Trips and Tips

Looking for a fun way to explore the Chesapeake Bay region? Interested in visiting a historic community or a nature preserve or just paddling down a river near your home?

Each week we highlight interesting, unusual and off the beaten path events taking place from the mouth of Bay to the Susquehanna and everywhere in between. Cruises in southern Maryland, hikes in the Shenandoah and festivals in Baltimore, it’s all there and more! Find more ways to explore the Chesapeake watershed at¬†,¬†brought to you in partnership with the National Park Service.

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Tip of the Week: Backyard Buffers Program Offers Free Trees

If you are a resident of select counties in Maryland and have a drainage ditch, stream, creek or river flowing through your property or are adjacent to a waterway, you could qualify for a free "Buffer in a Bag." Each bag contains approximately 25 native bare-root tree and shrub seedlings, that are suited for streamside conditions. Streamside buffers help preserve and improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, reducing sediment, lowering peak water temperatures and stabilizing stream banks. The buffer bags will include a mix of swamp white oak, river birch, redbud, persimmon and hazelnut. Information on tree planting techniques, planting arrangements, tree maintenance, other native plant species suitable for streamside plantings will be available when you pick up your bag. The trees will be available for pickup in early April. Check to see if you qualify for this program. (Photo: Harry Rose)

Mallows Bay - Potomac River Is Close to Becoming A National Marine Sanctuary--And Your Voice Is Needed!

Mallows Bay is approximately 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland. Years ago, World War I wooden steam ships were sunk here once they were no longer needed. Nature has reclaimed this "ghost fleet" as artificial reefs, creating a unique place where wildlife and history have come together. Already on the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, Mallows Bay - Potomac River would be the first-ever National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake and the only sanctuary that will allow people to paddle in and among the wrecks. The designation process is a community-led effort, and your voice is needed! NOAA is accepting public comments until March 31, 2017. You can submit your comments online here. Visit Chesapeake Conservancy for a video tour of Mallows Bay and more information to help draft your comments. (Photo: Joel Kinison)

Plant Seeds for Pollinators

Come to Masonville Cove to help sow native pollinator plant seeds in flats. This will give plants a head start on the season. Milkweed seeds are crucial in the lifecycle of Monarch butterflies. You will be working the greenhouse, so it should be relatively warm. Mar. 1, 10:30am-12:00pm; Baltimore. More information. (Photo: Mike Cohen)

Community-Based Oyster Restoration

As part of the Leight Speaker series, Community-Based Oyster Restoration: Advancing the Science, Efficiency, and Public Awareness for the Future of Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay by marine ecologist Keith Johnson, will examine the oyster restoration work being done in the upper Chesapeake Bay to see what is working. Oyster gardens, reef balls, shell recovery and deposition will be the focus. Free, donations welcomed. Feb. 25, 3pm-5pm; Abingdon. More information. (Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program)

Leight Park Grasses to the Masses Workshop

Learn what submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is, why it is important to the Bay, and how you can help restore bay grasses. In this free workshop for volunteers, you will be given instruction, equipment, and plant material to grow SAV in your home. Then join other volunteers this spring to plant the SAV in Otter Point Creek. No experience necessary. Planting day will be Sunday, May 21. Free; ages 6 - adult, under 13 w/adult. Call 410-612-1688 to register. Feb. 26, 3pm-4:30pm; Abingdon. More information. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters)

Marine and Maritime Career Fair

The Eastport Yacht Club Foundation will present the seventh annual Marine and Maritime Career Fair at Annapolis High School with support from title sponsors, the Marine Trades Association of Maryland and the Living Oceans Foundation. Over fifty organizations will be on hand to discuss careers in the Marine Trades and the Maritime Sciences as well as educational and apprentice opportunities. This terrific event is free for all students in Grades 6 - 12 as well as recent high school graduates and college students from the Maryland and Chesapeake Bay region. Feb. 25, 12pm-3pm; Annapolis. More information. (Photo: Thad Zajdowicz)

Grand Ball in Celebration of President George Washington

The Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center will ring with happy voices and the swish of waltzing hoop skirts, as the C&O Canal hosts a 19th-century dance ensemble for an afternoon of Civil War-era dance. Visitors will be able to enjoy the music of Gilmore's Light Ensemble and will be encouraged to join in the fun and dance. Instruction will be provided, and no previous experience is required! Light refreshments of the period will be served. Feb. 26, 1pm-4pm; Potomac. More information. (Photo: Mandy Jansen)

