about south river federation

Federation Blog

By: Maura Duffy

This past weekend, the South River Federation was excited to be present at the Homestead Gardens’ grand opening of their Pet & Farm Department.  We had a table at the event where we introduced people to our organization while educating both adults and children about responsible pet ownership and the different sources of pollution in our watershed.

As this was a pet-geared event, we gave pet owners the “Scoop on Poop” and let them know why pet waste is considered to be an environmental pollutant.  Dog waste is very high in bacteria, and when it rains, the bacteria from uncollected dog waste enter our waterways.

With the help of our Enviroscape watershed model, we were able to easily illustrate the way that dog waste and other pollutants enter our waterways.  The model was a big hit with all the children at the event, so we were able to educate many little ones on the importance of keeping the land and the water clean.

Children at the event were also able to make a fish printing at our table.  Before they were allowed to paint their fish, every child had to answer this question: Do fish like living in dirty or clean water?  Almost everyone answered clean water, and were able to explain that it’s easier for fish to breathe if the water is clean.  Environmental education and appreciation for nature at every age is important, so the event was a great opportunity and success for public outreach in our community.

Photo Credit: Randy Lentz, Homestead Gardens

¿Qué significa la palabra “Cuenca”? Or in English, what does the word watershed mean? Last Saturday, students at the Center for Help learned about “las cuencas” and other topics related to issues within the South River watershed.

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer Caroline Rodriguez went out to the Center for Help to answer this question and many others to a group of very excited students. The Center for Help offers assistance to the non-English speaking population in Anne Arundel County and offers a variety of services to assist immigrants in assimilating to U.S. culture and customs. The students participate in the Homework Help and Leadership Program at the Center and were tremendously excited to learn more about la ciencia medio ambiental or environmental science.

The day started off with discussions about the location of the South River in relation to the office and considering the implications of what a watershed is. Next we went through the stormwater model and discussed how la contaminación (pollution) wasn’t just from leaving trash on the ground, but is also the result of excessive use of things like las fertilizantes (fertilizers) and las pesticidas (pesticides). And the most important thing we discussed is simplistic, but very important: Todo lo que ponemos en la Cuenca del Río del Sur finalmente va a terminar en el río or everything that we put in the South River watershed will eventually end up in the river. Finally we discussed some of the things that children can do to help save the Bay with colorful marcadoras (bookmarks) written in Spanish. Thanks again to the Center for Help for a fun and educational Saturday afternoon!

We are extremely excited to begin reaching out to the Latino/a community through bilingual education and hope to increase our efforts in the future! If you have any questions, please let us know by emailing Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Enjoy this slide show about the South River Federation by summer intern Natasha Rathlev.

Superheros on the South River

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us on Saturday, October 19th for our Fall Federation Celebration Kayak Trip!  It was a crisp morning on the South River.  After some coffee, donuts, and fruit, we launched kayaks from the Harbor Hills community area and headed out into Flat Creek.  Flat Creek is a section of the South River where you can see a variety of wildlife.  Then, we paddled back into the river and pushed towards the Route 50 bridge.  Some paddlers went even further towards the Route 450 bridge.

It is crazy to think that you are out paddling and enjoying the wildlife, while a major highway is zipping past you from above.  The saying "Stop and smell and roses" came to my mind.  On the way back to the beach, the weather decided to give us a challenge by providing a decent headwind plus an incoming tide--we definitely worked up an appetite. 

Thankfully, Whole Foods of Annapolis donated delicious platters of sandwiches, fruits, and veggies for lunch!  Thank you again to Lorie, from Annapolis Community Boating for providing the kayaks, John Koontz and the Harbor Hills community for hosting this wonderful trip.


The South River Federation was built on the shoulders of dedicated and caring community members who wanted the best for our river and community.  Looking back on how far our organization has come over the years, it is with heavy hearts we take a moment to reflect on the recent passing of Ross Voorhees, a former South River Federation Board Member.

Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and neighbors for their loss and thoughts are with them during this ever so difficult time.  Ross was a very special person and we wanted to celebrate and share all the good he has done for his community.  To say he was loved by his friends and family was an understatement. Close friend, neighbor, and fellow former Federation Board Member Missy Cassidy captured the essence of Ross’s spirit in her memories of a close friend:

Just last Friday Ross came rushing across the backyard with a huge smile on his face. Once again he came over to share his catch bringing us two beautiful rockfish fillets. Another great afternoon on his boat and out enjoying the river. He was always ready to share his happiness.

Ross will always be the guy that never held back when trying to make the world a better place. He served more than once as President of his community and on the Lee Farm Conservancy Board, one time as its President guiding the organization through some turbulent moments. He served on the South River Federation Board. Members will remember seeing him work hard at the fish frys- setting up, cooking, cleaning up,- always with a great smile. He loved helping with then annual river snapshot, and pushed hard for communities to participate in the water quality testing. He encouraged new people to join the Federation and help improve the river in any way they could. Ross never hesitated to show up at hearings to speak up and work for sensible land use decisions. He helped John Flood to be sure development on Warehouse Creek was not excessive by participating in the zoning appeal hearing.

Ross was an environmental engineer and truly believed in using science to make the best case, which is part of what drew him to Federation. Plus, he loved being on the water whether it was fishing, boating, canoeing - if anyone had an idea for going out, he was up for it.  He loved birds and wildlife. He understood the importance of creating and caring for the shorelines. He was genuinely worried about the decline of the river and the creeks in the last 20 years. He never sat by: he went to work to help make a difference.

To us, Ross was a friend, an advocate, and a leader - but he was also a caring father and family member. He has left us, his neighbors and friends, with a world that is a better place because of his efforts. Our hearts are heavy with the sadness of his passing. We will remember him fondly because of his enthusiasm and the way he put words into action to help others. He was always willing to lend a hand. He was a good friend to many- we will remember him with love and respect- and always, with that happy kid smile on his face.

Thank you Ross, for all that you have done for the South River and our community.

Information on Celebration of Life Services can be found here.