Nature Connections begin again in 2017!
Thank you for individual gifts, business donations, and success in grants, we are happy to offer these free programs again.
Nature Connections – Sunday afternoon programs with fun, hands on activities and explorations to help you and your family connect with nature. Programs are free* and open to the public! Programs are designed for both the interested nature enthusiast as well as families desiring to learn more about the nature around them.
Each Nature Connections program includes:
- a guest presenter featuring subject matter delivered at a level for adults (beginners and experienced alike). (This lecture typically fulfills requirements for Maryland Master Naturalist advanced training requirements.)
- presentations, hands-on displays, and information from local experts and organizations
- themed activities tailored for children and families; these may include “touch tables”, games, arts, crafts, stories, and even music and drama
- specimens and artifacts from natural history collections
- live critters
- experienced professionals to answer questions and guide your discoveries of the natural world
The guest / expert lecture, tailored for adults (beginners and experienced alike) begins at a set agenda time. All other activities are designed for a “stop in when you can” / “stay as long as you like” experience.
April 9: “Spring Magic: Wildflowers”
Explore the beauty and diversity of Maryland native wildflowers.
As our unusual winter comes to an end, the sun shining through the leafless trees warms the forest floor, causing spring wildflowers to awaken. Like little jewels, they poke through the leaf litter and dot the drab landscape with bouquets of white, yellow, pink and blue. Wildflowers are known as spring ephemerals, meaning they have a short life. While some, such as trout lily, hang around for a while, most of the early bloomers disappear within weeks as leaves fill in the canopy and blot out the sun. Many of the earlier bloomers are white and pale pink, making a stark statement on the brown winter landscape. Later, more showy arrivals such as lilac-to-pink bluebells paint the forest floor in color.
1:15pm – Presentation by Dwight Johnson of the Maryland Native Plant Society “Maryland’s Spring Wildflowers”
Ongoing from 1:00-4:00pm (stop in at your convenience; stay as long as you’d like):
- Photographer Rose Anderson will host a station displaying both common and hard-to-find Spring wildflowers found in Maryland state parks
- Flower-themed crafts and activities for children
- More activities to be announced!
Parking Information for all Nature Connections
Our parking lot has been renovated for a stormwater management system with beautiful native plant landscaping. But as a result, we have fewer parking spots. Free parking is available in a large public parking lot directly across from our building – just on the other side of Belair Road.
Scroll below for a peek at past Nature Connections!
Each Nature Connections featured a different theme. Topics ranged from the earth to the sky; wildlife to plants; the ancient to the new.
The wildly popular Nature Connections series began with a generous financial gift from the Estate of Harry Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal had a life-long appreciation of and interaction with nature and environmental protection. The Natural History Society of Maryland is honored to help share his love of nature and environmental protection via these programs. The series now continues with funding through individual donors, business sponsors, and grants.
We invite you to join us for an afternoon of connecting with nature! Visit this page, or our Facebook page, for updates!
1:00 – 4:00pm
Typically the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month, but may vary due to our volunteer guest presenters schedules
Natural History Society of Maryland
6908 Belair Road (in Overlea)
Baltimore, MD 21206
*If a particular special activity requires a fee, it will be posted here and on our Facebook page
PAST EVENT / August 23, 2015: Mysterious Bats & Caves - We’re thrilled that we have several interesting speakers with great topics lined up for our August 23 program: Mysterious Bats & Caves: 1:15 – 2:00 / Dr. Hank Ratrie, biology professor at Goucher College, will present ‘An Introduction to Bats’, including their behavior, lifestyle, habitat, whether they are dangerous or not, the types of bats found in Maryland, why they are important to various ecosystems, and more. If you’ve ever wondered about these mysterious winged wonders, this is the presentation for you. 2:15 – 3:00 / PAST EVENT / September 13, 2015: Life of Streams - The Life of Streams Nature Connection, September 13, 2015, from 1:00-4:00pm The streams running through our neighborhoods are full of life. The swirling, churning water world is home to not only fish, amphibians, and reptiles, but a variety of many tiny aquatic creatures. Join us to discover more about our local freshwater streams and these curious inhabitants. Activities for all ages! 1:30 – Stan Kemp, aquatic ecology researcher will discuss the “Impact of Urbanization on Fish in Local Streams” Throughout the afternoon, participate in these PAST EVENT / September 27, 2015: Migration – Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons - September 27, 2015: