Volume XVII, Issue 28 # July 9 - July 15, 2009

Get Stripped to Help Set a Record

You’re invited to take a dip — in the buff — at Pine Tree nude recreation club

To make history, you’ll have to take your clothes off — at least this Saturday, July 11. That’s the day the American Association of Nude Recreation sponsors a record-breaking nationwide skinny dip, with Guinness officials tallying the number of dippers. The local venue, Pine Tree Club, hosts its dip in Crownsville. Nude recreation clubs around the country are joining in, including 33 from New England to Georgia.

The Association hopes to set records with Guinness and new membership enrollments.

“We hope there’ll be a lot of new participants,” says director of publicity Sandy Desautels. “We think that it is interesting to entice new people who have kind of thought about it and push them over the edge.”

For further enticement, arrive early and tour the club to learn about nude recreation and the community lifestyle.

Before you join the bum rush into the water, consider this: The Pine Tree Club has a strict nudity policy.

“In other clubs that are participating, you can get in the pool and remove your bathing suit,” Desautels says. “We, however, are continuing with our basic premise that you have to be naked to attend.” Those who dare to bare needn’t fear the camera: The Pine Tree Club has a camera-safe system for all dippers.

“They have to sign a photo release,” says Desautels. “If they only want to be in the official photo [where all will turn their backs to the camera so that publications like Bay Weekly can print the picture], we will give them a wristband and they will not be photographed.”

Take the plunge this Saturday to cool down, learn a new lifestyle and enter the annals of Guinness.

10am-2:30pm registration; 3pm dip @ Pine Tree Club, 1801 Hawkins Rd., Crownsville: 410-841-6033.

–Diana Beechener

Steps on Land Mark the Path to a Cleaner Patuxent

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum cuts nitrogen in sewage, adds solar tram

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum is seeing green beyond its pastoral lawns and fields on the banks of the Patuxent River and St. Leonard Creek.

This winter, Jefferson Patterson became the first state facility to upgrade an old septic system with a new, environmentally friendly nitrogen-removing septic system, courtesy of the Flush Tax, now allocated as Maryland Department of Environment’s Bay Restoration Fund.

“We replaced an existing septic tank at a tenant house [one of three rented on the property] located on the river,” said park executive director Michael Smolek. “It’s the best available technology, reducing nitrogen entering the drain field and reducing runoff into the Patuxent.”

Smolek counts this green step as one of many in the park and museum’s history.

“We’ve always been a demonstration site for the state. We’ve done a lot of environmentally sensitive testing, like our living shoreline project to control erosion and utilizing best management farming practices with grassed waterways and field borders.”

More septic system upgrades are coming.

“We plan to install another this fall or earlier, taking advantage of the grant program,” Smolek says. “Ultimately, we’d like to get our largest facilities, the Morgan State Estuarine Research Center and the MAC Lab, on this system.”

Rolling along its green way, the park is harnessing the sun with a new solar-electric hybrid cart to transport visitors around the 560-acre property. The 14-passenger vehicle recharges its own batteries in the sun through solar panels mounted on its roof. Solar cells convert the sunlight into electricity. The cart can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour and is carbon-free. It was donated by The Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, purchased with a $21,000 grant from the National Recreational Trails Program.

On June 19, Gov. Martin O’Malley visited Jefferson Patterson during his Capital for the Day tour of Calvert County and accepted the keys to the vehicle from Celeste Furey, Friends’ president.

“The vehicle will allow even more people to experience all that JPPM has to offer while leaving no carbon footprint,” said Furey. 

The cart will come in handy this fall when Jefferson Patterson welcomes Calvert County’s first Green Fair Expo on September 27.

Hosted by the Calvert County Citizen Green Team and sponsored by Jefferson Patterson’s Friends, the expo will feature speakers, demonstrations and exhibits to encourage further greening of Calvert County.

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum: 410-586-8501; www.jefpat.org; www.mde.state.md.us.

–Margaret Tearman

Maryland Writers’ Association Returns to Annapolis

New chapter meets July 14

The Maryland Writers’ Association was born 25 years ago in Annapolis. This month the Association returns to its roots as its new Annapolis Chapter meets at Ahh, Coffee! in Eastport.

Maryland Writers’ Association promotes the art, craft and business of writing for writers of nonfiction and fiction, including novels, short stories, poetry, plays and scripts; genres like romance, science fiction, thriller, fantasy, children’s literature, travel writing, and biography; speeches; feature articles; and essays. Its community of 355 writer members is sprawled across Maryland with 20 critique groups and four chapters.

“In the San Francisco Bay area, where I hosted and produced Authors & Critics on PBS for 10 years, I came to understand the importance of writers meeting and being in a community to encourage support and understanding of their work,” says Annapolis Chapter president Lailee McNair Bakhtiar, a nine-year member.

At monthly meetings, members hone their craft, learn from published authors and focus on the writing arts and business. The writing life continues at the annual conference (now in its 21st year), at book festivals and online through Facebook, blogs, and Yahoo groups. Maryland Writers’ Association also sponsors a newsletter, several writing contests and has published an anthology, New Lines for the Old Line State.

Writers and would-be writers can join the MWA community at Ahh, Coffee! (1015 Bay Ridge Ave, in the Eastport Shopping Center) on Tuesday, July 14 at 6:30pm. Learn more at www.marylandwriters.org.

–Sonial Lee Linebaugh

And last but not least, this week’s Creature Feature:

Funky Nests in Funky Places

Bet Zimmerman of Woodstock, Connecticut, couldn’t put on his work boots because a Carolina wren was raising a family in them.

My editor couldn’t hang out the laundry because a wren had nested in the clothespin bag.

Male Carolina wrens — which build many nests to lure mates — often choose strange locations. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology wants to know just how far these and other birds will go in creative nesting.

Funky Nests in Funky Places, the Lab’s new project to Celebrate Urban Birds, asks you to take a picture, shoot a video or write a story showing birds nesting in odd places.

“We’ve had one entry that was of a bird that came in through a window and built its nest in a Kleenex box behind the toilet,” said project leader Karen Purcell. Other entries include nests in tires, on airplanes and in baseball helmets.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York, interprets and conserves the earth’s biological diversity through research, education and citizen science focused on birds.

The Celebrate Urban Birds project encourages citizens to become scientists by observing their surroundings and sending findings to other scientists at the lab.

“This is an adventure for people to go out and look for something exciting in their own neighborhood,” Purcell said.

The first 50 entrants get a copy of Julie Zickefoose’s Doves and Pigeons poster. Big prizes include a Leica C-LUX 3 compact camera, bird feeders and shrubs. Winning images and videos will appear on the Celebrate Urban Birds website.

Email your entries to [email protected] with Funky Nests in the subject line. Include your name and mailing address and the nesting story.

–Sara Newman