Green Living

Students give up spring break to help save the Bay

     Think back a few years. What did you do with your time and talents during spring break from college days? Be careful now. Maybe you shouldn’t answer in front of the children. Fortunately for those of us who love the Chesapeake Bay, a new generation knows how to break from the past and spring into action.
Teens Crochet for the Bay to aid Patuxent Riverkeeper and American Chestnut Land Trust
      Think today’s teens always have their hands busy texting or playing video games? Not Angela Arnold and her pals at Huntingtown High School in Calvert County.       Arnold, a senior, is vice president of a club of teens who keep their hands busy with crochet hooks and yarn. Crochet for the Bay, now an official nonprofit student group, crafts handmade products to raise money for Bay conservation.

Take the family on a spring wildflower hunt 

     Spring is the season of renewal, a time of birth, regrowth and color. Along the shores of the Chesapeake, you’ll see an osprey, nesting material clinched in its powerful talons. Within the forest, your auditory sense is soothed to the music of returning songbirds, while the sweet scent of spring rain stimulates the olfactory nerves. The landscape is adorned with a visual bouquet of flowering dogwood and redbud trees, and the forest floor is carpeted in a dazzling display of spring wildflowers, the focus of this article.

South River on the Half Shell ­celebrates South River Federation’s 17 years of success — and helps fund many more

      Chesapeake Country has no shortage of Bay champions. We have conservation organizations and nonprofits from mega-sized to tiny, from those that tackle the entire Bay to those that work locally on its rivers and streams. South River Federation is a small but mighty hero of the Chesapeake.

Here’s a sneak peek

      Has your Chesapeake Bay license plate stopped sparking joy? Have its heron, crab and grasses against a field of blue lost their power to remind you, and your fellow motorists, to Treasure the Chesapeake? Is it just too familiar?

Do seeds like salt and vinegar? 

      A good science project can be conducted within a month’s time if you start with seeds. Such studies do not require much space or special light conditions. Seeds are readily available, inexpensive and will provide the diversity you need to make comparisons. For many studies, quart canning jars with screw lids, paper towels, water, salt or vinegar and measuring tools are all you need to study how seeds germinate in different conditions.

Ideas, research and preparation

      It’s about that time of year when parents come to me seeking ideas for their child’s science project. Most of the time, they are desperate because their children procrastinated in announcing they had to turn in a project idea yesterday.        Here’s what I tell them:

Our roads have sweated through a real workout, and it shows

       Cutting salt use on roads 30 percent without compromising motorist safety.    That’s the target state, city and county road crews were shooting at.         So what’s with all the large amounts of residual salt on our roadways? How does that square with the salt-reduction program?        Two factors contribute to salt left on the roads: Very cold temperatures, and small snowfalls.

Here’s how to water and repot them

     Orchids are so popular nowadays that they are being offered for sale not only in garden centers but also in drug stores and grocery stores as well as big box stores.          As houseplants, they have the advantage of producing flowers over a long period of time. They tolerate shade and perform well even when abused. They are also light to ship.

It takes six to 10 years of attention to get it right

     The most common species of conifers used as Christmas trees are white pine, Scots pine, Douglas fir, balsam fir, Frazier fir, concolor fir, Canaan fir, Colorado spruce and white spruce. Norway spruce are not recommended because they shed needles rapidly if allowed to dry out once. In more southern states, Virginia pine, white cedar and red cedar and often used.       Most growers purchase seedlings from nurseries that specialize in growing these species from seed.