Tag Archives: Patuxent Research Refuge

Lottery hunt of a Lifetime at Patuxent Research Refuge

For Shelby Aguilar and her dad, Rob, the chilly morning in November will be one they remember for a long time to come. The pair had won the deer hunt lottery weeks prior, and both were excited at the opportunity to hunt at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland.

Shelby took her hunter safety course at eight years old and began hunting with her dad when she was 12. Shelby’s grandfather even promised to mount her first big buck, an Aguilar family tradition.

“The best part about learning to hunt was just spending time outdoors and getting to bond with my dad. We always have a good time, even if we don’t see any wildlife.”

That morning flew by. The easily accessible trails made for a quick trip to their hunting zone as the sun began to rise. The father-daughter duo admitted they spent more time talking and laughing in the woods than sitting still and listening for deer.

“We made one grunt call and rattled two or three times and he came running!” Shelby said.

Now at just 16 years old, Shelby’s ten-point deer is the largest white-tail harvested from Patuxent Research Refuge, weighing in at 155 pounds dressed. She plans to share the deer with her family  hopes to pass on her love for hunting to future generations.

Shelby doesn’t let being a girl stop her from doing what she loves. She encourages all girls to “Go for it! Get out there an learn something new. It’s a great way to spend time in the outdoors and with your family.”

Los amigos de Patuxent

This post is part of of short summer series featuring blog posts from our Hispanic Access Foundation interns. Today, we are hearing from JoAnna Marlow and Abraham Lopez Trejo, who spent the summer at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland. Read more posts in the series here

JoAnna and Abraham at the Masonville Cove bioblitz.

First up, JoAnna:

With the help of our coworkers and staff, we held several events for Latino Conservation Week. Our highlighted event was a bilingual tram tour guided by either myself, or Abraham. To advertise this event, we printed tram tour flyers and went out into the community to places like Casa de Maryland, a couple of Latino youth centers, and libraries. Another event we have planned was a program with Monarch Global Academy. Along with environmental education and interpretation sessions held at their location, we brought them to the refuge during Latino Conservation Week for a day of fun. At first, I was nervous about going out and trying to make all these connections with the community, but people were friendly and welcoming. I learned that talking to people in person and being able to show them how you feel and express what your mission is goes a long way, much longer than communicating via email.

Minicamp of 8-10 year-olds participating in an activity called “Migration Headache”. This activity requires the campers to become migrating birds that are traveling from nesting sites to wintering sites.

Abraham and I also helped Chelsea Miller, another intern at Patuxent, with her summer minicamps. There were two types of two-day minicamps: Animal Adaptations and Wonderful Wetlands. Each minicamp was taught to two different age groups: 5-7 year-olds, and 8-10 year-olds. It was awesome seeing how excited those kids were each day! They all had something different to say when they were asked what their favorite part of the camp was. On the last day of each camp, the kids were able to go fishing on the North Tract of Patuxent Research Refuge. A great thing about minicamps is that they are free, which usually isn’t the case, or at least not the case at various nature centers/estuaries I have visited. I love the accessibility of all the programs at Patuxent because enjoying nature and environmental education shouldn’t be costly.

Abraham and I also participated as volunteers at the fourth annual BioBlitz at Masonville Cove, and it was a successful day for data collection with the help of citizens, scientists, naturalists, and other volunteers. We walked around to each station to and talked with other volunteers about what they were identifying and recording around the Masonville Cove environment. While walking around Masonville Cove, Jennie, our supervisor, helped us identify an Orchard Oriole! We learned about the difference between the Orchard Oriole and the famous Baltimore Oriole, as well as their different sounds.

Abraham and I went on a guided bird walk at the BioBlitz which was led by our supervisor, Jennie McNicoll. I was able to take a picture of a Great Blue Heron and couple of ducks through a pair of binoculars.

Karen Mullins, with Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, and Jennie took us on a tour through South Baltimore to help us gather ideas on different types of outreach projects we could start throughout the summer. We gathered ideas based off various community projects around the city. We also had the privilege of talking to the Carroll & Gwynns Falls Parks District Manager from the Baltimore Department of Recreation & Parks about making parts of the parks friendlier for the public.

This is the last place we visited during our Baltimore visit. The sign in the Filbert Street Garden, a community garden within the Curtis Bay area.

Now, Abraham:

Time flies at Patuxent! I have learned a lot about project planning and what working in a partnership requires. As well, it has been a personal journey in which I have learned to become better organized and more aware of time constraints. It has been a truly holistic experience where we have learned to be flexible but assertive at the same time when planning events, and connecting with people.

One of the highlights of my time at Patuxent, and one of my personal enjoyments, was going into Latino neighborhoods to find new “amigos” (friends) and possible future partnerships. While looking for possible places to drop some flyers for our events we came across the Latino American and Multicultural Youth Centers in the DC-Maryland. All the people we met at these centers made us feel truly welcomed. We shook hands and exchanged numbers but even more important, we shared our goals and dreams.

It was refreshing to meet likeminded people who care about the wellbeing of their community. While at these meetings, we found their excitement to work with Service and Hispanic Access Foundation to teach our Latino community how to conserve the environment and contribute to a better future. There is a lot of potential for a future fruitful partnership, but in the meantime, we created some long-lasting connections.

Welcome to Patuxent Research Refuge: The invaluable gem between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

JoAnna Marlow reflects on her first few weeks as an intern with the Hispanic Access Foundation at Patuxent Research Refuge. Be sure to join us all summer as we hear from our interns about their work and experience. 

The few weeks that I have been a Hispanic Access Foundation intern at Patuxent Research Refuge have been some of the most productive and meaningful weeks for me. I truly learn something new each day and the excitement that I feel from learning here is something that I want to share with others. Each staff member is extremely knowledgeable and they have been helpful and supportive since the beginning of the internship. So far, Abraham, the other Hispanic Access Foundation intern here, and I have had great opportunities, such as bird banding, rescuing box turtles from the road, fishing days with kids, shadowing environmental interpreters, leading a Play in the Park event at the National Wildlife Visitor Center, and meeting influential figures whose passions as environmental stewards are incredibly inspiring.

I believe it is important to connect with urban communities and help them appreciate nature and understand why conservation and preservation should matter to them. In the next few weeks, Abraham and I will be helping with summer mini-camps for campers that are five to 15 years old. We will also be giving electric tram tours, which will prepare us for our special tram tours given in Spanish during the beginning of Latino Conservation Week. We are extremely grateful for the connections and opportunities to coordinate events with the Latino communities in both Laurel, Maryland near the refuge and south Baltimore, Maryland near Masonville Cove!

A few participants at Kid’s Fishing Day at the National Wildlife Visitor Center.
Photo credit: JoAnna Marlow

Throughout this internship, I hope to encourage youth and demonstrate that you don’t have to be a specific gender to play with mud and bugs, or enjoy fishing or camping, and you certainly don’t have to be of a certain race or social class to love nature and want to protect it. There are many barriers for these communities to overcome, but with our guidance and our love for outreach, I believe we can create opportunities that empower underrepresented Latino youth and families.