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Green Living

Chesapeake’s Bounty connects shoppers with local farms, fish and more

Just a few weeks ago, in winter’s last stand, shoppers in light flannels and heavy vests scurried from the damp sidewalk into Chesapeake’s Bounty North Beach store. A smile from Veronica Cristo and an aroma of apple cider warmed the room. The wood floor creaked as they drifted through waist-high aisles of sweet potatoes, apples and stacked jars of local honey and jam, on their way to a table of dinosaur kale and bright green spinach.

Know what you’re getting into

Everything flows downstream. Ponder that maxim as summer draws you to the alluring waters of Chesapeake Country.     When taking a swim in the Bay and its tributaries, think of what’s traveled downstream. The big rains we’ve been having are expressways for pollutants entering the Bay. So some days our waters are not safe waters.

Sometimes you need fertilizers

Am I an organic gardener? I’m often asked that question. I suspect that many who read this column conclude that my frequent reference to composting and compost in gardening means I must be an organic gardener. They seem shocked when I say that I use chemical fertilizers in addition to amending my soils with compost. My reasoning is that of a scientist.

Shady Side fifth-graders saving the Bay one handful of spat at a time

Some Southern Anne Arundel County students are taking the adage bloom where you’re planted more than a few steps further. Fifth-graders at Shady Side Elementary are planting oysters to help restore the Bay’s oyster population.     “We need oysters to clean the Bay,” said Lacey Wilde, 11, the daughter and granddaughter of working watermen.

Agricultural program grows at Phoenix Academy

Next time you cruise down Cedar Park Road in Annapolis during school hours, you may well do a double-take as you pass the field next to Phoenix Academy. You’re likely to see rabbits munching greens in a sturdily built hutch, hear nanny goats bleating or glimpse teens carefully weeding a row of curly-leafed kale. Three years after a Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education was launched at this K-12 Anne Arundel County public school, there’s plenty of evidence that impressive hands-on learning is going on both within and outside the school walls.

They’re out to trap cast-off ­monofilament line

Girl Scouts Noel Pockey and Ashley Whicher are working to save the Bay from used fishing line.     When anglers toss line torn from their reel, the unbreakable and almost invisible plastic monofilament a death warrant to critters. The line ensnares animals, birds and fish, trapping the life out of them. The entangled fishing line continues its havoc, putting swimmers and boat propellers at risk — until it finally degrades 500 years later.

But not so great for forests

Robins and sparrows sing the praises of our unending rain. Their beaks and bellies are filled with wriggling worms.     Earthworms surface as wet conditions make easy work of relocating. No, worms don’t come up to escape drowning. They are capable of surviving several days submerged.     The vibration of raindrops sounds like the predatory rumble of moles looking for a snack, causing the worms to head for the surface, where fishermen and hungry birds find them. Some birds have shifted to eating an earthworm-only diet.

As the South Riverkeeper, I am ­helping to make the river healthy for my children and yours

Not too long ago, I was working in consumer-protection litigation. After law school, I took a job suing banks and shady lenders on behalf of consumers. That wasn’t where I really wanted to be.     In law school at the University of Maryland, I had earned a certificate of concentration in environmental law. When I graduated in 2010, environmental law jobs weren’t as plentiful as I had hoped. So I sued banks instead.

Having fun, making a difference and driving the pump-out boat
 

Almost a year ago, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper completed a living shoreline project at the end of the Camp Letts peninsula on the Rhode River. Over the past few decades, the land had been eroding from storms, boat wake and sea level rise. Hundred-year-old trees were toppling over a sandy bluff, and the silt made the water look like a soy latte.

Churches on a mission to save the Bay

Yes, we’ll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river; Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God. –Hymn by Robert Lowry