Year-round education center brings community to Fox Haven Farm

Frederick News Post
Ike Wilson
More than 65,000 new trees and shrubs have been planted on the 582-acre farm, which has been certified for organic hay and vegetable production under the Maryland organic certification program. The farm’s conservation, forest stewardship and nutrient management plans guide land-use decisions, but Fox Haven has added a year-round ecological retreat and learning center that offers sustainable practice, weekend or daylong bootcamp workshops, stream walks for exploration and discovery, career and art workshops, and map and compass learning sessions.“For over 30 years, Fox Haven’s forest and farmland have been a proving ground for innovative, sustainable farming practices to restore the health of the land to protect the water quality of Catoctin Creek, and to provide habitat for wildlife,” according to the farm’s mission statement “While we have worked informally to share those practices with others over the years, in 2011 we set a goal to make that information more widely available through an education center that is open year-round,” said Renee Bourassa, the learning center’s deputy director.

[Montgomery County] Organic farm advocates to host fundraiser

Ryan Marshall
Supporters of an organic farm in Potomac are trying to improve their relationship with the Montgomery County Board of Education after a legal controversy over the property, but the school system doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to mend fences. About 150 people, including a crowd of Montgomery County senators, delegates and council members, are expected to attend a fundraiser tonight at Glenview Mansion in Rockville to benefit the nonprofit Brickyard Educational Farm on Brickyard Road in Potomac.

Environmental literacy starts in kindergarten

Frederick News Post
When it comes to the basics, learning about the environment belongs right up there with reading, writing and arithmetic. To that end, the Maryland State Department of Education now mandates that public school students in every district earn an environmental literacy credit as a requirement for graduating from high school. A recent Medill News Service story took a look at efforts here and elsewhere to bring environmental studies into public education. In Maryland, each county devises its own environmental literacy program. Frederick County has chosen — wisely, we believe — to embed its environmental program in social studies and science education

Outdoor fun

Making your yard kid-friendly
Frederick News Post
Kristen Castillo
Kids love playing outdoors, so why not give them a space that suits their interests? Create a backyard that’s all about play, fun and innovation. “Nature play, or unstructured outdoor activity, is being embraced nationwide by educators, psychologists and other child care developmental experts as an effective way to engage your child’s mental and motor skills,” says Val Hunt Beerbower of Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton, Ohio.

ThorpeWood to nurture at-risk youth, nonprofits

Nature reserve reinventing itself to become destination retreat
Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
The Catoctin Mountain woodlands will be a great adventure getaway for youngsters and their adult mentors, said Kevin Lollar, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Frederick... At ThorpeWood they can hike 155 acres, discover woods, climb hills, wade or fish in trout streams, investigate a chestnut orchard and groom horses. ThorpeWood’s natural wonders await for all the area's nonprofits now, said Sam Castleman, program director at the preserve.ThorpeWood used to offer intensively tailored retreat programs, but those were too labor-intensive, Castleman said.“We’ve been looking at how we might re-emerge,” Castleman said. “We hope this is well-received by local nonprofits.” ThorpeWood’s log lodge will continue to accept reservations for receptions, conferences and weddings, as it has for many years, Castleman said.

Natural Wonder

Frederick News Post
here are 190 certified backyard wildlife habitats in Frederick County. Judging by the testimonials that appeared in FNP reporter Pete McCarthy's Sunday story, "Nature for rent," these habitats are as valuable to those who maintain them as they are to the creatures they were created for.Human beings, including many here in Frederick County, are losing their physical connection and emotional bond to the natural world. Increasingly, daily life is spent in office buildings, cars and malls; TV, cell phones and the Internet are our passions. That's a real shame -- for both us and nature.

Author Richard Louv’s vision is ‘nature rich’

Saving our children and ourselves through nature is theme of conference
Katherine Heerbrandt
In author Richard Louv’s world, cities would produce their own energy and most of their own food, people would feel more alive and less stressed, and antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals would be replaced with the healing properties of nature.