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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

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Chesapeake Bay Watershed Tag

ESLC celebrates new String of Pearls landowner recipients

On Thursday, November 1st at ESLC's Sassafras Environmental Education Center (SEEC) in Kennedyville, MD, the Chesapeake Bay String of Pearls Project and ESLC celebrated four Kent County landowners for their contributions in preserving land forever. Hosted by Wayne Gilchrest, the ceremony included toasts, a small reception, refreshments, music (by CBF's Alan Girard & friend), and plein air paintings of the new “Pearls”. The goal of this project is to connect enough “Pearls” to form a series of “Strings” – natural corridors for wildlife and biodiversity of habitat to hold the landscape together. String of Pearls strives to create a balance between development and best use of our land…our precious natural resource. This crop of Pearls are all working Kent County farms, and proudly continue the String of Pearls network, connecting preservation around the Bay. More about each Pearl below: Fair Hill Farms – The Fry’s permanently preserved more than 550 acres of their dairy farm with two conservation easements, held by ESLC and partners MET. Provides views of open fields and rolling hills from Maryland’s Rt. 213 scenic byway. Owners: Matt & Megan Fry, Ed & Marian Fry. St. Brigid’s Farm – 62 conserved acres where roughly 200 animals graze on the farm’s permanent pasture, providing dairy and grass fed/finished beef to individuals & restaurants. Owners: Robert Fry & Judith Gifford. Oldfield Point Farms – another property located along Rt. 213, the Starkey Family permanently protected 678 acres of their Galena farm, which also contains 10k feet along the Sassafras River. This is what we call a Keystone Eastern Shore Property, meaning a large, intact farm visible from the road and includes waterfront property and wildlife habitats. Owners: William & Barbara Starkey, Brennan & Patricia Starkey, Christopher & Elizabeth Starkey. Three Lane Farm – 421 acres of Galena farmland permanently protected with easements held by ESLC & MET.

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ESLC awarded grant to continue Envision the Choptank program

Thanks to a grant totaling $107,744 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), ESLC will continue to coordinate various organizations, agencies, and community groups to develop collaborative, evidence-based solutions that enhance the health and productivity of native oyster reefs and provide a swimmable and fishable Choptank River. The Envision the Choptank project will expand upon the partnership’s ongoing Best Management Practice implementation efforts by providing the nutrient and stormwater reductions equivalent to 50 rain barrels and five rain gardens. Envision the Choptank: Coordinating Efforts for a Healthy Choptank River (MD) Grantee: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy CBSF Award: $80,779 Matching Funds: $26,965 Total Project: $107,744 The award was announced as one of the recipients of the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund 2017 Grant Slate. The Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund seeks to protect and enhance the water quality and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay by helping local communities clean up and restore their polluted rivers and streams. NFWF advances cost-effective and creative solutions with financial and technical assistance. The Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund will identify priority subwatersheds to simultaneously achieve measurable water quality improvements, fish and wildlife habitat enhancements, and benefit threatened freshwater and marine fish species. The fund includes two distinct grant programs: the Chesapeake Bay Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants program and the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants program. Through these two programs, the fund is awarding 44 grants that address three key strategies for the Chesapeake Bay watershed: • Targeted river and watershed restoration • Green infrastructure in urban landscapes • Innovation on cross-cutting issues

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Kent County Middle School students complete Chesapeake Bay Watershed project

To clean up the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students of Kent County Middle School have been working on a watershed improvement project. With the guidance of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy staff at the Sassafras Environmental Education Center (SEEC), the 8th grade students identified schoolyard problems that contribute to issues in the Bay. They noticed problems with animal waste, trash and standing water on the school grounds. They added waste baskets and recycling bins along their track, as well as a pet waste station. Students designed signage notifying individuals that they have installed waste baskets as well as recycling bins, and encouraging them to clean up after their pets. Students also planted a 12 native shrubs and perennials along the fence below the tennis courts, where the ground is often wet from water running off of the courts and parking lot. Work began on May 26th, and you are openly invited to come and get some exercise on the exercise stations, or take your dog with you! As part of the project, students directed almost all aspects of the project, including the writing of this press release! (Written by: Alexander Sipes, Joshua Unkle, and Shania Wolfe.) For more information about SEEC, please contact Education Program Manager Jaime Belanger at jbelanger@eslc.org or 410.348.5214. SEEC is staffed by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and headquartered at Turners Creek in Kennedyville, MD on land owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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