Fall is one of my favorite seasons, a time to enjoy the cooler weather and changing leaves. One thing never changes, though — the stewardship that Maryland citizens show in support of our natural resources. In this edition of our magazine, we feature the work of our 2019 Natural Resources Photo Contest winners, which captures that spirit — along with the variety and beauty of Maryland’s landscapes, waterways and wildlife — in a remarkable way.
Each year, thousands of Maryland residents and visitors submit their work, and a team of experts – both in photographic arts and in natural sciences – go through the difficult task of selecting the best photo among them, three photos for each season and one photo as the Grand Prize winner.
I want to congratulate all of the winners, and in particular, the Grand Prize winner David Illig of Gambrills, Maryland, who are telling the story of Maryland’s natural resources through their own creative lens. From the vastness of the Chesapeake Bay to the smallest details of a butterfly’s anatomy, their work evokes a connection to our natural surroundings and encourages you to think about nature at varying scales.
It’s my hope that these images inspire to you make your own memories in Maryland’s beautiful outdoor spaces.
Elsewhere in this magazine, you can read about our own Captain Tracy Campbell of the Natural Resources Police. The focus of this edition’s From the Field profile, Capt. Campbell oversees the Natural Resources Police cadet program, training new recruits for the unit’s important and unique mission – patrolling our state lands and waterways, enforcing hunting, boating, fishing, and outdoor recreation regulations, maritime security, and educating the public about outdoor and boating safety.
Finally, we will take a look at efforts to help slow the spread of Maryland’s infamous invasive fish: blue catfish, northern snakehead, and flathead catfish. Introduced to our waters without authorization years ago, these species now pose an array of potential problems for the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The department has launched many campaigns over the past 15 years to encourage the public to fish and harvest these invasive predators. The most effective method is to catch them and eat them – so we are seeking the help of Maryland’s angling community, commercial fishermen and the dining public!
As always, we know we can count on you — Maryland’s conservation community and outdoor recreation enthusiasts — to serve as a valued partner and ambassador for these important messages.
Thank you for your support of our mission, and have a great fall and holiday season!
Article appears in Vol. 22, No. 4 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, fall 2019.