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Outdoors Maryland is made by MTD to serve all of our diverse communities and is made possible by the generous support of our members. Thank you. Coming up it's been 400 years. But now Maryland's forest of towering Ancient's is in trouble. Keeping an eye peeled for our ruby throated friends and looking at the natural world through the eyes of Nick Parker. Mixed. Outdoors Marylands produced in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. And. Are. Inspired by Nature.
For. Centuries ago. I see them sprouted in these mountains not in the dark shade of a towering girl that swept up the mountainside from the bracing rush of a stream. Since the colonial era few older growth stands remain in Maryland. Most are magnificent him. Now and invasions retinues these last precious stands.
There are forest defenders. But the invaders are invisible until it's too late. For. Someone. To tell the truth. Forester is an ecologist do not always walk the same path on questions of forest management but in the deep shade of centuries old hemlock Steve Kane or the Department of Natural Resources state forester and Ed Thompson DNR is Western Region ecologist finds solid common ground of the tragedy. If we do lose him and of course there's a lot of variables before that actually happens. But if we do lose him walk we're not just losing a tree we're losing a whole ecosystem and there's a lot of things that depend on the type of farce. Let him walk. Make up. So if we lose him or we're going to lose other forms of life we're going to lose functioning. Bottom line forests.
Neither of these scientists are prone to easy use of words like tragedy read but they're talking about the hemlock weirdly it Daljit a microscopic exotic species of insect that has already invaded half the eastern hemlock range from Maine to North Carolina. The insect sucks out the vital juices of the hemlocks producing a Woodley's self-protective coating which is the first evidence of infestation but by that time the rapid rate of reproduction is out of control. It's an attack on the very soul of the forest. The counter attack to the wooly Adell DJed has been launched on several fronts on this Chris Paul morning in Garrett County Cain and Thompson. The advance guard is looking for strategic stands of still healthy hemlines. They hope to monitor and defend against the waves of insects silently advancing west across the state and particular Gard County.
Hemlock is a real important tree makes up a lot of. Little forest ecosystems along stream courses. So I really like field commanders. They pulled out the maps pull to identify her walks on the infrared photography here you'll see where you were you noticed red along the stream bottoms either in this area here or in this area here the probability that there hemlock will be relatively high. Yeah as a matter of fact. We are standing right here in the middle of this. Red area which is obviously a walk far. The stakes are high. Although those maps can show you places will occur. One thing they can't convey. Is. How magical some of these places are once you get on the ground. This is particularly true of our oldest hemlocks stands were hemlocks or 300 400 years old. What if it's gone. We. Really don't know what all happened. There could be a cascading effect but I can't even think of. So when we're talking about losing him off course it's more than just losing the trees. We could
lose a lot of other unique elements of our biodiversity. If these trees are eventually killed by hemlock Willie a Belgian and all this shade is removed from this stream. What is an excellent cold water fisheries which contains brook trout now may not be able to support brook trout in the future because the water has warmed up to the point where the fish simply can't survive. If these trees die in place and fall over the amount of debris the amount of fuel that's potentially added to the force for predisposing the landscape to catastrophic fire and the resources needed to control that if it was to happen is something that we need to take into account also. They say there are probably 40 different species of birds that prefer to nest in hemlock. So it's a concern when you start losing that that kind of habitat. And there's really nothing else that's going to replace it. Hemlock is it. If Garrett is one of the last strongholds of ancient hemlocks then Cunningham Falls State Park in the Catoctin. Is a window to a
future ravaged by the woolly indulged. Jeff Horton is chief of Forest Resource Planning and analysis in the DNR is Forest Service. Probably 30 percent of this forest in this area was like before and and you can see there's there's a number of large blocks over there that are completely dead standing dead. You have. A large walk over here well over 35 inches that is completely dead and has dropped out. That will have a major impact both on this on the ecosystem here and on on our boardwalk. When you look at this and you think about where are where these primeval how far so far. We have had locks at some of these areas you think we could stay farce or worse for overlock in Virginia or at Swallow Falls in western Maryland. They are some of our oldest growth so far and in some cases they could be 600 years all those have that hemlock component and that's that. And that's a real loss to think that we're going to lose all of those hemlocks. As a foster. You know that that hurts.
