Share Your Blessings
The taste of Thanksgiving turkey lingers and the craving of smooth and spicy pumpkin pie continues as Christmas brings many chances to improve the holiday season and feasts for those in need in Chesapeake Country.
- In Annapolis and Severna Park, Seattle Coffee Company/City Dock Café, is hosting its second food drive at all five of its shops. Seattle Coffee Company works in partnership with a local food network, Brothers Pantry, in Arnold, to help those in need throughout Anne Arundel County.
This is a good way for us to get our customers to contribute whatever they can, says owner Steve Duffy. Even our staff donated tips last year to buy items that were still needed.
Drop off canned goods, toiletries, cleaners and easy-to-prepare food items until December 31. Information? 410/269-0961.
- While you are finishing up your Christmas shopping, help Partners in Care transport members to the doctor. Everyone who puts into the program gets something back, says Barbara Huston, co-founder of the Severna Park volunteer outreach group.
Recently, over 450 kids from three high schools tended the yards of 63 members of Partners in Care. We are always in need of volunteers, especially for transportation. It is so flexible, and we are not going to put people to work five days a week, says Huston. Interested? 410/544-4800.
- Done with your shopping and making room for the relatives? Drop off your gently used clothes for men, women and children along with gifts and collectibles to one of the two Partners In Care boutiques: 346 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park (410/544-0568) or 1286 Route 3, Crofton (410/721-3600).
- Still decorating your tree? Pick a Christmas angel from one of the Salvation Army Angel Trees. About 900 angels were plucked from last years trees; 800 need help this year.
Youll find the name, age, sex, clothing sizes and toy requests of a local child in need typed on an angel-shaped paper ornament. Shop like Santa and return the factory-wrapped gifts, with the angel tags attached, to the same Angel Tree by December 17.
No personal notes are included because the idea is that the gifts are from Santa, says Salvation Army Captain Karen Egan. We usually need gifts for 11- and 12-year-old kids, and larger clothing sizes and toys for older children are always needed.
Find Angel Trees in the Annapolis Mall, Annapolis Bank & Trust, BB&T banks, Bank Annapolis, St. Andrews United Methodist Church, Davidsonville Elementary School, Buddys Crabs and Ribs, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Fitzgerald Oldsmobile Cadillac and the Naval Academy Giving Tree. Volunteers are needed to staff the Angel Tree in Annapolis Mall. Interested? 410/263-4091.
- While many of you are leaving cookies for the big guy, the Naval Academy Family Service Center will deliver over 100,000 cookies to sailors and marines stationed in the Annapolis Area Complex on Christmas Day. For 13 years Marilyn Lewis, program coordinator, has kept the same recipe. It lets them know that people are thinking about them, during the holiday when they are away from home, says Lewis. Only folks that already have access to the base are busy baking. Information? 410/293-2641.
- Moms and dads who will not make it home for the holiday due to a prison term are not forgotten during the holiday season. Their children are not forgotten either, thanks to the Cedar Grove United Methodist Church in Deale. Theyve worked with Prison Ministries for seven years to ensure that such children get a special gift from mom or dad.
A tree similar to the Angel Tree is set up in the church. Each tag holds a childs name, age, sex, toy request and clothing size.
The 90 tags on the tree are half gone already, says Vicki Marsh, in her third year running the program. It is always nice to see, face to face, who you are dealing with. People smile ear to ear and hugs and kisses are common, says Marsh of the times she has delivered in a 20-mile radius from the church.
Return gifts by December 16 to ensure delivery by the Mens Group. Information? 410/867-0967.
- At Anne Arundel Countys Holiday Sharing Program, donors do more than pick out gifts. Theyre asked to contact the family in need and then to deliver the items right to the door.
One family did not have a Christmas tree, not even a bow in the house. My mother and I came back with a tree and all the trimmings for the family. They said it was the best Christmas ever, said Jennifer Brown of Calypso Bay, where customers contribute.
The 22-year-old program ensures success with a database that eliminates duplication. With 2,414 of 2,671 requests matched, we still need donors, says coordinator Christine Poulsen.
Holiday Sharing works until Christmas Eve for last-minute requests. Interested? 410/269-4462. Or mail check to Holiday Sharing Program, 80 West St., Annapolis, 21401.
- Santa lives on for at least 150 families in Annapolis thanks to We Care & Friends and their 11th annual toy drive. Parents bring their children to the Stanton Center on Christmas Eve to enjoy holiday treats and the sounds of a deejay. Meanwhile, parents secure a sack of new, unwrapped toys and clothes prepared by members of We Care & Friends.
