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Annual Harvest Moon Dinner & Auction Raises $48,500 for Land Preservation in Harford County

The Harford Land Trust raised a record $48,500 at its sixth annual Harvest Moon Dinner & Auction on Saturday, October 21.  A sell-out crowd of 200 people attended the event at the Bel Air Armory in support of the nonprofit’s mission of preserving land in Harford County.

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“The outpouring of support from citizens and businesses across Harford County at this year’s event has been overwhelming,” said Harford Land Trust Board President Ben Lloyd.  “It shows strong community support for our efforts to preserve land and foster greater appreciation of Harford’s rural beauty.  The result of that generosity will be the additional land preservation projects that we will be able to complete in the coming months and years.”

Attendees vied for over 80 auction items donated by local businesses and residents.  Contributions included original artwork, services, food and drink, excursions, and other goods.  Derek Hopkins, the county’s Register of Wills, donated his auctioneering services as well. 

Honorary Event Chair Rick Post of Pylesville, a longtime volunteer and former HLT vice president, appealed to guests for contributions to support needed land management costs. In response, 50 individuals raised their paddles to donate a collective $7,000 to the HLT.

Dozens of volunteers transformed the historic downtown armory with seasonal flowers and white pumpkins and gourds donated and arranged by Jeff Conti and Patti Dallam. Local band The Strays provided live music throughout the event.  President Lloyd noted, “An event like this requires a lot of help to pull off, but I specifically would like to thank event committee chair and HLT board member Jo Tyson, as well as Marilyn Thompson, Diane Jones, Sue Rice, and Peg Niland for the hours that they volunteered to make this a success.”

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The Harford Land Trust was founded in 1991 by a group of local residents who wanted to ensure that land with significant historic or ecological value remained intact. The nonprofit’s mission is to work with landowners to conserve land and protect its natural resources, scenic beauty, rural character, and promote a healthy quality of life in Harford County. Since its inception, the HLT and partners have helped protect more than 11,000 acres throughout the county including Kilgore Falls, Eden Mill, Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, and Swan Harbor Farm.

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The Harford Land Trust wishes to recognize and thank the following major sponsors and contributors who made the event possible: the Office of County Executive Barry Glassman, Klein’s ShopRite, BGE, the Martin Family of Blue Valley Farms, Bob and Lee Crush, Peg Dougherty, Ecotone, Peter Jay, Lassen Marine & Webster Inc., PNC Bank, and Foxborough Nursery.

Harford Land Trust receives Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Preparation grant

The Harford Land Trust is the recipient of a $5,000 Accreditation Preparation grant from the Land Trust Alliance. The grant supports the Trust's goal to attain accreditation through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, as set out in our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. While we already follow the Land Trust Standards and Practices, accreditation is an important next step to formalize our commitment to operating with the highest standards. SealThe grant allows the Trust to hire an experienced consultant to conduct a self-assessment of our practices against the Land Trust Standards and Practices over the next six months. This is the first step on a multi-year journey to achieve accreditation.

Jones elected VP; Depkin and Martin elected to Board

We are pleased to announce the election of Diane Jones as Vice President of the Harford Land Trust at our July Board meeting. Diane lives on her family farm near Darlington and has enjoyed the preserved land of Harford County her entire life. She is a programmer/analyst with the Social Security Administration and a loyal volunteer at the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company. She is an avid equestrian and birdwatcher. Diane joined the Board in 2013. 

Daine JonesLee Depkin and Sam Martin have also joined as members of our Board of Directors. Lee’s involvement with HLT started in 2014 when he joined as our volunteer bookkeeper, a position he filled until 2016. He has also been integral to the success of our Harvest Moon Dinner & Auction event as the Event Facilitator. Both Lee and his wife Nina volunteer at the event annually. Lee and Nina reside in Forest Hill and are expecting their first child in October. Currently working with First Home Mortgage as a financial analyst, his business experience will be an incredible asset.

Sam Martin is a lifelong resident of Harford County.  He is a full time farmer and co-owner of Blue Valley Farms headquartered in Pylesville.  A dairy farm for years, Blue Valley now grows corn and soybeans on several thousand acres and is also a Pioneer Seed Dealer.  Many of the lands that they own and rent are preserved farms and Sam looks forward to becoming an active member of Harford Land Trust. Sam's land management and agriculture experience are an important addition to our Board.

We are so successful because Harford Land Trust is, quite literally, a community organization. Our staff, volunteers, and members live in and love Harford County and understand the conservation priorities of the communities in which we work.

Kayak Poker Run draws forty paddlers in Havre de Grace

Sun and low humidity made for an ideal day on the water for Harford Land Trust’s annual Kayak Poker Run on Sunday, August 12, in Havre de Grace.

Forty participants pushed off from the public boat ramp heading south shortly after 9:00AM. The five-mile course hugged the shoreline and included Swan Harbor Pier. Kayakers collected a playing card at four stops before circling back to the launch for their final card.

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The event concluded with lunch and prizes under the shade of Tydings Memorial Park.  Jay Rubinoff, of Bel Air, won a handmade wooden Greenland Storm Paddle for the best poker hand. Participants also included County Executive Barry Glassman and Harford County Community College President Dianna Phillips.

Getting people outside is what this is all about,” noted Harry Webster, former Harford Land Trust President and event volunteer.

The event was made possible by a generous donation from the Ben Boniface Memorial Fund. Other sponsors and supporters included the Office of the Harford County Executive, Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union (APGFCU), Glenn and Eleanora 

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Dudderar, Lassen, Marine & Webster, Tidewater Marina, H. Turney McKnight, and Harry and Eileen Webster, and numerous community volunteers.

Event proceeds support the Harford Land Trust’s mission of working with landowners to conserve land and protect its natural resources, scenic beauty, rural character, and promote a healthy quality of life in Harford County.