Baltimore County Now
Nature Quest is Your Ticket to Outdoor Adventure
Interested in an adventure and a chance to find new parks in your area? You’ll love Baltimore County’s Nature Quest! Baltimore County Recreation and Parks, the Baltimore County Local Health Coalition and Wegmans grocery store have partnered to provide this fun, free adventure.
You can experience the outdoors and be active while discovering some of the best parks and trails in Baltimore County. It’s great for families, scout troops, seniors – anyone who wants to get outdoors and have fun. You can bike, hike, or canoe on designated trails and complete the Nature Quest while earning prizes.
All you have to do is finish at least five trails and you can join us on October 17 to celebrate at our Nature Quest Fest. This action- packed event will include various activities such as canoeing, fishing, live animals, crafts and more. So get your family and friends together and begin your adventure!
Complete Your Quest in Three Easy Steps!
1. Get your Passport booklet. Pick up a Nature Quest booklet from your local Wegmans store, at participating parks (Robert E. Lee Park, Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, Cromwell Valley Park, Marshy Point Nature Center, Benjamin Banneker Historical Park, or Honeygo Run Regional Park), or print one online at relpnc.org/nature-quest.
2. Start hiking. Take your booklet and a pencil or crayon and head out on the trails. Record your progress by making a rubbing of the trail marker located on each of 13 trails.
3. Collect your prizes. Prizes are awarded after accumulating rubbings from at least five of the 13 trails. In addition to the prizes, questers that complete five trails or more also receive free admission to the Nature Quest Fest on October 17. Extra incentives are available to questers that complete 7 to 13 trails!
Shannon Davis, Park Ranger, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Park
This summer, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks is the “anti-bored” department of Baltimore County. Plenty to do, lots of smiles, a great source of vitamin D (sunshine) and huge doses of fun!
It really depends on what you want to do this summer – are you the type that loves to be on the trails? Maybe you’re the kind of person that wants to be out in the fields. Or maybe it’s camp? Are you the kind that loves to learn firsthand? Do you want to be on the water in your canoe or kayak? Do you love to gaze at the stars? Do you love music, wine tasting, trout fishing? Don’t mind getting a little dirty. Bugs don’t bug you. And, perhaps the beach, one much closer than “downyocean,” gets your motor running…
In other words, summer is a time to explore, enjoy and relish – right here at home in Baltimore County.
Where? Well, let’s start with some of our many parks…
Over at Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum this summer you can sit back and enjoy the “Jazz Concert Series” featuring three outstanding performances. Nature study more your thing? Then let our staff and volunteers share the excitement, beauty and serenity of birding, flowers, moss, trees, blue moons, snakes, hikes and astronomy. Scavenger Hunts, basket making, a Colonial Fair, science through the eyes and experiences of Benjamin Banneker himself are all a part of the fun this summer.
And then, there’s Oregon Ridge Park and Oregon Ridge Nature Center where you could do something different every day. At the Nature Center, you can a part of Jamberry Making, geocatching, picnicking under the stars, camping out, Mud Day (dirty fun!), blue moon night hiking, stream searching, butterfly talks, treasure hunts and so much more. Over at the other side of the park, there’s the ever popular Star Spangled Spectacular featuring the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and fireworks (July 3 and 4th); and the Hot August Music Festival (August 15). And there’s just so much more to do throughout your summer.
Robert E. Lee Park features a summer to remember. Serpentine Hiking (June 20); The Great American Campout (June 26); Nature Sculpture for Kids (July 25), Mud Day (can’t get away from that dirty fun!); Bark with a Park Ranger (August 15) – a “ruff” night hike with our Park Rangers; and Cricket Crawl Campfires, Fairies and Dragons and all other kinds of events and activities that are cool enough to keep you sweaty, wet, in your boots and in your canoes, on the water, on the trails and by the campfire. Too much to list in a blog, too much to miss even one moment.