Drop off your new, unwrapped toys at Carrols Creek Cafe, Heroes and the Stanton Center. Teen items are greatly needed, as are volunteers. Information? 410/269-1595.
- Youve one more chance to play Santa in Operation Christmas Cheer 2001. Love & Action staff and hundreds of volunteers deliver more than 2,000 gift packages to HIV-positive children. Send contributions to Love & Action, 111 Annapolis St., Annapolis, MD 21401. Information? 410/268-3442.
- Working up an appetite for sharing? The Annapolis Jaycees are wrapping up their signature Holiday Food Baskets Project. They will serve over 70 families in Anne Arundel County with non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys and new clothing. Volunteers are still needed to help deliver the baskets on December 15; cash contributions are welcome. Make your tax-deductible check payable to: Annapolis Jaycees Foundation, P.O. Box 248, Annapolis, MD 21404. Information? 410/224-1778 or www.theannapolisjaycees.org.
- Last chance to hit the toy store. Toys for Tots is wrapping up its 12th annual toy drive for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Drop-off points for new unwrapped toys are 170 offices from Norfolk to Philadelphia. With five more offices than last year, toys will be collected until December 14 and distributed by local Marines. Information? 703/359-1762.
- When you head to North Beach for the holiday illuminations, dont forget The North Beach Childrens Fund, which is still looking for toys and clothing for infants to mid-teens. One hundred four children in the Beaches and surrounding areas got gifts last year. Drop off contributions at North Beach Town Hall. Teen items are greatly needed; if you have a specific gift in mind, call Barbara Callis: 301/855-8748.
- Sing along with Project Echo, a homeless shelter in Calvert County. They seek volunteers to sing Christmas carols with shelter guests on December 19. Volunteers are always needed to staff the shelter, where Christmas wish lists can be picked. Paper products are always needed. Interested? 410/257-0003.
- If a taste for giving lingers like the remembrance of pumpkin pie, join the SMILE Inc. free holiday dinner for all who care to eat. Volunteers and guests welcome. Christmas dinner moves from the Lighthouse Inn, annual host of the Thanksgiving feast, to American Legion Post 274 in Lusby. It will again be ample and cheerful this Christmas Day. Information? 410/326-0009.
Jennifer A. Dawicki
Help Santa Save the Bay
Robert and Alice Jane Lippson.
Many people love the Bay and want to conserve or revive it, but as Christmas approaches, we head out to the malls or hop online to order items that dont reflect a sense of place or pride in our greatest resource. Buried under yards of paper, tinsel and ribbon, we leave thoughts of conservation to New Years Eve. Get an early start on your resolution. by integrating conservation with holiday gifts of Bay books and memberships.
Hot off the press from another remarkable couple is Saving the Bay: People Working for the Future of the Chesapeake. Ann Dorbin compiled the stories and Richard Dorbin took photographs for this book about how everyday people from all walks of life are contributing to the health and restoration of the Bay.
Life in the Chesapeake Bay: An Illustrated Guide to the Fishes, Invertebrates, Plants, Birds, and Other Animals of Bays and Inlets from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras is an accurate tool for hunters, fishermen and other outdoor lovers and a comprehensive guide for science teachers and scientists.
Its authors, A.J. and Robert Lippson, have shared a life together as well as their earnest love for the Bay. Alice Jane is a biological illustrator and researcher in estuarine ecology. Robert is a marine scientist retired from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Together they have raised seven children and produced a number of books.
Their best-known book, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, remains the standard resource for getting to know the fishes, plants, birds and other animals that dwell in the region. In its two editions the latest is 1997 their Illustrated Guide has sold more than 50,000 copies.
Over 2,000 species of plants and animals inhabit the watershed of the largest estuary in the nation. In this book, readers learn that dolphins swim off the coast of St. Michaels and that cownose rays are related to (and sometimes mistaken for) sharks and migrate between Brazil and Chesapeake Bay. Not that we dont have sharks, mind you. Bull and sandbar sharks dwell in this ecosystem and dogfish (smooth or spiny) is not just the name for a micro-brew.
Life in the Chesapeake Bay is organized by easily recognizable habitats: from sand beaches to intertidal flats, to piers, rocks and jetties, shallow waters, seagrass meadows and weed beds, wetlands, oyster bars and deeper open waters.
With a positive approach to the future, Saving the Bay lends plenty of ideas about how we can make a difference in cleaning up the Bay. It is a lesson in civics, science and American grit, told in moving first-person accounts gleaned from hundreds of interviews. You dont have to be an environmentalist to enjoy it, but you will learn a vast amount about our environment when you read it.
Richard Dorbin describes the book as a celebration of people throughout the watershed who are making an impact.
