The Web of Life: Summary of our March 18th Workshop

It’s been four weeks since BCFB held its 2023 annual day-long workshop day. This was our first in-person gathering since 2019. After four long years we attracted .a sterling lineup whose presentations felt like a celebration as well as the delivery of educational content. 

At the start of the day, Chairman Glenn Ferenschak took these beautiful sunrise images in front of the Oregon Ridge Lodge hours before the doors officially opened.

Kerry Wixted, Program Manager, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, started the day off with a bang. Her discussion, entitled For Goodness Snakes, was both enthusiastic and informative, and included many quiz questions. 

Kerry Wixted

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Above slide show of the snakes and amphibians table presentations courtesy of Kerry Wixted, Richard Anderson, and Vic Sanborn. The table attracted many participants. 


The next presenter, William Dent,  Executive Director gave a most fascinating and dire insight about the habitat destruction of the monarch butterfly in our country and the reasons why. His workshop, The Monarch Sister Schools Program: Connecting to Nature and the Imagination, used maps and scientific evidence to describe the reasons for the decline in the species, and why in the the 1970’s we saw monarch butterflies flying everywhere in our communities, and why in certain regions in the US today they are barely visible. 

Lou Meyer, a Maryland Licensed Tree Expert and Certified Arborist, is the Regional Business Developer MidAtlantic for Davey Tree Expert Company. His presentation on the Spotted Lanternfly: The Latest Biothreat to Trees, finished with a round of applause (as all workshop presenters experienced). Davey’s website features a March 21st article by Jason Parker, who is with Davey’s North Philadelphia office:  Mild winter expected to expedite spotted lanternfly season.

Throughout the workshop day, the Board offered drinks and refreshments, and gave/sold tickets for prizes.  All proceeds after expenses go to scholarships for high school students who wish to attend the Natural Resources Career Camp, which is offered each summer. 

Free tickets and those we sold for $1.00 each or 5 for $3.00 were drawn after each workshop and before the audience left for the day. Tickets for the grand prize, which was a basket filled with gardening tools and the like, sold for $5 each.

Prizes and a book swap, a new offering, caught many an eye. 

Items for sale from the McDaniel Honey Farm in Manchester, MD. were snapped up by many. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Steve McDaniel (shown in slide show) delivered a talk after lunch entitled Bees, Trees, Insecticides, and the Web of Life. This talk was vastly different from the zoom discussion he taped last year and concentrated on the judicious using pesticides around trees and just as informative. Steve is a Master Bee Keeper and a member of the Carroll County Forestry Board.

The final talk was Clare Walker’s discussion on Phenology: It’s All About Timing. Clare works at the Irvine Nature Center and is a Master Naturalist and Gardener. She discussed how climate change has impacted species in Maryland, especially in the timing of bird migration.

Additional Items:

  • We took many images of the audience, but failed to ask for a blanket permission from participants to place the photos online. Next year, we shall do our due diligence!.
  • After one more drawing before the end of the day, almost all participants filled out their survey forms. 
  • Twenty percent of attendees asked for a Certificate of Attendance, which we sent as PDF documents via email this year. 
  • The Board studied the survey forms and the amount of supplies used and food eaten/not eaten. Adjustment will be made.
    • Next year we will create generic undated folders that participants can keep or return for recycling the next year. We will also keep in mind the quantities of paper used (much of it donated by state agencies) and will look into offering handouts online via QR codes. Physical handouts will still be available.
  • We welcome all suggestions and thank the 90 participants for their enthusiastic involvement in our event!