Howard County Conservancy
The mission of the Howard County Conservancy is to protect the open spaces, rural environment, and agricultural resources of Howard County; to promote the preservation and improvement of the natural environment and historic sites; and to engage in and promote education and the scientific study of our agricultural resources and the natural environment.
The Chandler S. Robbins Skywatch (Photo by Nancy McAllister)
Of specific interest to birders is the Chandler S. Robbins SkyWatch, a joint initiative of the Howard County Bird Club and the Howard County Conservancy. It’s at the conservancy’s Mount Pleasant Farm location along the grassland loop trail, a short distance north of the Montjoy Barn.
With a 360° view of the horizon, this is a great place to watch the migration of hawks, kestrels, osprey, eagles, and even non-raptor migrants like swallows, warblers, hummingbirds, and monarchs.
Read about Howard County ornithologist Chandler Robbins:
Robinson Nature Center
The Robinson Nature Center is a unique nature education facility situated on 18 acres of land adjacent to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. Geothermal heating/air-conditioning, porous paving, solar panels, innovative water conservation methods and a host of other features make our building environmentally-friendly and have earned it the LEED Certified Platinum designation.
Each year, the Center runs over 420 programs, including field trips, public programs, birthday parties, home school, and scout programs. This Center was made a reality through the foresight and generosity of James and Anne Robinson. The Center continues to be partially supported by the James & Anne Robinson Foundation and is owned and operated by the Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks.
“Tracking Migrations and Seasons”
Journey North is one of North America’s premiere citizen science programs for people of all ages and includes families, teachers, schools, nature centers, professional scientists, and novices. Journey North provides an easy entry point to citizen science, with simple protocols, strong online support, and immediate results.
Reported sightings of plants and animals (for example, first sightings of hummingbirds during spring migration) are mapped in real-time as waves of migrations and changing seasons move across the continent. People report sightings from the field, view maps, take pictures, and leave comments.
You can participate – and see the results!
Turf to Trees Program
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Stream ReLeaf Program
Turf to Trees Program
The Turf to Trees program was created to help alleviate the damaging effects of stormwater runoff by increasing tree coverage throughout the County.
The program provides trees and planting services to Howard County property owners with lots of 1.5 to 10 acres in size, free of cost.
Stream ReLeaf Program
The mission of the Stream Releaf program is to create and enhance riparian forest buffers (protective strips of trees, shrubs and other vegetation’s along a stream) to improve water quality and wildlife habitat throughout Howard County.
Free, native trees and shrubs are provided by the county to homeowners who commit to planting the trees and shrubs on their property within 75 feet of a stream.
Howard County Beekeepers Association
Our purpose is to promote honey beekeeping in Howard County, Maryland, by providing a forum in which current honey beekeepers may become more knowledgeable of best practices, and the public can become more accurately informed on the benefits of honey bees.
Audubon Naturalist Society
The largest and oldest independent environmental organization in the Washington, DC, region, the Audubon Naturalist Society inspires residents of the greater Washington, DC, region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy. ANS also has two nature sanctuaries: Woodend Nature Sanctuary (Chevy Chase, Maryland) and Rust Sanctuary (Leesburg, Virginia, a partnership between the Audubon Naturalist Society and NOVA Parks).
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) produces innovative science to support natural resource management and meet our nation’s most pressing conservation challenges.
PWRC research topics include bird population dynamics, ecotoxicology, and the development of quantitative & decision analysis tools. We conduct several national programs, including the Bird Banding Lab and the Breeding Bird Survey.
Patuxent Research Refuge
With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, the Refuge has grown from the original 2,670 acres to its present size of 12,841 acres.
Patuxent Research Refuge is divided into three areas:
- North Tract, which offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, trails, and many interpretive programs
- Central Tract (not open for visitor activities), where the offices and study sites of the many research biologists are located at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
- South Tract, where the National Wildlife Visitor Center and its trails are located.
Friends of Patuxent
The Friends of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Patuxent Research Refuge, Inc., is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization formed to support the mission and programs of the Patuxent Research Refuge and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland.
We raise funds for educational programs, exhibits, and research, the focus of which includes contaminants, migratory birds and studies of endangered species.
Your membership helps support our missions and programs, and members enjoy the following benefits:
- A quarterly newsletter
- A 10% discount on purchases from Wildlife Images bookstore
- Members only programs/events
- Participation in on-site environmental education programs
Maryland Native Plant Society
The Maryland Native Plant Society’s mission is to promote awareness, appreciation, and conservation of Maryland’s native plants and their habitats. We pursue our mission through education, research, advocacy, and service activities.
Whipps Garden Cemetery
At the Whipps Cemetery Park, Howard County Master Gardeners and community volunteers plant and maintain heritage and native species in a variety of different settings, interspersed by pathways, benches, and around the tombstones. The plants are typical of those grown in Maryland gardens of the 1800s.
The cemetery is maintained entirely by volunteers, primarily the University of Maryland Extension Howard County Master Gardeners. It’s supported by donations and fund-raisers, for example:
- Annual Plant Sale – featuring many hard-to-find perennials, registered daylilies, and many other plants donated by the Howard County Master Gardeners.
- Daffodil Day – featuring horticultural talks by Master Gardeners in Whipps’ Woodland Theatre, garden tours, and potted bulb sales.
University of Maryland Extension
University of Maryland Extension (UME) educational programs and problem-solving assistance are available to citizens and are based on the research and experience of land grant universities such as the University of Maryland, College Park.
Topics include the following:
- 4-H & Youth
- Environment & Natural Resources
- Food & Nutrition
- Health & Wellness
- Home Gardening
- Water & Chesapeake Bay
- Have a question? You can Ask an Expert
Natural History Society of Maryland
“Exploring & Preserving Maryland’s Natural Treasures”
We offer many programs – from social events to advanced courses.
We conserve our natural history collections, educate citizens, and inspire youth to study the natural sciences. We host collections of plants, animals, fossils, and minerals, dating back to the early 1800s; and are developing a new natural history museum.
Our goal? That every Marylander learns to observe, identify, and appreciate the natural world that exists in our state.
Are you a naturalist? Do you:
- Collect rocks and shells?
- Notice the phases of the moon?
- Compare the shapes and colors of autumn leaves?
- Photograph nature on hikes?
- Watch birds at a bird feeder?
- Write observations in a nature journal?
- Have a favorite tree in your backyard?
- Read nature writing (Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson)?
- Listen to frog calls at night?
- Sketch wildlife and flowers?
- Follow animal tracks in the snow?
- Download apps to identify birds or plants?
- Observe a ladybug as it lands on your finger?
These are just a handful of the characteristics of a naturalist. Chances are, if you answered “yes” to any of these, you have the makings of a naturalist!
We are an organization that shares these interests, too!
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
The Department of Natural Resources leads Maryland in securing a sustainable future for our environment, society, and economy by preserving, protecting, restoring, and enhancing the State’s natural resources.
- Birding in Maryland
Maryland offers some great birding opportunities – if you know where to look!
Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas (MARA) 2010-2014
MARA is a five-year, joint project of the Natural History Society of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The goal of the MARA project is to document the current distributions of Maryland’s amphibian and reptile species using a systematic and repeatable approach. The Atlas will establish a baseline for future efforts to determine changes in the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Maryland. The information gained through your volunteer effort will be used to promote the conservation and protection of Maryland’s 90+ species of frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, lizards, and snakes. Understanding the current distribution patterns of amphibians and reptiles within the state is needed to create effective conservation strategies.