Migration – Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons Thousands of hawks and eagles soar high above us on their migration to spend winter in warmer climes. Join us to learn more about these mighty predators of the sky: bald eagles rebounding from near extinction and the numerous varieties of hawks that pass this way each year. Guest speakers will discuss hawk migration and the adaptations of beaks and talons. Info stations will cover youth birding. Lights Out Baltimore will feature the impact of lighted buildings PAST EVENT / October 11, 2015: Fossils & Dinosaurs! - October 11, 2015: Fossils & Dinosaurs! It’s all about fossils and dinosaurs! Spend an afternoon exploring ancient fossils and the stories of dinosaurs. Expert paleontologists will be on hand with fossil displays and presentations. Bring the family–interactive children’s activities and crafts also included: Dig for your own fossil souvenir! Help us name our mascotTyrannosaurus rex! 1:15 – ”Our Dinosaurs” , by Dr.Peter M. Kranz, noted expert on Maryland’s dinosaurs, will speak about dinosaur fossil finds in Maryland, past and present. (see below for more information PAST EVENT / October 25, 2015: Halloween Special: Spiders, Snakes, and Other Beasts! - October 25: Halloween Special: Spiders, Snakes, and Other Beasts! Please join us for a “creepy” afternoon on the nature side of Halloween. We’ll have a fun and informative look at snakes and spiders with live animals on display, including snakes native to Maryland and a tarantula! We’ll have other creepy items from our natural history collection on display too. Come dressed in costume (something from nature!) and trick-or-treat with us! Special presentation / 1:15pm – “Why Are Snakes So Creepy?” by Tim Hoen. Why are snakes so PAST EVENT / November 8, 2015: Life On The Forest Floor - November 8: Life On the Forest Floor As we walk through the woods, beneath our feet is another world with its own unique and often unseen community of inhabitants. The forest floor is teeming with life: big, small, and microscopic, and maybe even magical! Join us for an afternoon of hands-on activities for the family, crafts, and expert presentations to take a close-up look at the forest floor, inside at our Center. For a touch of whimsy, we’ll use forest floor materials to build mini PAST EVENT / November 22, 2015: Geology Day! - November 22: Geology Day! What rocks are under your house? What geologic events have occurred to form the landscape of your neighborhood, the Baltimore area, and the rest of Maryland? What evidence of this can we find in the rocks under your neighborhood? Join us for an afternoon of activities exploring what our planet is made of and how it’s changed, particularly in Maryland. 1:15pm / Special Presentations – Two excellent speakers will provide a summary look at the long history that gives us the PAST EVENT / December 13, 2015: Winter Solstice: Watching the Night Sky - December 13 – Winter Solstice: Watching the Night Sky The long, clear winter nights are a great time to watch the celestial action in the sky. Join us for an afternoon of learning what to observe about the moon, stars, and planets during the the winter. Begin with a presentation from author Martin Schmidt. Find out what tools you can use to enhance your observations of the winter night sky. Discover what the Winter Solstice is and why it is celebrated. Now that we’ve stimulated your PAST EVENT / January 10, 2016: Owls - Owls Owls have long been regarded in folklore as good omens, bad omens, wise and strong. Join us at 1:15pm for an in-depth talk on Maryland’s owls by Kathleen Woods of the Phoenix Wildlife Center. Through 4pm: Meet a live ambassador owl! Examine feathers that make owls silent Dissect an owl pellet Learn how to recognize owl calls Find out how owls use their ears to find food Discover stories of owls in folklore and mythology more activities and crafts for children! PAST EVENT / January 24, 2016: Tracks, Traces, and Signs - Tracks, Traces, & Signs: Enhance your enjoyment of the outdoors with knowing what wildlife is around you, but unseen. Learn what signs of wildlife to look for. We’ll show you how to notice and ID tracks and prints, scat and droppings, and signs of eating, hunting, and sheltering. We’ll have many specimens to hold and study, and fun hands-on activities to guide your discoveries. 1:15pm: “Discover The Secret Lives of ‘Undercover’ Animals” – Many animals are active in our own backyards, often at night. The PAST EVENT / February 14, 2016: Minerals - February 14: Minerals – bring your collection! Explore the astounding variety of minerals and their uses. While gemstones are associated with Valentine’s Day, many minerals are critical elements of the technology we use in our everyday lives: from our laptops, tablets, and smart phones, to cars and household appliances. There are over 4,000 minerals, including gemstones. Learn how the properties of minerals allow them to serve many functions in construction, machinery, jewelry, and art. We’ll have several collections on hand for you to examine in PAST EVENT / February 28, 2016: Skulls & Teeth - Have you ever found a skull in the woods and wondered, “What kind of animal was this?” or, “I wonder what this animal ate?” or “How did this animal die?” Skulls can answer all of these questions…if you know how