitors as a different way to experience the history of the site.
The audio tours are based on an interpretive tour launched in 2011. The 1703 Plantation House Audio Tour is available on Fridays only, with interpreter-led guided tours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A self-guided audio tour of Sotterley’s grounds is available every day, except Mondays. There are no additional fees for the tour options. Additionally, a 15-minute introductory video can be viewed at the Visitor Center, which sets the stage for the many visitors who come to hear more about Sotterley and its 300-year history. For more information, call 301-373-2280.