And so the battle is pitched with state and federal reinforcements here. Unfortunately it's really too far gone. The treatments that we're going to be doing here today are just the last last gasp really to try to save some hemlock apparently here. The scientists are trying several experimental methods to control the Walia Daljit. There's careful injection of a proven insecticide into the xylem of the tree where it will travel up to the infected needles. What's learned here will be used to protect the still healthy forests further west before it's too late. Robert Rabban is forest entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture of the hemlock way Daljit not being native to North America there are no natural predators or parasites that would normally control an insect. We've been trying to introduce some some creditors to the environment here. There's a couple of beetles that seem to have some promise in controlling the insects.
I mean honestly it's it's a long shot you know. But we can either sit on our hands and just watch or hemlocks disappear. Or we can be active. Brad Onka is an entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service. You know it's hard not to wait. This was something worse than chestnut blight and that gentleman is my mind. I mean because we're talking about an ecological system that is so dependent on Hemlock. And once it's gone. It's gone. Whole system. Well for me walking in a hemlock forest gives me a cathedral like feeling of the playing of the white capsule of force floor give you a stained glass appearance and it tends to be a very spiritual place not only for myself but for a lot of folks. In this race against time. There is perhaps more hope than optimism. But one and all have taken a last stand for a mighty long.
Lutherville Maryland resident Sharon DEQ isn't content just to create a garden that looks good. She also owns a garden that flutters cheers. Cruise and Holmes especially one that homes. In summer. Her backyard is filled with the hum and buzz of up to a dozen hummingbirds don't take up much space. They get so much pleasure in return. I just think they're a nice addition to inhabit. The species that's found in Maryland is the ruby throated hummingbird named for the red jewel like patch under the males gene. And these birds truly don't take up much space. Ross Hawkins is president of the Hummingbird's society. The average weight is a tenth of an ounce. But size isn't the bird's only remarkable trait. It's the only bird. That can hover. This gives them an enormous advantage over other birds. If a flower for example has a blossom that is tubular and hangs down.
Other birds can't easily access this power to get the nectar that might be in it. But hovering uses an enormous amount of energy. A hummingbird has to feed in theory at least every half hour for each star. I calculate that a man wearing a heavier than 70 pounds if he ate like a hummingbird would have to consume a hundred and fifty five thousand hours a day. That corresponds to 276 Big Macs. We put that in proportion. Humming-Bird Deveaux Tay's like Sharon DEQ understand that one of the best ways to attract the birds is to provide ample food. I planted a variety of plans to attract the hummingbird which include the Penta the Texas sage the butterfly bush 04:00. Lilies. And we got nine different feeders at this point. They just keep coming back every year. Some of those feeders hang outside the dining room window where they provide Sharon and her husband
Ken with endless entertainment. Here it comes. Here it comes. We sit in our dining room and just watch all the antics. And we have. Long breakfast and long dinners simply so we can sit and enjoy them as long as possible. In Walkersville Maryland Jim and Theresa Gallian have also created a habitat that's hospitable to hummingbirds the kitchen that we had and creating a wildlife habitat was to be able to provide food and cover a shelter and places to raise the young for the creatures that we like to see in our backyard that kinds of flowers that we've created in our garden with the. Wild Columbine. Bailey. Trumpet Vine and honeysuckle vine. That is really to bring them in the hummingbirds which winter in Mexico usually arrive in the galleons backyard in April an event that merits a
special mention in Teresa's diary. I started a garden diary. The first of the year. Always go in the spring. The first Robynn the first. Sprout the first daffodil bloom and definitely the first hummingbird. In fact hummingbirds actually make a beeline to backyard habitats like this one says the hummingbird society's Ross Hawkins. What's amazing to me is that these birds display site fidelity. There's a good chance that the ones you see in your backyard are the very same birds that you had the preceding year or the year before. Which is sort of exciting because that means if you make them happy and you give them lots of water for misting a lot of flowers for feeding and clean fresh Mixtura in the feeders. Why shouldn't they come back. The ruby throat summer in the eastern U.S. in Canada where they breed and raise their young. Building tiny cup like nests in trees close to food supplies. Most people have never seen a hummingbirds nest and that's because it's so well camouflaged and it's so small.
