Drum Point Club, Lusby, Maryland (April 2, 2022) – The inaugural Maryland Osprey and Nature Festival, by any measure, was a tremendous success.  This first-ever festival was held on Saturday, April 2, 2022, on the grounds of the idyllic Drum Point Club in Lusby, MD.  It is estimated that approximately four hundred people attended the event.

“We are happy with the turnout, but we are most delighted with all of the smiling faces” stated Rick Smith, one of the festival’s founders and organizers.

Indeed, the day was filled with many activities for adults and children alike including educational lectures, live raptors presentations, nature walks, and bird walks.  

“It was great to see so many children engaged, having fun, and just being children.  This was something that we planned and emphasized, so it was great to see so many kids today” concluded, Smith. The children’s many activities that Smith mentioned included: face painting, the live raptors, scavenger hunts, bird Olympics, free Rita’s Italian Ice, and the open space.

A child enjoying her day

The mission and purpose of this event were in part to promote education about our natural beauty and wildlife, especially ospreys. Sal Icaza with Solomons Island Photography, opened the event, showcasing inspiring and breathtaking photographs with his presentation Drum Point, a Visual Experience.

The Maryland Osprey and Nature Festival, affectionately known as MONF, showcased an impressive list of renowned speakers such as Greg Kearns, who delivered with an impressive presentation titled Ospreys of the Patuxent River.  

Gene Groshon, with Calvert County Parks and Recreations, followed up with yet another impressive lecture, Calvert County Natural Resources Research Project.

Chris Eberly with the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership delivered a fact-filled, noteworthy presentation, The Mysteries and Marvels of Bird Migration. 

Jason Avery’s powerful and superb presentation Dragonflies & Damselflies of Calvert County was accompanied by his one-of-a-kind, and impressive pictures.  

And certainly, not to be outdone was Ben Springer’s intriguing and fun lecture titled Southern Maryland Bird Curiosities to close out the speakers’ series.

“This was an incredible, well-organized event. I had a great time and learned so much” mentioned festival goer, Bob Wagner.  “I was blown away at the number of people that attended, and by the various offerings. I thought that it was clever of them (MONF) to come up with a photo contest and the awards recognition” added Wagner.

What Mr. Wagner was alluding to, is the Oscar Awards.   The prestigious Oscar Awards recognized those who give their time, utilize their skills and talents, and continue to strive through their actions to be exemplary stewards in our community in general, and of our natural resources and wildlife.

The Inaugural 2022 Oscar Awards, named after Oscar the Osprey, were awarded to:

  • Chris Hoffman – Meaningful Contributions to the Community
  • Greg Kearns – Dedication to Service
  • Robert Randall – Inspire and Promote Excellence in Others 
Mr. Hoffman is the first recipient of Oscar Award

Another nice to touch to boot was the photo contest, and here are the results:

  • First: “Fox” by Tammi Gorsak
  • Second: “Easy Pickens” by Donte Hunter
  • Third:  “Fluffing the Bridal Train” by Sharon Denny
  • Third:  “Just a Snack” by Sharon Denny
Tammi Gorsak receiving her first-place award from Sal Icaza, event organizer and MONF founder

“This event was truly a community event, and one that the entire State and Bay Region should be proud of; it would not have been possible without our sponsors, volunteers, and our Bird of Directors” stated Sal Icaza, MONF Chair and Founder. When asked about the future of MONF, Icaza quickly responded ”MONF will be celebrated on the first Saturday in April, so we will see you again next year. Given the amount of enthusiasm and support, MONF will grow exponentially in subsequent years”. Icaza concluded.

Proceeds from the 2022 festival go to the Owl Moon Raptor Center, a facility that rehabilitates injured raptors with the goal of releasing them into the wild. Click here for a list of festival sponsors and partners.

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