Welcome to Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT), Your local land trust

We’ve Been Tough on Birds – Now Let’s Help Them Out

David Moulton (Board Member PTLT) and Barb Whipkey (Owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, Lexington Park)

If the death of a canary in a mine shaft is a sure warning to workers to evacuate the premises, what is the right human response to the net loss of 3 billion birds in our neighborhoods, fields and forests since 1970? 

This question emerges urgently from research published in September by the journal Science, which analyzed trends in North American bird populations over the last 50 years and found that we are in the midst of a startling 30 percent decline in birdlife amounting to 3 billion fewer birds.

“These losses are a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife, and that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment,” said Ken Rosenberg, conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and lead author of the study.

The declines are even greater for species that require specialized habitat to breed, migrate, or winter successfully. Nearly a quarter of the loss is occurring in grassland species, for example, such as the Eastern Meadowlark and the Grasshopper Sparrow. Grassland species have suffered a 50 percent decline overall, and the decline is particularly acute in Eastern North America.  Development sprawl on undisturbed land and resistance to no-till farming practices continue to degrade habitat in our area, where the vast majority of property remains private.

Are we condemned to watch our birdlife disappear? No. Not as long as we’re willing to act.  What can be done?

For starters, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has suggested “7 Simple Actions” that individuals can take to protect birdlife, such as treating window glass to avoid bird collisions, keeping cats indoors, and letting your land get a little wild with native plantings 

In addition, if you own a piece of land, you can add “Simple Action Number 8”  -- protect your own fields, forests or farmland.  Loss of habitat is the most serious cause of bird declines. Over 90 percent of the land in Maryland is in private hands, not public parks or wildlife refuges, so private landowners must be part of the solution. The land you love can be protected forever if you attach a “conservation easement” to your deed. Such easements can be facilitated through your local land trust.  

In St. Mary’s County, the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) has protected over 5600 acres of private land working with more than 30 willing landowners and government partners. And if you’re not a landowner, you can still protect land by contributing to your land trust. That’s what Wild Birds Unlimited has done by supporting the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT). You can too.


Conservation Signs announce protected lands!

The first signs are being placed by proud landowners, the Mareks

Beautiful heavy gauge aluminum signs available for PTLT protected properties

The signs are a way to share with our neighbors the joy in saving land forever...for future generations.

Thank you!

update for PTLT... Frank Allen, president


It’s been three months since we reverted to an all-volunteer land trust. We are very busy:


We closed on the Hemlock Preserve easement in July - and received the check from the Nature Conservancy in mid-August.  Board members and volunteers are working on easement documentation.

Soon it will be time to prepare for next year: end of year reporting, financial close-out, preparation for Rural Legacy reporting and possible RL application due in early February.


Early next month we will hear whether our proposal for easement procurement funding and for expansion of the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area has been approved. If so, funding will not be released until December or early next year. We can’t commit to spending until the easement projects are approved by DNR and money has been released. We can continue preparing our easement packages though (short of contracted work).

Watercolor study of garden plants.

Christina Allen hosted a watercolor painting workshop “Beatrix Potter in the Garden” on the 27th of September, with lunch catered by ENSO bakery. Four volunteers are also knitting ornaments for holiday sales, or local galleries, as a fun fund-raiser to benefit PTLT.


The outreach committee worked only through email (a break from all the meetings) this summer. We begin meetings again this month. The weather was outstanding for our boat charter to Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. We staffed an information table at the U MD Chesapeake Center for Environmental Sciences (Chesapeake Biological Lab in Solomons) open house.

We staffed an information table at the U MD Chesapeake Center for Environmental Sciences


Pete Neus has been able to get an invitation for us to have an information table at the Sotterley Riverside Wine Fest on the 5th and 6th of October. We need volunteer help for this event since the hours will be long.


PRAD (Patuxent River Appreciation Days) is on the 12th of October.


We could use some volunteers to help staff our display that day, since it is in conflict with the monitor training Robert Willey is coordinating with Maryland Environmental Trust. This training, to be held at Summerseat Farm (with lunch provided) is open to all who might be interested in becoming monitors for us or for MET or who would like to refresh their training. Robert will be looking to get a full staff of volunteer monitors – the monitoring season is almost upon us.


Weed Warriors will begin the winter campaign at Myrtle Point Park on the 2nd of November


Finally, we will be attending the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Raleigh, NC starting on the 17th of October.

Yours sincerely, 

Frank Allen, President PTLT

One of most popular volunteer activities!

Easement Monitoring Workshop this Fall


Do you enjoy exploring the great outdoors? 

