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Maryland Environmental Trust Honors Environmental Stewards, Conservation Leaders

Photo of the award winners

Annapolis, Md. (August 1, 2011) — The Board of Trustees of the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) presented the 2011 Conservation Awards at the recent Annual Statewide Land Conservation Conference held in Baltimore and at a meeting in Crownsville. In selecting the winners, the Board considers a variety of factors including the protection of conservation values, the impact on the environment and best management practices.

“These individuals and projects represent the best in conservation, environmental education and volunteerism in Maryland,” said Jim O’Connell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Each award highlights important conservation projects and the important and powerful ways that individuals can significantly impact the environment and help protect the valuable scenic, historic and natural resources in Maryland.”

Jerry and Bobette Harris were honored with the Dillon Award for their work in preserving the unique landscape of the Eastern Shore by donating three conservation easements to MET and purchasing an easement property from the Biophilia Foundation.

The easements combined protect more than 800 acres in Dorchester County and include water quality buffers and scenic views on the Honga River, Spicer Creek, Wallace Creek, Punch Island Creek, Dunnock Slough, the Chicomacomico River and the Chesapeake Bay. This large area is an integral part of preserving the scenic and rural landscape of Dorchester County and protects nearly 300 acres of productive agricultural land. The Forest Management Plan further protects critical forest habitats for delmarva fox squirrels and bald eagles.

The Dillon Award, inaugurated in 2002, is presented annually in honor of Alverta and Louise Dillon of Garrett County. The sisters donated a conservation easement and then left their entire property to MET in 1984. The goals of MET’s conservation easement program complement those of the Dillon Award; promotion of land protection, environmental education and inspirational achievements are considered as much as the number and acreage of donations.

The MET Board of Trustees presented the Aileen Hughes Award to Joanne Flynn, president of the Black Swamp Creek Land Trust for her success over the last decade in promoting land conservation and small-scale sustainable farming in the rural tier of Prince George's County. The trust was formed orignally as a local chapter of the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, and became known as the Black Swamp Creek Land Preservation Group, and later re-formed as an independent nonprofit tax-exempt land trust.

Flynn, together with the Black Swamp Creek Land Trust, has pursued land conservation options with private landowners using government programs and soliciting donations of conservation easements in exchange for tax benefits. She has been instrumental in promoting Maryland's Rural Legacy Program between Croom Road and the Patuxent River, and later advocating for its expansion.

In addition, Flynn and her husband Nick Newlin, purchased a 120-acre farm on Milltown Landing Road preventing its sale for subdivision and development. They have since put approximately half of the farm under a permanent conservation easement through the county's forest conservation program, and will conserve the remainder through other programs. The Aileen Hughes Award is given annually to an individual representing a Maryland land trust for leadership, partnership and innovation in a conservation project. The award is named in honor of the late Aileen Hughes, a true leader in the conservation movement. Hughes was president of the American Chestnut Land Trust and a supporter of women’s and civil rights, as well as the protection of our State’s natural and cultural resources.

   August 1, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) serves as the statewide land trust and is governed by a citizen board of trustees which represent all regions of the state. MET was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly and is affiliated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. MET is one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the country and hold over 1000 conservation easements protecting over 127,000 acres of scenic open space, forest and farm land. MET promotes the protection of open land through its Land Conservation Program, Monitoring and Stewardship Program and Land Trust Assistance Program. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. For more information, visit the website

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million 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 11 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