What’s happening at Envision Frederick County: Support our work by attending our dinner with Jamie Raskin

It has been twenty months since Envision Frederick County’s first annual fundraising dinner — Envision Spring 2015″ with Heather Mizeur. We invite you to attend our second annual dinner — “Envision Winter 2016” — with Congressman-elect Jamie Raskin and Mike Tidwell, founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

twxmastreecloseup280wThe dinner will be on the evening of Thursday, December 8th, at the beautiful ThorpeWood lodge in the Catoctin Mountains, which will be decorated for their annual Holiday Open House.

Envision Frederick County was launched in 2011, with ambitious goals and a serious commitment to methodically building something that would make a difference and become a significant part of the fabric of our community…for the long term. After starting from scratch, Envision built a solid foundation, and a lot has happened since our last dinner to build on that foundation.

We’d like to invite you to be part of this evening, to support our work at the same time!

We are very pleased to have Jamie Raskin as our guest and keynote speaker, and to hear from a great environmental leader in our region, Mike Tidwell, who will also introduce the newly elected congressman.

Here is a selection of some of the things we’ve been doing (and planning):

Envision Frederick County continues to offer regular, diverse and high quality content on our website, which, to date has been provided by more than 160 separate authors, from local citizens and community leaders writing about various current issues and experts writing about many important subjects related to our goals and efforts.


In 2017, we expect to have new content nearly every day, while increasing the range of issues and authors while maintaining the high quality of our content.

• Since the very beginning, one of the goals of Envision Frederick County has been to help connect, support and promote the efforts and activities of a variety of other organizations in our broader community. We have consistently done that, and in many ways, including direct consulting and advice, highlighting them and their work on our website and our social media, publishing guest blog entries from them about a diverse range of issues, sharing their events and fundraising efforts, and more.

• One notable highlight of our efforts to work with and connect other organizations began a year and a half ago, when Envision worked in partnership with Kimberly Golden Brandt, the Local Policy Director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, to co-found the Smarter Growth Alliance of Frederick County.

Representatives of fourteen different local and state organizations attended the first meeting of the new alliance, in Frederick, on September 24th.

Representatives of fourteen different local and state organizations attended the first meeting of the new alliance, in Frederick, on September 24th, 2015.

The alliance includes roughly two dozen local and state organizations, and meets every month (along with other smaller meetings of more focused task groups), working on a variety of environmental, smart growth and good government issues. (The coalition’s first sign-on letter supported a County Council bill to strengthen protections for stream buffers that were weakened under the Blaine Young BOCC.)

kaidpodium280w• This fall, Envision Frederick County launched it’s new speaker series with a great presentation by Kaid Benfield.

The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies at Hood College, was attended by 100 people, and received very positive reviews and good coverage in the Frederick News Post:

“Hood College speaker offers ideas on greener, healthier way of life”

Envision Frederick County is committed to offering such high quality and free presentations at least four to six times a year. We already have our next two speakers lined up and are working to schedule those events now. Look for an announcement about the next speaker soon!

• This summer, Envision Frederick County launched a new outings program with a walk to a spectacular Frederick County waterfall, which is on private property and not generally accessible to the public:


Our primary goal here is simply to encourage folks to connect with and learn about the rich and diverse nature of our lovely county, but also to connect with each other.

Some of these outings, however, will be narrowly-focused on specific subjects, like mushrooms


…or spring wildflowers or migrating birds or forest ecology or local geology, led by local folks with that expertise, and planned for the right place at the right time!

We’ll also be planning some outings next spring that are specifically oriented for kids and their families. We’re excited about expanding this local outings and outdoor education program.

• On our website, Envision Frederick County launched a new and ongoing series of nature photography galleries and essays, such as this one, by Cam Miller, which highlighted the not-well-known Fred Archibald and the Audrey T. Carroll Audubon Sanctuaries that are maintained by the Audubon Society of Central Maryland in Frederick County.


• Envision Frederick County was a co-sponsor (or collaborating organization, in this case) of the first recent “Introduction to Zero Waste” training, by Zero Waste USA, in Frederick.


The full day training was attended by approximately 80 people (the day after the election). Envision Frederick County board member, Patrice Gallagher is board president and a founding member of the Frederick Zero Waste Alliance in Frederick County.

• Envision Frederick County Director, Kai Hagen, and Board Member, Karin Tome, were both appointed to the Energy and Environment Working Group as part of the county’s Livable Frederick process.


Livable Frederick “is a Vision-Based Comprehensive Plan for Frederick County that focuses on the planning horizon years of 2025 and 2040,” and Envision has participated in other ways, such as working to broaden awareness of the process…and the possibilities…and actively supporting the effort to have county residents complete an important survey.

• Envision Frederick County Director, Kai Hagen, and Board Members, Patrice Gallagher and David Gray, were appointed and have been serving for more than a year, so far, on the Frederick County Solid Waste Steering Committee, often referred to as “What’s Next,” appointed by County Executive Jan Gardner.

