Park Week Kickoff Event at Soldiers Delight
|SDCI's display at Maryland's Park Week Kickoff event|
Soldiers Delight has been heavily impacted by overuse this past year; excessive and illegal parking and the creation and use of unauthorized ad-hoc trails that both contribute to erosion and to destruction of the rare serpentine habitat have been detrimental to the survival of our rarest species. Even authorized trails have widened and eroded from so many extra hikers.
Other impacts have included the dumping of trash and the casual discarding of litter, especially COVID masks which threaten wildlife, and of not packing out one’s dog waste (if you put it in a plastic bag please take it out!). Plastic bags can take centuries to degrade, and they never completely disappear.
Surprisingly, many harmful impacts come from beyond our borders at SDNEA. Metallic and plastic balloons drift in from elsewhere, but most importantly, invasive plant species (a type of pollution that reproduces itself!), are deliberately planted as ornamentals in people’s backyards, where their seeds are inadvertently scattered by wildlife into our fragile ecosystem.
|This display shows how easily invasive plants can destroy native habitat|
SDCI president Laura Van Scoyoc created an exhibit full of informative photographs and information about what NOT to love about these invasive bushes, vines and trees that have no natural enemies to keep their numbers in check. As birds spread the seeds of invasives from neighboring backyards, the invasive flora take root in wilderness areas such as SDNEA, overtaking the natural plant species and, in some cases, threatening to wipe out native vegetation altogether.
|This bulletin board displays the many ways that humans can negatively impact our fragile ecosystem|
|Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio gives welcoming remarks|
|Maryland's Lieutenant Governor, Boyd Rutherford, encouraged Marylanders to make a positive impact on the environment|
|Lt. Governor Rutherford presented a proclamation from Governor Larry Hogan declaring April 10 to 16 Maryland State Park Week|
“As we continue the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, we should continue to explore the hidden gems in our backyards and take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities available to us all,” said Mr. Rutherford, adding that Marylanders should "rethink the way they view their relationship with nature and explore how they can make a positive impact on the environment and our communities." We couldn't agree more.