May 3rd was Linda Read Day in Port Deposit and the honoree enjoyed her day in the sun quite simply.
“I spent the day in Port Deposit with friends and other folks that were part of the project,” Read said.
The “project” is the six-year effort to get the old Tome Gas House approved, funded and renovated into a Port Deposit visitors center and a working laboratory for the study of the Northern Map Turtle by Towson University students.
“Last year, when the gas house was dedicated, the Mayor and Council gave me a proclamation,” Read said.
That proclamation resulted in last week’s day honoring Read.
Read has been involved in a number of initiatives around town and in the county. She has been the co-chair, for the past 12 years, of the Lower Susquehanna Rockfish Tournament in Port Deposit. This year’s tournament is June 2. Read is also on the board of the Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, which has been restoring the Skipjack Martha Lewis, writing grants and doing hands-on restoration work. She also serves on the town’s election board. In the past, she was very active in the county’s Chamber of Commerce.
The Tome Gas House Project was probably the most involved volunteer project she has undertaken, she said.
“It pretty much took up all my spare time,” Read said.
She worked to help the town forge a relationship with Towson University. Getting the Gas House project moving involved a lot of planning.
“Then we went into fundraising,” she said. “The project was more than $1 million.”
The State Highway Administration helped with a lot of the funds needed through a grant program. Some of the key work on the project was provided by volunteers, she added.
Then came the construction phase where Read worked to manage the work of completing the renovations and new construction.
“It really was a huge project for such a small town,” Read said.
As for how things are going with the Northern Map Turtle research, Read said, “The turtles are doing fine.”
She noted that Port Deposit has served as the launch site for research on this endangered turtle species and those studies have now gone beyond the town’s waterfront, extending down the river and even upstream above the Conowingo Dam.
“The science continues with researchers looking at nesting areas,” Read said. “It is encouraging.”
It is nesting time with young turtles beginning to emerge. If people find turtles in their yards, Read suggests they report it to the town hall. The town hall phone number is 410-378-2121.
As for her next big project around town, Read said she is looking and will find something that grabs her interest and she will be volunteering.
“We all need to do things in our community to make a positive impact,” Read said.