Billy Moore, maintenance supervisor for the William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge, makes the decisions concerning the upkeep and travel-worthiness of the bridge, giving him control over the environmental impact that the Bridge has on the Bay. Daily decisions on the application of paints, road surface materials and insulation help prevent hazardous materials from getting into the water. He must keep a safe distance from ospreys nesting on the understructure of the bridge.
photo by Richard Dorbin
Why do they need to help? As Ann explains in the book:
no one in the 64,000-mile Chesapeake watershed lives more than a few minutes from one of its 100,000 streams and rivers.
Every river, creek and stream has a watershed which contains or receives most of the potential sources of pollution.
For every acre of water surface, there are nine acres of land from which water and everything in it chemicals, manure, sediment, litter drains into the Bay.
Their book tells the stories of 60 ordinary people from seven states who are helping save the Bay. Among the unsung heroes are a Bridgeville, Delaware, grandmother who started a wetlands adoption program to preserve the Nanticoke River.
How about an autographed copy to place under the tree? Meet the authors at their book release party where, as well as selected readings and book signings, there will be a photography exhibit and slide show with regional music and refreshments. December 15 from 1-4pm at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels: 410/745-2916.
Clearly, our Bay needs doing as well as reading. The Sierra Club helps people get in touch with nature while promoting conservation. The Anne Arundel chapter has about 1,200 members, with 13,000 members statewide. Anne Arundel chair David Prosten welcomes new members. A former commuter, he knows what its like to shoot down Route 50 or 301 at 60 miles per hour and catch a glimpse of the Patuxent River or the South River or a creek or wooded area and just keep going. Sierra club members learn to step out of their cars and go exploring.
Individual memberships start at $40, joint memberships at $50: www.maryland.sierraclub.org/annearundel.
The new members who get your gift wont have long to wait to get acquainted with other members. Saturday, January 26, at 6:30pm is the Anne Arundel County Sierra Clubs annual Birthday Potluck Dinner at the Blue Heron Room at Quiet Waters Park.
County and state newsletters (both free to members) list ski trips and hikes to places like Delaware State Park and Gunpowder Falls.
Membership in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is another way for people you love to contribute to the health of the Bay. Its a great gift for people who enjoy the Bay, such as boaters, nature lovers and fishermen, says the Foundations Melissa Livingston.
CBF was founded in 1967. More than 92,000 people now belong. Foundation members dont mind getting their feet wet and their hands dirty. Membership supports restoration activities on land and underwater and works to enhance fisheries and habitat. It also supports hands-on environmental educational opportunities for more than 40,000 teachers and students each year.
Member benefits include a quarterly newsletter, a discount on Bay Discovery field trips and opportunities to volunteer such as working with oysters, wetlands or underwater grasses. Membership fees start at $25 for individuals and $35 for families: 888-savebay www.cbf.org/join.
Paula Anne Phillips
photo by Mark Burns
With $1 Playhouse, Christmas in April Returns to December
There, nestled between the fresh-cut Christmas trees and miniature carousel, rests a scenic little home of elfin proportions. At first glimpse it seems a bottom-rung modular starter home one room, no bath, comfortably seats a family of four. In fact its a rather upscale playhouse, charming and cheap enough ($1) to make mortgage-bearing grown-ups envious of their offspring.
Its better than any playhouse youve ever seen, promises Don Justice, Christmas in April of Calvert Countys project coordinator for the playhouse project. The 12- by 10-foot playhouse is wrapped in beige vinyl siding, trimmed with outside crown molding, colored with stocked flower boxes, naturally lit through ample windows and capped with a T-shaped ashen-shingled A-frame roof.
Its not strictly a munchkin pad; pass through the adult-sized door and youll find enough room for a grown-up to stand pretty tall at center, feet cushioned by wall-to-wall grayish-blue carpeting. Still, adults might find napping in the loft at the far end a bit cramped.
Despite its fine touches, the playhouse doesnt come with its own electricity hook-ups or plumbing, though that can be easily remedied. With a little refrigerator, a TV and a port-a-potty, it would be a nice place for poppa to run to when the house gets too noisy, says Justice. It might find other uses as well. Two years ago, a forebearer of this playhouse was donated to a St. Leonard day care center. That one now serves as Calverts plushest bus shelter.
This proud playhome/parental retreat/bus stop could very easily be yours, for its the prize of Christmas in April of Calvert Countys sixth annual playhouse raffle. Donated to the non-profit by upscale homebuilder P. F. Summers who organized volunteer contractor labor and donations of construction materials to build the house the playhouse is now being raffled off at $1 per ticket or $5 for six. The drawing is December 22; the playhouse will be delivered free of charge to the winner by smeco soon after.
