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Canada geese are here, ducks arriving, swans not far behind

Back when people were fewer in the Chesapeake watershed, skies used to blacken with waterfowl.
    You can get a glimpse of how abundant waterfowl can be, starting with Canada geese.
    Big Vs of Canadas are as common as school buses. You hear them coming by their honking.

It’s Maryland’s first propane-fueled school bus

The Blue Bird school bus that picked up Glen Burnie public school students on November 3 was an innovation, though its riders may not have noticed. What makes it different from any other Type C school bus is what goes in the tank: propane auto gas. Bus No. 789, the newest in contractor Randall Jubb’s Bus Service, Inc.’s fleet, is Maryland’s first school bus fueled by propane.

Follow the Capitol Christmas Tree

In a 45-year-old tradition, the Christmas tree that shines throughout December on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol is cut in a national forest in a different state each year.
    This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree, a towering 74-foot Lutz spruce, was cut in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest on October 27. Two cranes were needed to lift the 7,500-pound tree from its 90-year home.

Start building for the Severna Park Lego Open

Break out the bricks for the second Severna Park Lego Open. This year’s competition, sponsored by Speight Studio Architects, is to build a holiday-themed design using Lego bricks, but no assembled kits.
    What you choose to build with the Lego bricks you use are limited only by your imagination — and the 16-by-16-by-16-inch size restriction. Set your creation on a base plate.

Ships’ graveyard possible National Marine Sanctuary site

The Potomac River continues to bear the legacy of World War I — which ended 97 years ago this week — in one of the Chesapeake watershed’s secret places, Mallows Bay.
    Tucked into the coastline of Charles County, Mallows Bay is the final resting place for 88 World War I wooden steamships of the U.S. Emergency Fleet. Built between 1917 and 1919, these ships were to supply European and American troops with much-needed supplies.

Navy Captain Fred foote uses poetry to soothe the battle-scarred

Loader and gunner, brothers from boot camp days,
they came in one platoon to the shock of war;
daily they clung to each other for strength and grace —
each promised to bring the other home once more.
Now both return: two versions of amputee
–from “Bonded,” by Fred Foote



Eighth-grader Kelsey ­Cashman’s tops Anne Arundel Library’s makeFashion Showcase

When Kelsey Cashman walks her dog Declan on a cold dark, winter night, they’ll both be comfortable. Declan wears the long fur coat of a golden retreiver. His 13-year-old mistress is warm as just-popped toast in the heated cape that took the St. Mary’s School eight-grader to the top of the class in STEM fashion
    Cashman won’t need a flashlight to light their way, for her blue herringbone self-warming cape is trimmed in LED lights.

Come, learn and share your history

Seven hundred were way more guests than Maryland State Archives director of outreach Emily Oland Squires planned for at last year’s innaugural Family History ­Festival.
    “I would have been happy if we had more people than staff,” she told Bay Weekly in 11th-hour planning for the second festival.

“Dump Dominion” banner unfurled by We Are Cove Point

A pair of Cove Point protestors dropped from the upper deck of Bank of America Stadium during Nov. 2’s Monday Night Football game. In the Charlotte, N.C., stadium, an anticipated sellout crowd of close to 75,000 people were on hand for third-quarter play between the Carolina Panthers and the Indianapolis Colts.
    Based on recent Monday Night Football audiences, an estimated 12 million more were watching on television.

Celebrated Chesapeake writer and advocate Tom Horton on the state of our beloved estuary

Excerpted from a talk at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s 50th anniversary lecture series (Editor’s note: Horton’s words have been rearranged in the shape of this story)