Conservation and Education are the primary focus of the BCC-IWLA's mission. The C&E Committee meets as needed in the BCC-IWLA Chapterhouse, to plan & organize execution of each year's conservation activities and events on the farm and at other locations around Maryland.
Conservation is Everyone’s Mission
Conservation Education Committee Chair
The Labor Day Holiday officially marks the end of summer, the return to school for many of our B-CC IWLA family members, and the countdown until the fall leaves begin to show their color. Fear not, there is still a lot of great weather ahead that will allow our Chapter members to get out and enjoy the beauty of our 623-acre Conservation Farm. I’ve been told that exceptionally large Large-Mouth Bass are still being caught in the Big Pond, that the woods are full of resident and migrant birds preparing for winter, and with the early fall showers, the mushrooms will begin to re-appear in great numbers.
As you recall, in 2010 and 2012 our Chapter purchased 100-acres of woodlands north of the Boy Scout Woods, known as the Northeast Woods. Then we began the process of protecting these new properties from future development. This started by “severing” the “property development rights” or TRDs from the property, and putting these up for sale. The sale of these TDR’s will provide income to the Chapter to help pay off its loan from the B-CC IWLA Rural Legacy Foundation which was used to purchase the properties. Next, the Chapter submitted applications for the Natural Resources Inventory / Forest Stand Delineation (NRI/FSD) and Forest Mitigation Programs (FMP) administered by the Montgomery County National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The former is a detailed inventory of forest plants and trees contained within the Chapters 623-acre Conservation Farm, and the latter is a program that will give the Chapter “credits” for the number of acres of forest and woodlands that qualify under the Forest Mitigation Program’s specific criteria. Like the TDRs, these credits may be sold to developers that desire to develop other land that is appropriately zoned, and will provide the Chapter with additional income over time. The good news is that both the Chapter’s NRI/FSD and FMP applications have been accepted by the M-NCPPC and are on their way to approval.
The next phase of ensuring protection for all of the Conservation Farm’s property is to establish a Conservation Easement for the newly acquired Northeast Woods property, and to update and amend the existing Conservation Easements for the West Woods properties to reflect “best management practices” for forests and woodlands in our region.
To this end, incoming Chapter President Frank Parker has established a Conservation Easement Committee, chaired by Butch Mezick, that is charged with developing and revising the Conservation Easements for our Conservation Farm. This Committee will work with representatives of the Montgomery County National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Potomac Conservancy and the Sugarloaf Countryside Conservancy, to explore the existing easement contracts and together develop necessary changes or new documents and negotiate agreements that will be in the best interest of the Chapter in perpetuity.
As you can see, the behind the scenes work of many B-CC IWLA members and affiliated organizations and county agencies are ongoing and necessary to insure the future of our Conservation Farm as a no development zone in Western Maryland. We owe a great deal of thanks to these members and their ongoing work on behalf of our Chapter and the IWLA.
Finally, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of serving as the Chapter’s Conservation and Education Chair since it was passed to me by the late Roger Sears in 2009. But it is time for some new leadership to step in and lead the conservation activities that best serve our membership. Thus, I will be stepping down as the Chair of the Conservation and Education Committee this year. If you or anyone you know would like to assume the leadership of this Committee, please contact our President Frank Parker (email@example.com) and discuss your desire to serve the Chapter with him.
We need our members to become involved, so come out to support our “Conservation Mission” and participate in the C&E Committee and its activities. If you have an activity in mind and/or would like to lead an event, contact C&E Acting Chair Steven Swartz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Each year, Heritage Montgomery hosts the FREE Heritage Days Celebration on the last weekend of June. Sponsored by HM since 2004, this countywide festival offers visitors the opportunity to discover venues from Silver Spring to Poolesville, Bethesda to Clarksburg – and everywhere in between. Heritage Days is the perfect chance to enjoy many small sites that are not regularly open to the public. Learn about the history of dairy farming, railroads, and trolleys; African American communities, astronomy, local arts & culture, and outdoor recreation. Many venues offer live music, games and crafts for children, and refreshments.