Baltimore County News
By Michael Schneider, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks
Any month is a great time to take a walk in the park – just bundle up, put on your warm and dry hiking boots, and look out for the poison ivy.
The truth is, the old axiom of “leaves of three, let it be” isn’t necessarily the case during cooler months. As on trees, the leaves of three have more than likely dropped off in the colder weather, and all that’s present are the vines or roots of poison ivy.
So, that means stay out of the woods and off the trails? No way! Just know what to look for when taking that cool walk.
- You may have seen hairy looking vines climbing the trees to the very top, or found round white seeds on a tree or shrub – birds love them, but don’t try to eat them.
- The vines can also climb walls and be found in your fire wood piles. It is best not to burn this wood as the burning poison ivy vines can cause serious allergic reactions.
- If you know where the poison ivy was growing during the summer, it is probably best not to walk in the same area in the winter – whether covered by snow or not - as the poison ivy oils can still get on your clothes.
Be aware of where you are walking and what you might brush up against while hiking and walking.
Don’t make that hike something you are just itching to tell your friends about!
To find a Baltimore County walking trail or path near you, go to Trail Finder. Our Recreation and Parks online tool helps you discover new paths with trail maps you can download.
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.