Nature programs at Patuxent Research in full swing [South Laurel/Montpelier]

Laurel Leader

The Patuxent Research Refuge has several events coming up to appeal to all of us nature lovers.

North Tract programs offered at 230 Bald Eagle Drive include several Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Merit Badge classes. Registration and parent participation are required for all classes. The classes offered are: Bird Study Merit Badge, held Saturday, July 7, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Nature Merit Badge, Saturday, July 7, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; Plant Science Merit Badge, Saturday, July 21, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; Forestry Merit Badge, Saturday, July 28, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Participants earn merit badges with other local scouts. All participants must have a blue card signed by their Scout Master that corresponds to the merit badge class. Please bring a reusable water bottle and wear the activity uniform, comfortable hiking shoes, hat, sun screen and insect repellent.Camera and binoculars are recommended. On Saturday, July 21, 8 – 10:30 a.m., all ages may participate in the Bird Walk. Look and listen for birds around the North Tract. Take the Night Hike on Saturday, July 21, 8– 9:30 p.m., and explore the nocturnal side of North Tract. These programs are free for all ages, but registration is required. Or try the Photo-Adventure Scavenger Hunts o Saturday, July 21, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Saturday, July 28, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Using clues, individuals and/or groups can hunt on trails for sculptured, stones, mystery objects, plants, and animals while learning about the history and features of the refuge. A camera or cell phone is needed. This is a drop-in program. Come when you wish and leave when you are ready.

The National Wildlife Visitor Center, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, offers Screech & Kestrel on Saturday, July 7, Saturday, July 14 and Saturday, July 21. Meet two of North America’s smallest birds of prey: the American kestrel and eastern screech owl.

Both expert hunters, the American kestrel uses its acrobatic prowess, while the eastern screech owl is a stealthy silent hunter. All sessions are held from 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. for all ages. No registration is required. For youngsters interested in the croakers in our midst, there is the Nature Tots: Leapin’ Lilypads session on Tuesday, July 17, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. for those ages 3 -4 years old. Introduce your preschooler to the water-full world of frogs through songs, stories, and more in this fun program. Registration is required. To find out more about any of these programs, and to register, call 301-497-5887or go to .fws.gov/refuge/patuxent.

The South Laurel Recreation Council once again livens up our summer evenings with a variety of concerts on the lawn of the Montpelier Mansion. On Friday, June 20, join the Oracle Band for a trip down memory lane with selections from the ‘50s up to today. On July 13, join Jennifer Rose and the Doug Lester Band for Country Classic Rock. The concerts are free and start at 7:30 p.m. Bring a blanket, a picnic dinner and enjoy a family sing along. There is a special treat on Friday, July 20, with a presentation of Shakespeare in the Park. This year’s play is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It also starts at 7:30 p.m. In the event of rain, the play will be performed at the Deerfield Community Center.

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