Welcome to the Southern Maryland Audubon Society
The mission of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society is “to promote appreciation, conservation, and protection of birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitats through education, research and outreach”. We would like to invite you to join us in the many ways we work to fulfill our mission. We have monthly meetings and field trips throughout most of the year, offer a variety of ways to become involved in the local birding community and produce an excellent newsletter we are proud to share with you. Please explore our website and then consider joining us for an adventure outdoors sometime. We’d love to have you.
Birding in Southern Maryland is a 16 page brochure created by the Southern Maryland Audubon Society to help the birding community find local bird watching locations. It covers Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s and southern Prince George’s counties. It is available HERE for download as a PDF file. You can print out a paper copy or save it to your smart phone or tablet to have handy for your next bird watching outing.
Maryland STEM Festival
SMAS Attends St. Mary’s Public Schools Third Annual Event
On Saturday, November 4, SMAS participated as a vendor at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds for the third annual St. Mary’s Public Schools STEM Festival & Expo. The festival kicked off October 31st and ended November 12, encompassing 535 events all throughout the state!
Our society had fun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. sharing information to students about the owls of southern Maryland, focusing on the food web as it pertained to owls and waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay.
The highlight for kids was the dissection of owl pellets. The kids swooped in on us, filling every space at our tables, diligently teasing away the animal hair to uncover the hidden treasures of bones.
Thanks to our board members Julie and Will Daniel for their assistance and Lee Vines who I think could dissect and explain owl pellets in the dark.
We all had great fun, and look forward to participating in this event next year!!
Lynne Wheeler, SMAS President
Port Tobacco River Park Open House, October 28
SMAS Celebrates Charles County’s Newest Park
On Saturday, October 28, SMAS participated in the open house for the Port Tobacco River Park, Tom Roland Natural Resource Area, in Port Tobacco. We were co-sponsors along with the Port Tobacco River Conservancy, U of MD Charles County Master Gardeners, and Charles County Tourism.We are so grateful to have this new park, in which preserving nature in its natural state is celebrated. The event from 9 a.m. to noon was a beautiful day. Our table featured an electronic bird identification board that young birders-to-be enjoyed, an eagle puppet craft, and a nature and bird walk.
Exploring the Park’s Birds and Native Plants
The SMAS-led walk had great attendance, almost 20 people, and truly was a pleasure for all. The park has four trails, for this open house walk we explored the Eagle Trail, Wetlands Trail and a portion of the Butterfly Trail.
While I focused on the avian species, our Youth Outreach committee chair Lee Vines shared his extensive knowledge of flora in the park. It is always so funny to have Lee explain the difference in the identification of grape vines vs poison ivy with such an appropriate moniker.
My favorite memory was playing the sound of the Eastern Towhee and getting a return song response and view. It was the look on their faces which made it so rewarding. We also had fun with about a dozen Swamp Sparrows and many seemed to enjoy learning the sound difference vs. the Song Sparrow.
While the great weather is now leaving us, this park will be the gift that keeps on giving this winter season. A local Eagle Scout, Ted Hoxie, has installed multiple Wood Duck boxes along the riparian buffer we can monitor, the trails along the river will give us great views of waterfowl, and we have an active Eagle nest! We are excited to host upcoming educational events to view the nest, and to participate in the Eagle Nest Monitoring program organized by the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership with youth groups.
Thank you Charles County for such a gem of a park! We appreciate greatly this gift and will cherish and respect it through the years.
Lynne Wheeler, SMAS President
Annual Meeting and Picnic
June 4 2017
Mount Aventine, Chapman State Park
On Sunday, June 4th we hosted our Annual Meeting and Picnic at the fabulous Mount Aventine at Chapman State Park, Charles County. This historic 1840 manor overlooking the Potomac River is breathtaking, and the weather was perfect. Being one of our Important Bird Areas made it an ideal choice. The 2254 acre site on the shores of the Potomac River offers miles of trails and an unusual array of coastal plain habitats. The manor house is supported by the not for profit volunteer organization Friends of Chapman State Park who offer many programs throughout the year. This manor house and lush property are a must for all to see and enjoy!
Many members brought delicious side dishes and contributed toward the fried chicken, all of which we enjoyed while sitting outside on the front porch. The river view, the breeze, and the company made the meal especially satisfying. Thereafter we held our annual elections of officers (no change) and directors. Welcome aboard Tim Wells, our new director!
Every year SMAS presents a Conservationist of the Year Award. This year we were happy to present it to the Charles Soil Conservation District. Their stellar environmental work made them an obvious and much deserving choice.
The SMAS board of directors also presented a special award this year to our Raptor Conservation Committee. The committee soared to new heights with multiple Barn Owl banding events that generated 300% over projected income. We applauded the chair, Mike Callahan, and our Adopt-a-Raptor chair, Carole Schnitzler, for their hard work and effort. Mike received an Audubon Barn Owl print; Carole was given a silver Barn Owl necklace.
SMAS is happy to share with southern Marylanders our exciting new adventure, Green Time for kids with ADD/ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. On May 15 our newly formed Youth Outreach committee, chaired by Board of Director Lee Vines, held its first bird and nature walk for twenty 6th to 8th grade students from Benjamin Stoddert Middle School.
Research shows that time spent in nature can help improve academic performance, reduce stress, and provide physical benefits. With the help of Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center, instructors Mike Callahan and Joshua Boyd, SMAS board members Carole Schnitzler, Lee Vines, and Lynne Wheeler, we enjoyed two hours sharing nature with children that deserve all we can give.
We plan to hold more events. If interested in having your child take a nature walk with SMAS contact Lee Vines at 301-752-4976 or Leevines3@gmail.com.