'Outdoors Maryland': Lessons on ecology are non-controversial

October 14, 1992|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

Watching Maryland Public Television's periodic series "Outdoors Maryland," which returns with a new fall edition tonight at 9, seems like picking up National Geographic at the doctor's office.

The pictures are pretty and the text is informative, but only if you are not looking to be excited by controversial issues.

Tonight's segment on the beach-replenishment project in Ocean City, for example, neatly summarizes the reason for the transfer of sand from offshore onto the beach: Barrier islands seem designed by nature to shift their position in accordance with ocean storms.

And interesting footage of two earlier severe storms documents that, on occasion, the ocean chooses to take up residence right in town.

But we see little exploration of the years of environmental controversy surrounding the dredging and its cost, as Mayor Roland "Fish" Powell notes that last year's work apparently saved the town from severe damage over past winter.

A segment on the ongoing enforcement of Maryland's crabbing laws along the state's watery border with Virginia seems designed like one of those signs on the highway that read: "Welcome to Maryland, Please Drive Gently."

We learn something of the history of the "crab wars," then meet a veteran law enforcement officer whose methods include taking to an airplane to monitor boats. "That's a pretty sneaky way of doing it," complains a waterman.

Other segments of the show include the usual mix of evocative recreational features (bass fishing on the Potomac and sky diving), nature study (the 10 species of bats indigenous to the state) and education.

Also, as in previous shows, the balance between humans and nature provides a gentle backdrop. For example, the profile of fishing guide Mark Kovach notes that he urges clients to keep none of the fish they hook so as not to diminish the population. And the bat feature includes the news that the rise of spelunking -- cave exploration -- as a hobby threatens some bat habitats.

The education-oriented feature profiles the activities of the Lady Maryland Foundation, which involves young people in a variety of Chesapeake Bay studies and training programs. Surprisingly included among them: a chance to work with llamas being raised on a farm in Harford County.

'Outdoors Maryland'

When: Tonight at 9.

Where: Maryland Public Television (Channels 22 and 67)

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