To Horse and Away The ancient tradition of fox chasing is alive and well in the rolling green hills and farm fields of Carroll County.
A Sparrow's Return The largest land set-aside deal in Maryland's history has created a living laboratory in Kent County on Maryland's eastern Shore. 5200-acre Chino Farms is now home to a number of natural resource experiments that include restoring an ancient prairie and the Sparrows that once lived there. Dr. Doug Gill has a Massachusetts M.D. to thank for his success at Chino Farms - Henry Sears, who continued to buy up the Chester.
Lifting the Hand of Man The draining of the Florida Everglades...the taming of the mighty Mississippi River...construction of the great dune line of the Outer Banks: the power of man's ability to manipulate nature and rebuild it to suit his needs is proven. Now, after decades of re-engineering the environment, researchers and government alike are beginning to see the wisdom of restoring ecosystems - such as when Virginia's Embry Dam was destroyed in 2004 to partially return the Rappahannock river to its natural state.
The Hidden World A diverse collection of volunteers walks and wades through Maryland's thousands of streams each year, collecting data that ultimately tells the story of the state's water quality.
Autumn Promise There aren't many Whooping Cranes left alive in the world. That's why the work of scientists at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland is so important. They're teaching baby cranes to migrate each autumn from Wisconsin to Florida - by following a small, ultralight airplane - in the long-term hope that the birds will breed and expand their numbers.
Saving Bay Country Many say the modern environmental movement was born with the publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." Four decades have passed. Is the environmental movement still on course?
Bayscaping A grassroots movement is making its way across Maryland. It's an environmental movement called Bayscaping that encourages the use of native plants and gardening techniques that helps to restore the Chesapeake Bay. The best news: anyone can help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay with Bayscaping.
An Exotic Challenge The Sika a tiny species of deer which lives exclusively on Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the focus of wildlife enthusiasts for its unusual habits in the wild.
Chesapeake Inspiration The beauty of the Chesapeake Bay has inspired artists for centuries. Here, three artists - two of them writers and the other a photographer, are profiled.
Ponies on the Edge The Assateague Island pony herd has been roaming the island for centuries - no one knows for sure just how long. One thing that is known by federal wildlife manager on the island is that the herd is too large and in some ways is damaging the tender Assateague ecology. Now, officials are taking action to reduce the size of the herd.
Out of the Woods Black Bears and people have been running into each for a long time in Western Maryland. White pioneers who first settled the mountains feared the occasional bear because of the species' insatiable appetite for anything edible - including settlers' hard-earned crops. Back then, there were few people living in the mountains. Now, with more numbers of people vacationing and moving to mountain tourist destinations like Deep Creek Lake, encounters between people and bears are growing in number.
Million Dollar Lure Somewhere out there, in the world's largest estuary known as the Chesapeake Bay, swims a fish that's worth a million dollars. The reason: the number of people who fish the bay is down. So, officials of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources knew that a good way to bring them back is with a water-borne sweepstakes.
Saving Bay Country In the early 1960s, the environment was so tainted with pollutants that some ecosystems and habitats were in danger of imminent collapse. Species like the Bald Eagle were headed for extinction. Those worries ushered in the birth of a national environmental movement that has spawned efforts to clean the air, land and water through legislation and grassroots effort. In this segment, a look back at the movement's birth, and its evolution to the present.
Planet Chesapeake There are more Natural Scientists working with the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, than anywhere else in the world. Using data from the Earth Observing System of satellites, scientists are compiling multi-spectral data on topics that directly influence the climate and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay watershed: sea surface temperature, deep ocean temperature, rainfall, hurricane anatomy, sea level rise -- and an array of other fascinating subjects. Using stunning, state-of-the-art NASA animations of earth processes interwoven with interviews from key scientists (including NASA and DNR) about the impact of select findings on our region; this segment looks at the Chesapeake on a planetary scale.
Trust in the Land In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, farmlands are increasingly recognized as bulwarks against a rising sea of concrete. Land Trusts are playing a vital role, helping government agencies protect cultural lands, forests, wetlands, open space, wildlife habitat and fertile farmland. To assist in that effort, the Chesapeake Bay Program - a state and federal partnership to restore the Chesapeake Bay, is helping to identify land that could be set aside.
Maryland Public Television's "Chesapeake Crossroads" an original Outdoors Maryland special edition, tells the story of the Chesapeake's past, present and possible future through the eyes of people whose cultures and livelihoods are threatened with extinction. They are people like crabbers, oystermen and pound net fishermen people whose way of life in the Chesapeake region is nearly gone as the Bay's health continues to fail. Through the telling of their stories, "Chesapeake Crossroads" explores some of the complex political, ecological and social issues that have pushed the Chesapeake Bay to a metaphorical crossroads where the Chesapeake Bay's destiny will ultimately be determined.
Colonel Lee's Birdhouse Driving north across the Francis Scott Key Bridge, looking south, it's the hexagonal chunk of brown granite poking its head above the dancing chop of the Patapsco River- - a landmark that many-a-time has inspired the question, "What is that?"
