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BikeHoward and Bike Safety

bike pathsBikeHoward  – A Big Step Forward.

I am very much in favor of BikeHoward – the Bike Plan for the County – being voted on by our county council this Monday. I strongly encourage you to support its approval and implementation. Let your council representative know this weekend of your support as well (councilmail@howardcountymd.gov).  More trails and safer ones will help get more people (more…)

Another Columbia Not-So-Secret Place – Come Explore Lake Kittamaqundi

Lake K from damLake Kittamaqundi now has a wonderful and complete, new paved path all around it with several wooden bridges. Have you walked it yet? If not, come join me as I lead my third walk of the season for the Columbia Association on Sept 24th at 10 am. Meet me at (more…)

Saving the Future – Howard County’s Central Park

CrescentOur SavingThePlaces.com online community is not only focused on restoring and maintaining the wonderful streams, forests, lakes and mountains that were preserved for us by previous generations. We are also focused on opportunities for creating new special places or redefining ones as they change with the growth of our population. Urban and suburban redevelopment will provide us with these opportunities. All of us who desire (more…)

Signs You Can Use To Restore Your Special Places

when you fertilize your lawnMost signs are ignored. Their messages are obvious or they are not of interest to us. However, recently I was walking along the docks in Portland, Maine and my attention was captured by a series of signs about human’s everyday impact on the water quality in Casco Bay. The signs were attractive and provocative. They captured my interest, and more importantly they captured my wife’s interest. We stopped and read them all the way through!!

We wondered why we did not see more signs like this around the lakes where we lived. They could have the very same (more…)

How Do Communities Benefit from a Local Food Movement?

Roving_Radish-300x238What do you do when suburbanites realize that the farms they have been displacing can provide them with fresh and nutritious food if there was a financial incentive for them to stop growing corn and meet the growing demand for local vegetables, fruit, and meat? You bring the players together.

Over the past year a Food Council has been meeting here in Howard County to determine (more…)

Lessons from a City Park – a guest post by Julie Dunlap

800px-East_Rock_from_SSS_Hall,_October_17,_2008Most people ascend East Rock for the views. Atop the 366-foot basalt cliff, they can admire office towers, steeples, neighborhoods, and harbor views of New Haven, Connecticut, and, on a clear day, glimpse Long Island Sound. But for me, climbing the stony Giant Steps Trail recalls my first heady night in graduate school, when new friends suggested a moonlit hike in a city park. That dark scramble, more than the starry summit vista, filled me with wonder and freedom as only an outdoor adventure can do.

The 427-acre East Rock Park originated as a naturalistic landscape in 1884, designed by Donald Grant Mitchell as a respite from (more…)

Saving Olmsted’s Vision for Baltimore – Guest post by Joe Stewart

Portrait_of_Frederick_Law_OlmstedBelow is a statement sent to the Baltimore City Commission for Historical & Architectural Protection in support of a bill to add Olmsted Parkways to the Baltimore City Landmark List. Please consider sending your own support letter to: Baltimore City Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation Department of Planning Attention CHAP Director Eric Holcomb, 417 East Fayette Street, 8th floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, eric.holcomb@baltimorecity.gov

The Friends of Maryland Olmsted Parks & Landscapes offers the following brief description of the historic role the Olmsted family played in Baltimore and around the country:

“America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) believed that parks and landscapes were an essential part of democratic society. His designs created some of the most (more…)

Saving Nature in Urban Areas – guest post by Karin DeLaitsch

Chicago's Lurie Garden at Millenium ParkI’m always interested in seeking new places to visit. For me, new surroundings stimulate new ideas to bring home. This year’s travels were no exception. Each contained a populated urban area with a distinctly different approach to connecting people with nature and that got me thinking…

My winter get-away led me to the southwestern region of the US where it’s a short drive to escape the populous Phoenix metro area and relax in the vast expanse of the Sonoran desert. Whether hiking or biking, one can still find solitude to quietly observe a large variety of flora and fauna in an undisturbed setting. A fantastic means to let nature stimulate a personal sense of well-being.

In spring, I ventured to Spain’s Andalusia region to breathe in the temperate Mediterranean climate. I immediately fell in love with the relaxing, social atmosphere created by neighborhood plazas where residents on foot gathered daily (and I mean, daily) to converse among immaculate gardens and fountains surrounded by trees. Cities like Seville have created a wonderful way to weave human-nature connectivity into an urban way of life. (more…)

When Parking Lots Help To Restore Our World

unnamed (2)When you go shopping next, check out the parking lots. How are they designed? Do they just flush all the rainfall right into a storm drain which then empties directly into a stream or lake? Or do they capture the water and allow it to filter back into the ground to recharge the groundwater table and restore our streams?

I recently visited (more…)