Patuxent Research Refuge
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
National Wildlife Visitor Center
Laurel, MD 20708
Patuxent Research Refuge, the nation's only National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research, was created in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It has grown from 2,670 acres to 12,841 acres and encompasses land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD. Approximately 10,000 acres are forested, contributing to one of the largest blocks of contiguous forested habitat in the mid-Atlantic. Other habitat types include fields, marshes, scrub-shrub communities, and constructed impoundments. Both South Tract and North Tract areas are open to the public and offer hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, trails, and interpretive programs.
Changing climates mean a variety of changes for a state like Maryland that has many unique habitats. Western Maryland is predicted to experience increased drought frequency which may negatively impact ecosystems such as mountain peatland wetlands and the endangered bog turtle. Forested areas of the state may experience an increase in hemlock woolly adelgid populations, which do better during milder winters. And if spring becomes drier, gypsy moth infestations may also increase. Across the state, species may attempt to move north or south to adapt to changing temperatures and that may prove difficult for many species if the lands they try to move to are urbanized. All of these challenges, and many more, will face land managers of Patuxent Research Refuge and other wildlife refuges across the U.S. You can help them prepare for these changes by tracking changes in plant communities through Project BudBurst at Patuxent Research Refuge. You can monitor selected plant species when you visit or volunteer at the Refuge. Your observations are important for helping everyone better understand how plants are responding to changing environmental conditions.