It's Fort Carroll, the built-like-a-tank outpost begun in 1847 to stop dead-in-its-tracks any attempt to invade the thriving 19th century port city of Baltimore. U.S. Army Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee (yes, that Robert E. Lee) had high hopes for the fort when he oversaw much of its construction. But Fort Carroll never saw action and was never even completed, thanks to several twists of fate. Now, the Fort seems to have found a noble, albeit unusual occupation: it's become home to a world-class colonial nesting bird rookery, the most diverse colony of species within 100 miles. There is a problem, though: the trees that make up the rookery's nesting cradles may be threatening Fort Carroll's structural integrity. But, the offending trees can't be cut because state law protects the rookery.
The quandary: save the Fort, or keep the birds? DNR Ecologists Dave Brinker and Jim McKann visit the fort to learn more.
Spawning Hopes At the turn of the 20th century, oyster harvests from the Chesapeake Bay numbering in the millions of bushels were commonplace. Last year. Harvests approached just 23,000 bushels. So, when it comes to the on-going public controversy concerning the Asian oyster versus the native oyster, nothing less than the destiny of the Chesapeake Bay hangs in the balance. The oyster is more than a commodity. It is responsible for filtering the Chesapeake's water. Without this enormous filtering capacity, the Chesapeake has become polluted and is now on the verge of collapse as a fishery. This segment explores the latest efforts of scientists and policymakers as they attempt to determine whether or not to release the Asian Oyster, keep the native Chesapeake Bay oyster in place or wait until more studies are completed.
Piercing the Forest On the steep and rocky slopes of the Western Maryland mountains, one man walks the deep, dark forests with an eye out for a mysterious and elusive bird called the Goshawk. DNR wildlife biologist Dave Brinker's mission: to track down what he believes to be the only nesting pair of Goshawks in the state, fit the birds with expensive tracking transmitters, and return them to the safety of their treetop nests.
Night Falls Swiftly Every autumn, as surely as the swallows return to Capistrano, thousands of chimney swifts come to roost near sunset in a huge old chimney in the Hampden section of Baltimore City. Birders with the Baltimore Bird Club have tracked the flock for years—this urban site is one of the top ten for chimney swifts in the Eastern U.S. The story of how these birds have abandoned forest for human-built chimneys in a matter of a century or two remains a puzzle of the natural world.
Baltimore Bird Club
Guide trips to see spring and fall migrations and Swift Night Out. www.BaltimoreBirdClub.org
Driftwood Wildlife Association
LiveCam: Chimney swifts nesting in spring, and roosting during fall migration www.concentric.net/~Dwa
Maryland Ornithological Society
A Leg Up For some people with disabilities, life's difficulties are magnified by their inability to enjoy nature's beauty. In Howard County, however, a stable of very special horses stand at the ready to offer these individual improved health and happiness.
Billfisher's Heaven The White Marlin is considered by anglers as one of the top game fish in the world. Fishing for the billfish brings millions of dollars in tourism revenue to Maryland alone...but that could change. Researchers have warned that the White Marlin may soon be listed as a Threatened Species. Scientists have learned that the numbers of the fish have dropped. Now, the DNR sets out on a day-long expedition to the Gulf Stream waters of the Baltimore Canyon 70 miles each of Ocean City at the height of the Marlin season. Their mission: to see for themselves just how prevalent White Marlins are.
A Sparrow's Return The largest land set-aside deal in Maryland's history has created a living laboratory in Kent County on Maryland's eastern shore. 5200-acre Chino Farms is now home to a number of natural resource experiments that include restoring an ancient prairie and the Sparrows that once lived there. Dr. Doug Gill has a Massachusetts M.D. to thank for his success at Chino Farms, Henry Sears, who continued to buy up the Chester River waterfront property with the sole goal of preserving it forever for the people of Maryland.
Last Stand at Shady Side They say it was Tropical Storm Agnes in '72 that started the long, slow decline of the Chesapeake and the way of life of so many watermen who fished the bay. Then MSX and Dermo infected the oyster bars and the water got worse. The grasses started to disappear from the bottom and then the crabs and fish left, too. Now, watermen from the Chesapeake's western shore have gathered together in a small town called Shady Side to see if the Chesapeake and their way of life can be saved.
Search for the Saw-whet DNR ecologist Dave Brinker travels the state in an effort to locate, capture, tag and release as many of these tiny owls as he can. Brinker's annual census of the bird will help resource management officials track the population and migration numbers of this important species.
An Exotic Challenge This tiny species of Deer, which lives exclusively on Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the focus of wildlife enthusiasts for its unusual habits in the wild.
Mother Nature's Cops They're out there. On the land, sea and air, Maryland Department of Natural Resources police are on the job, 24 hours a day, defending the state's resources against problems--from neglect, to lack of respect to outright criminal behavior.
Hope on the Slope Snow lovers take to the slopes in search of winter thrills in the mountains of Western Maryland.