Marshy Point con­nects res­i­dents to Mother Na­ture

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

At a time when it seems like kids pre­fer play­ing games on an iPad over climb­ing a tree and tex­ting over hik­ing, the Marshy Point Na­ture Center Coun­cil in Mid­dle River pro­vides many re­sources and pro­grams for lo­cal chil­dren to em­brace the great out­doors.

The Marshy Point Na­ture Center is a vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion that works with the Depart­ment of Recre­ation and Parks to pro­mote en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion. With Earth Day ap­proach­ing on April 22, the center hopes to

share the nat­u­ral beauty of Bal­ti­more County through its dozens of events and pre­sen­ta­tions.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t even re­al­ize that there’s such great place like this in our back­yards,” said Ben Foster, a nat­u­ral­ist at Marshy Point, about the area’s thou­sands of acres of pro­tected habi­tat. “One of our goals here at Marshy Point is to show peo­ple here in East­ern Bal­ti­more County what an amaz­ing re­source we have. The shores, the habi­tats, and wet­lands and forests and marshes that are all right here hold so many an­i­mals and plant species, it re­ally di­verse.”

On Satur­day, April 15, the center will cel­e­brate the chang­ing sea­son with their 15th An­nual Spring Fes­ti­val. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., there will be a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing na­tur­ere­lated crafts, food ven­dors, games, and an­i­mals shows. View­ers will be able to see a group of Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Retriev­ers, Mary­land’s state dog, do­ing tricks and demon­stra­tions and will be able to get up-close-and­per­sonal with live an­i­mals like a Great Horned Owl. There will also be an Easter Egg hunt, ca­noe trips, and even a place to build your own boat. Last year’s spring fes­ti­val set an at­ten­dance record of over 2,000 and Foster is op­ti­mistic that this year’s will be even big­ger and bet­ter. Park­ing and ad­mis­sion to the fes­ti­val are free and the money raised will go di­rectly back into the center.

On Mon­days through­out the en­tire sea­son, Marshy Point will host their PreK Na­ture Drop-In classes which in­tro­duce lit­tle ones to na­ture while cover­ing a va­ri­ety of top­ics in­clud­ing how to spot the first signs of spring, and what to do when you find a baby bird or a bird’s nest.

There are also hands-on pro­grams where ex­plor­ers can learn ev­ery­thing from wood-crav­ing, to pad­dle­boat­ing, to build­ing a frog pond. Their live speaker se­ries brings in ex­perts to dis­cuss im­por­tant is­sues per­tain­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. For ex­am­ple, on Tues­day, April 18, Mary­land Depart­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment Bi­ol­o­gist Charles Pouk­ish will dis­cuss harm­ful al­gae blooms in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, a prob­lem that has plagued Mid­dle River and re­sulted in the area’s largest fish kills.

In late March, a fam­ily of ospreys set up a nest on Dundee Creek near Marshy Point and the center is run­ning a 24-7 live cam so you can see the ex­act mo­ment the baby birds hatch.

“I think every­one can find some­thing they’ll en­joy here,” said Foster. “We’re all about en­cour­ag­ing ex­plo­ration for kids and kids at heart.”

Marshy Point Na­ture Center is lo­cated at 7130 Marshy Point Rd. and is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

For a full list of events at the center, visit www. marshy­point.org or con­tact 410-887-2817.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE MARSHY POINT NA­TURE CENTER

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MARSHY POINT NA­TURE CENTER.

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