Greenbury Point Conservation Area: A Sanctuary

The days of pre-vaccine Covid were a severe lock-down. A physical and mental lock-down. We were told to hide from each other and our normal lives. We all had to find safe places to find solace and peace during these stressful and uncertain times. For many of us, Greenbury Point Conservation Area became that sanctuary.

Greenbury Point Conservation Area is not a new sanctuary. It has been a nature preserve for decades, protected by the Sikes Act of 1960 and critical area laws in Maryland. There is well-documented and storied history, preserved by the U.S. Navy for the pubic, so we may learn about the importance of this place. With this in mind, many were shocked when information was recently leaked that the Naval Academy Golf Association has been privately working on plans to bulldoze these 200 acres of pristine wilderness and nature trails for a second golf course, adjacent to the current one, reserved for Navy use only.

For years, this beautiful outdoor space has been loved and actively used for recreation by residents of Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, Navy personnel of all stripes and midshipmen who use this for daily fitness routines. How can it be that an area protected by law and used by countless civilians and military members could be leveled and walled off for golfers?

Many of us have played golf – and while it is a fine game, this is not a debate about the game of golf or any Navy sport. This conversation is about access and health – for all of us and our surroundings – and preserving this very unique treasure for today and future generations. As aptly described in CNET, exercising outdoors can have an effect on your brain similar to meditation: “… something as simple as going for a walk or bike ride outdoors can have an immediate profound effect that can help give tremendous relief because it invites the mind to shift spontaneously without any effort, into this meditative like state…”

Words cannot easily describe the complex cornucopia of benefits to humans, wildlife, plant life and the surrounding bodies of water that this land provides. Greenbury Point is surrounded by Carr Creek, the Severn River, the Chesapeake Bay and Whitehall Bay. The Greenbury Point Nature Center, open Thursdays 11am-3pm, is located at the “main gate” to the large service road, which leads to the interior trails of Greenbury Point Conservation Area. The nature center is a showcase for the local fauna and flora of the conservation area and has its own little paths along Carr Creek. Adding a second golf course would literally be wiping away a critical, delicate, and environmentally pure landscape.

To see the colorful bounty of the conservation area, view the over 140 photos visitors have voluntarily and joyfully uploaded to the Google page for this special place. The Navy has its own website for Greenbury Point, which hardly does the place justice. Popular hiking websites, such as AllTrails, describe the wonders of the area and give it high marks. Then again, photos and video can barely capture the experience of Greenbury Point. The senses come alive during a spring or summer walk: the fragrance of the blossoming plant life, the chirping and singing of untold numbers and variety of birds, and then add the breezes that wash over your face and skin. In fall and winter, the chill, still and quiet experience is no less exhilarating to calm the chattering mind of any lucky soul who knows this hideaway.

Covid may have crippled us all for a while, and there are those who are still hurting today, but it is comforting to know that a place like Greenbury Point Conservation Area is available to anyone who needs it. For now.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Please help us to #savegreenburypoint

Photo and video credit: Mike Robinson

Riding, Hiking and Building Bacon Ridge

I have hiked and biked Bacon Ridge many times… but have only just started to explore all the awesome trails there. This is a gem and an excellent place to explore, merge with nature, get some exercise or just relax. As mentioned in the video, this is not just a place to mountain bike and there are many walkers and joggers sharing the trails.

On Google Maps

From Trailwerks:

TrailWerks is leading the charge on the first natural surface singletrack trail in Anne Arundel County! We’ve partnered with both MORE and Family Bike Shop to design and build a network of trails in Crownsville.

The Bacon Ridge Project has received support from Specialized Bicycles, Quality Bicycle Products, SC Logic, Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Family Veterinary Clinic and hundreds of volunteers. Without financial and volunteer support, trail construction at Bacon Ridge would not be possible.

  • Phase 1, 2.5 miles, began in August 2015 and is considered the pilot phase to verify that the soil conditions will be appropriate for trails.
  • Phase 2, 3.2 miles, was completed in December 2016 and extends north from Phase 1.
  • Phase 3 will connect the trail system to Farm Rd on the west side of the Crownsville Hospital complex and continue to move the trails into the northernmost sections of the property.

For more information, please email, call or stop by TrailWerks Cyclery! We do our best to keep maps up on the wall with current and future trail construction plans. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to MORE for the Bacon Ridge Project. Donations larger than $500 should be mailed to MORE or dropped at TrailWerks to save processing fees.

MORE – Bacon Ridge
PO Box 2662
Fairfax VA 22031-0662

Follow the Bacon Ridge Project and TrailWerks Cyclery Facebook to get real-time information about what is going on out in the woods of Anne Arundel County!

Outdoor Living – Made in USA List

We can all support families and jobs in the United States by first shopping for outdoor clothing, supplies and products made in the USA. By keeping production in the USA, these companies provide jobs and a tax base that supports their communities.

Apparel made in USA

Pet gear and supplies made in USA

Maryland Made

  • Harvester Artwork – made in Annapolis, Maryland and printed in the USA for United States customers (printed in Canada, UK or Australia for international customers)
  • Mathews Brothers – custom-built boats, a family-owned-and-operated business in Denton, Maryland
  • Paul Reed Smith Guitars – sing a song around the camp fire with a Maryland made guitar from Kent Island

More links

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Healthy & Happy: Sleep, Diet, Exercise and More

Sleep, diet and exercise are three pillars of a healthy and happy life. While improving just one of these lifestyle factors can help people lead longer lives, several recent studies have suggested that improving all three may be a better way to improve both physical and mental health. 1 These will get us to healthy, but it takes just a little bit more to be happy: Our fellow humans and a goal.