Are you interested in visiting rural and agricultural properties in southern Maryland? If the answer is YES then you may be interested in becoming a volunteer easement monitor for the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT). PTLT is a non-profit organization that holds easements on privately owned properties that legally restrict intense development on undeveloped and farm properties while permitting traditional uses. Each property must be visited annually as part of the terms of the easement to ensure adherence to the easement terms. The easement monitor contacts the property owner independently to arrange a visit at a mutually convenient time and then documents their findings in a simple report.

A training session for prospective volunteers will be held at Summerseat Farm at 26655 Three Notch Road, Mechanicsville MD 20659 on Saturday October 12, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  If interested, please email with “PTLT training” in the subject line and advise the number of attendees. More information on the organization may be found at


Hemlock Preserve, another PTLT protected land!

A Unique Approach to Land Preservation in Southern Maryland

“This is a new way to conserve land,” says PTLT President Frank Allen. “It’s a hybrid purchase/donation that allows for money for staff hours and a stewardship endowment to be donated by the grantor – The Nature Conservancy in this case.”

Leonardtown, Maryland – In a unique partnership between conservation organizations and state and federal government, 67 acres of pristine Calvert County watershed have been preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The July 18 transaction spearheaded by the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust and Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust involved the purchase of an easement to land along upper reaches of Hellen Creek near Lusby from The Nature Conservancy, which in turn donated the land to CPNHT. Monies for the easement came from the U.S. Navy’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program (REPI). The easement will be jointly owned by the Maryland Environmental Trust and PTLT, which will be responsible for protecting terms of the easement in perpetuity. CPNHT, which has managed the land since 2006, will be responsible going forward for its care, including public access. Together with the Hellen Creek Preserve on the southern shore and the newly acquired Turner Road property on the northern there are more than 280 acres of protected property on Hellen Creek.
For more than 10 years, CPNHT, The Nature Conservancy, Calvert County, and the state of Maryland worked on the land transfer, which nearly died with a change in Maryland governors. PTLT entered the discussion by offering to leverage its relations with the Navy, which helps fund preservation of land beneath critical flight paths.

Hemlock Preserve’s 67 acres of natural features include upland woods, ravines, bluffs and marsh along Hellen Creek. It’s home to 50 species of birds, most notably Wild Turkey, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, and several species of flycatchers and warblers. The preserve has the southernmost stand of Canadian hemlock on the eastern coastal plain. The stand is thought to be a relict community left behind by the last glaciers 15,000 years ago. Visitors also enjoy its plant life which includes trailing arbutus, winterberry, and mountain laurel in the interior, with marsh hibiscus, cardinal flower, and buttonbush down by the creek.
For more information on Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve, visit the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust website,
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust’s mission is to sustain the region’s biodiversity and water resources through a network of protected landscapes. PTLT acquires land and conservation easements by purchase or donation. For more information, visit
Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust is a nonprofit Trust located in Calvert County. Founded in 1994, its mission is to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland through land conservation, acquisition, scientific research, and environmental education. For more information, visit
Frank Allen, President PTLT


Good news! AmazonSmile is now available in the Amazon Shopping App to all AmazonSmile customers...

Good news! AmazonSmile is now available in the Amazon Shopping App to all AmazonSmile customers using supported Android devices. You can use the below copy and instructions to share the news with your supporters!

If you are an AmazonSmile customer, you can now support Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust in the Amazon shopping app on your Android device! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations.

  1. If you have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping App, open the App on your Android device.
  2. View Settings and select AmazonSmile.
  3. Follow the in-App instructions to complete the process. 

If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping App, update your App. Click here for instructions.

AmazonSmile is not currently available for iOS users. We will notify AmazonSmile charities when it becomes available. 

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Leonardtown, Maryland– The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is proposing to expand the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area creating the St. Mary’s Greenway of protected forests, farmland, and headwater streams connecting the Patuxent and Potomac River watersheds as they lead to the Chesapeake Bay.

"A land Trust story"

A 15 minute film written and narrated by Frank Allen, President PTLT 

Originally presented to local transportation boards.

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PTLT Lands a Valuable Grant

This winter PTLA received a prestigious Janice Hollmann grant to further its land conservation efforts. 
The $2,000 grant awarded by the Maryland Environmental Trust will be used to help PTLT underwrite its administrative and outreach needs for our outreach work to property owners.
Hollmann Grants are awarded to land trusts within Maryland. All grants require a 100 percent match from the land trust of in-kind services and privately raised funds and are subject to a competitive application process.
“We’re delighted to receive this grant for a number of reasons,” says PTLT President Frank Allen. “Besides helping further our mission, earning a Hollmann Grant demonstrates to the wider world of conservation the depth and breadth of our organization’s growth and accomplishments since its founding 23 years ago.”