to “read” them. Like the pages of a book may be read to reveal the life of a man, so may a skull be “read” to reveal the history and lifestyle of an animal. If you know what to look for, you can interpret information PAST EVENT / March 13, 2016: Primitive Skills / Early Technology - March 13: Primitive Skills – Early Technology. Here’s a preview of what we’re planning for you! Join us for an afternoon of primitive skills demonstrations and participation: pottery making, herbal salves and teas, flint knapping, fire starting, cordage/ropemaking, spinning wool and more. On hand will be stone axes (Celts), arrows, spears and a Cherokee style blowgun. For adults and children. PAST EVENT / April 10, 2016: Reptiles & Amphibians of Vernal Pools - April 10: Reptiles & Amphibians of Vernal Pools Vernal pools are special habitats, created by melting winter snow and spring rains. At this time of year, they are teeming with life – they become mating and breeding pools for just a few species of frogs and salamanders. These amphibians leave their winter hibernation in the woodlands to find mates, lay their eggs, and have their young hatch and develop in this ephemeral, watery environment. We know that not everyone can get to a vernal pool PAST EVENT / April 24, 2016: Songbird Migration - Nature Connections: Songbird Migration April 24 Spring gifts us with the wonderful morning chorus of songbirds. Some birds are visiting us for only a short time, stopping here for food along their long migration. Others will stay, make nests, and raise their young here. Some songbirds travel thousands of mile from their wintering spot to their final breeding grounds. Technology is giving us a window into this fascinating journey. At our next ‘Nature Connections’, on April 24, we’ll celebrate the spring symphony and migration of PAST EVENT / May 22, 2016: Butterflies & Pollinators - Imagine a world without apples, cherries, cucumbers or coffee! About 90% of plant species rely on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to start the cycle of seed and fruit production. We’ll feature the amazing role of pollinators and give you ideas on how you can make a home for these special insects. 1:15pm / Featured Presentation – “Bees of Maryland” by Gene Scarpulla There are many more species of bees in Maryland than you think. In 2009, Gene did a yearlong survey of the bees PAST EVENT / June 12, 2016: Wild Edibles with Nick Spero - Anyone can find, prepare, and enjoy wild edibles with proper training and enough time. During this cooking and sampling demonstration Nick Spero will talk about a host of wild edible plants that are available at this time of year. He’ll convey the ease of integrating wild edibles into our diet–both for the fun of foraging and the pleasure of cooking wild edibles for their unique flavors and health benefits. He will select plants to stress the ability to create a meal from wild edibles vs. PAST EVENT / June 26, 2016: Life of the Chesapeake Bay - We have two exciting features lined up for you – the unique Fishmobile and a fun steamed blue crab lecture with dissection! Please join us between 1:00-4:00pm at our center in Overlea, Maryland. At 1:15pm / Kathy Baker-Brosh will lead an engaging discussion re “What do you really know about Maryland blue crab anatomy and life history?” Enjoy a presentation about blue crabs, including dissecting a steamed crab to observe the anatomy, life habits, and adaptations. FYI – Kathy points out that crab facts make great PAST EVENT / July 10, 2016: Archeology - Our next ‘Nature Connection’ features clues as to the long-ago life of a special animal — Homo sapiens – i.e. “man, human being”. This “Archeology” program will feature a large variety of artifacts and inscriptions; and subject matter experts will discuss with us what these findings tell us about how earlier people lived here in our local region. Our featured presentations will highlight the petroglyphs found on massive rocks in the Susquehanna River, and the artifacts from a colonial estate being uncovered in a “dig” at PAST EVENT / July 24, 2016: Fossils & Shells - We’ve expanded our popular “Fossils” theme to include “Shells”, with some exceptional presenters and collections, concluding our ‘Nature Connections’ series; Sunday, July 24, 1:00-4:00pm; at the Natural History Society of Maryland in Overlea, Maryland. Admission is free and open to the public, with activities to appeal to naturalists wishing to gain more experience and knowledge, as well as for families interested in local Maryland nature. 1:15pm / Featured Presentation: “The Fossil Sharks of Calvert Cliffs”, by John Nance, Assistant Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert PAST EVENT / August 9, 2015: Nature’s Night Songs – Singing Insects - Summer evenings have a background symphony of trills, chirps, and buzzes. Explore with us the world of singing insects: grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. Find out how and why they make their songs. And we’ll make music of our own! Musicians will accompany us for an afternoon of singing insect discovery and activities. If you would like (it is not required!), you are invited to catch a grasshopper, cricket, and/or katydid beforehand, bring them to the event, and we’ll help you identify their species. Catch them a day or so before and keep them in a