Here we have a sample that has been kindly provided to us today by the silver museum. It's only about the diameter of a golf ball. The inside would just barely hold a quarter. The outside is covered with tiny pieces of lichen which have been attached to the spider web. Spider Web has also been used to attach the nets to the branches so. The chicks are fledged by early July. As summer comes to an end and food sources grow scares the birds prepare for their journey south. They fly to the northern Gulf Coast where they stock up on nectar before making the flight over the ocean to wintering grounds in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. We know something about the birds migration thanks to the efforts of people like Jim Gruber. He's one of only a small number of people on the East Coast licens to undertake the delicate operation of banding ruby throated hummingbirds at his banding station in Queen Anne's County. He uses large mist nets to catch hummingbirds as well as
other species as they migrate through the area. This nets operate on the principle that the black nylon Nash is invisible and birds are set against a dark background. When he does fly into the net he hits the net and he calls untangle. We will then come along on entangle and point out the net and take him back to the lab for Balac. The bands that we put on the earth themselves are made of aluminum they're very lightweight. It's bad that we put on earth is individually serially numbered band members. Why. 3 6 8 8 1. We take the band off the string that we have formed on the opening up of a small band opener. We then place that around the left leg of the hummingbird squeezing it shut with my fingers if it needs fine tuning I'll take a pliers and fine tune it very gently at that point. Then we age and sex the bird. This is a young male take a swing measurement which is indicative of the size of the bird.
Males being much smaller than the females. We will check for fat to see what condition it is and for Migration. He has no fat. We will weigh the bird weighs 2.9 grams most birth and we get way right around 3 grams or about the weight of a dime. All the data we collect from banning births here at the farm goes to Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The verb baning lab and they put it on a computer databank and it's available for research throughout the United States and Canada. The research will give us migratory patterns migratory timing longevity records of how possibly how long some hummingbirds can live with the banding completed the bird is ready to be released to continue his journey. Off he goes. But with any luck the bird will return next spring. Adding a flash of color and a home of activity to our gardens once again.
Take a walk of a morning with Nick Carter. Through his woods on the eastern shore down to a fresh upwelling spring. Then onto the river. Be ready for a wild gravel throated tour of the unseen mysteries of nature the hidden processes and startling connections that make it all work. Early on Nick turned a master's degree in science into a mission. I was with DENR 35 years. I spent a lot of time doing environmental impact analysis basically try and tell people what they ought not do to the land. Keep it working. But it's this kind of thing that makes the forest floor pervious that'll collect. Pine needles and leaves and stuff and it'll be a void space. Like on the globe. And that's what allows the water to work and all these open big large
pools. And it makes. Makes the ground just like a sponge just like on the way out. You step off that path and just feel what the ground feels like. And that's what controls the hydrological regime. And with this instead of. 60 or 70 percent of the rain and snow run and off. It goes in the ground. This is what Yeah this is where you get the filtration and this is where you get the temperature control. And this is where you get the long slow one off perk. Down down slope. That gives you the base flow of the springs. This is what conserves the fertility of the land keeps it on site keeps the materials and the nutrients recycling on site. Instead of going down drainage.
