KILLER COLD: Drowning is the nation's second-leading cause of accidental death for people under 44, and half of all drownings occur outside the normal boating/swimming season, according to Washington's Center for Environmental Physiology.

To help people understand the link between cold shock and sudden drowning, the center is holding a cold-water survival workshop from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today at the Washington Canoe Club on the Potomac at Georgetown. Included is a talk by W. Moulton Avery on cold shock and immersion hypothermia and water demonstrations of eskimo rolling, group rescues, solo rescues and sea kayaking skills. The session is free and open to the public.

FRIEND OF FEATHERED: Washington ornithologist Chandler Robbins has won the $15,000 Chuck Yeager Award, presented to a wildlife management or research professional who demonstrates exemplary field work on behalf of fish and wildlife populations.

A 44-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Robbins is known for developing a national bird-monitoring system and for compiling several popular field guides. He recently turned his attention to the decline of birds that winter in neotropical areas like Mexico, the Caribbean and Cuba.

TO BE JOLLY: One of the region's nicer Christmas traditions occurs Saturday -- the annual Christmas Lights Parade in Annapolis Harbor. Sailors and motorboaters decorate their craft lavishly with lights and parade around the harbor. It makes for a spectacular sight under a clear, winter sky, and it's free. Festivities start at 6 p.m. City Dock is a good place to watch from.

GOBBLE: Virginia's Wildlife Chief, Bob Duncan, reports that while deer hunting season got off to a slow start last month because of warm weather, turkey hunting has been "phenomenal." Next obvious question: Where do you hunt, Bob?

MOON UNIT: Some observant readers may have noticed that tides on the Potomac and elsewhere were extreme last weekend. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports it was due to an unusual alignment of sun, moon and earth that increased gravitational forces.

Look for a repeat Dec. 30-Jan. 2, NOAA warns, as heavenly bodies again line up so that the earth's oceans are pushed and pulled in unusually strong ways.

BRIDGE BARGAIN: People who cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge frequently to fish, hunt or hit the beaches will be pleased to learn the bridge authority offers a 10-trip package of tickets for $10, good for six months. That's a $15 savings off the regular fare. Ask the toll-taker for a booklet next time you cross.