By Sen. Roy Dyson

[ Senator Dyson's Newletter ]

In my last column I talked about trash and garbage, which now is known by the more delicate sounding "solid waste." I talked about my appointment to the governor's statewide task force on solid waste. This column generated quite a lot of comment from both counties throughout my legislative district. Obviously you my constituents are concerned about this issue.

A point which I have heard more than once is the desire for the unique concerns of Southern Maryland to be heard and addressed by the task force. One way that has been suggested is that the task force hold at least one public hearing here in Southern Maryland. I can assure you that I will take that message to the task force and do whatever I can to see that it happens.

What's to do here at home?

Many newcomers to our area felt they were moving to a place with nothing to do. Once here they find, if they look, that they were wrong. Now that school is out parents are often hit with the plaintiff cry: "There's nothing to do!" I probably said that as a kid myself. In fact there is much to do right here at home. Our local museums and parks are a good place to start when looking for summer activities for the whole family, especially children.

Here in our own St. Mary's County backyard there are many activities at museums such as St. Clement's Island/Potomac River Museum and its Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum, St. Mary's City and Sotterley Plantation. At the St. Clements Museum overlooking the founding spot of Maryland, there is a mural project depicting the landing of the colonists. Local people, including myself, are modeling for the various persons in the mural. Also the Little Red Schoolhouse will give kids a peek at what it was like going to school in a one room schoolhouse. Call 301-769-2222 for information.

Maryland first settlement, St. Mary's City, is the site of the Tidewater Archeology Dig on July 25th and 26th. Children love to get down in the dirt and here's an opportunity to do it and learn something at the same time. This hands-on experience could get your children, and yourself, interested in history. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Call 301-862-0990.

Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood is the site of the Summer Center for Cultural History, at which gifted and talented students from around the state attend week-long sessions which provide inspiration to enhance their creative skills. In the session just completed students worked with poet Joe Stone and Edna Kane Aiden, a teacher and descendent of a Sotterley slave. There is another session in July. Sotterley is experiencing a financial and cultural turnaround after being closed last year. The mansion is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 301-373-2280.

Across the river in Calvert County the Battle Creek Cyprus Swamp Nature Center, Calvert Marine Museum and Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum have full schedules this summer. At Battle Creek near Prince Frederick the "Natures Explorers" programs are aimed at ages 6 to 9. On July 19 youngsters will get to learn about the damselfly, which makes its appearance for only a few weeks during the summer.

The Junior Naturalist program in geared to ages 9 to 11. On July 5th youngsters will get to join a naturalist on a reptile survey, showing the turtles, snakes and lizards in this 100-acre nature sanctuary which contains the northernmost naturally occurring stand of bald cypress trees. The park also has family programs and summer nature camps. For more information call 410-535-5327.

Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons has many activities throughout the year for children and families, including the Saturday morning "Young Salts" program. This summer the Saturday, July 19th Sharkfest looks particularly exciting. There will be activities and games for children and a fossil field experience including a canoe trip. Pre-registration is required. Call 410-326-2042. The museum is open every day and includes a wonderful aquarium showing life in the Patuxent River.

Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard has an exciting reenactment of the War of 1812 scheduled for Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The next day, July 12th from 1-4 p.m., children will get a chance to play games played by Native American and Colonial children. On August 2nd, also from 1-4 p.m. there will be a workshop on the way Native Americans made clay pot. Call the park at 410-586-8501.

[ Senator Dyson's Newletter ]