Saturday, January 26, members of the Calvert Stewards were recognized for the work and countless hours they have done on projects for the Calvert County Natural Resources Division and the Calvert Nature Society.
A partnership between the Calvert Nature Society and the Calvert County Natural Resources Division, the Calvert Stewards volunteer program provides residents an opportunity for public service in education, research and stewardship. In 2018, 127 Calvert Stewards contributed 5,034 hours. In addition, more than 300 volunteers from various community groups contributed another 1,250 hours. The various community groups included Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Calvert Garden Club, the Appalachian Trail Club, Conservation Corps, Huntingtown High School, ROTC group, and more than 120 “one-time” volunteers.
After a delicious dinner served at Battle Creek Nature Center, Karyn Molines, Calvert County Natural Resources Division Chief, thanked the Calvert Stewards “for the countless hours that they spend on behalf of nature in Calvert County.” She went on to say “Your willingness to share your free time, knowledge and enthusiasm is an example to all.”
Several people were recognized for specific projects. Mary and Gordon Burton were recognized for their extensive work with the Orchid Conservation Project, a partnership with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the North American Orchid Conservation Center. Volunteers documented orchid species for the purpose of conserving native orchids found in the county. The volunteers also identified the locations of the orchids so trained collectors could obtain photographs, viable seeds, fruits, leaf samples and root samples, allowing the conservation of the North American orchid species. Karyn Molines presented the couple with a beautiful glass disc with a painted orchid.
Mary Hollinger, Calvert County Coordinator for the Blue Bird Project, was recognized for research she provided for The Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas. The five-year project that concluded in 2014 sought to identify all the species of amphibians and reptiles in the state, documenting their location, and establishing a baseline for future efforts. The project was coordinated through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Natural History Society of Maryland. Hollinger worked with Andy Brown, a naturalist at Battle Creek Nature Center. Karyn Molines presented her with a copy of The Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas, edited by Heather R. Cunningham and Nathan H. Nazdrowicz.
Molines final presentation was to Anne Sundermann, Executive Director of the Calvert Nature Society. This was Ms. Sundermann’s last event, as she retires at the end of January. Knowing Sundermann has plans to travel, Molines presented her with a round glass dish that “could be easily packed” with the hope that it will be a constant reminder of her many friends at home.
Molines gave a short presentation on the new Calvert Stewards Volunteer Portal, which will allow residents to view all opportunities available to participate in volunteer programs. Anyone could log in and find what type of program interests them, from research, assisting staff with trail and maintenance projects to animal care and Chespax educators. They can find the project that is just right for them and sign up. If there is not a program or project available, you can become a “fan” and emails will be sent to you when new programs become available. The program will also track hours, which has always been a challenge. The portal will be up and running later this year.
Molines said the division does regular appreciation events to thank their volunteers because they are so important to their organization. Events are held at various nature parks throughout the county to familiarize the volunteers with the properties.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter