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John Smiths Maryland

When John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay in 1607, he


did not arrive to an empty land. He fond many !ative
"meri#an tri$es that depended pon the $ay%s land and &ater.
'hese people srvived $y hntin( and eatin( &ild animals s#h
as $ear, deer, $eaver, otters, $o$#at, elk, and ra##oon. )#ks,
(eese, and s&ans &ere also so nmeros that the early
"meri#ans &old eat these for food too.
'he !ative "meri#ans also fished the rivers for food. 'hey #a(ht
and ate #ra$s, #lams, shad, herrin(, terrapins, striped $ass and
other a*ati# life. Str(eon, a (iant fish that lives in the $ay &as
kno&n to $e p to 1+ feet lon( and &ei(h over ,00 ponds. 'here
&ere so many of these fish that the !ative "meri#ans &old #at#h
them &ith their $are hands. -yster reefs &ere kno&n to $e so tall
that they sometimes st#k ot of the &ater. Ships sailin( on the
$ay &old sometimes #rash into these reefs and sink, #reatin( a
dan(eros sitation for early sailors.
'he marshes &ere lsh and fll of &ild ri#e and d#k potato. 'hese plants &ere sed
for food $y the native people. .rom the land, the !ative "meri#ans (athered many
a#orns, $le$erries, #hestnts, #herries, persimmons, ml$erries, &ild (rapes, and
servi#e$erries for food. Cypress trees and "tlanti# &hite #edar trees &ere sed to
make #anoes to travel from pla#e to pla#e. "lon( &ith sin( the plants and animals,
the native people also plo&ed the land and farmed s*ash, pmpkins, (ords, $eans,
and #orn. !e& fields &ere #leared yearly $y #ttin( do&n
or $y $rnin( the lar(e forests that #overed the land. 'he
soil lost important ntrients needed for #rops to (ro&.
/nstead of repla#in( ntrients, the !ative "meri#ans #t
do&n more trees to make ne& farm land.
"n a##ont from Smith%s 0ornals des#ri$ed the !ative
"meri#ans fond in the $ay re(ion this &ay1 In March and April they lived much
upon fish, turkeys, and squirrel. In May and June they plant their fields and
live most on acorns, alnuts, and fish. !ut to alter their diet some disperse
themselves in small companies and live upon fish, "east, cra"s, oysters, land
tortoises, stra"erries, mul"erries and such like. In June, July, and Au#ust,
they feed upon roots, "erries, fish and #reen corn.$ 2adapted from 'he Chan(in(
Chesapeake3.
!lack !ears
4arly "meri#ans ate many different types of native plants and
animals livin( in this area. Some plants and animals that &ere fond
drin( John Smith%s time #an still $e fond in Calvert Conty today.
-ther native plants and animals, s#h as the $la#k $ear, have disappeared
from the land.
/n Jly of 500,, a "lack "ear &as seen in Calvert Conty. 'his &as
the first $ear si(htin( in Calvert Conty in nearly 500 years6 'he $ear
&as likely sear#hin( for food and shelter. 'his $ear pro$a$ly &andered
from Western 7aryland as it looked for a ne& home.
Bears &ere on#e plentifl in or #onty. "s the nm$er hmans &ho
lived here in#reased, the nm$er of $ears de#reased. 'he #han(es made
to the $ear%s ha$itat $y hmans have made $ears a rare si(ht in Calvert
Conty today.

Bla#k $ears have #ertain ha$itat needs in order to srvive.
'oday, yo &ill take part in an a#tivity to sho& ho& hman
a#tivities #an have #onse*en#es on native &ildlife like the $la#k $ear.
%hemical &utrients and the !ay
Chemi#al ntrients, s#h as fertili8ers are the ma0or polltants &ithin the
Chesapeake Bay. When people se fertili8ers #orre#tly, they are soaked p $y the
land plants and sed to spport plant (ro&th. When too many of these #hemi#al
ntrients are added to the soil, they #an rn off the land and into the &ater.
'hese #hemi#als in the &ater #ase mi#ros#opi# &ater plants #alled al(ae to (ro&.
'oo m#h al(ae makes the &ater #lody and the nder&ater (rasses #an die from
loss of snli(ht. Belo& is an illstration that sho&s &hat #an happen to the &ater
if too many #hemi#al ntrients are added to a lo#al &atershed.
Few chemical
nutrients entering
the bay
Healthy Algae
Growth
Healthy
underwater
plants
A lot of chemical
nutrients entering the
Bay
Too much Algae
grows
Unhealthy
underwater
plants
Water becomes
cloudy
S#hools and the Bay
S#hools have also had a h(e impa#t on the Bay. Jst like farmin(, in order to
make spa#e for a s#hool, lar(e areas of land have had to $e #leared of native trees
and plants. 'he #learin( of the land has #reated areas &here there is a lot of $are
soil. /f it rains on this $are land, soil &ill &ash into the rivers and streams $eside or
s#hools, 0st like it #old from a lar(e farm field.
9lantin( native plants is one of the $est &ays that s#hools #an solve some of
these pro$lems. !ative plants are adapted to the lo#al soil and re*ire less &aterin(
and fertili8er than typi#al (rass. 'heir roots (o deeper than other plants so they are
a$le to #at#h soil $etter and red#e rn off and slo& erosion. 'hese plants &ill also
repla#e the native ha$itat that &as removed from the s#hool (rond and provide
ha$itat for or native &ildlife. By plantin( native plants on the $are spots, arond
or streams, and arond the do&nspots of or s#hools, they #an have a h(e impa#t
on the health of the $ay.