ENVISION ESSENTIALS Session III: Environmental Issues in Frederick County

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.

Join us this Saturday for Session III: ENVISION ESSENTIALS: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN FREDERICK COUNTY (Saturday, June 29th in the Middletown Valley, from 9:00am to 3:00 or 3:30pm).

Many more details below!

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).

Session I attendees

Most of the attendees of Session I of ENVISION ESSENTIALS: SMART GROWTH: LAND USE AND PLANNING, held on Saturday, May 18th at Thorpewood, in the Catoctin Mountains.

Session II group shot

Most of the attendee of Session II of ENVISION ESSENTIALS: LOCAL NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS and GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY TRAINING, held Saturday, June 15th at Bar-T Mountainside, near Urbana.

You can email me at kai.hagen@envisionfrederickcounty.org if you want to sign up for Session III and/or Session IV, or to learn more about the program. But please take a look at the descriptions below first.

Session III

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, including a look the problems and challenges we face, a look at possible solutions, and some of the organizations and efforts here to make that happen.

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!

Here is a descriptions of the offerings for this session, in reverse order to highlight the tour of Holter Farms first:

We are very excited to wrap up the session with an hour and a half tour of the Holterholm Farm with the fifth generation owner and operator, Ron Holter.

The Holterholm Farm is nestled in the fertile Middletown Valley of Frederick County. Ron farms with his son Adam, stewarding over 290 organic acres. The centerpiece enterprise is a 130 cow seasonal, no-grain, pasture-based dairy marketing its milk through Organic Valley Cooperative. Regenerative management practices have been followed since 2000. Ron graduated from Middletown High School in 1981 and continued farming with his family until 1994 when Ron and his wife Kathy bought the business from his parents. Ron began grazing their dairy cows in 1996, started farming organically in 2000 and became certified organic in 2005. Ron and Kathy’s son Adam joined the partnership in 2013.

Their farming philosophy says it best : “We believe that farming should be done within the boundaries that our Creator set when He set the world into motion. We farm knowing that we are just stewards of the land, attempting to improve the land for future generations. No pesticides or herbicides are used to cover up problems in our farming practices. We believe agriculture begins with the soil, culminates in diversity, and produces a quality product in proportion to the attention we give it.”

Visit the Holter Farm on the web or on Facebook!

Before we head out for the tour, we are very pleased to have Mike Tidwell, the Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) 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.

Mike TidwellMike Tidwell is founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.. He is also an author and filmmaker who predicted in vivid detail the Katrina hurricane disaster in his 2003 book Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast. His most recent book, focusing on Katrina and global warming, is titled The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Race to Save America’s Coastal Cities. His 2004 documentary film, We Are All Smith Islanders, vividly depicts the dangers of global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.

Tidwell has been featured in numerous national media outlets including NBC’s Meet the Press, NPR, the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, Politico, and the Washington Post.

In 2003, Tidwell received the Audubon Naturalist Society’s prestigious Conservation Award. Two years later he received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. A long-time resident of Maryland, Tidwell lives in Takoma Park with his wife Beth and son Sasha.

Visit the Chesapeake Climate Action Network on the web, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Veggie Annie logoMike will also be joining us for a great lunch, provided by Veggie Annie, whose fantastic lunch at Session II got rave reviews!

Kevin G. Sellner, Ph.D. will take us through an outstanding presentation and discussion about water issues in Frederick County, including a good look at how so many of our practices and policy choices put our surface and groundwater at risk…or can help protect them.

Kevin has a remarkable talent for discussing complex scientific issue in highly comprehensible terms for the rest of us, and making it relevant to the issues we face and the opportunities we have here in Frederick County.

Trained as a biological oceanographer and phytoplankton ecologist, Dr. Kevin Sellner focused his initial research career on phytoplankton dynamics and fate of primary production in fresh and marine waters. His interests expanded to harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the mid-1980’s which he continues to pursue in his retirement designing and implementing cyanobacteria projects for local waters in western

Maryland, USA. Sellner joined Hood College’s Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies as a Senior Scholar in 2015 where he continues HAB research with students and colleagues.

CCWS logo

Recent projects have explored several mitigation techniques for freshwater and brackish cyanobacteria blooms, including flushing, flocculation, acidification, barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) additions, low level algicide input, and peroxide loading to reduce microcystin-producing cyanobacteria. He is a new member of the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council’s Strategies for Preventing & Managing Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms (HCBs) Team which will draft mitigation reports, guidance documents, and factsheets on mitigating US freshwater cyanobacteria blooms. He has published more than 100 papers, reports, and factsheets with two recent reviews of prevention, control, and mitigation techniques for HABs in fresh and marine waters.

