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John Smith was right

The Chesapeake is a country that may have the prerogative over the most pleasant places known, for large and pleasant navigable rivers, heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation.
–Captain John Smith, 1608
The Bay seemed like a god when I was growing up. It was filled to the brim with opportunity: a fishing spot, a refreshing cool-down, a glassy surface to explore by boat.
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In simplicity, I find plenty

It was late October when I launched my kayak from Jackson Landing into the Patuxent River. I wondered what I would find during the lull between migrations. The osprey had already settled into their South American winter quarters, the ducks and swans were still on their way from northern shores. September’s abundance of wildflowers had faded; only remnants of purple asters remained, the rest gone crunchy and brown....

Away is a word with two meanings

As the spring sky was brightening, Roy completed his checklist of the readiness of the trailored boat in his driveway. On board were life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, paddles, a whistle, flags and flares.
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I learned from the best

I was 16 months old when I went on my first fishing tournament, joining my grandfather Bill Burton, at the Waters and Woods Ball Fishing Tournament he staged for more than 50 years in the last weekend of April. I didn’t get to fish until my third tournament, and then I was skunked.
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10 products to restore luster and arouse envy

When winter abandons Chesapeake Country, it leaves many a boat looking like an old haunted mansion. Now, boaters are full-swing in chores they would have done in March — if they could have.
    My Catalina 34 is my home, so I’ve learned how to avoid that haunted look. This back-to-the-water season, I’m sharing my shopping list of 10 cleaning products to help you bring a glow back to your boat and make your neighbors jealous.
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Storms aren’t the Bay’s only surprise

In the summer of ’66, I was 13 years old and halfway through my first summer camp at Severn Sailing Association in Eastport, where I was learning to sail, getting my first full taste of what it was like out there on the waters of the Chesapeake.
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In this white world, I seemed to be staring at heaven

I never considered myself the cruise-ship type until I woke up in a luxurious cabin well below 60 degrees south latitude — in Antarctica. The view out the window was so bright and dazzling that I might have been staring at ­heaven, for I could not look too long.
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If you shop at a Maryland Farmers’ Market, it’s likely because of Tony Evans. Evans, who died January 24, planned most of Maryland’s Farmers’ Markets as the final and favorite assignment of his 30-year career with Maryland Department of Agriculture.
    On Earth Day 2014, Evans was eulogized as a “legendary character” and a blossoming Floating Cloud Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) planted in his honor at the department.

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Plant scientist Bert Drake warns that in Earth’s changing climate, plants are odds-on winners. It doesn’t look so good for us.

Hailing from Maine, Bert Drake likes cool weather. So you’d expect him to be riled about a world getting warmer. The issue is more than comfort, says the plant physiologist, who retired in 2010 after a 40-year career at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater.
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Alana Johnson: In her own words

"Of course I know about Earth Day!    
    I just started my garden. I’m growing strawberries, zucchini, squash and mammoth sunflowers. You should’ve seen those sunflowers last year. They were huge — taller than me.
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