Leonardtown, Maryland – On the day Isaias hit St. Mary’s County, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) closed on one of its most significant easements to date —77.51 culturally and naturally significant acres in Great Mills, St. Mary’s County.
PTLT started working early in 2018 with the property’s owners, Bob, Allan and Mike Cecil, to acquire a conservation easement to the Clifton Factory property. Funding came from Program Open Space of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The property, now protected forever, is located immediately adjacent to the southern end of the St. Mary’s River State Park where the river flows beneath Indian Bridge Rd. It includes land at the confluence at the mainstem of the St. Mary’s River and two of its western branches. Mostly forested, a large portion of the property lies within a Sensitive Species Project Review Area, and much of it is Forest Interior Dwelling Species habitat. Its river sections support freshwater mussels, fish, and macro-invertebrates.
The tract includes significant cultural resources, including pre-colonial and early colonial occupation and industry. This property adjoins the Cecil’s Mill Historic District, a national historic district consisting of Cecil’s Mill, Cecil’s Country Store, the old Cecil home, and Old Holy Face Church. The newly protected land is believed to include sites that played a role in the early mills and factories of Southern Maryland which contributed to the area being named Great Mills. An early colonial potter operated on a portion of the property, using a rare purple clay quarried from the site.
“It’s not often that PTLT has an opportunity to protect such an ecologically and culturally significant tract of land,” said the organization’s president, Frank Allen. “The Cecil brothers showed remarkable patience, given project delays due to the pandemic. I’m appreciative of the many volunteer hours of work by Bob Prine of PTLT; Also thanks to Program Open Space’s Cheryl Wise, as well as Michele Snyder and Bill McKissick of the Dugan, McKissick & Longmore law firm to make this project work.”
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.
About a dozen Friends of PTLT and Hemlock Preserve showed up for the workday and hike on Saturday morning. It was cold but dry. All the hands made swift work repairing the stairway to the beach. The group went for a hike in the Preserve afterwards. It was a very skilled and interesting group of people. Thank you everyone! Many agreed we should do more of this here.
Thanks to the Woodruff family and others who made donations to Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT)in the memory of Benjamin E. Shaible.
PTLT is an all volunteer organization whose mission is protect land in perpetuity (which is a very long time) with conservation easements. PTLT has saved over 5,900 acres permanently in southern Maryland.
What a thoughtful and lasting remembrance for a man who loved the outdoors. Our condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Schaible. We will do our best to honor him in our work.
Benjamin E. Schaible, 51, died at his home in Great Mills, MD, on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
Born in Baltimore in 1969 and raised in Silver Spring, MD, Ben graduated from Springbrook High School and North Carolina State University. He loved spending time in nature, walking his property along the St. Mary’s River, surfing in the Outer Banks and Central America, and paddling the waterways of Southern MD and the mid-Atlantic. He was an avid Washington Capitals fan and enjoyed a long career as an engineer with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Patuxent River, MD.
Ben will be forever loved and dearly missed by his mother, Mary Jean (Larsen) Schaible of Silver Spring, MD; his father, Wesley Lawton Schaible of Zolfo Springs, FL, and his father’s partner, Leslie Christovich of Flat Rock, NC; his brother and sister-in-law, Stephen Schaible and Kevan Miller of Arlington, VA; and his niece and nephew, Phoebe and Noah Schaible, also of Arlington, VA. Ben loved his Aunt Rita, his cousins, and his many close friends, all of whom will greatly miss his dry wit, fun-loving spirit, and good company.
A virtual gathering to remember Ben’s life is being planned for Saturday, May 22, 2021. To honor Ben's love of the outdoors, please consider a memorial contribution to Surfrider Foundation (https://www.surfrider.org/) or the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (https://ptlt.org/)
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.
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, http://www.covepoint-trust.org.
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 www.ptlt.org
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 www.covepoint-trust.org.
Frank Allen, President PTLT
A southern Maryland native, Catherine has always been found where the wild things are. She enjoys paddling, hiking, and camping. She's grateful to be a part of the PTLT.
Living in such a beautiful place most of my life has taught me the importance of respecting nature. It is so important, now more than ever, that we preserve land for the future.
As a fairly recent newcomer to the area, I have quickly realized the unique beauty of this place. And as the father of young children, I see the value in preserving open space for our future generations to enjoy and recreate within. I'm excited to be a part of a group that can take action to protect our natural world.
PTLT NextGen Advisory Board's kickoff meeting took place in January, 2020. Emily Wilkinson was nominated the chair for the 40 and under board group. This is an inspiring group of motivated leaders who deeply care about our community and environment. Welcome aboard! Thank you for caring. For more information about the group contact PTLT at SaveLand@ptlt.org.
UPDATE: Winner of this year's raffle is Bette Baumgarner! A big thank you to all who donated, and congratulations, Bette!
From PTLT Volunteer, Christina Allen:
This year, for my birthday blanket, I am knitting a cozy silk/wool Noro yarn blanket made up of colorful hexagons to benefit Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT). The blanket is warm but lightweight. Each 5" hexagon takes about one hour to create. Keep you or your loved ones warm and wrapped in love with this special blanket.
For every $10 donation to PTLT, I'll put one raffle ticket with your name on it in a bowl. Raffle drawing will be held on Dec. 4th, 10:00 AM, at Myrtle Point Park Invasive Plant Removal PTLT event. Not required to be present to win; Curbside pickup or shipping included if you win.
I'll post Facebook updates on the blanket and record the drawing of the blanket on Dec. 4th evening. Good luck!
PTLT’s mission is to acquire and hold conservation easements on ecologically valuable land for future generations to enjoy.
Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to the nonprofit. Since PTLT is an all volunteer board, ALL monies go towards PTLT's mission to save land, in perpetuity.
