One of the Sanctuary's primary goals is to conserve the ecosystem. Taking responsibility for the health of our surroundings is an important message we can share with our visitors, volunteers, and members.
The Sanctuary sits about mid-way along the Patuxent river watershed. Wherever you are, at any time, you are in a watershed. All of the land on the entire planet drains to some body of water. The actions we take on land have an effect on the quality of our water, good or bad. In the Chesapeake area there are many people concerned about our generally poor water quality, which is important because our quality of life is at stake.
Looking out for Jug Bay and the whole watershed is the Patuxent Riverkeeper; a non-profit organization that tests the water chemistry, keeps citizens informed of legislation affecting the river, gets folks out for kayak trips, and takes polluters to task. The Patuxent Riverkeeper, Fred Tutman, is part of the Waterkeepers Alliance, a network of riverkeepers across the country helping to protect and restore the quality of our nation's rivers.
On a more local level, Anne Arudel County has two initiatives that are empowering citizens to take action in their own back yards to improve the health of our rivers and streams:
The Rainscaping Campaign provides information and events for homeowners who want to learn about building a rain garden, installing a rain barrel, how permeable pavers work, and more. The goal of the campaign is water quality sustainability through the reduction of polluted stormwater.
For those who want to become activists in the fight for clean water, the Watershed Stewards Academy may be for you. The WSA began training citizens to become Master Watershed Stewards in the spring of 2009. After weeks of training and field experience, stewards take their skills back to their home community to engage neighbors in rain garden & rain barrel installations, fertilizer reduction, pet waste pick up--whatever problems the neighborhood waterway has, Master Watershed Stewards are trained to tackle them head-on.
If you enjoy watching butterflies float by on a summer breeze, or love waking up to the songs of birds, then having native plants in your yard is critical to their future survival. As more and more natural land is converted to developments and paved over, or smothered by non-native invasives, our wild animals are losing places to live.
Native plant gardening, (having plants in our yard that were here before European settlers) is an easy and fun way to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Native plants also tend to be lower maintenance than many ornamental plants because they are adapted to be in this area already. Visit the Maryland Native Plant Society and US Fish & Wildlife BayScapes to learn more about the many benefits of native plant gardening and where to get natives.
Invasive exotic plants and animals are second only to habitat loss as the biggest threat to our natural areas. Knowing how to identify them is critical to stopping an invasion in your yard before it gets out of hand. Visit the Maryland Invasive Species Council for more information, and download invasive plant fact sheets at Plant Conservation Alliance.
You can also help us here at the Sanctuary by participating in our Garden Club and Adopt-a-Plot Invasive Plant Removal. Visit our Volunteer Stewardship page for more information.
To maximize diversity, landowners can create and sustain specific habitats to favor particular plant and animal species. Over time, all uplands will become forest if left untouched. Here at the Sanctuary we manage some of our uplands to have meadow and sand barren habitats. Mowing, prescribed fires, and removal of woody plants are some of the techniques used to maintain these habitats.
In the Glendening Nature Preserve we have developed a management plan to protect the sand barren or "microdesert" habitats for some bee and beetles species. In addition, some rare plants that have been recorded at the Sanctuary benefit from these open, sandy areas.