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Oct 22 14

Montgomery Parks Hosts Public Meeting on New Proposed Use of Maplewood-Alta Vista Park Activity Building

by Melissa Chotiner

Public meeting scheduled for December 3, 7 – 8 p.m.; Rock Creek Dance Academy to present proposal for park activity building use.

 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will host a public meeting on Wednesday, December 3 from 7 – 8 p.m. at the Maplewood-Alta Vista Park Activity Building to discuss a proposed new use of the building. Rock Creek Dance Academy, LLC, is seeking to lease the building to offer dance classes for people ages 3 – 18 years old. A presentation on the proposed use will be given at the meeting.

 

Public meeting information:

Montgomery Parks Public Meeting on Maplewood-Alta Vista Park Activity Building Reuse
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 7 – 8 p.m.
Maplewood-Alta Vista Park Activity Building
5209 Alta Vista Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

 

Montgomery Parks’ staff evaluated Rock Creek Dance Academy’s proposal to lease the building based on the following criteria:

 

  • Proposed use and overall approach to the adaptive reuse including compatibility with the community and park and overall benefit to the public;
  • Qualifications and Expertise of the bidder
  • Financial Capacity and Feasibility of the bidder and proposed use;
  • The Business Plan submitted by the bidder.

 

The Maplewood-Alta Vista Park Activity Building, located in Maplewood-Alta Vista Local Park is one of eleven park activity buildings in Montgomery Parks that was closed in 2011. The buildings were determined to be underutilized and were closed as a cost savings measure, as directed by the Montgomery County Council. Since 2011 Montgomery Parks has been seeking tenants to lease the buildings in a way that is compatible with the community and park and provides an overall benefit to the public.

 

Montgomery Parks currently leases three park activity buildings to tenants. Eighteen additional park activity buildings are available to the public for birthday parties, reunions, celebrations, and other community events. These buildings are located throughout the county, and can be rented through the Park Permit Office. Visit www.ParkPermits.org for more information

 

 

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

 

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Oct 20 14

Montgomery Parks Cancels 2014 Garden of Lights Show Due to Renovations Underway at Brookside Gardens

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has made a difficult decision to cancel this year’s Garden of Lights Show at Brookside Gardens due to ongoing construction. The construction to the entrance and parking areas is expected to be complete in June 2015. More details on the work are available at www.BrooksideGardens.org.

 

“We regret having to cancel this year’s Garden of Lights Show. We know how much our visitors love this event,” said Stephanie Oberle, Director of Brookside Gardens. “Consult the Xperience Guide to Programs and Events for other opportunities at the Gardens. You can still enroll in our winter classes, visit the Marylandica Gift Shops and enjoy the Visitors Center Art Exhibitions.  We are pleased that the annual Conservatory Winter Display and Garden Railway Exhibit will be open this year.”

 

This year marks the 10th season for the Garden Railway Exhibit in the South Conservatory provided by the Washington, Virginia and Maryland Garden Railway Society. The exhibit will be open November 28 – January 11 (closed on Christmas Day) from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. It features miniature trains and trollies amidst a landscape of town and country scenes with past one-of-a-kind models of the Brookside Gardens Conservatories, the Dentzel Carousel and the Chautauqua Tower of Glen Echo Park.

 

The annual Winter Cheer Display located in the other conservatory at Brookside Gardens features an array of Poinsettias in red, pink and white and many other bold flower displays. It will be open December 6 – January 11 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed on Christmas Day).

 

Additional holiday events and programs taking place in Montgomery Parks during the 2014 season include:

Christmas on the Farm
December 13 and 14, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Agricultural History Farm Park
18400 Muncaster Road
Derwood, MD 20855

This free annual event features turn-of-the-century decorations, live Christmas music and caroling, hayrides (weather permitting), children’s activities and free hot cider and ginger cookies. Homemade baked goods are available for purchase.

 

Winter Solstice Celebrations at Montgomery Parks Nature Centers

Meadowside Nature Center Winter Solstice Celebration
Saturday, December 20, 7 – 8 p.m.
Meadowside Nature Center
5100 Meadowside Lane
Rockville, MD 20855
For ages 3 & up, $5 (adults free)
www.ParkPASS.org (Course #301299)

Participants will enjoy tales of winter, make lanterns and enjoy toasty marshmallow treats

 

Brookside Nature Center Winter Solstice Celebration
Sunday, December 21, 1 – 5 p.m.
Brookside Nature Center
1400 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902
For ages 3 & up, $5
www.ParkPASS.org (Course #303150)

Celebration includes a spiral walk, hot cider by the fire, lantern making and shadow-puppet theater’s presentation of “Shingebiss and the North Wind.” Suitable for ages 3 & up. $5.

