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Way Downstream …

Folks in a fishing village on the Arabian Peninsula definitely had more reason than we did to complain about last week’s heat.

In the town of Quriyat in Oman, the mercury set a record, plunging to 108.7 degrees on the night of June 26, marking the hottest low temperature in recorded history. During the day, it was 121.6 degrees. Those recordings combined to give the town of 50,000 another record, the hottest 24-hour period ever.

The United States still holds the record for the highest temperature on record: 134.1 degrees, recorded on July 10, 1913, at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, Calif., according to the World Meteorological Association.

Play to remember — and repay

After Michael Schrodel’s early death in 2001, his family and brothers of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity of Frostburg State University hosted a golf tournament to celebrate his life and memory.

“He wanted to give back to organizations that helped him when he was sick,” says his daughter Carmen, a student at James Madison University. “My dad liked to golf, so we figured a golf tournament would be a good way to bring people together for such a great cause.”

In 15 years, the Michael D. Schrodel Golf Classic has raised more than $100,000. All proceeds from the Classic benefit Calvert Hospice and the Michael D. Schrodel Endowed Scholarship Fund at Frostburg, his alma mater. 

As well as supporting causes dear to Schrodel, it is, his daughter says, “such a fun day, a reunion of new and old friends!”

Friday, July 20, at Compass Pointe Golf Course, Pasadena. Sign up to play or sponsor until July 15: https://birdeasepro.com/Event/Register/8885.

SPCA reprises its two-species Cruise on the Bay

Annapolis is one dog-friendly town, from water bowls and treats outside of Main Street stores to events made just for furry friends.

On July 19, Annapolis further appreciates its dogs when the Anne Arundel Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals partners with Watermark Cruises for its sixth dog Cruise on the Bay.

“A cruise,” says Watermark’s Katie Redmiles “because the dogs can get the breeze from the water and we don’t have to worry about problems with getting them into places.”

Dogs and their people board Watermark’s Harbor Queen boat at City Dock to cruise 6:00 to 7:30pm. Both decks are open air, so the dogs have a lot of room.

Half of the ticket price benefits AASPCA dogs in need.

Liz Herrick of Glen Burnie and her Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix Bodhi and Pomeranian Pippa will be aboard. “My favorite activities are those that contribute to causes that I care about, so this was a perfect choice for my two pups and me,” she said.

Karisa Josephson of Dunkirk is boarding for the first time to help the cause. She is, she says, looking forward to “spending time with my friend [her dog] and the many people who love doing things with their pets as I do.”

Doggie pools afloat with hot dogs add to the fun for pups who can cool off in the water and go bobbing for a snack. 

“I bring my dog every year, and he really loves it,” Redmiles said. “Dogs, believe it or not, like to get out on the water, so I’d say it’s more for the dogs, and they happen to bring their people along.”

Humans will have fun, too, with light food donated by Graul’s Market, an open bar, raffles and silent auction items, the latter two going to the dogs.

Watch for babies and respect elders 

The common snapping turtle’s life history shows extreme longevity and perseverance.

They begin their life by cutting through an eggshell, digging through a half foot of dirt, then crawling up to a half mile to water. Many eggs are eaten by raccoons, and the tiny young are food for many animals, even other turtles. Living on a diet of insects, tadpoles and minnows, the young spend most of their time hiding in dense pond weeds.

The first two years of life are the hardest. Very few, maybe one percent, survive. 

Snapping turtles grow slowly, taking 15 years to reach maturity. Their lifespan is unknown, but some tagged individuals have been over 100 years old and weigh close to 90 pounds. Locally, some have been up to 75 pounds. A large common snapping Turtle may well be older than you.

They are ambush predators, eating almost anything that comes along — and that list is quite long. They have been witnessed killing a raccoon, but generally they eat fish that swim too close to gaping mouths.

Through winter, snappers hibernate under water and frequently under mud.  

In the warm seasons, they mate. The female can store live sperm for several years, waiting until the conditions are right for egg laying. Starting in the late spring, female common snapping turtles laden with up to 75 eggs haul themselves out of the safety of water to find an area suitable for laying eggs. The nesting area can be up to a half-mile from water and uphill.

On their journey, you might see them crossing roads, laying eggs in gardens, hissing at pets and blocking trails. As for human contact, for the most part they are shy, but when cornered they can be very aggressive. Their strong jaws can cause serious damage to hands and feet.

