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Entrepreneurs Invited to Get on the Bus and Celebrate Their Innovations and Businesses During the Pitch Across Maryland Tour

 Startup Maryland Teams with Regional Innovation Stakeholder to Co-Host Tour Stops Across the State of Maryland

Startup Maryland is launching Pitch Across Maryland, a state-wide startup tour and business pitch competition. Taking place September 11 - 28, this two and a half week tour across the state will travel from the Eastern Shore to Western Maryland; from Cecil County to St. Mary’s County; from the Baltimore Beltway and the DC Beltway -- and everywhere in between.

The bus will travel the state to visit incubators, economic development agencies and universities—all in the name of celebrating entrepreneurship.  At each stop, Startup Maryland will hold rallies sharing information about the incredible entrepreneurial resources across the state and within their region. Additionally, entrepreneurs will get coaching and support from business mentors and other leaders of Maryland’s innovation economy.

Startup entrepreneurs will be videotaped giving their business pitches at each tour location. Then, videos will be uploaded and open to public voting.

Students inspired by Legos robotics program at Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers

Twenty-seven area students had an interesting reply when asked, “what did you do during your summer vacation?” The students participated in a hands-on robotics and interactive program, which was designed to teach engineering skills through play. The program took place at Easton Elementary School as part of a summer program for Critchlow Adkins Children’s Center (CACC), Easton.

During the daylong program taught by 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator Thomas Hutson, the children planned, built and programmed their own robots with the use of Legos and a laptop computer. The robotics program is one of many interactive, educationally-based specialty programs offered by CACC.  

Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers (CACC), Easton, is an accredited, educationally-based childcare program serving more than 450 children aged two through 15 in five locations throughout Talbot County. CACC is licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDE) Office of Child Care and all four early learning sites are accredited by MSDE's Early Learning Division.

Environmental Concern Announces 40th Anniversary “Big Night In™” Gala

Innovative fundraiser keeps organization’s mission at the forefront 

Environmental Concern of St. Michaels, Md. announces its 40th Anniversary “Big Night In” Gala to celebrate four decades of connecting children, teachers, professionals and the community to wetland habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Unlike traditional fundraising events, guests are invited to enjoy a night at home instead of attending an event in person. While officially scheduled for October 5th, guests can host their own “Big Night In” on the evening of their choice. The quirky invitation depicts a wetland habitat, gives participants suggestions on how to spend their evening, and also shares green tips to make their “Big Night In” a sustainable one. Participants in the “Big Night In” are also encouraged to take photos and share how they spent their evening on the organization’s Facebook Page.

“We are practitioners,” comments Environmental Concern’s President, Suzanne Pittenger-Slear. “When we thought about how to celebrate our 40th year, we felt it was important to honor our history and keep our mission at the forefront, instead of spending limited time and resources on planning a large event. With today’s fast pace and over-booked calendars, we felt that our supporters would enjoy a reason to stay in and reconnect with their families and living rooms while supporting our mission.”

To receive more information about the “Big Night In” or be added to the invitation list, visit www.wetland.org/bignightin or contact Suzanne Pittenger-Slear at sslear@wetland.org or 410.745.9620.

Hearthstone Health and Fitness Donates New Member Joining Fees to Pickering Creek Audubon Center

Local Health & Wellness Center Supports Youth Challenge Course

Hearthstone Health and Fitness recently donated $2,250 to the Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton. One hundred percent of the fitness center’s July new member joining fees were given in support of the center’s outdoor Challenge Course and other youth programs. 

“It has always been my desire to select worthy local organizations to periodically benefit from our membership drives. Pickering Creek was a logical choice since its mission dovetails nicely with what Hearthstone is doing,” commented Hearthstone President, Dave Tuthill. “Their youth Challenge Course helps prepare young people for both the physical and mental demands of adult life. Their emphasis on holistic education and practices will help these young people become vibrant and productive adults. It is a pleasure to be helping out Pickering Creek in this way. We are very pleased to channel a significant contribution to them as a result of our membership initiative.”

Pickering Creek Audubon Center is dedicated to community-based conservation of natural resources through environmental education and outreach on the Eastern Shore. The 400-acre working farm next to the tidal Pickering Creek in Talbot County features a variety of ways the community can engage with nature and is free and open to the public 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. The center has been providing excellent environmental and science education programs to students from eight Maryland Counties and the District of Columbia for more than 25 years. Over 16,000 school children visit each year and are given the opportunity to make a physical and emotional connection to the Chesapeake Bay. The Challenge Course is just one of the many youth programs the center offers.

Adkins Arboretum Awarded SUPPORT FOR UNDERGROUND RAILROAD INTERPRETATION

With its forests, thickets, marshes, rivers and creeks, the Eastern Shore’s natural landscape provided a passageway to freedom along the Underground Railroad for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of slaves, including abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Designated as a “Place to Visit” on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Adkins Arboretum reflects the conditions through which slaves traveled en route to freedom, and serves as a dramatic vista to experience the little-known relationship between nature and the Underground Railroad.

With grant support from Maryland Humanities Council and Maryland Heritage Area Authority, the Arboretum will produce a stimulating, educational and thought-provoking interpretive project that explores the role of nature for those in pursuit of freedom via the Underground Railroad. The two awards, totaling $28,000, will expand the Arboretum’s capacity to tell the story and experience of the Underground Railroad and make a significant contribution to the development of the Underground Railroad Scenic Byway.

