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Secretary’s Message – April 2022

Planting Seeds for Future Growth

Photo of three women in front of poster about trees

First Lady Yumi Hogan and Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, with long-time Maryland Forest Service employee Romcesa Estep, helped judge the 2022 Maryland Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest. Photo by Joe Andrucyk, Maryland State House

Recent cold weather aside, spring is in full swing, and this year is definitely one to celebrate. As flowers begin to bloom and birds begin to nest, we are pleased to return to many of our favorite warm-weather traditions — including burning socks and planting trees! In fact, I recently burned my socks with Governor and First Lady Hogan, and other special guests at the Annapolis Maritime Museum’s annual Sock Burning Party. Now that spring feels official, we at DNR are gearing up to lead tree plantings at locations statewide, including at the schools of our Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest winners. 

It was a great honor, for the fifth year in a row, to welcome First Lady Yumi Hogan as a guest judge for the contest. As a talented artist and teacher, her support for art education and our natural resources has provided great inspiration for the participants in this program. This year’s top prize went to Camden Steiner from Bel Air, Harford County; second prize to Arynn Brooks From Waldorf, Charles County; and third prize to Alexis Horichs from Westminster, Carroll County. 

Their work was shared at the April 6 Board of Public Works meeting, celebrating Maryland Arbor Day with Governor Hogan, the treasurer, and the comptroller. In addition to issuing an Arbor Day proclamation, the governor and I recognized Jim McMartin and Jim Beggins of McMartin & Beggins Furniture Makers. These incredibly talented craftsmen built the Wye Oak Desk, which has been used by every Maryland governor since it was completed in 2004. Their work is an excellent example of how important the forestry industry is to Maryland’s heritage and economy.    

Photo of Secretary RiccioOther great spring activities include fishing and visiting our state parks. DNR is pleased to announce that our Youth Fishing Rodeos have begun again statewide at locations stocked specifically for young anglers. These rodeos are a great way to help introduce them to one of Maryland’s favorite pastimes. In the coming weeks we will roll out Park Quest 2022, our popular annual family adventure through the Maryland State Parks. What’s more, throughout the month of April, we will show our gratitude by welcoming Maryland’s health care heroes to our state parks free of charge. 

Our department is proud to offer these — and many other — opportunities for Maryland citizens and youth to celebrate conservation and outdoor recreation in April and throughout the year!

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