Family Camping 101

Interested in camping with your family but don't know where to start? Bring the kids to the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center and help the naturalist pitch a tent, build a fire, and make a yummy meal for all to enjoy! You will leave with the skills to make your first family camping experience a great one! $6/person. Open to all ages, under 13 w/adult. Call 410-612-1688 to register. Feb. 26, 11:00am-12:30pm; Abingdon. More information. (Photo: R.E. Barber Photography)

Highland Tea at Darnall's Chance

Celebrate Scottish heritage and partake in a cozy winter afternoon tea at Darnall's Chance. Darnall's Chance House Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The National Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Trail, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Reservation required in advance. Feb. 25, 2pm-3pm; Upper Marlboro. More information. (Photo: Frank Pickavant)

Deep Creek Dunk

Join in for the 19th Annual MSP/NRP Deep Creek Dunk! Dunkers take a daring dip into Deep Creek Lake to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Maryland. All across the state, all year long, SOMD athletes are training and competing in one of 27 different sports, reaping the benefits of the programs both on and off the playing fields. Feb. 25, Oakland. More information. (Photo: Maryland Department of Natural Resources)

Apple Tree Pruning at Monticello

Few horticultural practices are as misunderstood as pruning, particularly for fruit trees. Join Monticello fruit gardener Jessica Bryars in the Monticello South Orchard for this two-hour workshop and learn the proper pruning techniques for apples. Feb. 23 & 25, 10am-12pm; Charlottesville. There will also be an Apple Grafting Workshop on March 11 and Peach Tree Pruning workshop on March 16. More info. (Photo: brent wiese)

Winter Life of Civil War Soldiers: Drill, Boredom and More Drill

Wintertime for Civil War soldiers often meant a welcome break from combat, but long days in winter quarters and focus on organization and training. Experience this aspect of a soldier's life as the Independent Volunteer Rifles recreate the winter of 1861-62 of the 40th Virginia Infantry at Sky Meadows State Park. Listen and watch as the officers train and instruct their subordinates in drill and manual of arms. Walk through their camp and talk to soldiers about their wintertime duties and ways they combat monotony and boredom. Free and open to all ages. Feb. 25, 10am-4pm; Delaplane. More information. (Photo: Starley Shelton)

The Point Hike at Twin Lakes

Take part in a guided hike with a bit more adventure. This moderate difficulty hike will take visitors along the Otter's Path trail and over a stream to reach one of the most unique views of the park--Beaver Point. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, and dress for cooler weather. We recommend bringing a reusable water bottle or check out the Twin Lakes gift shop. Free and open to all ages. Feb. 25, 1pm-2:30pm; Green Bay. More information. (Photo: prodigy130)

Golden Eagle Voyage Birding Weekend

Spend an event-filled weekend in Central Pennsylvania with the opportunity to view these majestic birds soaring overhead from atop Tussey Mountain during the peak of the annual Golden Eagle northern migration. Enjoy the comforts and accommodations of the Nature Inn while experiencing the natural beauty of the surrounding forests and fields of Bald Eagle State Park. While Eagles may be the weekend's main attraction, there will be other opportunities to observe local bird life. According to Birds of Central Pennsylvania, "Tussey Mountain consistently records the highest seasonal totals and peak daily counts of migrating eagles in spring in the eastern US." March 3-5; Howard. Details, cost and schedule, from Fri. evening through Sun. breakfast. (Photo: carfull...home in Mongolia F)

Fly Tying for Beginners

Catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself can be an extremely rewarding experience! Join the Bald Eagle State Park naturalist and other beginners one Saturday a month from February to May for fly tying instruction and watershed education. Learn how to tie flies and use the flies you created to catch fish! The last program in May will consist of a Fly Fishing Basics program where fly rods will be available for casting instruction and fly fishing on the banks of F.J. Sayers Lake. Feb. 25, March 25, April 29, May 27, 10am-12pm; Howard. $10. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 25. To pre-register or to ask questions please call 814-625-9369. Event overview. (Photo: Mick Thompson)