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At its recent annual membership meeting, the Harford Land Trust celebrated a highly successful year in 2009 in which the organization played an active role in the state’s recent acquisition of additional land in the Falling Branch area of Rocks State Park and in protecting other land along Deer Creek in Northern Harford County.

The group also honored Eden Mill Nature Center director Frank Marsden with its first Conservation Award.

More than 100 members and guests attended the 18th annual meeting at Fiore Winery in Pylesville March 13.

Kent Whitehead, Chesapeake region project director of the Trust for Public Land, or TPL, gave members and guests the latest news on conservation projects in Harford County and the Chesapeake Bay area.

After an overview of TPL’s nationwide effort to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, Whitehead spoke about the recent 130-acre acquisition of Falling Branch.

“The Trust for Public Land is very pleased to have been a part of this cooperative effort. This acquisition will increase the outdoor recreation opportunities for Marylanders and contribute to an overall landscape preservation program that has been the joint effort of DNR, Harford County and the Harford Land Trust for a number of years,” Whitehead said.

Committee chairpersons reported that the Harford Land Trust continued to monitor its properties and easements, assisted landowners interested in preserving their land, held work days to clean up properties and make improvements by creating hiking trails and held public outreach events including hikes and kayak trips.

Glenn Dudderar, HLT vice president and Lands Committee chair, spoke to the membership about the highlight of the 2009 year, the unique partnership of the land trust, H. P. White Laboratory in Street, community members and Harford County Council members that protected, by deed restriction, the natural resources on 97 acres and .7 miles of Deer Creek shoreline and at the same time enabled an important testing facility to have a measured expansion of its business operations.

“Our staff, volunteers and supporters stepped up and allowed us to face the significant challenges in 2009. With leadership from the board, we were able to limit expenses yet still expand our outreach and stewardship. We did not marginalize our successes in land preservation, outreach and stewardship in the last year. The work of our local land trust continued to provide important public benefits of fresh water, clean air, local food, special places we can explore, cultural preservation, places for healthy recreation and habitat for wildlife. It’s only possible to achieve these goals by continuing to expand membership to fulfill our mission of conserving land and protecting the natural resources, scenic beauty, rural character and healthy way of life in Harford County,” HLT President Harry V. Webster Jr., reflecting on 2009, said.

Outreach Committee Chair Linn Griffiths and Webster presented Harford Land Trust’s first Conservation Award to Eden Mill’s Marsden, who was recognized for his dedication to connecting families and youth to the natural world, his perseverance and devotion to the improvement and expansion of Eden Mill Nature Center, his years of exemplary volunteerism and his personal commitment to protecting the environment and natural resources.

Certificates of appreciation were given to HLT volunteers Carol Deibel, Curtis Diering and Fran Wyre, as well as outgoing board member John Rigdon. Nancy Wirtenan was introduced as the new volunteer membership coordinator. Surprise recognition was given to HLT president Webster by the board of directors and staff for his “extraordinary dedication.”

Gratitude was extended by the HLT to Rose and Mike Fiore for donating the use of their banquet rooms at Fiore Winery.

For more information of the Harford Land Trust, visit the organization’s Web site, www.harfordlandtrust.org or its fan page on Facebook.


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