External notes — March 19 | travel and outdoors

Woods in Your Backyard class starts March 28

Registration is open for The Woods in Your Backyard online course, a non-credit, self-directed course that runs for 10 weeks from March 28 through June 6. Landowners of one to 10 acres will learn how to convert lawn to natural areas and improve stewardship of existing natural areas. Activities include how to map habitat areas, understand basic ecological principles about forests and wildlife, implement habitat management projects and more. Cost is $95 per person and includes the Woods in Your Backyard book, workbook, and tree identification guide. Limited to 25 attendees. Register at https://spring22.eventbrite.com. Hosted by the University of Maryland Extension Program.

Monocacy Valley NWTF Chapter Receives Award

At the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 46th Annual Sporting Convention and Exposition, held in February, two Maryland chapters received national awards for their “outstanding achievements in hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation.” . The R3 award is given to chapters that facilitate hunting heritage events, including JAKES, Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Women in the Outdoors, focused on recruiting new hunters. The local Monocacy Valley chapter was recognized for its annual JAKES Day event, which hosted 78 youth. The children spent the day fishing and learning about hunting and conservation. They entered a raffle for a chance to win one of 23 framed hunts. The Maryland State Chapter was recognized for its first mentored deer hunt for new hunters, organized in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The hunt takes place at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge. The next JAKES Day of the Monocacy Valley Chapter is scheduled for April 2. For more information on this meeting or chapter meetings, visit mvc-nwtf.org.

The DNR Photo Contest 2022 is now open

The Maryland DNR is now accepting entries for its annual photo contest for novice and professional photographers. Winning entries can win cash, park passes and other prizes, and will be featured in the quarterly Maryland Natural Resource magazine. Approximately 2,000 photos were submitted by 400 photographers to the 2021 contest. Entries can be from anywhere in Maryland on topics ranging from flora and recreation to wildlife and landscapes. Photographers can submit up to three entries for $10, with additional entries (no limit) at $3 each, by August 1. Photos must be original and unpublished. The best overall photo receives a grand prize of $500 cash, a one-year Maryland State Park and Trail Passport, a free magazine subscription, and five copies of the 2023 calendar. For Contest Rules and how to participate, visit dnr.maryland.gov.

Mid-winter waterfowl survey results

In early January, aerial survey teams made up of Maryland DNR pilots and biologists conducted visual assessments of ducks, geese and swans along most of the state’s coastlines from the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River and the Atlantic Ocean. This year, teams counted about 563,800 waterfowl, down from the 627,000 birds seen in 2020, according to a DNR statement. The survey was not conducted in 2021 due to COVID-19. Paul Peditto, director of wildlife and heritage at the DNR, explains that many factors influence the winter distribution of waterfowl, including global weather patterns, food availability, ice prevalence and habitat quality. , among other factors. Dabbling duck numbers have increased, as have pintails and green-winged teal, likely due to mild fall temperatures, according to MNR. Reports from hunters suggest late winter conditions moved more scaups, hoaxes and redheads to the Bay Area after the survey ended. And biologists have counted more Canada geese than in 2020, an encouraging sign that flyway-wide harvest restrictions for Atlantic population geese are working. Full survey results are available at dnr.maryland.gov.

Helen L. Cuellar