Solid Waste Steering Committee (Not pictured: David Gray)

Solid Waste Steering Committee (Not pictured: David Gray)

Phase 1 of this important process is complete now, and Phase 2 is getting underway.

• One recent example of our commitment to working with, promoting and supporting the efforts of other good organizations, Director, Kai Hagen, was recently one of two people (the other was Hugh Gordon, the Development Director for Interfaith Housing Alliance) who planned and participated in a friendly competition called the “Blue Hair Challenge”.


The month long “competition” raised awareness about the issue and the work of Interfaith Housing Alliance, and raised just shy of $4,000.00 to support the efforts of IHA.

Envision Frederick County board member, Mark Long is also on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Housing Alliance, and two of our board members, Mark and Karin Tome, also serve on the Frederick County Affordable Housing Council, working to address a significant and often under-appreciated set of issues in our growing and increasingly unaffordable community.

• We continue to be active on social media, most especially Facebook, as one of the many ways to connect with people and keep them informed about what is going on. The Envision Frederick County page on Facebook has grown to 2,392 connections (“Likes”).


If you have not already, we encourage you to connect with us (and the issues) that way.

• While not directly an Envision Frederick County activity, it is also worth pointing out that Envision Frederick County’s Director, Kai Hagen, has committed significant time and effort for the past two years as the unpaid host of WHTU’s Eye on our Community show on AM1450 (the station will be available on FM in a few months), because it offers one more way to support Envision Frederick County’s founding principle that “informed public discourse and active engagement of individuals and groups in our civic life is essential to our mutual well-being and prosperity.”.


The show offers intelligent and informative talk radio, most of the time in the form of interviews with a broad diversity of community leaders, about issues and events in Frederick County and Maryland. If you have a Facebook account, please “Like” the “Eye on our Community” page on Facebook, to find out about upcoming shows and guests.

The items described above do not include many of the local issues that have presented themselves, and which Envision Frederick County has engaged in a variety of ways. Many significant matters arise in Frederick County government, and in the City of Frederick and our other, smaller municipalities. Envision Frederick County works, often in concert with other organizations, to raise awareness about those issues and to motivate and encourage more people to learn about them and engage in the public process, as well as meeting with elected officials, attending public meetings and hearings, and more. Looking back through the blog entries on our website, you can easily see detailed, and often extensive and repeated coverage of these issues.

As always, we encourage you to visit and read our site regularly. And, even more, we hope that many of you will get a bit more involved in some of these matters as they arise.

We’re working on some other things that we look forward to sharing in greater detail before long, including expanding the quantity and range of the already high quality blog content, working with a private school in the county to develop an ambitious recycling and composting program, along with other steps they can take to improve their overall environmental profile; participating in the planning and development of a local “diversity council,” setting up some half-day, hands-on seminars with various experts on a range of subjects such as rain gardens, home composting, eco-friendly landscaping, etc.; planning an open house (this spring) where interested homeowners can come to one place and explore solar energy options with representatives from most or all of the providers in our region; and more.

Our active board members and other volunteers make much of this possible, but as much as Envision Frederick County has been able to gradually build a solid foundation and expand our efforts, it’s been an ongoing challenge to do that on a shoestring. We hope you and others will appreciate the value of our efforts in our community, and support it with a financial contribution.

At this particular moment, you have the opportunity to do that and participate in a enjoyable and positive event at Envision Winter 2016, on Thursday evening, December 8th, with good folks and guest speakers Congressman Jamie Raskin and Mike Tidwell, the founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, at the beautiful ThorpeWood lodge in the Catoctin Mountains.

Please join us at ThorpeWood for this event!

Envision Winter 2016 DETAILS


As of this morning, we have sold as many tickets as we have seats and tables available on the main floor of the lodge. HOWEVER, there are two tables in the “loft” that are available as of Tuesday afternoon, at the discounted price of $50.00 (instead of $85.00).

Here is a view from the loft…


Aside from walking up the stairs, the only difference in your evening would be that you would not have a direct line of sight to the speakers…from your seat at the table.

The “Buy Now” button below has been altered to reflect this and the lower price.


• The full invitation is embedded below.

• This online transaction is administered through PayPal, but you do not need to use or have a PayPal account.

• You can purchase multiple tickets with one transaction. But, separately, we would like to receive the names of all attendees, if possible. So, if you purchase more than one ticket, please send the names of the other attendees to Kai at kai.hagen@envisionfrederickcounty.org

• If you would prefer to purchase your ticket(s) by check, or you have any problems or questions, please email Kai at kai.hagen@envisionfrederickcounty.org

• And, finally, if you can not attend the event, but would like to contribute to Envision Frederick County anyway, please go to this page, where you can contribute online or find out how to do so by mail. Thank you!

Tickets for LOFT seating