The Week 8 of HoLLIE (Howard County Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment) class was a week later than originally planned because of our late season snowstorm. As I passed the gate and started up the drive toward Belmont Manor, I realized that not only was it the last day of class, it was also the last days of the ash trees in the park. The trees along the drive had been marked since the beginning of class and there was a truck already in position to start cutting one of the larger trees down. After I parked, I took pictures of one that has already been cut along the road between the manor house and the carriage house. The emerald ash borer has changed the landscape of our area of Maryland.
The last two environmental lectures were “Why protecting the environment is really about protecting our own health” and “The relationship between climate and weather.” The lectures were followed by a segment reflecting on leadership strengths and ‘what’s next’ for the class cohort and feedback on the class overall.
The grand finale of the day was seeing the baby chicks and a visit to Myrtle Woods Farm which would become their home: pigs, chickens, hoop houses with veggies and edible flowers….fields with high fences to keep out the deer ready for planting. Its 9 acres of farm surrounded by housing developments!
I’m still reflecting on my follow-up to the class. I’ve done the easy thing of signing up for a few more volunteer activities like what I do with the pre-K through high school field trips with the Howard County Conservancy. I’m exploring other volunteering that diverges from my education focus up until now and am not sure yet on the direction I will take….something that is directed more toward adults or communities rather than children and their education – probably.
I judge the value of a class these days by how much I act upon what I learn afterwards. By that measure – HoLLIE is headed toward the top of my all time list of actionable classes!