All money taken in benefits Christmas in April of Calvert. So far some $1,000 has been raised; Justice says the raffle usually raises $2,500 to $3,000. The money helps pay for building materials to repair the homes of those physically or financially unable to care for their houses themselves. About 20 to 25 homes are chosen for renovation each year by mid-November, and the following April, volunteers descend like worker ants ready to build in a single day.
Christmas in Aprils playhouse is on display now at Wal-Mart in Prince Frederick. Christmas in April volunteers will let you in for a peek as well as sell you tickets on Fridays from 4pm on and Saturdays starting at noon. Tickets at Wal-Mart customer service or from Justice: 410/586-1425.
Book a Private Charter Permanently for $200
The economy may be sluggish, but these holiday season markdowns are getting ridiculous.
Fresh off last years fund-raising success, Maryland Watermens Association is once again raffling off a big boat for relative small change in its 2nd Annual Fishing Boat Drawing.
For $200 (plus taxes if you win), youll get one of only 2,000 chances to call this $200,000 dream boat your own. The winner wont be known in time to put the boat under anyones tree the winning ticket is drawn at 3pm February 3 during the 28th Annual East Coast Commercial Fishermens and Aquaculture Trade Expo in Ocean City but for this gift, you can wait.
The prize craft built by Eastern Shore shipwright David Mason sports two 600-horsepower Caterpillar turbo motors combining for a cruising speed of 30 miles per hour. On board is a galley, toilet with holding tank, GPS plotter, color video recorder, 48-mile radar, shore power, am/fm stereo and other nice touches. Everythings stuffed into a hull 48 feet long with a 16-foot beam and a three-foot, five-inch draft. Its enough boat that the Coast Guard certifies it for 46 passengers.
Proceeds benefit Maryland Watermens Association. Learn more at 800/421-9176 or www.marylandwatermen.com.
Update: Cranes Followed Ultralight to Florida
Seven endangered whooping cranes completed a 1,217-mile odyssey from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Crystal River, Florida [Dances with Cranes: Vol. IX, No. 44, Nov. 1-7]. These seven cranes are the first of their species to be trained to fly behind an ultralight plane and complete a migration journey that had been lost for over 100 years.
The whooping cranes began their journey last March at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, where human surrogate parents, dressed in crane costumes, fed and cared for them and taught them to follow an ultralight trike. Next the crane chicks were flown to Necedah and taught to follow the ultralight plane.
Eight cranes left Necedah on October 17. Their trip consisted of 25 flight legs with the longest flight lasting two hours, nine minutes and the shortest flight lasting 38 minutes. The cranes were grounded for 23 days by inclement weather. One strong storm battered the travel pen that the cranes used during stopovers. A bird escaped and collided with a power line, lessening the flight by one.
We have delivered seven healthy birds to the wintering site and maintained their tentative hold on wildness, said pilot Joe Duff, of Operation Migration, on completing the migration December 3. Although it seems like we have reached our destination, it is only just beginning. Before this new population can be considered self-sustaining we have many more miles to cover. We celebrate our successes one at a time.
Researchers eventually hope to establish a flock of 25 wild, migrating whooping cranes between Wisconsin and Florida.
In Annapolis, the state of Maryland is planning to give November back to crabbers, according to new rules for 2002 proposed last week that restore a controversial restriction of 2001. But watermen still would have to adhere to an eight-hour work day under a plan to reduce the harvest by 15 percent over three years
On the Eastern Shore, they broke ground at Horn Point last week for a $25 million Aquaculture and Restoration Ecology Laboratory that will include large-scale hatcheries for oysters and fish and a greenhouse for studying algal blooms that menace Chesapeake Bay. The 63,000-square-foot building will be completed in the spring of 2003
In Miami, when police opened the suitcases of Slawomir Garmulewicz last year after he arrived from the Ukraine, they found over 100 containers of highly prized Beluga caviar. Last week, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison for smuggling in violation of the Endangered Species Act
In Illinois, airport authorities in McHenry County have been smearing peanut butter on an electric fence hoping to keep deer from the runways of Lake in the Hills Airport. But the deer just ignore the peanut butter and jump the fence, the Chicago Tribune reports
Our Creature Feature comes from India, where the zoo apes in the town of Lucknow are feeling less pain in their captivity this holiday season. Thats because authorities are serving the three dozen primates a daily ration of brandy to help them withstand freezing temperatures, the newspaper Asian Age reports.
In the past they were given a nip now and then mixed with warm water, but not every day as is the case now. Since apes and monkeys have a digestive system that is almost similar to that of human beings, the zoo director said, they will have no problems digesting the drink.