HoLLIE – Week 5

The Week 5 of HoLLIE (Howard County Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment) class focused on farming in our area of Maryland, conversations that change hearts/minds/behavior, and protecting watersheds from storm water.

The day started out cool and damp…with lots of birds moving about and making noises. I took a short walk around Belmont, but the birds were not still enough for photography (and the light was not very good. I did get some silhouettes of pigeons in the sweet gum.

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I had better luck with buds on trees

seedpods from last summer,

and the bark on the river birch.

Then it was back indoors for class.

The farms in our area are generally small and generally must specialize to be successful. The country is down to 3 dairy farmers and will probably lose one of them this year. We were encouraged to ‘buy local’ and I felt good that I already have signed up for the 2018 version of the Gorman Farm CSA (community supported agriculture).

By the end of the day – we were all hoping the rain would hold off for our field trip to see different ways Columbia, MD ‘slows the flow’ of storm water runoff. It remained cloudy...but no rain! We stopped at a bioretention area near Wilde Lake to handle the runoff from a large barn so that it does not dig a trench on it’s way to the lake (carrying the slope sediment with it). It was an attractive depression the grasses and other plants with interesting seed pods (this time of year).

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The next stop was a stream restoration where a series of stepwise pools has been constructed that will slow water letting it soak in  with the series of pools or drop sediment before it moves on town to Lake Elkhorn. The project is completed except for plantings.

The last stop was an inline bioretention facility, Homespun pond, and a nearby residential rain garden. I listened but was busy photographing what turned out to be a male and female hooded merganser on the far side of the pond!

It was another good class day!

Previous HoLLIE posts: Week 1, Week 2, week 3, week 4