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Professional Dabblers

Yesterday started out looking like it would be another wet day on the boat, but it turned out to be warmer than it has been during our recent monitoring outings. We were even able to enjoy brief moments of sunshine. And we were not the only ones taking advantage of this welcome change in the consistent rainy weather.

As we motored through the calm water to the top portion of the river, we passed a group of people on the Harbor Hills community pier armed with paints and brushes, each with their own easel.  We pulled over to chat for a bit and they told us that they had all taken the same art classes and decided to form an art group within their community. “We are professional dabblers,” Glenn exclaimed jokingly. Some were even Federation members who have supported our cleanup efforts and attended our annual auction last year! When I asked why they decided to paint the water, they revealed their thoughts about our South River. “Speaking from an artist’s perspective,” Karen explained, “I love the color of light on the river, particularly in the afternoon. It is amazing out here. The glow is beautiful.”  Debra agreed saying, “Every season has its own beauty” and adding, "I love the sounds of the wildlife." Karen joined in supportively, “There is something very peaceful about it...”

It was so lovely to hear how these artists take time appreciate the beauty of the river that is so easy to forget when you pass over it on a daily basis. My favorite quote, however, came from Debra Glanell who said, “There is always something going on, all you have to do is stand and listen.”

Thanks for chatting with us Karen, Debra, Glenn, and Jo! We truly enjoyed learning about you and your newfound artist group!

Thursday afternoon, we made our way down to the Federation’s restoration project at Preserve at Broad Creek, where we take biweekly water quality readings.  As we rounded a turn, I was startled to see a dog sitting straight in the middle of our path (so much so that I almost slipped on the damp moss at our feet), but not three feet away was one of our dedicated South River Federation members, Doug Camitta, who was walking his young Airedale Terrier, Ophelia. 

Doug and his wife, Louise Snyder, have been enthusiastic supporters of the Federation and its efforts to heal the South River since they moved into the Broadview Estates community (which shares a side of the project).  In addition to taking Ophelia on long walks, Doug enjoys kayaking on the South River and its various creeks, observing the wildlife and watching the seasons change. Broadview Estates and the Preserve are actively working (government permits have been obtained) to install complementary living shorelines, which they hope will reduce both erosion along the shoreline and the amount of sediment entering Broad Creek and the South River. 

Doug said “I am pleased that South River Federation cleanup projects have begun to markedly improve the quality of the water in the South River and the creeks that feed into it, as these improvements will directly improve the health of the flora and the fish and oyster communities, as well as making the waters more attractive for recreational users.  Broad Creek suffers from severe silting."   

He added that "I particularly admire the Federation for basing its work on sound science and its involvement with the local communities bordering the South River and its creeks.  The Federation is an exemplar for groups with similar objectives.” 

Thanks, Doug! We count ourselves lucky to have members as devoted as you and Louise!

Thank you Key School Students for sharing Earth Day with us.  We appreciated you helping us install hundreds of plants in our bioretention area in the Hillsmere Community of Annapolis.   One of our newest projects, this stormwater BMP is located right next to the community's pool, so the planting will be appreciated by many. We had a ton of fun with you! Thanks as well to the "weed team" who helped clean up a nearby rain garden and the "stone team" who helped spread gravel at the adjacent parking lot. South River Federation staff also taught students in the classroom about stormwater pollution using a watershed model.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! Our Riverkeeper, Jessie Iliff and his wife, who happen to live in Hillsmere, welcomed the newest addition to their family, a baby girl who they named Willow. We were so pleased to be able to tell them we planted a tree in her honor in their neighborhood! To view Facebook photos, click here.

A special thank you also goes to Anne Arundel County’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program and the Chesapeake Bay Trust for funding the project.

The Federation was very pleased that Sandy Spring Bank came out on April 15th for a community service day with us.  Not only are they a sponsor of our South River on the Half Shell Auction, but are the bank we use as well. The energetic team installed native plants at our newly restored coastal plain outfall by Hillsmere Shore's kayak launch. Now after storms, instead of the water eroding the gulley and dumping sediment in the creek, the water will be slowed down, cooled off, and filtered by our sand and gravel step pools filled with wonderful wetland plants!  We appreciate the Hillsmere Shores Community partnering with us on so many demonstration projects in their neighborhood! A big thank you also goes to the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Anne Arundel County's Watershed Protection and Restoration Program for funding the project. To view Facebook photos, click here.  


The Federation had a blast participating in St. Andrews School Earth Day Festival on April 21st! We continued the St. Andrew's tradition of planting trees during the festival, by adding to our "buffer" planting on the back edge of the school ground. A buffer planting protects streams (in this case Gingerville Creek) from a point source run-off (the water shedding off the school's ball fields). Other SRF staff were teaching students about stormwater pollution using a watershed model and exploring how pollution can affect the food web by building a representative web made from string. Students also did a little sleuthing using maps and photos to learn how their school yard was affecting Gingerville and Church Creeks.

Last year, the Federation installed a large rain garden on the Church Creek side of the school, solving a flooding issue on their playground in the process. Next week, St. Andrews students are coming out to plant shoreline grasses (spartina alterniflora) and release juvenile striped bass, both of which they have raised in the clasroom! View Earth Day Festival photos on Facebook here.