To rescue a large snapping turtle crossing a road, either use a shovel to lift it or toss a towel onto the head and back and pick it up by the sides of the shell. Picking it up by the tail can tear the artery going into the tail and cause the animal to perish. Some people are able to pick them up by the shell at the area where the back legs go in, but there is a risk of getting bitten or scratched. Move the turtle in the direction that the turtle was already going.

Mid to late summer is the time the turtles hatch from their underground nests. They are a little more than an inch long and look like a clump of dirt or a partially smashed acorn. The hatchlings are usually only noticed when they move or are discovered by a pet. If you find a baby turtle, move it to a nearby body of fresh or brackish water. Snappers cannot survive the salinity of the ocean.  

Team Rotary RAAMs Polio raced across America with local support

The race to end polio has stretched farther than Race Across ­America’s 3,000 miles, all around the world. It has lasted longer, 39 years instead of a week. But this year’s race brings the killer closer to eradication. In its third year racing, Team Rotary Race Across America’s Polio raised an all-time high of $1 million to destroy the dread disease in its last strongholds, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Team Rotary RAAMs Polio reached new personal bests in both time and sponsorship. As well as raising more money for polio vaccinations, the four international RAAM racers reached Annapolis less than seven days after setting out from California.

Two racers from Austria, Ruth Brandstaetter and Markus Mayr, and one racer from Germany, Kurt Matzler, joined Tulsa’s Bob McKenzie in the United States for the race. McKenzie has ridden in Race Across America with Rotary for three years running. “I tell the team every year in Oceanside that we’ve already won because we have provided immunization for the kids against polio,” McKenzie says.

Rotary, an international organization, has been focused on eradicating polio since 1979, thanks to John L. Sever. In 1979, the year when the final case of polio was diagnosed in the United States, Sever was both a Rotarian and head of the National Institutes of Health’s infectious diseases branch. Awed by the conquest over smallpox, Rotary International president Clem Renouf challenged Sever to find Rotary an equal task. Sever suggested polio as the Rotary target.

The challenge succeeded. Incidences of polio around the world have decreased by 99.9 percent. As the vice chair of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee, Sever is after the last of the germ. Low vaccination rates and unexpected occurrences still keep the disease alive. Ukraine, for example, was declared polio-free in 2002 — until two cases were reported there three years ago. Only 50 percent of that nation’s children had been vaccinated against polio. The disease won’t stay down if people are not vaccinated against it.

Local Rotary clubs have supported the campaign since its beginning. For this year’s Race Across America, the Rotary clubs of Parole, Annapolis and North Shore contributed, raising $4,000.

“The club tries to contribute $2,500 to the PolioPlus campaign each year,” said Bob Smith, president of the Parole Rotary Club. This year, the contribution went higher, thanks to the additional efforts of the Annapolis and North Shore Rotary clubs.

It cost $60,000 in equipment and maintenance for Team Rotary RAAMs Polio to compete. In their arduous race, they were able to raise enough money to deliver more than 1.6 million polio vaccines.

“It’s pretty spectacular when you think about it,” Smith says.

Maybe that's because it's what this sparrow eats?

    Many animals are named by the sounds they make or the food that they eat. The grasshopper sparrow is named for both. These little birds live in grasslands from Canada to Florida, where they like to perch on any stick or fence and sing a song that sounds like a flying grasshopper. They also feed on grasshopper and other grasshopper-like insects.
    In the summer, they make nests by clumping grass near the ground. Thus their nests are at risk during hay cutting. Some farmers purposefully put off cutting while the birds are nesting. With fewer open grass fields, more grass cutting and many other reasons, the population has dropped 75 percent since 1968. The Florida sub-species is almost extinct.
    To help protect populations of grass-nesting birds and animals, most states have established large tracts of grasslands that are not cut until after nesting is finished. In Maryland, the largest tracts are at Fair Hill and Soldiers Delight, with a smaller grassland at Sands Road Park.

