Staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, in partnership with the National Park Service and AmeriCorps, will conduct a series of controlled burns on Patuxent Research Refuge lands Saturday through April 15.
Burns will be started on the North Tract portion of the refuge, off Route 198 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, east of Laurel. Expert fire teams will burn a large field to reduce hazardous fuels, research controlling non-native plants and restore wildlife habitat. A forested unit will be burned to restore a savanna/sandy barrens habitat to benefit rare insects and plants.
The refuge will burn only under favorable weather conditions to minimize smoke in area communities.
Residents and visitors might smell or see smoke in the area. For safety, some refuge roads might be closed to the public. Visitors are encouraged to check with the refuge for possible closures before visiting the North Tract.
In partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation and Meade Natural Heritage Association, the Patuxent Research Refuge will hold a spring wild turkey hunting season in April and May. The hunting season is being offered to youth, disabled, mobility-impaired and other hunters. Participants will be selected by lottery.
Application forms are available at http://patuxent.fws.gov or by calling 301-776-3090. Applications must be submitted in person at the North Tract visitor contact station by 4 p.m. Saturday.
Volunteers needed : The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, in cooperation with the Community Emergency Response Network, is recruiting community members to assist nonprofit agencies in need of volunteers. 410-715-3179.