Quality of Life
Experience in nature is an essential part of life. Access to open space supports our physical and mental well being.
Whether an exhilarating hike with family, a calming solo moment soaking up the sights and sounds of a forest, or biting into a hand-picked strawberry – the land offers us value beyond measure.
Our vision includes creating opportunities for everyone in Harford County to experience and fall in love with nature—every child, every family, every community. We rely on our local parks and greenways for solace, adventure, exercise, and inspiration.
People are drawn to gardens, forests, waterways, and other natural spots for recreation. Regardless of means of mode of transportation, all residents require access to open space.
In Harford County, we are blessed to have some of the region’s premier open spaces. But the overwhelming park visitation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic showed us loudly and clearly that we need more public parks.
The protection of these special places is usually hard-fought, long, and costly. Parkland acquisition is rarely spontaneous, but relies on vision, perseverance, capital investment, and smart land-use policies.
Examples of our work in support of outdoor recreation include:
- Our annual Ben Boniface Kayak Poker Run to promote enjoyment of Harford County’s waterways
- Our longstanding partnership with Harford County Parks & Recreation to create passive recreation spaces
- Our preservation of public parks such as Kilgore Falls (Rock State Park), Forest Greens Lake Preserve, and Belle Vue Farm, and parts of Palmer State Park, Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, Eden Mill Nature Center and Stoney State Forest
- Our 2020 Harford 20/20 Challenge to encourage safe, independent outdoor exploration of Harford County
Mental and Physical Health
Evidence suggests that children and adults benefit so much from contact with nature that land
conservation can now be viewed as a public health strategy.
Children are more physically active when they are outside. Adults, too, seem to benefit from “recess” in natural settings.
Green spaces have been found to provide not only recreational opportunities to community members, but also help reduce stress and strains on our mental health. Contact with nature restores attention, and promotes recovery from many medical conditions including depression, mental fatigue, and substance abuse.
Access to the natural spaces in our communities also helps us create a meaningful sense of place and has been linked to community crime reduction.
Examples of our work in support of mental and physical health include:
- Our partnership with Nature Worx to provide locations for nature-based therapy sessions for those recovering from substance abuse
- Our work with Harford County Parks & Recreation to create parkland in underserved areas of the county
- Our partnership with Healthy Harford to promote outdoor recreation access as part of healthy living
Local Food and On-Farm Experiences
Everybody eats! Relationships are built around food and influence the ways individuals, families, and communities interact. These relationships are fundamental to the way people buy and prepare food, share their culture, support their communities, engage with the environment, and nurture health.
With three thriving farmers’ markets, The Grove, and dozens of on-farm markets, Harford County has a cornucopia of local food choices. As specialty crop production continues grows, Harford citizens will have more choices of fruits and vegetables, local meats, dairy, nursery plants and other products.
But the future of the local food system is dependent on the availability of fertile land. Land preservation ensures that productive farmland is not under development pressure and remains affordable for farmers.
Most Americans are multiple generations removed from agriculture and have very little understanding of food production. Our conservation easements allow for on-farm experiences and events, known as agritourism, to provide additional income to farmers and encourage an understanding of how our food is produced.
Examples of our work in support of local food and agritourism include:
- Our 2020 Harford Harvest campaign to raise funds and awareness for farmland preservation and local food pantries
- Our outreach and advocacy in support of the Harford County Agricultural Land Preservation Program and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation
- Our participation in the Farmers and Community Partnership of Harford County
- Our promotion of Support Harford’s Farms – Buy Local, Homegrown Harford, and Farm Finder App
Our Work Depends on You
Harford Land Trust can save more land in Harford County, Maryland, because of generous people like you.