One of the best things about living in Southern Maryland is that you don’t have to drive very far to enjoy the finest of fishing opportunities.

The same can be said for fishing fairs. You don’t need to drive a couple hours to Pennsylvania or across the Bay Bridge or anywhere else to find just about everything you’ll need to have an enjoyable fishing season.

You can just hop in the car and head to the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds next weekend for the Southern Maryland Fishing Fair and Boat Safety Exposition. There you’ll be able to get all the gear and advice needed for a good season. You can even meet local charter captains and book a fishing trip right on the spot.

Not only can you come home with a new rod and tackle, but more importantly you can up your understanding of boating safety. When the chips are down, you will undoubtedly be glad to have learned beforehand what you need to know so you and your friends and family are equipped with the right gear and have the knowledge to ensure everyone’s safety.

Due to an accident that occurred during a local fishing tournament in recent years, the Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization, which sponsors the fair, has committed its members to teach the public how to prepare, equip and safely operate boats. SMRFO seeks to raise local safety awareness and prepare the community to better handle emergencies.

Federal, state and local organizations will be on hand including the Maryland Natural Resources Police and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Sail and power squadrons will be showing folks how to deal with hypothermia and weather-related incidents, while the tri-county area Emergency Medical Services will demonstrate how to address on-the-water medical emergencies and new CPR protocols.

There will also be guest speakers at the event, including well-known local guide Capt. Brady Bounds who will provide a lively discussion of where and how to catch fish in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Freshwater fisherman Eric Packard will share tips for how to catch fish in the ponds, lakes and rivers of the tri-county area. In addition, Wayne Young, who was previously with the Maryland Environmental Service, will speak about artificial reefs in Southern Maryland.

Those with kids at home won’t want to miss the presentation about the week-long fishing camps offered by the Greenwell Foundation for children 7 to 14 at Greenwell State Park this summer.

The schedule of speakers will be available at the gate entrance.

The fishing fair will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 and 24. Admission is $4 at the gate and children 12 and younger are free. There will be food and drinks available for purchase.

For more information, go to and click on “events.”

Volunteers are needed at Myrtle Point Park

The Sierra Club invites families to come out to Myrtle Point Park at 3 p.m. Saturday for a family hike and beach clean-up.

Meet inside the gates and walk the trails doing a little spring cleaning as you go along. You’ll head to the beach as the river’s water level approaches low tide, enabling folks to pick up trash and keep our beaches safe for humans as well as the marine ecosystem. Bring yourself, a friend, a trash picker upper (if you’re fancy), layered clothing and close-toed shoes.

Myrtle Point Park is located at 24050 Patuxent Beach Boulevard, California, MD. The rain date is 3 p.m. Sunday.

Park outside the gate and walk into the park. Convene at the Sierra Club sign where volunteers can sign in and get materials before the walk starts.

For more information, go to, email Rosa Hance at or call 240-808-4233.

Help plant seeds at Sotterley Plantation

What do you call a potato with square angles? A square root.

You’ve probably never seen a packet of potato seeds at the garden supply store and that’s because you don’t sow potato seeds, you plant seed potatoes.

Confused yet? Seed potatoes are small pieces of potatoes with eyes on them. The eyes are fleshy growths that turn into new plants.

If you want to get up close and personal with potatoes, Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood could use your help on March 23 to do some seeding in their fields. For the sixth year straight, Sotterley will be growing potatoes, many of which will be donated to food pantries in Southern Maryland.

The goal is to plant 11 acres of potatoes.

There will be two potato planting sessions, at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. It’s a family-friendly event, and children 5 and older are welcome to help plant potatoes. Dress for the weather and wear shoes that can get muddy. A pair of gardening gloves is necessary, too. Treats for volunteers will be provided.

Volunteers must register online. Go to and select “visit” from the pull-down menu. Then click on “events.” Scroll down to find more information and the green register button for the Potato Planting Day. The rain date is March 30.

Of course, if you want to support Sotterley’s commitment to sustainable farming and their partnership with the local farming community, come on out to the next Fly-In Farmer’s Market at the St. Mary’s Airport from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Bring the kids and they’ll get to meet a real, live, giant leprechaun. Oysters will be one of the items for sale, the sign of a true Southern Maryland-style farmer’s market.