At Cromwell Valley Park this summer there’s the makings of some delicious, dirty, buggy and fishy kind of fun. Guest speakers will talking about black bears, historic ships, backyard bees just to name a few discussions. Then, there’s program that are sure to pique your interest: Discovering Dragonflies, Fun with Ladybugs (who knew?!), Wild Edible Plant Pizza, Amazing Amphibians, Raspberry Round-up, Luminous Lighting Bugs. Those amazing folks over at Cromwell Valley Park don’t lack for imagination – or great topics. So much to do, you’ve got to give it a try.
Now at Marshy Point Nature Center they too, do their best to capture your attention and pull you in with some pretty amazing stuff. How about the likes of Full Strawberry Moon Canoe Trip, Edible Insects and the Pizza Pie, Aw Shucks and Sharks in the Bay? But the real draw to Marshy Point has simply got to be the beauty of the place. Trails, nature center, fishing on the dock, the neighboring ospreys, canoeing. There’s just too much to mention, but you’ll never come close to being bored!
The above list of locations and destinations are really just a start. Fishing at Loch Raven Fishing Center; Rocky Point Beach and Park where the swimming and relaxing are easy (not to mention the picnicking, playgrounds and sand volleyball!). And did you know there are actually over 200 parks of all sizes and types throughout our beautiful county? Go ahead, try this link to find a park close by your home.
There are beautiful hiking trails for the beginner through advanced hikers. Lots of folks aren’t even aware of the great Trail Finder feature on the County’s website – where you can search for a walking path or hiking trail near you.
Plus, check out this comprehensive listing of summer camps, playgrounds and programs for your campers this summer. The great thing is, there are affordable summer camp options throughout the County that offer convenient times and great supervision.
And you can’t forget your local recreation councils and offices. It is pretty certain that they have something special for your community this summer. Neighborhood events like fireworks, classes, sports and places for informal gathering and important and growing friendships.
So, there you have it, summer’s covered for you by your friends at Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. All you have to do is cover yourself with sunscreen and have a great time. Like we said, no boredom for your summer of 2015 – only great times!
Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning
May is Preservation Month! Since 1973, this annual event organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides an opportunity for communities and organizations to showcase how they celebrate and save historic places all year long. Exploring Baltimore County’s historic spaces is a great way to highlight the efforts of those who have worked hard to preserve the places that matter for Baltimore County.
In 1981, the community of Glyndon became the first Baltimore County Historic District designated through the joint effort of residents, interested citizens and the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission. Now there are eleven residential districts, each one set aside for the purpose of preserving, promoting and protecting the unique aspects of their neighborhood so they can tell a story about why they were created. With their carefully preserved architectural styles and distinctive features, Baltimore County’s Historic Districts offer residents a variety of beautiful and interesting places to live. From Emory Grove in Glyndon to the Town Hall in Relay, the preservation of the homes and buildings that characterize these districts, provide a sense of place and source of civic pride to those who work tirelessly to preserve their community.
Whether you are doing homework or paperwork, historic buildings offer unique spaces that provide creative inspiration to those who work there. All over Baltimore County historic buildings have been adaptively reused and rehabilitated to serve the needs of a new generation. Examples include the former Fullerton Police & Fire Station, adaptively reused for the 6th District office of the Baltimore County Council, and the original Baltimore County Jail in Towson, whose former cells now provide office space to businesses instead of law breakers. Baltimore County’s collection of historic schools, like the former Franklin Academy building in Reisterstown, now the Reisterstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, and the Carver School in East Towson, now the East Towson Carver Community Center, have been adaptively reused for the purpose of offering community services. Finding creative ways to use our historic buildings has helped enhance the artistic, cultural, and historical characteristics of our Baltimore County neighborhoods.
Baltimore County’s many historic parks provide interesting places for recreation and learning opportunities. They also serve as important places for communities to come together. Through the joint efforts of neighbors, community activists, and the Baltimore County Government, these parks have been thoughtfully set aside so citizens have a place to explore and discover Baltimore County history.
Visitors to the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum will learn about the life of Benjamin Banneker. Considered to be the first African American man of science, exhibits and artifacts provide additional information on his important historic contributions. At Cromwell Valley Park, visitors can follow trails that lead them to preserved farm buildings and remnants from our agricultural and industrial past. Maintaining these historic parks provide places that matter for generations to enjoy.