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Naturalist Uncovers Hidden Treasures in Maryland's Seasons

Biologist Bryan MacKay's new book, “A Year Across Maryland: A Week By Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region,” describes the miraculous diversity of the Mid-Atlantic's natural world.

We take a hike with MacKay through the Soldier's Delight Natural Environmental Area, a state park 20 minutes northwest of Baltimore.

All in all, MacKay says, Maryland is the perfect habitat for a naturalist.

The retired professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County talks about the adventure of hunting for morel mushrooms in April in Catoctin Mountain Park north of Frederick.

In June, he advises his readers to canoe down the languid Tuckahoe River on the Eastern Shore to see mountain laurel blossoms and freshwater clams the size of oysters.

MacKay describes the rare joy of eating creamy banana-like pawpaw fruits when they ripen in late summer along the C & O Canal west of Washington D.C. 

In September, he advises people to visit Point Lookout in Southern Maryland,  so they can have a chance of glancing the clouds of monarch butterflies that briefly converge there as they migrate toward Mexico.

Tom Pelton, a national award-winning environmental journalist, has hosted "The Environment in Focus" since 2007. He also works as director of communications for the Environmental Integrity Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health. From 1997 until 2008, he was a journalist for The Baltimore Sun, where he was twice named one of the best environmental reporters in America by the Society of Environmental Journalists.