 

Locust Grove Nature Center Winter Solstice Celebration
Sunday, December 21, 4 to 6 p.m.
Locust Grove Nature Center
7777 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20817
For ages 3 & up, $5
www.ParkPASS.org (Course #304010)

Make New Year’s wishes, light candles, make treats to share with animals, and roast chestnuts on an open fire.

 

To learn more about Montgomery Parks’ Winter events, classes and programs visit www.MontgomeryParks.org/Guide.

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About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 421 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other

Oct 9 14

Montgomery Parks and Planning Present Newest Achievements to County Council

by Bridget Schwiesow

Semi Annual report fall 2014

New Zoning Ordinance, affordable housing, urban parks and deer management are highlighted in Fall 2014 Semi-Annual Report

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery Parks and Planning, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented its Fall 2014 Semi Annual Report to the Montgomery County Council on October 7. The report features accomplishments from the past six months as well as work that will be completed over the next six months. Some of the key initiatives for the Planning Department include implementation of the county’s new zoning ordinance and revamping the development review process to be more efficient. The Parks Department highlighted their urban parks initiative and expansion plans for park trails. The 36- page Fall 2014 Semi-Annual Report is available online for review.

This progress report is the first to be submitted by Chair of the Planning Board Casey Anderson, who was appointed to his current position by the County Council in July 2014. Anderson outlined several initiatives aimed at meeting the county’s demand for housing and jobs in close proximity to retail and public transit, as well as the creation of recreational spaces and protection of natural resources.

In addition, the report focuses on both Department’s major goals for the coming months, including the following:

-The Planning Department is providing extensive training to staff, citizens, developers, and others as it begins to  implement the county’s new Zoning Ordinance, which takes effect October 30. The revised code provides more understandable and coherent regulations that are easier to use and to enforce. It offers a better organization of uses and zones, greater certainty to the approval process, and incorporates modern principles of planning and design.  As part of this effort, non-residential areas of the county were remapped to enable more mixed use zones..  The new official zoning map, which also takes effect on October 30, will be digital for the first time.

-In line with the stringent new processing times required by the new Zoning Ordinance, the Department is working to revamp the development review process in order to make doing business in Montgomery County more predictable.  A specific, written schedule for each development project will allow review of the project to be accomplished in 120 days. A voluntary concept plan process will allow plans to be reviewed at a very early stage so that major concerns can be identified early so as to not slow down the review process.

-One of the county’s toughest problems, the lack of affordable housing, is being addressed by the Planning Department in a study of rental units. This report will examine the factors contributing to increasing housing costs and recommend potential changes to current policies and programs to guarantee long-term affordability of rental housing.

-Better forecasting of traffic conditions is being advanced through new performance metrics that will evaluate transportation adequacy in existing and emerging transit-oriented developments.

-More comprehensive design guidelines are being developed to improve streetscapes, amenities and public spaces through the Planning Department’s Design Excellence Initiative. As part of this effort, a Director’s Advisory Panel on design issues, similar to the current panel for reviewing public art, is being considered.

-County planners are experimenting with new ways to reach out to community members who do not typically participate in the planning process. Social media, participation in happy hours and interactive presentation tools are being used to improve the quality and quantity of public engagement, making participation in the planning process more informative, interesting and meaningful for citizens.

Master planning efforts highlighted in the Fall 2014 Semi-Annual Report include:

-The White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan, approved by the County Council in July, reflects policies aimed at the investment and job creation in the life sciences.

-The Clarksburg Master Plan Limited Amendment, adopted in April for the protection of the Ten Mile Creek watershed, reinforces the county’s commitment to preservation of natural resources and environmental health.

-The Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment, presented to the Planning Board in July, demonstrates a willingness to adapt to the county’s changing local office and retail market.

-The Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan public hearing draft, approved in July by the Planning Board, shows an appreciation for mixing land uses in a rural village setting while preserving the area’s cultural history.

-Work on the Bethesda Downtown Plan is building on the success of the area’s vibrant, walkable district. Scenarios for several areas were advanced through feedback from happy hours attended by millennials at several local restaurants.

-The Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is considering ways of preserving the village character of the area while upgrading the transportation network and residential neighborhoods. Innovative engagement efforts, including events aimed at business owners and families, helped guide the planning efforts.

-Technical assistance provided by the Department of Planning for the Purple Line and the inclusion of pedestrian-oriented streetscapes in area master plans are improving the quality of the public realm while offering new transportation options.

Parks initiatives over the past six months include:
-The Urban Parks Initiative is being implemented to plan, construct, renovate and activate public parks in Bethesda, Germantown and other county communities.

-New revenue sources to support renovations at Brookside Gardens and educational components at Josiah Henson Park are being created through the Montgomery Parks Foundation.