Join a July 4th Parade

Cape St. Claire Celebration

10am from the Fire Department to the Main Beach for fun from 11am-2pm: tug-of war, sand-castle building contest, water-balloon toss, spoon and egg races, watermelon-eating contest and the Cape’s BBQ ribs and patriotic dessert contest: 410-757-1223; www.cscia.org/cape-st-claire/cape-st-claires-annual-july-4th-celebration

 

Severna Park Parade

10am from St. Martin’s in-the-Field Church, to Severna Park High School, to Evergreen Road to B&A Blvd to Cypress Creek Park: 410-647-3900.

 

Shady Side Parade

10am from Cedarhurst to the Shady Side Community Center on Snug Harbor Road. Roads close to traffic at 9:45am. Eddy Boarman: 443-370-8720.

 

Galesville Parade 

1pm down Main Street, which closes to traffic around 12:45pm. Parking $5/car on the athletic field at Anchors Way and Main St.: [email protected]; 703-328-6669.

 

Annapolis Parade

6:30pm down West Street from Amos Garrett Blvd., around Church Circle, down Main Street, then on Randall Street to Market House: www.annapolis.gov.

Your guide to fireworks, parades and celebrations

Friday June 29

Historic St. Mary’s Fireworks: Pyrotechnics follow Chesapeake Orchestra’s birthday concert in honor of Leonard Bernstein, with music of Sousa, Tchaikovsky and more. Bring lawn seating and a picnic or buy from food trucks. Arrive early at this thronged summer favorite. 7pm, Townhouse Green, St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s City: www.chesapeakeorchestra.org.

 

Saturday, June 30

Chesapeake Beach Fireworks go up from two barges anchored beyond the town jetties, visible from the water and from land along the Bayfront from as far south as Willow Beach to north of North Beach. Watch the 25-minute spectacular from North Beach Boardwalk; at Rod ‘N’ Reel, where Split 2nd performs 5-9pm; on water onboard the Miss Lizzy (8pm, Chesapeake Beach Resort, $35, rsvp: www.cbresortspa.ticketleap.com); or take in the view from Chesapeake Beach Water Park (www.chesapeakebeachwaterpark.com). Fireworks 9pm, Chesapeake Beach: www.chesapeake-beach.md.us.

St. Michael’s Fireworks: The Shades of Blue Orchestra plays at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (7-10pm) for Big Band Night and St. Michaels’ fireworks. The orchestra performs at the historic Tolchester Beach Bandstand with dancing under the tent, and fireworks beginning at dusk over the Miles River (rain date July 1). Bring chairs, picnic blankets, food and drinks, but leave non-service dogs at home. Food, ice cream and non-alcoholic beverages sold; sponsored by Eastern Shore Tents & Events: www.cbmm.org/bigband.

 

Tuesday July 3

Sherwood Forest Fireworks: See this private community show from the Severn River from your boat. Or book on the Harbor Queen, with light snacks and cash bar. 7:30-10:30pm from Annapolis City Docks, $50 w/discounts, rsvp: www.watermarkjourney.com.

Herrington Harbour Fireworks: Fireworks set off from a barge illuminate Herring Bay. Marina grounds are reserved for members. But the view is great from boats, private docks, lawns or beaches. About 9:15pm, Herrington Harbour South, Rose Haven: www.herringtonharbour.com.

 

Wednesday, July 4

Baysox Fireworks: With an extended finale follow the Bowie Baysox baseball game against the Harrisburg Senators; rsvp for barbecue picnic buffet ($40 w/discounts). Picnic 5:30pm, game 6:35pm, Prince George’s Stadium, game tickets $7-$17, rsvp: www.baysox.com.

Annapolis Fireworks rise from a barge anchored in Spa Creek, illuminating Annapolis Harbor. Spa Creek Bridge closes to traffic at 6pm and local garages may fill up early; $1 shuttles run from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium to Lawyers Mall 5pm-midnight. Town and water views including from the Harbor Queen (7:30-10:30pm, Annapolis City Dock, $55 w/discounts, rsvp: www.watermarkjourney.com) or Schooner Woodwind (6:30-10pm, Annapolis Waterfront Hotel dock, $89 w/discounts, rsvp: www.schoonerwoodwind.com ): 9pm over the Severn River: 410-293-2291. 

Solomons Fireworks shoot from a barge anchored in the Patuxent River, giving the entire island — plus boaters — front row seats. Arrive early for the boat parade (noon); stay to stroll the Riverwalk and see the town. Rsvp by June 30 to watch aboard the Wm. B. Tennison on a Calvert Marine Museum cruise (8pm,  $35: 410-326-2042, x41). 9pm, Solomons: 443-324-8235.