Donations/tickets can be made on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CornCribStudio
Rebecca Benton, St. Inigoes, MD, a long time supporter of Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, donated to Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust in memory of "Dabney" Lloyd Edgar Kisner, Jr., age 100 and a lifelong restaurateur, hunter, fisherman, centurion, and Uncle.
As a teenager, Dabney helped his father build Kisner's Store Building where the family lived upstairs and ran the general store downstairs. He graduated from Green Bank High School where he played football.
In 1942, he entered Army Boot Camp and in 1943 received his "Wings" from flight school in Texas. In 1943 he flew his first mission from Earls Colne, England as a bombardier/navigator. After this mission he also was a co-pilot in a 5-man crew. On December 13, 1943 Dabney was shot down over Europe but it made it back to White Cliffs where the crew parachuted out. He landed in a minefield but US soldiers carried him on a stretcher unconscious to the hospital. On Dec. 24 he was released and on Christmas Day 1943 he flew another mission and then 48 more. On May 25, 1944 his B-26 was shot down over Liege, Belgium. He was rescued by the Belgium Resistance and hidden in several locations over the next 5 months. He worked with the Belgium Resistance as he helped them identify the US airplanes or enemy planes at night by the sounds of the motors. He was often hidden behind a closet door or in an attic.
PTLT co-holds an environmental easement on the Oak Hill property, now used for a truly inspirational purpose.
One of only a handful of African American falconers in the country, Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a bird sanctuary and provide access to nature for his stressed community. This is a story of second chances: for injured birds of prey, for an abandoned plot of land, for a group of teenagers who have dropped out of high school, and for Rodney himself.
See full episode HERE.
Dear Friends of Grassland Birds:
It is the first day of Autumn as we write this quick update of our progress this year. Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds has now conducted two full years of monitoring the abundance and behavior of two key species of grassland birds – Eastern Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrow – on a hayfield in Hollywood, Maryland. Both species are deemed “Species of Concern” in Maryland as a result of the steady decline in habitat suitable for these birds to reproduce successfully. They can only breed in the central portion of large hayfields and their success each year is seriously affected by the timing and operations of harvesting hay.
We are committed to gaining a thorough understanding of how best to time mowing so that landowners are able to manage their land successfully while preserving the ability of the birds to survive the mowing process. We have now experimented with delayed-mowing, raising mowing heights, and mowing patterns.
This year in particular, we were very encouraged by the positive breeding success of the Meadowlarks in response to delaying the spring harvest to mid-June compared to mid-May. In 2021, the average number
of Eastern Meadowlarks observed in the count circle following mid-May mowing was less than 4 individuals, all adults. In 2022, the average number of Meadowlarks observed after the delayed mid-June mowing jumped to over 7, including several large counts of recently fledged birds. This confirms the positive impact on the birds of delayed mowing, but leaves unanswered any systematic analysis of the net economic impact from delaying hay production to mid-June.
As we prepare for Year 3 of our research, we are going to attempt controlled strip experiments that an agronomist can analyze to judge the nutritional and economic differences in hay harvested in May, June, and July.
In addition, our plan is to apply for the per-acre delayed-mowing incentive program authorized by the Department of Agriculture rarely implemented. If our application is accepted, we believe that it will be the first time that the local Natural Resource Conservation Service has made use of this existing program in Southern Maryland, and possibly in the entire state.
Finally, we are considering experimenting with a method of mowing that might eliminate the need for using a tedder to accelerate the drying process between cutting and baling. If it is possible to reduce or even eliminate the need for teddering before baling, hay farmers would save on diesel fuel and the birds would escape one of the most harmful interactions between mowing machinery and nesting birds.
All of this work continues to be done entirely by volunteers and is guided by a collaboration of four nonprofits organizations: Farmers Feeding Southern Maryland, Historic Sotterley, the Southern Maryland Audubon Society and the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. We are indebted to the leadership and guidance of these organizations, to our “Working Group” of knowledgeable individuals who are contributing their expertise and advice, and to Carol Ghebelian, who generously donated the initial seed grant for the Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds project.
Anyone interested in contributing to this project should call David Moulton at 240-278-4473.
Co-coordinators: David Moulton Joe Goldsmith BJ Bowling
An effort to encourage “bird-friendly” hay management on Southern Maryland hay farms is now under way under the auspices “Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds”, a collaborative that includes the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) as well as the Farmers Feeding Southern Maryland, Historic Sotterley Inc.. Two hay farmers – Joe Goldsmith and BJ Bowling – are coordinating with PTLT board member David Moulton to test “bird-friendly” haying approaches on a 75 acre private hayfield just north of Historic Sotterley. “The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is proud to be part of this attempt to find solutions that protect threatened grassland bird species,” says PTLT president Frank Allen. The Eastern Meadowlark and the Grasshopper Sparrow are two species in steep decline which depend both on preserving our hayfields and on managing them with an eye towards nature. Nests can easily be destroyed when using conventional haying techniques, but changing mowing heights, patterns and timing can give these threatened birds a chance to breed successfully and the hay farmers a chance to hay successfully. For more information about this initiative, visit the website at “Bird-friendly-farming.org”.
Credit: Bill Hubick
(Corporate Donor) in Italics
Frank & Christina Allen
LEGACY DONORS (OVER $1200)
Coles Family Foundation
Gita S. van Heerden
CONSERVER (OVER $500)
Toyota of Southern Maryland
Corn Crib Studio & Publishing
Robert and Eula Prine
Diep Nguyen-van Houtte
SPONSOR (OVER $300)
PATRON (OVER $150)
Phil Hayward and Polly Lange
Len and Karen Zuza
The Good Earth Natural Foods Store
Thank you to Rose Thorne,
a HERITAGE DONOR
and a new PTLT easement holder of protected land!