As a Frederick County, MD resident, is a member of the Frederick County Sustainability Commission and advises county and city officials on local water quality, land use, and future conditions under our changing climate. He was also a member of the Energy and Environment Working Group during the drafting of the Livable Frederick Master Plan.

Visit the Hood College Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies on the web and on Facebook.

Setting up Kevin, will be Envision Frederick County‘s Director, Kai Hagen, who will lead an interactive discussion about environmental issues in Frederick County, highlighting key battles and legislation over the last two decades, the development and work of many different organizations, some key moments and battles, and a look at what is happening now.

Kai HagenKai is the Director of Envision Frederick County. He is currently an at-large member of the Frederick County Council, and was previously a member of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners (2006-2010). He

Kai and his wife, Kirsten, have two sons, Tor, 27, and Leif, 22. After growing up in Washington DC, Kai left the area to attend St. Olaf College in Minnesota, returning east after a dozen years there and eight more in California. For most of that time, he worked with a number of environmental organizations, on a broad range of issues. The family moved to the City of Frederick in 1995, and then to northern Frederick County in 2000.

Since they first settled in Frederick County, Kai has been highly engaged in the community. That has included volunteering with local organizations, serving on a variety of boards and commissions, coaching soccer and basketball, writing columns for the Frederick News Post and Gazette, hosting a community-focused radio show, and more. For the last eight years, he has served as the Director of Envision Frederick County, a non-profit organization founded on the 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.

Welcoming us after some coffee and donuts will be Mike and Sherie Koob, our hosts for the morning sessions at Middletown United Methodist Church.

Middletown United Methodist Church

Mike and Sheri will kick of the session with a presentation about the Multi-faith Alliance of Climate Stewards of Frederick County. The alliance is one of a number of local, Frederick County-based organizations that have developed in recent years to work on different…but often overlapping…environmental issues in our broader community.

The Multi-faith Alliance of Climate Stewards operates on a very simple premise:

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children… our mission is to act locally on our moral duty to future generations by protecting the earth and its inhabitants from harmful impacts of climate change.”

Mike and Sherie Koob worship at Middletown UMC in the Frederick District of the Baltimore-Washington Conference (BWC) where they each serve as Lay Members to Annual Conference.

Mike is passionate for the Care of God’s very good Creation. He launched the Environmental and Climate Justice Group at Middletown UMC. He is a Global Ministries Earthkeeper having been in the inaugural class of 2016. He is a certified study leader of the Climate Justice Study offered at Mission u in 2016 and 2017. Mike is the Creation Care representative on the BWC Advocacy and Action Team. He worked diligently on the successful campaigns to ban fracking in Maryland and on the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act. Mike is also a founding member of the MultiFaith Alliance of Climate Stewards (MACS) of Frederick County. He has taught children, youth, and adults in the local church setting as well as at Camp Manidokan.

After a first career in Information Technology he has worked as both a High School Substitute Teacher and as a Tax Preparer. He has a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.B.A.

Sherie was already organizing monthly trash collection drives of neighborhood children when she entered 5th grade and was astounded to learn her teacher, Mr. Harner, was a serious Conservationist! She took what he taught to help explain to younger children the impact their work had on the environment. Sherie has been a Certified Lay Minister since 2013, and currently serves as the BWC Secretary of United Methodist Women as well as Secretary of the Conference Mission u Team. She has served in a variety of positions on the Local, District and Conference levels including as a member of the BWC 2016 Delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. She was a Reserve Delegate to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. She aspires* to become an Earthkeeper and join her husband in spreading the word that we must care for our common home.

Sherie has worked professionally as the Stewardship Coordinator at her local church, as a Church Consultant, in a Finance/H.R. office, as an Executive Assistant and as a Conference Planner. She has a B.S. in Recreation Resources Administration.

The Koob’s have been married for more than 30 years, have three adult children and four grandchildren. They use a solar domestic hot water system, clothes line, composter, hybrid vehicle, vegetable garden, rain barrel and they buy their home’s electric power needs from a wind farm and many of their groceries are locally sourced at a co-op. “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” Amos 5:25 and Blessed Assurance are favorites.

AGAIN: You can email me at kai.hagen@envisionfrederickcounty.org if you want to sign up for Session III and/or Session IV, or to learn more about the program.

$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!

PLEASE NOTE: We are very grateful to few sponsors, who have made it possible to offer the day for a discounted rate (50% or $40.00), if it would make a difference to you.

Four weeks from now will be our final session of our inaugural year of ENVISION ESSENTIALS. Here is a little information about that day. Please join us!

Session IV

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 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.

$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