I am always inspired when I meet people like Joe Richardson, owner of Bar-T after-school program for kids and owner of Mountainside Ranch in Urbana.
Richardson bought a farm and altered it to become a place where adults and children alike can learn environmental stewardship hands-on and see alternative energy sources in use. Some land is still farmed by a local farmer.
From the windmill in the middle of the parking area, the solar panels on the main office area, the new rain gardens just recently planted to improve drainage issues, to a native plant project that is in the works, the whole farm is being used as a model to educate and incorporate environmentally conscious practices.
Jen Quinn and I went up last week to meet Richardson and his staff at the Mountainside Ranch in Urbana because the Go Green Group, a Kentlands Community Foundation-sponsored program, in Kentlands has invited him to speak about his use of windpower and the installation of the windmill on the ranch. Richardson and other local residents and local business owners were scheduled to speak about the use and installation of alternative energy sources on October 21 at the Kentlands Clubhouse.
We then found ourselves walking through the numerous acres to see all the other innovative projects Richardson has put in place, much of it with grant monies. We happened to be there as members of the Environmental Protection Agency, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Frederick County Government Wathershed Management all came to take a look at his various projects.
With a large group in tow, we looked at a unique Swedish aeration pump in a pond that has cleared the algae and then headed to an area of the farm, a marshy area with tall trees that is being restored to become a wildlife sanctuary for native birds. Next to these areas are Yurts, large tent-like structures used by campers in Bar-T’s various programs.
We left the farm knowing that Richardson and his staff have developed a place that I am sure will teach many of us and possibly inspire us to either think of using alternative energy or to incorporate native plants in our own landscape practices.
Questions, comments? Please e-mail Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin, GO GREEN co-chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.