Where I grew up, it was never a very far trip to find a body of water. A pond lay close enough to our house that we could, if my brother and I practiced all summer long, spit watermelon seeds into it from our back deck. The beach was about a two mile bike ride from our house, and I spent many summer camps and science classes learning what secrets the Connecticut River had to reveal. After I moved to Baltimore, though the city certainly has no lack of watery stomping grounds, my relationship to the water just hasn’t been the same. This is mostly due to a decrease in my efforts to get to the water, and also the fact that the Inner Harbor, the nearest body of water, is a functioning port, with tourists, factories, ships and, restaurants, rather than a quiet and isolated beach.
Therefore, I felt quite nostalgic this past Friday, as I was sitting in a canoe, letting the current push the boat along with only an occasional dip from my paddle to keep us on course. Both Laura and Katelyn mentioned the importance of getting outside and enjoying the summer weather, and I am so grateful that my work with Volunteer Maryland affords me the opportunity to do that occasionally.
Lori, one of the Regional Coordinators for Volunteer Maryland, organized a meeting for her region at Eden Mill Nature Center in Pylesville, MD. One of the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators in her region, Carole, has been working there for the past two years, organizing a phenomenal volunteer team that was publicly recognized this past year with a Governor’s Volunteer Service Award . It was wonderful to see firsthand what an asset Carole has been to Eden Mill, and how much her work there has been appreciated.
She and her supervisor Frank led us on our canoe tour down Deer Creek, pointing out edible and medicinal plants, signs of animal habitation, and teaching us the best way to call Barred owls. It really brought me back to how important it is to learn about, engage with, and appreciate nature, as well as the responsibility we have to protect it. Living in the city it’s been easy to disengage, to get my nature fix from weekly jogs around Baltimore City parks, and some occasional volunteering at tree plantings and park clean ups. But this was a welcome reminder of how important it is to get out and appreciate nature working and thriving without constant human intervention. And also how important it is to protect those environments for all who need them to survive, including us.