Greater Baltimore’s Fourth of July fireworks illuminate the Inner Harbor, where the fun starts with the Commodores U.S. Navy Jazz Ensemble playing at the amphitheater (7pm). Come early for a heightened view on land or water, watch from the Top of the World observation floor, World Trade Center ($50 w/discounts, rsvp: 410-837-8439) or from a Watermark yacht (8-11pm, $59 w/discounts, rsvp: www.watermarkjourney.com) or on the Spirit of Baltimore (7-10:30pm, Inner Harbor, $115-$200, rsvp: www.spiritcruises.com). Fireworks begin 9:30pm over Inner Harbor, Baltimore: www.promotionandarts.org.

Washington, D.C. Fireworks: Celebrate America with high drama, music and special effects as the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery blasts cannons as fireworks burst over the capital. Tens of thousands of celebrants gather early on the National Mall for the National Symphony Orchestra’s annual concert (8pm). The nation’s capital begins the day at 11:45am with the Independence Day parade down Constitution Ave. and 7th St., traveling toward the Lincoln Memorial. Prime views include the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial and the Ellipse: 9:09pm on the National Mall: www.nps.gov/foju. 

 

Saturday, July 7

Laurel Fireworks: Arrive early for parade (11am), then visit food and craft vendors, a classic car show, hot-dog eating contest and field events; Oracle plays music. Then settle in for fireworks set to music shot from the far side of Laurel Lakes. 9:15pm at Granville Gude Park (Laurel Lakes), 8300 Mulberry St., Laurel: www.laurel4th.org.

Don’t crowd this little bird off the beach

“The birds are taking over the beach.”     

            I heard that complaint as parts of a beach were being roped off because of nesting birds.

            The bird under protection is likely the tiny piping plover. 

            In the 1850s, piping plovers were very common along the East Coast and the shores of the Great Lakes. The population collapsed as they were hunted so their feathers could decorate women’s hats. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 stopped the hunting, and the population stabilized.

            With human development along the coast, the population was again threatened. By 1986, just 790 breeding pairs survived on the Atlantic Coast. That is when they gained protection under the Endangered Species Act. Even with protection, the most recent surveys still place the Atlantic population at fewer than 2,000 pairs. 

            Piping plovers nest in small depressions in beach sand. They lay their speckled, sand-colored eggs in depressions about the size of a footprint. The eggs are very hard to see.

            The eggs take 25 days to hatch, emerging at about the size and shape of a miniature marshmallow. The tiny chicks hide by freezing in place, as they cannot fly for another 30 days. Eggs and young are very vulnerable to predatory animals and to being stepped on or run over by motor vehicles and bikes.

            Adults also have difficulty feeding the chicks when people are too close. After the chicks have learned to fly, they are no longer as vulnerable. By September, the plovers start their migration south along the Florida coastline to the Bahamas.

            These little birds need space to survive as a species. Four thousand birds along the hundreds of miles of Atlantic coastline is not very many. Help them out by avoiding nesting areas, and keeping your pets out, too.  

African Americans take center stage

Many diverse cultures melded to make the people of Chesapeake Country. Celebrate African American heritage, history and culture at two summer events this week as we also recognize Juneteenth, commemorating the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas.

            Before you make any plans for the weekend, rsvp for limited seats at the Rise Above Exhibit. This mobile theater has been touring the country and makes a stop in Annapolis June 13 to 16. Inside the immersive panoramic movie theater, you’ll learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, see memorabilia and soar with the Red Tail Squadron in an IMAX video about these war heroes who broke down color barriers. 9am-4:15pm, Rockwell Collins parking lot, Annapolis, free, rsvp: https://bit.ly/2M09Ejt.

            Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard joins with the Calvert chapter of the NAACP to celebrate our patchwork of cultures at the 23rd annual African-American Family Community Day. Watch living history presentations, see a talent show with performers of all ages, check your well-being at a mini health fair, tour Sukeeks Cabin and see exhibits on display in the museum and at the lab. Live music plays all day around the picnic area. Sat., June 16, 11am-5pm, Jefferson Patterson Park, St. Leonard, free: www.jefpat.org.