An American bullfrog visits Two Run Branch, a tributary of the Patuxent River, as it flows through Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian, Md., on April 9, 2019. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

If you pay close attention, you may spot an osprey taking flight or an azalea bush in full bloom. You might even be lucky enough to see a river otter splashing by. From its bellowing bullfrogs to its chorus of tree swallows, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary is a treasure trove of biodiversity waiting to be discovered.

Located at the midpoint of the Patuxent River and spanning over 1,700 acres, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary is the largest freshwater tidal wetland in the state of Maryland. Over 15 miles of hiking trails and boardwalks offer visitors views of the wetland’s diverse wildlife, including deer, turtles, frogs, beavers and any of the 100 species of birds known to visit the sanctuary. The wetland is also home to an abundance of plant life, from tall white oaks to beautiful Virginia bluebells.

The secret to Jug Bay’s wide range of wildlife is the sanctuary’s diverse network of habitats, which include freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, creeks, meadows and fields. Visitors have the chance to interact with these habitats and to understand how each plays a unique part in sustaining the sanctuary’s diverse life.

In addition to supporting a wide array of wildlife, Jug Bay plays a critical role in connecting visitors with opportunities for hands-on environmental education, research and stewardship. Whether it is a bird walk led by an expert naturalist, an evening of beaver-spotting or a guided canoe trip down the Patuxent River, the sanctuary’s event calendar is full of fun and informative activities for visitors of all ages.

Volunteers have been important to the sanctuary’s ongoing stewardship projects, with over 200 volunteers choosing to donate their time every year. Volunteers can work on any number of projects, from weeding the butterfly garden to surveying bird populations.

With an assortment of wildlife, a rich history and a staff of expert naturalists, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary has something to offer every visitor. Plan your visit today.

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