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Places

Chesapeake Curiosities: Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is the northernmost of its kind

A habitat unique in Maryland flourishes just south of Prince Frederick. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is one of the nation’s northernmost naturally occurring stands of bald cypress trees.     “It’s actually a bit of a mystery why the swamp is here, as we don’t see similar stands of trees in other low-lying swampy areas of the county,” says Shannon Steele, Calvert County naturalist.

Ward Farm Recreation and Nature Park

Our summer on the cheap took us to a park still being born.     Ward Farm Park in Dunkirk is not yet open, except for some hikes and camps.     Naturalist Tania Gale led our group of seven children and seven adults on one of those hikes, pointing out plants and insects and filling us in on the history of the Ward family as well as what changes are coming.     The 209-acre parcel was purchased in 2013 by Calvert County. Phase one of the master plan includes building ball fields where now there are corn fields.

Neighbors joining neighbors to celebrate our independence

Is there anything more fun, more moving and more important than a hometown Fourth of July parade? Whether joining the parade or watching it, we celebrate our independence as a nation and as a people.     Across the land, communities large and small decorate themselves, their dogs and conveyances from baby buggies to trikes and bikes to convertibles, tractors, fire engines and floats. In a partnership of faith and delight, we join as one entity united by shared purpose.

Stories that need to be told

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, our national day of remembrance of those who gave their lives fighting for the United States across the world.     All over the country, patriotism abounds as festivities and events both large and small mark the day. Locally, the weekend marks the commissioning of a new crop of officers from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The weekend is also the beginning of summer fun. Families spend the long weekend trying out barbeques, pools and the outdoors season.

Honoring our fallen heroes

Memorial Day gets due honor at Chesapeake Beach. The annual Stars & Stripes Festival, now in its fifth year, remembers the soldiers and sailors, Marines and fliers who have given their lives defending the United States of America.     “The meaning of the day was becoming lost,” said Connie O’Dell, who manages special events for the Calvert County town.

Shady Side fifth-graders saving the Bay one handful of spat at a time

Some Southern Anne Arundel County students are taking the adage bloom where you’re planted more than a few steps further. Fifth-graders at Shady Side Elementary are planting oysters to help restore the Bay’s oyster population.     “We need oysters to clean the Bay,” said Lacey Wilde, 11, the daughter and granddaughter of working watermen.

Agricultural program grows at Phoenix Academy

Next time you cruise down Cedar Park Road in Annapolis during school hours, you may well do a double-take as you pass the field next to Phoenix Academy. You’re likely to see rabbits munching greens in a sturdily built hutch, hear nanny goats bleating or glimpse teens carefully weeding a row of curly-leafed kale. Three years after a Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education was launched at this K-12 Anne Arundel County public school, there’s plenty of evidence that impressive hands-on learning is going on both within and outside the school walls.

Rivers and creeks need floodplains to absorb and trap runoff

If you’ve ever biked or driven down Muddy Creek Road in Edgewater, you may have caught a glimpse of its namesake: a small stream called Muddy Creek, roughly half a mile south of Mill Swamp Road.

What’s with State and Church Circles?

Annapolis has a really strange layout. Is it on purpose or due to hundreds of years of use and expansion? Church and State Circles are close together by design. Their proximity serves as an illustration that church and state were linked in Colonial times.

Among your wait staff are bats, hamsters and killer whales

Spirited conversation keeps the atmosphere companionable at Zü Coffee, home of the friendliest wait staff as voted by readers of Bay Weekly. At the Waugh Chapel location, customers chat with the staff about their spirit animals.     Spirit animals arise from the shamanic tradition where they are paired with initiates to the practice, who can then turn to them for guidance in their lives. Informally, New Age seekers may identify with spirit animals that represent qualities they wish were theirs.