Second Saturday on tap in downtown Cambridge

Brand new store, free gallery receptions, late shopping hours with special sales, and much more

September’s Second Saturday festivities in Cambridge on Sept. 8 promise an evening of fun gallery hopping, great shopping, fine dining, and live music along four adjacent blocks of the downtown area. Many shops of all kinds, art galleries, and artist studios will be staying open late for the popular monthly event, which starts at 5 pm and also features dining and entertainment at restaurants in the downtown area.

Shops will be showcasing just-arrived fall merchandise and offering great closeout deals on summer inventories. Most discounts and other special promotions are available in the shops not just in the evening, but all day long.  Be sure to stop by downtown's newest shop, Choptank Charlie's Emporium, at 516 Poplar Street. The shop offers everything from window treatments to tuxedo rentals to gifts.

Art lovers will be able to enjoy meet-the-artist receptions and enjoy free refreshments as they make the rounds of the galleries.

Eastern Shore PFLAG chapter activities promote respect, support and advocacy!

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) are invited to participate in Eastern Shore PFLAG chapter activities. 

PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a national organization, has a new chapter based in Chestertown.  This chapter is offering programs for residents from the mid and upper Eastern Shore of Maryland, from Easton through Cecil County.  Since the first public meeting in March of this year the group has had an information table on Saturday mornings at the Chestertown Farmer’s Market.

The next local meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 20 at 7 pm.  Walk in participants are welcome and confidentiality is automatically honored. This meeting will take place at 914 Gateway Drive in the Crestview subdivision of Chestertown at UUCR (Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River.) The effectiveness of PFLAG groups is enhanced when there is a large and varied membership base of allies, families and friends as well as LGBT members.  We want our group to grow so that we can become more active and welcoming to folks of all ages and stages.  There is much to be learned, shared and celebrated among a widely diverse membership without any need for labeling any one individual’s status or reasons for involvement.

Tickets Now on Sale for Taste of Cambridge

Event featuring Dorchester restaurants set for July 14

Tickets to the annual Taste of Cambridge are now on sale. The biggest event of the year in downtown Cambridge, Taste will be held this year on the evening of Saturday, July 14.  The free street festival is from 5-10 pm, with the tickets-only tasting from 5–7:30 pm  Arrive early as there is no guarantee of taste samples after 7pm as some restaurants may run out of food!

During the event, Dorchester County’s top restaurants compete to see who makes the best crab soup, crab dip, crab cakes, and crab specialty dishes. Only ticket holders are able to get sample-size tastings of the 15-20 different crab dishes in the competition. Ticket holders also get to vote for the "People's Choice Awards" given to the most popular dishes.

Tickets for the tasting cost $25 apiece and are available at:

2012 CreateAThon® applications now available for area nonprofit organizations

Local public relations agency donates more than $85,000 in marketing services

            Maryland nonprofits can begin applying for free marketing support through a national program available regionally through Purple Cat, a mid-shore public relations firm, and Octo Design Group, Philadelphia. The program is open to all 501(c) 3 non-profits from Baltimore through the mid-shore.

            Applications are available by contacting (410) 604-2319, create@purplecatpr.com or can be downloaded at www.purplecatpr.com. The deadline is July 20.

            Since the Maryland program began eight years ago, 27 Maryland non-profits and one New Orleans non-profit have been assisted with projects valued at $85,177.

            Last year Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers of Easton was awarded the Maryland CreateAThon® project, which was a board retreat session focusing on marketing and branding. In 2010 Evergreen Cove Holistic Learning Center of Easton was selected for the program and received a brand evaluation as its project.

Application process closes July 20

            “The CreateAThon® application process is much easier than most grant proposals,” says Carol D’Agostino, owner of Purple Cat. “There are some basic questions about the organization and its mission, and then the organization is asked to describe three wish projects. I encourage groups to look at their strategic plan and see where they have fallen short in the area of communications and marketing,” adds D’Agostino.

Notes on the River - Team Efforts

By Tim Junkin

Just last month, Drew Koslow, our Choptank Riverkeeper, working in collaboration with landowners Ann and Bill Collier, managed the installation of three agridrain structures on  Collier’s Morgan Farm, located in northern Caroline County near the town of Henderson.  These structures are designed to reduce nitrogen loads entering our streams and rivers. 

The Colliers grow corn, soybeans, and wheat, and raise broilers in two poultry barns on their 600 acre farm.  Their crop fields drain into ditches, some of which are normally dry, but carry surface runoff into nearby PDA’s, that drain to the Tuckahoe River during rain events.  The agridrain structures serve as little dams in the ditch, with a series of flashboards that allow the Colliers to regulate the water levels upstream of the structures.  The water retained in the ditch facilitates a biological process whereby nitrate that is dissolved in the water is converted to harmless nitrogen gas—a process termed denitrification.  Such devices have been shown to reduce nitrate levels in ditches by up to sixty percent. As an incidental benefit, they also raise the water table during dry weather, providing moisture to the roots of established crops.

Bill and Ann Collier are leaders in conservation initiatives in our community and longstanding members of the Choptank Tributary Strategy Team.  Some time ago Bill urged Midshore Riverkeepers to become more active in assisting farmers in the development of innovative pollution reduction measures, and offered to collaborate in the effort.  Drew Koslow located and, through MRC, secured a $48,000 grant from the Chesapeake Fund to implement this project.  He helped manage the project and will test the water coming out of the ditch for several years to evaluate the results.  The actual funding was provided by Pepco Holdings and administered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Forest Trends.  John Shepard and Caroline County’s Soil Conservation District surveyed and designed the project.  It became a team effort.

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