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Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

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ESLC’S 10th Annual Planning Conference Site of Regional Transportation Summit

Annual event to feature carbon neutral options, local foods luncheon
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC),  has announced its 10th annual Planning Conference, which will be held on Friday, Nov. 7 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

This year’s conference, “Where are the Eastern Shore’s Roads Taking Us?’ will gather leaders from the region and across the country to collaborate and problem solve about one of the most important issues on the Eastern Shore – transportation. ESLC recently kicked off a long-term transportation campaign aimed at learning how the region can effectively shape and influence transportation decisions and the annual planning conference is one of the major ways ESLC plans to gather expert ideas on this and related land use issues. Keynote speaker Reid Ewing, PhD of the National Center for Smart Growth Education and Research will discuss how global climate change, a changing economy, rising gas prices and shifting housing market demands are creating a new paradigm for transportation and land use planning, especially on the Eastern Shore.

 “We are at a real crossroads when it comes to planning for our transportation needs for the future and we are incredibly excited to bring together our local planners and leaders and state and national experts on transportation to talk about an issue that affects all of ours lives on a daily basis,” said Amy Owsley, ESLC’s Director of Land Use Planning. “It is our sincere hope that this conference will help start a regional dialogue so that together we can explore and select the best solutions for our evolving transportation problems.”

In addition to a series of interactive panels and discussions, the conference will offer attendees several carbon reducing options and incentives including the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets, eliminating disposable tableware for lunch and breaks, recycling options throughout the venue, composting of food residues and free transportation to and from the conference site from a number of pick-up sites throughout the Shore. The MUST bus system will provide free public transportation to and from the conference. This arrangement is part of a collaborative effort between Delmarva Community Transit in Dorchester County, USTAR in Kent, Caroline and Talbot Counties, Queen Anne’s County, County Ride, and Lower Shore Transit.

“Being able to provide our conference attendees with the opportunity to really do something that will reduce their carbon footprint is an exciting new element to this conference,” said John Seward, Land Use Planner for ESLC. “We are so grateful to the MUST partners for helping bring these free bus services to the conference. And hope that the convenience of being able to avoid the commute to the conference combined with some fun prizes we have in store for participants in the program will give us a high level of participation.”

Panel discussions will explore both regional solutions to make travel between and among our towns easier and less auto-dependent, and also look at Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing cross alternatives.  Rounding out the conference will be a hands-on, facilitated group discussion to draw out the transportation priorities most important to the future of the Eastern Shore.
Recipients of this year’s Eastern Shore 2010 Achievement Awards will be recognized at a special local foods lunchtime ceremony.  This year’s awards are focused on the Eastern Shore 2010’s Goal 4, “Develop a regional transportation plan by 2010 that provides alternatives to a new Bay crossing and emphasizes the use of alternative and public transportation within and among communities.” Since 2001, these awards have distinguished outstanding leadership on local policies, programs, and development projects that demonstrate how the Shore can grow without losing its special qualities.

To register for this year’s Planning Conference, please contact Laura Sanford at 410.901.9988 or email lsanford@eslc.org.

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