And over in the bay for Knigge all of nature is a dynamic system of interdependent subsystems. His complex vision of how the planet works drives Nick to bring his message of stewardship to civic groups scientific conferences and schools like saddler's Ville Elementary in Maryland. Humanities is a great thing and you'd hate to see it go down the tubes out of ignorance. One two three. Can you get these kids in third grade. There a. Yes and if you can tell them something that makes sense basically makes sense to them something that I can comprehend. Maybe some of them will make the right decisions. Everything you all. Everything you have. Everything you all have but it. Comes out of the earth. So
while the water and all. The heart and the earth. Becomes part of the corn plant. Feed it is a chicken it becomes part of the chicken the chicken and you get. On. You need. To make your blood work to get the oxygen. So he's only been bit by a mosquito. What's a mosquito get from you. Where's that on now. It was part of the earth that was part of the corn that was part of the chicken that was part of you know not part of the mosquito. The mosquito might fly along and get too close to his toes as they are now. OK. And you told in Utah. That's what it is I said. That's what makes it go. To all these things this is what makes the world work. This is how everything gets
what it needs to live. It's a big cycle. This is a big spring we call it Rosemary spring for the lady that used to live here. And. This is down at the foot of the slope where all the all the water is perked into the ground through that soft soft pervious substrate. Made by the fire. This is where it issues out at the bottom of the slope. This water coming out at 54 degrees. It's going to be a lot warmer than what I and a lot cooler in the summer. And so it moderates the temperature in the big streams eventually at the heads of the bay all the little springs. That's where the bay starts to feel like. And. The spring flow channel runs down here all sediments and silts of satellite. So chop day for the biggest river on the shore and maybe the six biggest river coming into the bay. It's a little better shape than a lot of the rivers because just this up a pot of
Sarton 13 square miles is comparatively heavily forested. We've got a 50 plus percent forest up here. And so the nutrients that stand alone here nourish the floodplain and nourish the tree years in the forest of the flood plant the floodplain operates to purify the rubble. You get really nice cycle my circle Reber nourishes the floodplain and the floodplain purifies the rubble. That's what it takes to move these elements. All these different chemical elements all around. So if we didn't have any of that stuff you wouldn't even be able to start living. It really does matter. This is what makes it possible for all of us to be born and to grow up. And have children. And it makes it possible for life to go on. This is why we come here and we tell you this kind of stuff.
You need to know. This is what makes it work. This is why you got you know to protect. These civilizations that didn't understand and they died out. A lot of people have made the mistake of thinking. Conserving preserving nature. Is something that you ought to do. Just for an ethical reason because. It's nice to have beautiful work with love but they just never got it. And all those things are true. But you got to have these mechanisms function and keep the system able to support human beings. Anybody that knows anything will tell you these resources are finite. And this is what happened in so many
factories. And I asked that. Didn't understand. That those mechanisms had to be conserved if they were what made my language my inhabitable. Because our own self-interest. These systems have continued to work. This is the central theme of all conservation. After grasping for her own rational self-interest.
Outdoors Maryland
Episode Number
Producing Organization
Maryland Public Television
Contributing Organization
Maryland Public Television (Owings Mills, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This episode consists of three segments. The first segment, "Adelgid's Revenge", focuses on hemlock stands, the problems facing hemlocks, and the consequences of losing hemlock stands. The second segment, "Humming in the Garden", discusses various aspects of, and research efforts related to, ruby-throated hummingbirds. The third segment, "Planet Nick", focuses on lessons of environmental stewardship as taught by Nick Carter.
Series Description
Outdoors Maryland is a magazine featuring segments on nature and the outdoors in Maryland.
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Copyright 2004 Maryland Public Television
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Moving Image
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Interviewee: Thompson, Ed
Interviewee: Dick, Sharon
Interviewee: Hawkins, Ross
Interviewee: Gruber, Jim
Narrator: Badila, John
Producer: English, Michael
Producer: Stahley, Susanne C.
Producer: Dana, Carol
Producing Organization: Maryland Public Television
Publisher: Maryland Public Television
Speaker: Carter, Nick
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Maryland Public Television
Identifier: DB3-0370 - 44684 (Maryland Public Television)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:26:07
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Outdoors Maryland; 1608,” 2004-00-00, Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 28, 2023,
MLA: “Outdoors Maryland; 1608.” 2004-00-00. Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 28, 2023. <>.
APA: Outdoors Maryland; 1608. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from