Since many of us in Baltimore live with traffic, noise and concrete, all this talk about “the environment” can seem far away. Not relevant even. Yet, within a short drive, we can find ourselves in beautiful, natural surroundings.
Recently, my family and I found ourselves in just that setting while canoeing down the Deer Creek on an Eden Mill Family Canoe trip. Consider booking a canoe trip – it’s a fun activity that also offers an ideal spot to talk with the kids about how connected we really are to our environment and nature.
Located in northern Harford County, the Eden Mill Nature Center and park is 117 acres of trails and forests located along the Deer Creek. The nature center sits at the site that was once a working mill in the early twentieth century. The nonprofit is run mostly by a large group of volunteers, and Harford County supports several key employees. Eden Mill’s mission is to inspire people to care about the environment.
I first learned of Eden Mill when my scouting-partner-in-crime Karen and I brought 13 Cub Scouts to earn a nature badge. During the warmer months, Eden Mill also offers many programs including: Campfire and Movie Night, Critter Feeding, Stars and Constellations, a Night Hike and Campfire, and Family Canoe Trips.
Just the 45 minute drive to Eden Mill is beautiful. As you cross the Loch Raven Reservoir and drive north up Route 146 (Jarrettsville Pike,) you realize how spectacular the countryside is surrounding Baltimore. We signed up for the Thursday “twilight” canoe trip, and along with 10 guests, loaded eight canoes into the river. Eden Mill charges $8.00 per guest and four volunteer naturalists guided us “canoe newbies” down the river. Andrea, our excellent naturalist, taught us about beaver habitat and plant life – who knew that day lilies were edible? We saw a lot of animals, including cute muskrats, and all types of birds. It was nice to paddle with my kids in the quiet, especially as it turned dusk.
Our canoe trip also offered the perfect time to chat about our environment. We talked about how we all share the water that the animals lived in. We chatted about how our choices about food, trash and our cars impact everyone, including us. And, we talked about climate change and how Maryland’s forecasted “super-rainfalls” will impact Deer Creek and its wildlife (and our basement!)
On the way home, make sure you make an ice cream stop at Jarrettsville Creamery & Deli. Give the creamery a call (410-692-5100) to make sure they’re open. If not, the soft serve ice cream at the BP gas station is good.
Eden Mill Nature Center: 1617 Eden Mill Road, Pylesville, MD 21132 410.836.3050. Visit the website to make reservations for the Thursday or Saturday family canoe trips. Cost is $8.00 person.