ENVISION ESSENTIALS begins on Saturday, May 18th! Sign up!

Please take a few moments to read about this new program. It might be just what you were looking for, even if you didn’t know it.

Envision Essentials

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We are very excited about this new Envision Frederick County program, which closely aligns with our operating principle that informed public discourse and active engagement of individuals and groups in our civic life are essential to our mutual well-being and prosperity.

ENVISION ESSENTIALS is comprised of four distinct sessions, each on a Saturday, spread out over two months, in four great venues scattered across our beautiful county. Each session runs from 9:00am to 3:00 or 3:30 pm, and includes a nice lunch and a walking tour (see below).

You can email me at kai.hagen@envisionfrederickcounty.org if you want to sign up or learn more about it. But please take a look at the descriptions below first.

Session 1

Saturday, May 18th at Thorpewood
9:00am to 3:00 or 3:30pm

Our first session will be held in the beautiful Thorpewood Lodge, set in the forest, in the heart of the Catoctin Mountains, We will take advantage of this location with a walking tour of the arboretum and gardens and more after a nice lunch.

Here is the schedule for the first session:

Saturday, May 18th at Thorpewood
9:00am to 3:30pm

8:45 to 9:00am – Gather, coffee, network

9:00 to 9:30 – Kai Hagen (Director of Envision Frederick County and Frederick County Council member, at-large): Welcome. Introductions. And a look at the impact of land use, planning and development choices on everything else in our community, and an introduction to basic Smart Growth principles.

9:30 to 10:30 – Eric Soter (Principal, Director of Research & Analytics at Rodgers Consulting and the former Director of Planning for Frederick County): “Planning 101,” which will include a presentation about the basic way in which planning works and happens in the county, including the process (comprehensive planning and individual zoning and development elements and processes) and the parts (what is the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, etc. This will also clarify the role of the County Executive and County Council in planning, and the broad state parameters within which county planning occurs).

10:30 to 10:45 BREAK

10:45 to 12:00 – Denis Supercynski and John Dimitriou (Frederick County planners): Denis and John will be doing an in-depth version of their excellent presentation on the important and timely Livable Frederick Master Plan process and draft, with time for questions and discussion.

12:00 to 12:30 LUNCH

12:30 to 1:30 – Walking tour of Thorpewood (In case of inclement weather post lunch session will begin earlier at 1pm)

1:30 to 2:15 Jim Racheff (active citizen, Chair of the Livable Frederick Steering Committee, member of the City of Frederick Board of Zoning Appeals, etc): Jim will share his experience as an active citizen and volunteer, engaged in local government and planning in many ways over the years, in both the city and county.

2:15 to 3:15 – Richard Hall (certified professional planner, former Maryland Department of Planning Secretary, under O’Malley, a “Smart & Sustainable Growth Leader”): Rich will fill in some history, the role of state government in land use and planning, Smart Growth tools, and more.

3:15 Kai Hagen: Wrap up and a quick look at the next three sessions.

Session 2

Saturday, June 15th at Bar-T Mountainside
9:00am to 3:00 or 3:30pm

The morning of the second session will be dedicated to a close look at the role and impact of the great diversity of non-profit organizations in our broader community. That will include a variety of presentations from representatives of a carefully selected cross-section of those organizations — selected to capture the range of issues they tackle, the different ways in which they work to achieve their goals, and more — with a few inspiring personal stories about how a people created and built these organizations, often from scratch.

We will have a nice lunch together, and then take a tour of the amazing facilities and landscape at Bar-T Mountainside (located near Sugarloaf Mountain), including their solar and wind power, an outstanding stream restoration project, their new regenerative agriculture efforts, and more.

The rest of the afternoon will be dedicated to an excellent grassroots advocacy training session, led by Michele Waxman Johnson, with the assistance of a few other local organizers.

Session 3

Saturday, June 29th in Middletown Valley
9:00am to 3:00 or 3:30pm

For our third session, we will be in the Middletown Valley, and the day will focus on a number of important local and regional environmental issues, from the problems and challenges we face to the range of possible solutions.

A sampling of the issues we’ll cover in this session includes agricultural preservation, waste management (including recycling and composting), water quality (including our groundwater and surface waters), the Monocacy River, regenerative agriculture, alternative energy development, our forests, and more.

We are excited to have Mike Tidwell, the Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) join us for lunch, and to lead a discussion about the impacts of climate change on Maryland (and Frederick County), and what local and state governments can do to reduce our contribution to the problem and develop more resilience in the face of changes.

The day will also include a close up tour of a wonderful example of successful organic farming and regenerative agriculture in the beautiful Middletown Valley. Late June will be a great time for this tour!

Session 4

Saturday, July 20th at City Hall and downtown Frederick
9:00am to 3:00 or 3:30pm

The last of the four sessions will be our Local Government Day. It will include time hearing from and speaking with County Executive Jan Gardner, four or more county council members, four aldermen/persons from the City of Frederick, a two mayors from smaller towns in the county, Delegate Ken Kerr and, joining the group for lunch and some discussion, Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Among other things, we’ll learn about how they first got involved in civic life, why they ran for office, about campaigning for and serving in office, their roles in local government, and more.

There will also be a section of the day focused on the basics of local municipal and county government (Local Government 101), including some history, the county’s switch to charter, the basic structure of city and county government, the various divisions/departments that capture the range of facilities and services, the legislative process, etc.

We have worked hard to put together four outstanding, educational, highly engaging and fun sessions for you.

We intend to establish this as an invaluable and evolving annual program for people who want to be more informed, more effectively engaged in our community and/or who might even be or become interested in serving on various boards and commissions, or running for local office themselves.

Because this is the inaugural version of the program, and we appreciate that the first session is not far away, and we really want this first time around to be very positive and productive experience for two or three dozen of you, we are pricing this inaugural program very modestly.

($60.00 per session)

$80.00 each

Learn a lot, have a great time, make some new friends, and help us make this first time around a genuine success!

To SIGN UP or get more information:
Email kai.hagen@envisionfrederickcounty.org