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Secretary’s Message – October 2022

Find an October Treat in Maryland’s Outdoor Spaces

Photo of group of people on a trail in the woods

Photo by Patrick Siebert, Maryland State House

October is a time when the natural world puts on a spectacular show; and outdoor activities in Maryland provide a great opportunity to enjoy it! It is an ideal time to visit the public lands throughout our beautiful state. Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and I recently joined a group of veterans and staff from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs for a wellness hike at Patuxent River Natural Resource Management Area in Hughesville. The hike was organized to raise awareness for suicide prevention and the new Veterans Crisis Line, which can be accessed by dialing 988 (then pressing 1) or texting 838255.

Similarly, DNR participated again this year in Maryland’s multi-agency Walktober campaign to highlight the health benefits of walking – our official state exercise – and to remind everyone of the responsibility we share regarding pedestrian safety on our roads and in our recreational areas. 

You too can take a hike and support a cause, all while enjoying the beauty of autumn. Be sure to follow how the changing leaves are developing throughout the state all season with our weekly Fall Foliage Report so you don’t miss it! 

Along with walking and hiking, there are plenty of other reasons to get outside right now. As the water temperatures continue cooling, the Maryland Department of Natural Resource (DNR) fall trout stocking program is beginning in rivers, creeks, and ponds near you so, making it a great time to try your hand at fishing! 

And in this month of the Hunter’s Moon, many of our most popular hunting seasons have started or will soon be underway, including small game, wild turkey, migratory birds and deer

Additionally, Maryland continues to grow our portfolio of world-class events and outdoor recreation opportunities such as the internationally acclaimed Maryland 5* at Fair Hill and the United States Powerboat Show

While these are seasonal things to do, our state’s beautiful landscapes, and diverse array of plant and wildlife species can be enjoyed year-round. There is no better showcase for our natural wonder than the annual Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest. I congratulate all of the participants and winners for 2022, particularly our Grand Prize winner David Terao of Silver Spring for his incredibly detailed photograph of a tiny jumping spider emerging from a flower. And thank you to everyone who voted for the fan favorite, Fiddleheads and Ferns by Jack Turner, chosen by our Facebook followers. Be sure to take your camera with you this fall and enter next year’s contest!

You can enjoy these photos in our 2023 Maryland Natural Resource Calendar, which will be available at DNR’s online store in the coming weeks. 

I hope you enjoy these photos and that they inspire you to enjoy Maryland’s outdoor spaces in all four seasons. Thank you for supporting DNR’s mission!

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