HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday thru Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.
The following articles are selections from our quarterly newsletter: "The Otter's Tale". The entire newsletter is available at the Estuary Center or you can download it here.
by Kriste Garman, Park Manager
By almost every account, the winter of 2021 was dark and long. COVID 19 kept us isolated, indoors or out.
Enter spring. Vaccines and vaccine accessibility are steadily increasing. Daylight hours are greater. Harford County employees have returned to work.
The Estuary Center is open! Open open, as in drop-in open, no appointment necessary open! When you visit the park, you can stop in and visit us—we’ve missed seeing you! Use our restrooms! Please wear a mask and maintain a 6’distance from others, but come on in! Say hi to the turtles and snakes!
Register for a naturalist led program. By boat or on foot, naturalists stand ready to guide you to an awareness of the myriad ways spring presents itself.
Sign on to volunteer--be a bluebird box monitor or chart the timing of the life stages of the swamp milkweed plant to further our understanding of how climate change may affect plants and animals.
By all means, please continue the increased visitation to the park to enjoy the unfolding, unwavering progression of spring. The chorus is in full swing—eagles chortling, osprey chirping, peepers peeping. The palette of colors is bold—redbud rosy, gangbuster green, catkin creamy.
WE ARE OPEN!
Spring Greetings, Members and Friends!
The red-shouldered hawks in the big tree across the street from my house are making the final touches to their nest. They call from the roof top, glide to the crotch of the oak with twig in claw, and rustle
around the nest structure. In the mornings, they hunt for mice and snakes in the neighborhood to take in energy for their task. They have a plan: raise this year’s clutch. They have a set of goals too: build the nest, lay the eggs, feed the young, and teach their fledglings to be independent.
Otter Point Creek Alliance has a plan and a set of goals as well. Are you interested to learn what they are? Recently the OPCA Board of Directors voted in a Mission Statement and Strategic Plan. It is now available to read on our website. The document articulates our purpose and the goals we want to achieve. If you want to tell others about OPCA and encourage them to support and join, you can now refer them to this document.
As a “friends-of” group for CBNERR and partner to The Estuary Center (ACLEC), we exist because of them and support them in their missions to educate the public about the environment, carry out research on the land and water, be good stewards of the estuary, and provide opportunities to train volunteers and scientists. We have priorities, strategies, and a list of goals we want to achieve.
One of the goals you may enjoy is the installation of a new video “picture screen” in the building. This planned exhibit will feature footage from trail cams in the park. It will be paid for by OPCA funds from memberships, donations, and program fees. The video picture screen is part of OPCA’s plan to educate the public about wildlife and habitats at Otter Point Creek. Habitat Protection is one of OPCA’s priority issues, and educating the public is key to increasing interest and promoting stewardship of the estuary.
Another goal is to acquire grant funding and volunteer help to continue the reforestation effort at Bosely Conservancy with our partner, the Harford County chapter of Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA-HC). Last fall, OPCA volunteers helped IWLA-HC plant over 200 Bald Cypress and Atlantic White Cedar trees in a wetland forest where acres of Ash trees were killed by the Emerald Ash Borer pest. Without trees, the wetland becomes subject to erosion which allows polluting nutrients and sediment to flow into Otter Point Creek and Chesapeake Bay. OPCA’s plan is to expand on the project and call again for volunteers to help plant trees. Through finding funding and providing volunteers for reforestation, OPCA helps address the priority issue of Water Quality in Otter Point Creek.You can read more about OPCA’s strategies, goals, and priority issues in the document on the website.
Plans and goals arise out of a mission: an overall statement of purpose. OPCA’s mission is to utilize our resources to promote environmental awareness, sustainability, and greater understanding and appreciation of the local estuary environment at Otter Point Creek. We do this through volunteerism, community outreach, school and public programming, research and monitoring, stewardship, and training. All of this is toward the greater vision of having a healthy, productive, resilient Otter Point Creek estuary that is valued and enjoyed by all.
Those red-shouldered hawks have a mission too, just like every plant, animal, fungus, and every other living organism: deliver the next generation into the waiting arms of the habitat that surrounds them. For those plants and animals that live in Otter Point Creek and the Chesapeake beyond, we can only hope to help them achieve that by the work we do here.
Kathy Baker-Brosh, PhD
President, Otter Point Creek Alliance