Baltimore County News
Cold winter weekend, kids in the house and that constant refrain “There’s nothing to do around here!”
Are you prepared? Because, you know, it is coming. President’s Day weekend is just around the corner. Followed by another winter weekend and another and another…you get the idea.
Baltimore County Recreation and Parks to the rescue.
We put the word out to several of our outstanding naturalists and rangers and came up some fun things to do that are also great teaching moments. Here are some super places to visit, recipes for the birdies, winter scavenger hunt ideas and fun stuff to make that holiday weekend one to remember.
Saturday, February 18 Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. Tracks and Trails Detectives. 1:30 – 3 p.m. Winter animals are out and about even in winter’s cold. Learn about the clues they leave and join us on the trails to practice your animal detective skills. Dress for the weather. Children ages 5 – 10 with an adult. $2 per child; $5 family rate. Register in advance. 410-887-1081
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19 Marshy Point Nature Center. Maple Sugar Time. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. How do you get sap from a tree; how is maple sugar made; who made maple syrup and sugar? Join us for this ongoing weekend program where we’ll tap a tree, taste sap and boil up maple syrup. Tree tapping hikes every hour until 3 p.m. Free. 410-887-2817
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19 Lake Roland. Bird Extravaganza. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live birds, crafts, birding hikes, campfire, hot drinks and kids’ games. All these great activities as you search for birds in the “Great Backyard Bird Count”. No pre-registration, no cost and open to everyone. 410-887-4156
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19 Oregon Ridge Nature Center. Maple Sugaring Weekend. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come on down to our Sugar Shack to learn the magic behind the fascinating process of making maple syrup. Take an invigorating guided hike to the sugar bush to tap a tree for sap. Then, taste maple syrup and sugar. Hikes on the hour. Sugar on the snow demos at 12:30 and 3:45. Sugar time activities are free. Pure Maple Candy and Syrup will be sold in the Nature Center. 410-887-1815
Saturday, February 18 Cromwell Valley Park. Dead Leaves, Cheese, Butter and Kimchi. 1 to 2:30 p.m. What do they all have in common? Fermentation. Learn how fermentation allows our planet to work and then make your own fermenter. Bring a one gallon jug. $3 members; $5 non-members. Space is limited. Ages 8 and up. 410-887-2503
Sunday, February 19 Cromwell Valley Park. Tracks on T-Shirts. 1 to 3 p.m. Learn to identify animals by the clues they leave behind and make your very own animal track t-shirt. Bring a light color t-shirt from home. $2 members; $4 non-members. All ages. 410-887-2503
Monday, February 20 Lake Roland. School’s Out Day. 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Unplug the kids and let them spend the day exploring nature at the park. Bring lunch, snack, and water. Ages 6-12. $25 per child for the day from 8:30 to 2:30. Additional $10 for extended hours from 2:30 to 4:30. Registration required. 410-887-4156
Fun for any weekend
How about a day at one of our parks and nature centers. Click here for a list of Baltimore County parks that can fill your day with fun and adventure.
Here are some nature projects if staying home or near home might be more your style.
- Project Feederwatch, a citizen science effort to record the numbers and types of birds that come to backyard feeders in February.
- Here's a winter birdfeeder kids can make.
- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a fun winter scavenger hunt.
So there you have it – your weekend is all planned. Like vegetables, don’t tell your kids that it’s good for them too!
By Michael Schneider, Baltimore County Department of Recreation & Parks
By Michael Schneider, Baltimore County Recreation & Parks
Winter is a great time to explore Holt Park and Center for the Arts in Overlea Fullerton. You’ll find a stunning park with nature trails and a beautiful pond by a charming gazebo, plus outstanding programs for children, families and adults.
Nature programs like “Tracks and Scat” let the mind wander and the learning begin. “For the Love of Chocolate” offers a chance to make your own Valentine’s treat. Arts and crafts activities in the Natural World of Art series, Winter Adventure Camp, Bonfire and Night Hike, Indoor Gardening and Creative Clay are just a few of the programs to catch the imagination.
Check out the full winter schedule at Holt Park. Then plan a visit to this charming and active place in Overlea.
Holt Park and Center for the Arts, at 34 Elmont Avenue in Overlea Fullerton, is one of Baltimore County’s 220 parks and recreation centers. Click here to find a Baltimore County park or nature center near you.
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison
Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
The role of a Police Officer includes many responsibilities, extensive training and a huge capacity for learning. But who knew in Baltimore County that being a pal is among the police officer’s roles? Well, it’s not being a pal, as much as being with PAL, the Baltimore County Police Athletic League.
The officers actively associated with any of the nine PAL Centers throughout Baltimore County take on an important role in creating and maintaining strong and meaningful relationships with the PAL members, who range from eight to 17 years old.
This summer’s highlight was the PAL Olympics. Baltimore County Police Officers, Police Cadets, Police Explorers and numerous Fire Department members were thoroughly involved in the fun and competitive event. It was truly inspiring to see the interaction between our PAL members and these incredible public servants! You could see and feel the mutual respect and appreciation growing on the track, in the gymnasium and in the lunchroom. The Police and PAL dodge ball game was the epitome of demonstrating good sportsmanship and growing friendships.
Following are some day-to-day examples of the efforts of dedicated officers who have made working with these youngsters-in-need a regular part of their routines:
Officer Randy Stradling comes to Scotts Branch PAL to engage members both socially and athletically according to the PAL Coordinator Joan Ingram. “He is well known to our members,” Ms. Ingram shared, mentioning that the kids look forward to his bringing the occasional boxes of Popsicles to the center to share.
Over at the Dundalk PAL, Officer George Mussini is a regular visitor making himself available to the youngsters as a resource for assisting PAL members. Just for the fun of it, he’s been known to ticket PAL members for good behavior and positive choices with coupons for free Slurpees from the local 7/11 in cooperation with Operation Chill.
At Woodmoor PAL, Officer Thelia Jones and Officer Dreama Morgan focus on mentoring PAL kids with the goal of boosting their self-esteem. Officer Morgan even helps to serve the daily meals offered at the PAL Center.
At the Hillendale PAL Center, Officer Greg Suber has been offering his skills as a mentor and assisting in the area of conflict resolution among the middle schoolers and their families, not to mention his Ping Pong skills!
By playing and interacting on a social level, PAL Coordinators and officers take on important roles to help youngsters navigate through the issues of growing up. They teach crime prevention techniques, discuss current events involving law enforcement and, most impressively, one Police Officer was instrumental in getting a PAL member back into school.
We at Baltimore County Recreation and Parks are proud and appreciative of the incredible lengths our partners in caring, the Baltimore County Police Department, offer all the youngsters in our PAL program. It is a partnership that offers us all a proud future!