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MET Names Conservation Award Winners and Grant Recipients

Michelle Grafton, MET Land Trust Coordinator; Charlie Conklin with Gunpowder Valley Conservancy; Miriam Avins with Baltimore Green Space; Hal Delaplane with Conservancy for Charles County; Richard Post with Harford Land Trust; Victoria Bauer with Lower Shore Land Trust; Sarah Knebel with Scenic Rivers Land Trust; and Sandy Hertz, Deputy Director of SHA’s Office of Environmental Design.

As part of its annual awards, the Maryland Environmental Trust granted $27,000 to land preservation groups statewide. MET announced the award and grant winners during its 15th annual Maryland Land Conservation Conference, held April 30 and May 1 at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights.

More than 160 people from 90 organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay region enjoyed educational workshops, peer-to-peer networking opportunities and a keynote address by Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Meeks spoke on the importance of all communities and organizations working together to conserve important open spaces and historic places.

MET presented the following awards and grants at the event’s evening reception:

The Aileen Hughes Award winner was Barbara Hopkins, executive director of NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, for her outstanding leadership and creative thinking in the pursuit of open space within Baltimore County’s Urban Rural Demarcation Line.

This award is given in the memory of Aileen Hughes, a leader in Maryland’s conservation movement, to support local land trust activities, including conservation, outreach and stewardship efforts.

The Dillon Award was given to Elizabeth F. Obenshain who (as directed in her will) donated a 94-acre easement to MET and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, forever protecting woodland along Herring Creek and the scenic byway, Maryland Route 213, in Cecil County.

This award is given to a landowner who exhibits outstanding conservation in honor of the spirit and legacy of the Dillon sisters of Garrett County, who donated a conservation easement and then bequeathed their entire property to MET in 1984.

The six Janice Hollmann Grant winners ─ Baltimore Green Space, Conservancy for Charles County, Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Harford Land Trust, Lower Shore Land Trust, and Scenic Rivers Land Trust ─ will each receive a portion of the $27,000.

The Maryland State Highway Administration provides matching funds for these grants to individuals and organizations for conservation, outreach and stewardship programs, or to honor outstanding conservation and environmental efforts. The award is named in memory of Janice Hollmann who cofounded the Severn River Land Trust and the Arundel Conservation Trust, and served on the Severn River Commission.

This annual conference − the only statewide gathering of land conservationists and trusts of its kind in Maryland − was made possible by the generous funding from the following sponsors: The Abell Foundation; American Forest Foundation; Chesapeake Conservancy; the National Parks Service – Chesapeake Bay Office; Civil War Trust; Ecotone, Inc.; Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust; Insight Management Consulting; Land Trust Alliance; Maryland Historical Trust; O’Donoghue & O’Donoghue LLP; S. H. Muller & Associates, LLC; The Conservation Fund; The Trust for Public Land; and Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP.

MET was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly as a charitable organization and serves as the statewide land trust. Governed by a citizen board of trustees, MET is affiliated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and currently holds more than 1,065 easements totaling more than 132,000 acres in Maryland. Learn more at