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The Calvert County Division of Natural Resources and Battle Creek Nature Education Society are extending an opportunity for artists and photographers to access county parks before and after regular park hours during the fall and winter months.

“Artist Access Days is a great way for local artists to connect with nature and be inspired by our local scenery,” Anne Sundermann, executive director of Battle Creek Nature Education Society, said in a press release.

Artists are encouraged to create landscape paintings, drawings and photographs as they experience the quiet of a winter sunrise at Flag Ponds Nature Park or Kings Landing Park.

“I am a photographer and appreciated the way the paths in the park took me into interesting areas,” Don Dunsmore, an artist from Frederick, said of his visit to Flag Ponds in the release. “For example, the boardwalk into the swamp provides excellent views. The blind at Duncan’s Pond affords great cover for photographing osprey, eagles and other birds, and the beach completes the combination of environments that makes the trip worthwhile.”

Upcoming Artist Access dates are:

• 6 to 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Kings Landing Park in Huntingtown;

• 6:30 to 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at Flag Ponds Nature Park in Lusby; and

• 6:45 to 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at Flag Ponds Nature Park in Lusby.

There is no charge for these events; however, registration is required. Artists can register online at www.calvertparks.org/calendar.html.

Sundermann also said in the release that this will give artists time to prepare for the juried “Nature’s ARTcade” exhibition. The show will be held from June 7 to 29 at Flag Ponds Nature Park Nature Education Center in Lusby. Artist entry forms and show information may be found at www.calvertparks.org/ARTcade.

BCNES also is hosting a nature photography mini camp at Flag Ponds Nature Park for youth ages 10 to 13. The first of four dates will be Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The program is free for BCNES members and $12 for nonmembers. Register online or by mail, email cypresswamp@co.cal.md.us or call 410-535-5327.

“Nature Photography camp exposes our middle schoolers to a fun and creative outlet and allows them to connect to nature in an artistic way,” Sundermann said. “Attending this series will deepen knowledge of photography beyond ‘selfies’ and Instagram.”

Sundermann said the goal of these programs is for BCNES to “build a strong connection between nature and art at the parks.”

Library hosting de-stress holiday workshop

Calvert Library is hosting a workshop in which local professionals will present methods and tips to guide participants peacefully through the holiday season and beyond. Topics/stations include: Mommy and Me fun and fitness, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, healing sounds, meditation, relaxation, chiropractic care, massage, winter skincare, life coaching and healthy eating. The workshop is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Calvert Library Prince Frederick. Registration is encouraged but not required. For more information, go to http://calvert.lib.md.us or call 410-535-0291.

JPPM Visitor Center open through Nov. 26

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to dusk, and the Visitor Center is available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Get a head start on Christmas shopping or just hike the miles of trails while enjoying the changing leaves.

‘Farms for the Holidays’ guide released

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission has released the “2013 Farms for the Holidays” winter farm guide, a mini-brochure showcasing more than 60 regional family farms and agriculture-related businesses offering local farm products, homemade gifts and fun farm activities through the holiday season and winter months.

The guide’s extensive listings feature locally grown Christmas trees and freshly cut holiday greenery, winter produce, quality farm-raised meats, fresh local seafood and award-winning wines, plus unique farm-made gifts, including knitted and woven Alpaca and wool items, a press release states. The guide also lists agritourism farms that host special family events and activities through the holiday season, including live nativity scenes, caroling, visits with Santa and even workshops on how to make wreaths and other holiday-themed decorations and more.

The “Farms for the Holidays” guide is available to view or download at www.smadc.com, or find a free, printed copy while stocks last at Southern Maryland public libraries, visitor centers and other venues around the region. Find a full list of pick-up sites on the “What’s New” page at www.smadc.com, and go to www.somarylandsogood.com for more directories and links to the region’s farms, farmers markets, wineries and other venues that feature Southern Maryland farm products.

Children’s ornament donations sought

Locally owned Nature’s Soy Candles will be hosting Ornaments for Kids. The business personally will deliver ornaments to children who will be spending the holidays in a Southern Maryland hospital. The candle company is asking for the community’s generosity of donating an ornament to help this cause. Every family who donates will have the option of including their family’s name on the gift tag. The company will stop taking donations Dec. 21.

Nature’s Soy Candles is owned by Stacy Moreland of Hughesville. To find out how to donate ornaments, go to www.naturessoycandles.com or www.facebook.com/natures.soycandles.

Lusby collection site open for Operation Christmas Child

Southern Calvert Baptist Church will be open from Nov. 18 through 25 as a drop-off location for gift-filled shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for children all over the world.

Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoebox gifts to suffering children in more than 100 countries since 1993, a press release states. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes in 2013. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

For more information on how to participate, call 410-772-7360, or go to samaritanspurse.org. Shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C. Participants can also build a box through an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send a gift to a child in one of the hardest-to-reach countries.

Southern Calvert Baptist Church is at 12140 H.G. Trueman Road in Lusby. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday, Nov. 18 through 23; from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24; and from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Nov. 25.

Hospice to host live and silent auction

Calvert County’s premiere red carpet event, “An Evening of Great Expectations,” a live and silent auction benefiting Calvert Hospice, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Calvert Elks Lodge in Prince Frederick.

The evening will be emceed by WJLA’s chief meteorologist and Calvert County resident Doug Hill, and the live auction will be conducted by John Scott. Unique items and experiences will be available just in time for the holidays.

To purchase tickets, visit Scalped Salon and Spa, 141 Main St., or Calvert Hospice, 238 Merrimac Court, both in Prince Frederick. Tickets may also be purchased at www.calverthospice.org or by phone with a credit card by calling 410-535-0892. Tickets are limited. Early reservations are strongly encouraged.

V.I.P. seating tickets are available at $600 per table of eight people. Individual V.I.P. tickets are available for $75 per person. General admission tickets are available for $50 per person. Sponsorships and corporate tables are available.

For more information, call 410-535-0892 or go to www.calverthospice.org.

snewman@somdnews.com