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Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Hosts ‘Greeting of the Geese’

Department, Tribal Leaders Welcome Winter Migration

Photo of Canada geeseThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe present the annual Greeting of the Geese at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. This event celebrates the return of Canada geese to Maryland as part of their winter migration, and the role the Prince George’s County sanctuary plays in it.

The event features demonstrations of traditional Native American dances and crafts, and a presentation of ancient oyster roasting techniques. Activities will also include a guided hike through the sanctuary, hayrides, and a visit from Scales & Tales. 

From November until March, Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary provides a wintering ground for the largest concentration of Canada geese on the Chesapeake Bay’s Western Shore. The location also holds deep cultural significance to the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. 

The sanctuary was first owned by Edgar Merkle, a magazine publishing magnate and avid hunter and conservationist who purchased the property in 1932. At that time, Canada geese generally migrated to the Eastern Shore, rather than the Western Shore. Merkle introduced six pairs of breeding geese; after that, increasing numbers of geese returned year after year. As a result, thousands of geese migrate to the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary for winter every year.