Since the earliest days of colonial settlement, Maryland has been described as a land of natural beauty. Situated on the border between temperate and tropical climes, with access to both salt and fresh waters, the State offers a unique diversity in topography and biology.
Throughout the State, the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Department of Natural Resources oversees Wildlife Management Areas. These 61 protected areas total 123,496 acres, and may offer limited recreational activities.
The Fisheries Service of the Department of Natural Resources manages Maryland's Fishery Management Areas. These 1,208 acres include State hatcheries as well as public areas for fishing and boating.
Black & Yellow Orb-Weaver Spider (Argiope aurantia), Glen Burnie, Maryland, August 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), Glen Burnie, Maryland, April 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra s. serpentina), Annapolis, Maryland, May 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Countless different species* may be observed in Maryland's natural areas, and are divided by numerous physical features. The most abundant families are amphibia (amphibians); arthropods (crustaceans, insects, & spiders); aves (birds); mammalia (mammals); and reptilia (reptiles). Often, they are classified further by diet, as carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores, although this division can be narrowed to define specific dietary habits, such as insectivores.
Catalpa sphinx caterpillar, Glen Burnie, Maryland, September 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Maryland maintains nearly forty thousand acres of wildlands, which are encompassed by State parks, forests, and wildlife management areas. These areas allow for Maryland's natural wildlife to thrive virtually undisturbed. State wildlands are protected by law, and are monitored and protected by the Natural Resources Police Force.
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland, June 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
*(specific animals are classified by eight main taxonomic ranks: domain; kingdom; phylum; class; order; family; genus; and species)
© Copyright February 11, 2016 Maryland State Archives