Put some thought into this TEAM

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011

Have you ever thought about being a school teacher?

First of all, try not to envision the air being filled with spitballs being shot behind your back, funny bodily noises delivered by the boys in the back row or breaking up fights outside the girls restroom.

No, no.

Rather, put thoughts into your head of pulling a string and the light bulb turning on just like the look you'll sometimes see in young one's eyes when they finally understand the concept you've been trying to explain. Or maybe, consider the immense satisfaction you could get at the end of the day after happily opening a lot of young minds to important ideas about our world and environment.

Teaching really can be a great job, and with a whole lot of baby boomers out there starting to leave the work force, there should be at least a few people reading this that have a little extra time on their hands.

Here's the deal: Maryland's Department of Natural Resources is actively looking for interested adults to become TEAM (Teaching Environmental Awareness in Maryland) volunteers.

TEAM members go into public and private schools and teach students about the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's environment through interactive activities they themselves have been well-trained on in their own workshops.

Since this program began a little more than a decade ago, TEAM volunteers have positively influenced the lives of more than 40,000 elementary and middle school students throughout our state.

So many of those kids came away from these lessons with a far greater understanding and respect for our natural world and seeds were planted that will make them, it is hoped, far better caretakers of our natural environment than the current generation of adults out there.

It's a great program that focuses on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, streams, oyster reefs, horseshoe crabs and the Chesapeake's professional watermen.

Three workshops are coming up soon.

TEAM training sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 4 and 18, at the DNR's headquarters, inside the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis — located right next to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot on Taylor Avenue — and one more is scheduled for from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 11 at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary at 1361 Wrighton Road in Lothian.

Participants are asked to bring their own lunch. Beverages and snacks will be provided.

Give the TEAM program some thought.

To register for the training, or if you have questions, call Amy Henry at 410-260-8828 or e-mail ahenry@dnr.state.md.us.

Who knows? You might really enjoy the experience and get far more out of this teaching gig than the students.

Just remember to keep a close eye on those boys in the back row.

Better yet, move them up to the front so they know who's the boss right from the get-go. You never want that question to be in doubt in any classroom. Good luck.

New website

There's a new website up and running now that should be of prime interest to hunters and fishermen and just anyone else who loves to be outdoors.

You'll find a wealth of information on topics ranging from using digital trail cameras for a successful hunt to what's going on this very week with the menhaden fishery in Virginia or you might learn about possible new places to fish right around us in the dead of winter at www.genemuellerfishing.com.

Gene Mueller is the master of this site and this man has had a long lifetime of successful fishing and hunting outings, plus he has been a professional and nationally respected outdoors writer now for many decades.

Mueller lives right here in Southern Maryland, and this new website should be nothing but a joy to read by all Southern Marylanders with useful and local information updated every week.

Check it out. I'm pretty confident you'll bookmark the site and come back to see what he has to say a couple of times every week.

NRA show

The National Rifle Association Hunter Services Department has announced its second annual NRA Great American Hunting and Outdoor Show will be held Jan. 28 to 30 at the Carroll County Agriculture Center and Shipley Arena in Westminster.

Many of the top hunting, outdoor and shooting sports retailers have already signed on as exhibitors plus outfitters and guides along with some nationally known personalities, including Larry Weishuhn, Bob Foulkrod, Ken Penrod and Pat Nolan.

Cabela's is sponsoring the NRA Mason/Dixon Big Buck Contest and there will even be a scavenger hunt for children, plus you'll get to see 15 of the largest and highest-scoring whitetails in the world.

General admission is $10, but if you show your NRA membership card that's reduced to only $8. Children 11 and younger get in for free. Show hours are from 3 to 9 p.m. Jan. 28, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 29 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 30.

For more information, call 703-267-1524 or e-mail rpeak@nrahq.org.

Fishing update

High Point Marina down at Lake Anna is reporting a massive bait kill because of lower than normal water temperatures.

Still, they expect the striper fishing to be above par in the upcoming weeks due to the harsh winter we've all been experiencing that has kept many fishermen off the water.

Early in the mornings, the birds generally have been feeding on dying threadfin, but later in the days they generally will readily advertise where the stripers are actively feeding.

Remember to cut off your big motor well before you advance on the schools for these winter fish simply don't tolerate any noisy boat traffic interruptions in their feeding.

Some big largemouth bass have recently been taken at Lake Anna working suspending jerk baits downlake on primary and secondary points next to deep water. As for the crappie, we need warmer conditions and higher water temperatures for this action to really begin.

TieFest coming

TieFest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 12, at the Kent Island Yacht Club in Chester.

Admission is free and you'll get an opportunity to share your fly tying skills and maybe pick up a good many pointers from other local fishermen.

The big draw will be guys like Lefty Kreh, Bob Popovics, Bob Clouser, plus several other recognized experts who have promised to be here sharing their well-known fly patterns for fishing the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic seaboard.

These experts will also be happily answering any of your questions you may have about the sport.

If the weather is decent, Kreh has promised to offer an hourlong casting demonstration and you'll want to see this incredible man with a fly rod in his hand at least once in your lifetime.

I can guarantee you will never forget the experience.