Maybe St. Patrick’s Day should be moved to May.
Just take a peek outside your window and you’ll see that the right combination of warmth, rainfall and sunshine has transformed the outdoors into a verdant paradise.
Now, if you’ve got seasonal allergies, you might want to enjoy the view from inside for a little while yet because where there’s a distinctive emerald hue to the outdoors, there’s also a thick coating of yellow pollen on pretty much everything that’s just itching to irritate your eyes and nose.
Speaking of green, I hope everyone got a big tax return from Uncle Sam and has a nice stash of green in the bank.
No? Well then you might feel better knowing your tax dollars are already being put to work for noble causes here in Maryland. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed a new law, pithily coined the PRIME Act, which extends $3 billion in tax credits and exemptions to Amazon if they choose to locate their new headquarters in Montgomery County.
Now that’s a lot of money (even by Jeff Bezos’ standards). Hopefully, the return on such an investment in Mr. Bezos’ company someday pays Maryland back in spades.
However, there is some more tangible green news for Marylanders.
The amount of underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay has continued to grow for the fifth year in a row. Overall, the bay has more than 100,000 acres of underwater grasses, which are continuing to expand. This improves water quality, provides shelter for crabs and juvenile fish, and reduces shoreline erosion.
Now that’s a green trend I can get behind 100 percent.
DNR fishing report available many ways
Are you a digital native or do you still get monthly bank statements in the mail?
Either way, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has got you covered when it comes to the weekly fishing report.
From now on, the Maryland Fishing Report will be available on devices with Amazon Echo. Users can simply say “Alexa, open Maryland Fishing Report” and choose to hear the entire fishing report or request information for a specific area such as the upper, middle, or lower Chesapeake Bay, freshwater fishing, or Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays.
But for those of us who aren’t quite sure what the difference is between Alexa, Cortana or Siri, rest assured the Maryland Fishing Report will still be posted online as usual at http://dnr.maryland.gov/Fisheries/Pages/fishingreport/index.aspx.
Go out on the Dee
If you’ve spent any time exploring the Calvert Marine Museum on Solomons Island during the summertime, there’s a good chance you’ve been on a river cruise aboard the Wm. B. Tennison. But did you know that the museum has another vessel in its fleet?
You may recognize the name Dee of St. Mary’s. Capt. Jack Russell commercially dredged oysters with the Dee, then later transformed the skipjack into a floating classroom that educated hundreds of school children. I remember going on a field trip on the Dee when I was much younger.
The historic skipjack is now part of the museum’s summer lineup, setting sail on Saturdays May 26, June 23, July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 29 and on Sundays June 3, July 8, Aug. 12, Sept. 16 and Oct. 14.
To purchase advance tickets, call 410-326-2042 ext. 41 by noon the Friday prior to the sail. Any remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the admissions desk on the day of the sail. Tickets are $25 for ages 13 and older and $15 for children 5 to 12. No children 5 and younger are permitted.
Junior hunt field days coming
If you have a youngster at home who enjoys target shooting hunting, or just plain outdoor recreation in any shape or form, you should consider signing up for one of the upcoming junior hunt field days put on by the folks at the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
There aren’t any junior hunter field days in Calvert, Charles, or St. Mary’s counties. The closest location is Stoney Creek Fishing and Hunting Club in Pasadena. My husband and daughter attended last year and the drive time is about two hours from St. Mary’s County.
The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 2. Participants will have the chance to learn more about and experience trap shooting, archery and target shooting and watch various hunting demonstrations.
Attendees must be between 8 to 16 years old. Hunter safety is not required and all equipment will be provided. Spots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to apply is May 30.
But who says you have to stay close to home? There’s another junior hunter field day coming up a little sooner at the Western Maryland 4-H Center on May 19.
If you haven’t been to Garrett County recently, this might just be the perfect excuse to enjoy some road-tripping with your son and daughter to enjoy the spectacular outdoor scenery in the western part of our state. Sunshine in the mountains is refreshing this time of year. Not too hot and not too cold, just perfect for a day outdoors.
Activities include learning how to shoot arrows at aerial targets, shooting .22-caliber rifles at clay targets, baiting hooks and catching bass and sunfish in the lake and learning all about turkey hunting and how to talk like a turkey.
The same rules apply to participants and free lunch is provided. The deadline to register for this event is May 16.
For more information about these events along with details about the other two upcoming junior hunter field days, go to http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/Education/JrHunterFieldDays.aspx.
Women Making Waves course offered
BoatUS and Freedom Boat Club have teamed up to offer a boating education opportunity uniquely designed for women only in their upcoming class, Women Making Waves, on May 19 and 20.
The three-hour course includes hands-on training in small groups aboard a 21-foot powerboat. Skills practiced include shifting and steering, boat docking, open-water handling, and basic navigation.
The course will be held at Freedom Boat Club in Annapolis. The May 19 sessions are already filled, but there are still a few spots available in both the women-only and coed sessions on May 20. Participants must be 21 years or older.
To register for a course, go to https://goo.gl/gLbSiD. The cost is $149.