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Secretary’s Message: November 2021

Make Maryland’s Outdoors Part of Your Gatherings

Photo of Secretary Riccio holding a plate of assorted seafood

Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

As we enter the final two months of the year, our thoughts turn to the holiday season and gatherings with family and friends. To supplement those traditional dishes we often serve, I am pleased to share with you the Maryland Department of Natural Resources online cookbook Wild Maryland. The cookbook includes recipes with ingredients that can be hunted, trapped, caught, or foraged in Maryland’s outdoors – just in time for Maryland’s fall hunting and fishing seasons.

Wild Maryland also showcases our heritage and our way of life, through recipes that can be shared and passed down for generations to come. Feel free to try our recipes or submit one of your own by sending an email to!

Another great way to engage more Marylanders and youth in hunting is through special hunting days. On November 6 we held the first of two special hunting days for youth, veterans, and active military members for waterfowl hunting. This is a special opportunity for those who served our nation and for the next generation of stewards to enjoy Maryland’s waterfowl hunting traditions while passing on the conservation ethic.

Another way we honor our veterans is by offering programs and special rates for military veterans, active duty service members, wounded warriors, and prisoners of war. The Military One-Stop Shop on our website provides Photo of Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccioadditional details. We also employ veterans throughout the department and through our Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC) program. The VCC provides training and on the job experience within the Maryland Park Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources through full-time, paid, year-round positions. These are just some of the ways we express our appreciation for the service of our veterans.

Finally, as the weather gets colder, it is never too early to start thinking about spring! Orders are being accepted for the spring 2022 planting season for shrubs and trees from the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery. Almost all trees and shrubs available for sale are native, and many are also pollinator-friendly. You can beautify your surroundings and support Maryland’s wildlife by providing important habitats. 

Thank you for your support of the Maryland DNR mission – I wish you an enjoyable fall and a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.