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Resolved — Begin 2016 out of doors

Plunge into the Water

     Are you thick skinned enough to run into the January Bay? On Jan.1 at 1pm, join the plunging crowd at North Beach. Register ($25) to raise funds for Meals for Wheels with the reward of a T-shirt and I Plunged certificate. Or plunge for fun and free. Warm up after with hot drinks and a bonfire on the beach. rsvp: 301-855-6681.

 

Hike into Nature

     Join a First Day Hike at state parks across the land. Hikes are guided and free. rsvp requested.

     For all these adventures, dress for the weather, bring water, a camera, binoculars and bird guides.

 

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary

     Join the Puppies on the Patuxent Hike for an easy-to-moderate 1.5 mile hike along the Patuxent River, suitable for strollers. Stops at the boardwalk and Catfish Pond for views of wildlife. Meet at Frank Oslislo Visitor Center at either 9am or 2pm. rsvp: 301-888-1377.

 

Tawes Garden

     Take a Winter Walk Through Maryland in Miniature for an easy stroller-friendly hike for families and well-behaved dogs on leashes. Scout for songbirds and other wildlife among areas that demonstrate Maryland’s native mountain west, central piedmont and coastal plain regions; learn how this once-inhospitable lot was transformed into a five-acre oasis. Meet at 1pm at the weekend entrance on Herbert M. Sachs Dr. between the Courts of Appeals building and the Maryland Judicial Center. rsvp: 410-260-8189.

 

Sandy Point State Park

     Join a moderate four-mile hike through Corcoran Woods Environmental Study Area to learn about the history of an environment that has been left untouched for 100+ years. Dogs on leash welcome. Meet at 10am at park’s maintenance complex. rsvp: 410-974-2149.

 

Cedarville State Forest

     Join a Winter Hike in the Forest for a moderate three-mile hike for families and kids age 5+ and leashed dogs. Meet at park headquarters parking lot on Bee Oak Rd. at 1pm; Charles County. rsvp:  301-888-1410.

 

St. Mary’s River State Park

     Join a First Day Hike for an easy four-mile hike along the water; children and leashed pets welcome. Meet in the parking lot at 10am; St. Mary’s County. rsvp: 301-872-5688.

 

Elk Neck State Park

     Join Under the Frost, a two-mile trek on the Pond Loop, to learn about the winter behavior of animals. Meet at park store in the campground at 1pm; Cecil County. rsvp: 410-287-5333.

 

Tuckahoe State Park

     Join Holiday Wake Up with Morning Sunshine Hike for an easy two-mile hike to look for wildlife. Meet at lake pavilion at 10am; Queen Anne’s County. rsvp:  410-820-1668.

Pocomoke River State Park

     Join an easy three-mile hike for glimpses of bald eagles or wild turkeys. Starting at 10am at Milburn Landing; Worcester County. rsvp: 410-632-2566.

 

Assateague State Park

     Join the Ilia Fehrer/Judy Johnson Memorial Beach Walk, a one-mile easy walk on the north end of the island to Explore island habitats.

     This walk honors the women’s work as the Committee to Preserve Assateague Island when development prospects included a 25-mile highway and commercial enterprises to create a second Ocean City. Nor’easters in 1962 interrupted construction, and eventually National and State Parks were established. The committee became the Assateague Coastal Trust. Meet at 1pm at the concession building. rsvp: 410-641-1094.

 

Count the Birds

     Join the Audobon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count to collect data on bird migrations as part of the longest-running wildlife census in the country, now in its 116th year. Volunteers in each count cover locations within a 15-mile circle; counters can observe in the field or as a feeder watcher, tallying all birds heard and seen: bit.ly/BayWeekly_CBC.

     Choose a First Day count in one of four counties:

• Anne Arundel County: Hal and Lynn Wierenga: hal.lynn@comcast.net

• Bowie: David Mozurkewich: mozurk@bellatlantic.net

• Calvert & St. Mary’s Counties: Andy Brown: brownaj@co.cal.md.us.