News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Environmental Trust Announces 2009 Land Conservation Awards

Two Individuals Honored for Leadership in Maryland Land Preservation, Community Outreach

Laurel, MD - The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) presented two awards to individual conservation leaders during the 2009 Maryland Land Trust Alliance Conference at the Patuxent Research Refuge National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel recently. Each year MET recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to preserving rural landscapes and natural areas across the state.

“Marylanders who donate their time and efforts to this important work are true leaders in their communities, and should be recognized as such,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “I commend these individuals for their dedication to conserving Maryland’s diverse lands and resources.”

This year, MET honored Dr. Anson Hines, Director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), with the Dillon Award for Outstanding Conservation Landowner, for the preservation of the 579-acre Contee Farm in Anne Arundel County. The award was created thanks to an endowment from sisters and retired school teachers Alverta and Louise Dillon, who donated their entire Garrett County property to MET in 1984. Alverta and Louise were dedicated naturalists and enthusiastic about conservation and enhancement of the many resources found on their land.

Dr Hines was a major player in bringing the Contee Farm under conservation easement, forging partnerships with MET, the Scenic Rivers Land Trust, DNR, Anne Arundel County, SERC Board members and the original family through legal representatives to make this project successful. The Contee Farm was the largest conservation easement made to MET in 2008 and is co-held by the Scenic Rivers Land Trust. The property at Contee Farm is an outstanding example of a protected landscape for ecological research, environmental education, and public access. The 40 year record of SERC’s stewardship of the Rhode River ensures that the objectives and covenants conserving Contee Farm will be sustained in perpetuity by a highly professional environmental research and education organization.

“The Contee farm forms a contiguous watershed landscape that extends across four miles of fields, forest and wetlands to Chesapeake Bay” says Liz Buxton, Director of MET. “The donation of a conservation easement on this property is significant and we are happy to recognize Dr. Hines for his efforts”.

MET also presented the Aileen Hughes Award for Leadership in Land Conservation to Kate Patton, Executive Director of the Lower Shore Land Trust. The award is given to an individual who represents a Maryland land trust with leadership, partnership and innovation and memorializes the late Aileen Hughes, a leader in the conservation movement and supporter of women’s and civil rights. The Lower Shore Land Trust works to protect the natural heritage, rural character, and historic landscapes of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties by assisting landowners to discover, evaluate, and implement any of the available land preservation options. Ms Patton has brought new perspectives to land conservation work for finding sources of funding, building capacity in a structured manner and working with community partners to involve land preservation in local community planning.

Nearly 50 land conservation organizations attended the Maryland Land Trust Alliance Conference held on May 19, 2009 at the Patuxent Research Refuge National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel, which featured sessions on GIS mapping tools, the valuing of natural resources, conservation easement permanence issues, and environmental financing, as well as updates and briefings from the Land Trust Alliance and land conservation programs. The Conference Keynote Speaker was Ian J. Plant, a critically-acclaimed photographer of natural landscapes and wildlife.

A statewide land trust governed by a citizen board of trustees, the Maryland Environmental Trust was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly to preserve privately owned farm and forest lands and significant natural resources. MET is one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the country. It holds 979 easements and has protected over 120,000 acres across the state. MET promotes the protection of open land through its Land Conservation Program, Monitoring and Stewardship Program and Local Land Trust Assistance Program. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. For more information, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/met and www.conservemd.org.

Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspire action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The Initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.


   June 8, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov