Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


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

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sassafras Tag

At Risk Teenagers and a Water Snake – A Memory from Wayne Gilchrest, SEEC Program Director

As we were walking through a patch of young forest on a deer trail filled with periodic spasms of multiflora rose sticker bushes and biting June flies, the “at risk” teenage students from Kent County High School, voiced their displeasure with screams and groans of “You can’t do this to us,” and “This is boring!”  Still we, the teacher and myself, continued walking, issuing words of encouragement and adding things like, “This is what it may have been like before the first humans walked this land, when there were still mastodons and caribou and bears, long before the Chesapeake Bay was formed,” and “You’re walking a trail like the ones the first Americans traveled, following their food source into this untouched wilderness.” Then, as we approached the older forest of towering oaks and beech trees, with a forest floor shaded out by the thick canopy of leaves, thus mostly cleared of obstacles, you could feel an almost imperceptible modicum of attention from the students. The demands of a confined classroom day after day, often cause attention fatigue in students.  This symptom is the result of a setting nearly vacant of natural stimuli and students’ individual insecurities in the classroom. A teacher’s often futile attempts at, “let me have your attention,” voiced repeatedly during the school day are replaced at SEEC (Sassafras Environmental Education Center) by the ancient rhythms of man’s evolving relationship with the wilderness. At last we reach our destination.  A beaver dam.  I step down the slope to stand next to the lodge built into the bank at the edge of the beaver pond.  Ready to explain the ecosystem created by the beaver family, I suddenly see something move out of the corner of my eye at the top of the lodge.   One of my unvoiced fears is about to be

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ESLC, DNR Celebrate Grand Opening of Sassafras Environmental Education Center

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) and former U.S. Congressman, Wayne Gilchrest today celebrated the grand opening of the Sassafras Environmental Education Center (SEEC). SEEC, an environmental education and agro-ecology program at Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area in Kent County, is the result of a unique partnership between DNR and ESLC. This partnership connects Maryland’s children with nature and explores potential models for innovative agricultural activities supporting both local food supply and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.  The project will involve a range of activities for children. “SEEC will give these kids a deep frame of reference for the ecology and their place in the ecology,” said Wayne Gilchrest, Program Director for SEEC. “When you have an understanding of your own niche and how it can be compatible with nature’s design, you can see the greater impact and be a better steward of our planet.” “I want to thank Congressman Gilchrest for his vision and enthusiasm; he was the driving force behind the Sassafras Environmental Education Center,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The SEEC is a prime example of unique partners, both private and public, coming together for the benefit of Maryland children. Through outdoor education, our children learn to appreciate our natural world and become the next generation of stewards.” Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a regional conservation organization dedicated to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore.  SEEC programs are one way ESLC is able to increase access to land and engage youth and their families in these activities. ESLC will collaborate with the SEEC through complimenting educational efforts and will work to ensure children on the Shore find ways to explore their rural heritage. “Working with youth and providing more opportunities for people from all walks of life to learn about

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Recent Posts

  • What is a Mosaic?
  • Q & A: Brad Rogers, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership
  • Sponsorship Spotlight: PRS Guitars
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Carbon Emissions
  • Roots Monthly Giving Spotlight: Amanda Thornley
  • Big Changes on the Horizon for the CREP Easement Program
  • Trails Get a Boost Across the Shore
  • Seven Legislative Efforts That Could Impact Eastern Shore Land Use and Preservation
  • Land Protection for All
  • Board Spotlight: Jules Hendrix
  • New Regional Trail Map Shows Existing and Potential Trails for a Growing Network
  • Saving Maryland’s Tidal Salt Marshes
  • From the President: The Eastern Shore’s Most Urgent Conservation Need in 2024
  • Review: ESLC Forests and Forestry Workshop
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Bollman