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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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Wayne Gilchrest 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’s Wayne Gilchrest awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

ESLC Education Program Director (Sassafras Environmental Education Center) Wayne Gilchrest received the Meritorious Service Award (Lifetime Achievement) at the inaugural Environmental Business Leadership Conference, hosted by the Maryland Environmental Service on July 19th at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis. The impressive one-day program featured a lineup of nearly 40 experts from across many, key environmental fields, discussing riveting topics in a dozen business programs and breakout sessions, networking with industry leaders, and more. Following a competitive nomination and selection process, the awardees were selected by a fifteen-member panel. The awards were presented at the sold-out affair. The complete list of award recipients included: Environmental Business Leadership - Public Sector: The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., Governor of Maryland Environmental Business Leadership - Private Sector: Thomas Maulding, Weller Development Co. Meritorious Service Award (Lifetime Achievement): The Honorable Wayne T. Gilchrest, Director, Sassafras Environmental Education Center, and former Member of Congress from Maryland Rising Star: Diane Croghan, Anne Arundel County Government Environmental Excellence - Sustainability: Marriott International, Inc. (being accepted by Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, Marriott International) Environmental Excellence - Environmental Restoration: Barbara McMahon, MDOT Maryland Port Administration Environmental Excellence - Solid Waste Management: Mr. Trash Wheel (being accepted by John Kellet, President, Clearwater Mills, LLC) “Each of the Environmental Business Leadership Awards recipients are exemplary individuals and organizations that have consistently demonstrated strong leadership and determination to strengthen and preserve Maryland’s environment,” said Roy McGrath, chairman and chief executive officer of the Maryland Environmental Service. “This inaugural group of awardees has set the bar very high and serve as examples of how good stewardship of the environment intersects positively with business and industry,” he added. The regional event brings together key business and environmental leaders to collaborate and learn about the latest environmental business and product innovations, technologies, and opportunities.  

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AmeriCorps members volunteer at SEEC

(By Dorian Mitchell of The Kent County News – July 24, 2017) TURNERS CREEK — Volunteers from AmeriCorps are spending their summer in Kent County, working to improve the Sassafras Environmental Education Center and to help youngsters learn about the world of nature. Speaking Monday, member Steven Zimmer of Iowa said AmeriCorps is a government-sponsored organization that sends volunteers ages 18 to 24 to various communities throughout the U.S. to “perform needed services.” “We hail from all corners of the country,” Zimmer, 22, said. “So far I’ve been to Pennsylvania, Mississippi and upstate New York.” He said his group, consisting of six other volunteers and a team leader, were sent to the SEEC by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy in June. They work eight hours a day, five to six days a week, around the center and the Knocks Folly Visitors Center in Kennedyville. Their tasks include working with children in the center’s summer camps, maintaining the surrounding nature trails, removing invasive plant species, performing water quality tests and more. “It’s been hot work,” said Jacob Northcutt-Walker, 19, of Flint, Mich. “But it’s been a good lifestyle experience to be working with plants and water. He said AmeriCorps volunteers serve for 10 months. They average about $13 every day and also have a living stipend. A graduation ceremony is held at the end of their service and each volunteer receives an educational grant of about $5,000. “You also must be able to learn how to conduct yourself as a person,” Northcutt-Walker said. “No one is going to hand you something you didn’t work for.” SEEC Director and former Congressman Wayne Gilchrest said this is the fourth year AmeriCorps volunteers have worked at the center. He called this year’s volunteers a “great group of young people.” “They’re hardworking, enthusiastic and great with the kids,” Gilchrest said. The AmeriCorps volunteers currently are staying in a house

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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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