Sleep

Sleep offers the body and brain time to restore and recover, affecting nearly every tissue in the body. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep, yet almost one third of Americans are getting less than 6 hours per night. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Prolonged sleep deprivation can also affect concentration and other cognitive functions. 2

Diet

Eating more plant-based meals: Scientists have found meals rich in carbohydrates promote an increase in insulin production, allowing muscle cells to absorb competing amino acids. This makes it easier for tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier, increasing serotonin levels in the brain. This may explain the association between depression and carbohydrate cravings. A healthy approach for ideal levels of tryptophan in the brain is to focus on plant proteins along with generous amounts of complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. With this pattern in place, there is sufficient serotonin produced to maintain feelings of well-being. 3

Eating meat: Diana Rodgers, an expert on diet and nutrition, argues that eating meat is good for you, but needs to be from healthy animals harvested in a sustainable way. Diana is a leader in sustainable food systems and speaks internationally about the intersection of optimal human nutrition, regenerative agriculture, and food politics. She is co-author of, Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat and the director, producer of the companion film, Sacred Cow. Her new initiative, the Global Food Justice Alliance, advocates for a nutritious, sustainable and equitable worldwide food system.

“Food combining” is a method of improving digestion to improve health. The Complete Book of Food Combining describes how food combining enhances the quality of your diet, increases your intake of vitamins and minerals and improves the way the body digests and absorbs nourishment. It is one of the safest and most successful ways to lose and maintain weight as well as being an invaluable, natural remedy for a variety of health problems.

Exercise

Exercise is a cornerstone of health and benefits nearly every system in the body. Many of the benefits are seen immediately, like reduced anxiety, lowered blood pressure, and better sleep. Consistent exercise offers even more long term benefits, including better weight management, stronger bones, and a reduced risk of many diseases. 4

You’ve probably heard that exercise increases endorphins, but it also increases many more brain chemicals that make you feel happy. When you exercise, it increases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid — these are all brain chemicals associated with feeling happy, feeling confident, feeling capable, feeling less anxiety and stress and even less physical pain. 5

If you’re like the countless others who have heard about the benefits of meditation, but can’t seem to find the time, good news. You may not actually have to meditate to get some of the benefits. Exercising outdoors can have a similar effect on the brain and mood as meditation. Exercising outdoors has an immediate effect on mood that is extremely powerful for depression and anxiety. Because it induces a state in your brain that is very similar to meditation, the state of open awareness. 6

And that’s not all

It’s hard to be happy when you are sick, which is why sleep, diet and exercise are a necessary foundation. To find happiness along the way to a healthy life, we need each other and a purpose to focus on.

Be social

Hanging out with family and friends not only can be fun, but research also shows it benefits your mental and physical health. Dr. Craig Sawchuk, a Mayo Clinic psychologist, agrees that socializing is key to good health. Socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness, but also it helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer. 7

Here is a message from our friends at Life Is Good about staying positive with those around us:

Have a purpose

Research shows that people who feel they have a purpose experience less sleep disturbance. They may also mediate stress while recovering from negative events more quickly. Additional studies found that people with a strong sense of purpose were less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease as they grow older. For example, seniors who feel they have a purpose are more likely to use preventative services and move more, both of which can keep you healthier. 8 Whatever your purpose may be, whether it’s your work, volunteering or any team effort to reach a goal, we are social animals who get things done together. Happiness is the natural by-product of positive effort.

Why Maryland Farms Stopped Growing Tobacco

Video: Tobacco used to be one of the most popular cash crops in Maryland, but it has mostly disappeared today. Maryland Farm & Harvest visits two different farmers to find out why.

The deep history of tobacco farming is preserved at the Accokeek Foundation and Piscataway Park, National Colonial Farm. The Accokeek Foundation partners with the National Park Service to provide programs and services to enhance the park visitor experience and steward 200 acres of Piscataway Park which covers, in total, approximately 5,000 acres, from Piscataway Creek to Marshall Hall on the Potomac River.

Recently, the Accokeek Foundation has been digging deep into tobacco culture in the “Tuesday Tobacco Talks” series.

The featured image of this post is a tobacco barn in the Brandywine area of PG county.

Maryland’s Deer Firearms Hunting Season Set to Open Nov. 27

November 19, 2021 (MD DNR) The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the two-week firearms hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Saturday, Nov. 27 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 11. 

“The two-week firearms season is our most popular season with deer hunters,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “The season traditionally has been a time for hunters to head to hunting camps or otherwise spend time with family and friends enjoying the outdoors. The harvest during this popular season helps significantly with managing the state’s abundant deer population.”

The two week season includes Sunday hunting in all but three counties, affording hunters more weekend opportunities to hunt and contribute to managing Maryland’s deer population.

Hunters are reminded that an antler-point restriction remains in effect. Deer hunters may harvest one antlered white-tailed deer within the yearly bag limit that does not meet the requirement of having at least three points on one antler. Any additional antlered deer taken within the established bag limit must meet the minimum point restriction. Licensed junior hunters and apprentice license holders, 16 years of age or younger, are exempt from this restriction.

During firearms season, Maryland requires deer hunters and their companions to wear daylight fluorescent orange or daylight fluorescent pink in one of the following manners: a cap of solid fluorescent daylight orange or pink, a vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent daylight orange or pink, or an outer garment of camouflage daylight fluorescent orange or pink worn above the waist and containing at least 50 percent daylight fluorescent color.

More information on the firearms season, along with season bag limits and other deer hunting regulations, are available in the 2021-2022 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

Hunters should carefully inspect all tree stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while in the stand and while climbing in or out. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prusik knot, attached to a line that is secured above the stand that allows the hunter to be safely tethered to the tree as soon as they leave the ground.

Hunters are encouraged to help others by donating deer taken in Maryland. A state tax credit offers hunters an incentive for donated deer. Other local or state programs are also available so please check with your deer processor.

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