-Responding to the need for urban parks and new amenities in the county, a dog park abutting downtown Silver Spring was approved and the Carroll Knolls Neighborhood Park was opened.

-Multi-use trails for walking and biking were expanded, renovated for sustainability and improved with signage to better connect people to nature.

-The county’s deer management plan was advanced through deer population surveys, with new programs proposed at Cabin John Regional Park and other locations.

Major park projects now underway include:

-Nearly $425,000 in private donations were raised for the transformation of the Brookside Gardens Visitors Center, now in the planning stages. Also, a $1 million dollar donation was secured to help construct a new growing greenhouse at Brookside Gardens.

-Renovation of the historic stone barn at the Woodlawn Visitor Center at Woodlawn Park in Sandy Spring has begun and is expected to open in spring 2015.

-Construction of Potomac’s Greenbrier Local Park, a recreational area with a soccer field and basketball and volleyball courts, will be completed in spring 2015.

-Renovation and expansion of North Four Corners Local Park is underway and expected to be completed in winter 2015.

Oct 9 14

Interactive Map Reveals Current Development Projects Throughout Montgomery County

by Bridget Schwiesow

devfinder

New Planning Department online map application allows the public to pinpoint locations and details of plans for neighborhoods.

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, now offers an easy way for the public to find detailed information about development projects throughout the county. The Development Finder website, launched on October 7, offers an interactive map of the county and surrounding areas. Users can search by the address or location of the development or enter a simple term like “Wheaton” and be presented with the current projects in that area. Clicking on a specific community on the map also reveals numbered locations of developments that have been approved for construction or are pending approval. A sidebar summarizes the count and list of projects in that area.

A link from the map reveals the basics of each plan, including location, project name, use and square footage. From this window, users can access the Development Activity Information Center (DAIC), a display of more detailed, up-to-date information on the project. Included in the DAIC display are the names of the owner, architect, engineer and development contact, along with the current status of the project in connection with county Planning Board actions. A link provided for each plan leads to more detailed information about a project, including actual plan documents and resolution letters.

All the information is automatically updated by the Planning Department’s new eplans system to display developments that are pending approval and plans that have been approved over the past year. The service is free and its features are clearly demonstrated in a short video.

Oct 9 14

New Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance Takes Effect October 30, 2014

by Bridget Schwiesow

zoning gfx
Updated code improves usability, simplifies development process  

Montgomery County has taken a giant step forward in improving the planning and development process and making the county a more desirable place to live. After years of community meetings, stakeholder discussions, work sessions and redrafting, the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has completed a new zoning ordinance and a new comprehensive zoning map for the county, both of which were approved by the Montgomery County Council.

The new law takes effect on October 30, 2014. It is the most comprehensive update to the County’s land use regulations since they were last revised in 1977. Piecemeal updates to the code over the past several decades resulted in a document with more than 1,200 pages, more than 120 zones, more than 400 uses, hundreds of footnotes and many confusing and sometimes contradictory provisions. The new Zoning Ordinance is a vast improvement over the former code in being more user-friendly and up-to-date. It embraces the most current planning concepts and offers new tools to achieve the goals of the county’s master plans. The zoning ordinance encourages better development, enhances sustainability, and enables more mixed use zoning.

The new Zoning Code seeks to bring more vibrancy to Montgomery County by encouraging mixed-use, walkable communities. The law allows flexibility for more housing in and around commercial centers and encourages more pedestrian-friendly, sustainable developments while providing greater protections from new and infill development for existing residential neighborhoods. In addition, it improves the efficiency of the development review process by allowing more consolidated plan reviews, reducing redundant requirements and codifying review deadlines.

History and Goals of the New Zoning Ordinance
Since the last major update to the zoning code in 1977, the County has grown and changed substantially, and many of the zoning laws have become outdated. The County Council tasked the Planning Department with undertaking a comprehensive rewrite of the zoning code in 2007 with the following goals in mind:

-simplify and consolidate the regulations;

-improve their clarity and consistency;

-accommodate the county’s changing markets and demographics, while protecting established neighborhoods;

-reflect more sustainable policy goals;

-provide the tools to shift from greenfield development to infill, mixed-use development.

After an extensive public review process, the Planning Board approved a draft of the new code and presented it to the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee of the County Council in May 2013. Numerous open houses, community meetings and discussions in local neighborhoods provided feedback from residents and property owners on the code and associated zoning map. In March 2014, after 15 work sessions at the PHED and Council, the Council adopted the text of the new zoning ordinance.

In July 2014, following months of public outreach, the Council approved a District Map Amendment to implement the new code.

Implementing Change through Development Review and Outreach
The rewritten zoning ordinance includes a provision requiring specific time frames for each major step of the development review process. Department staff is currently working to implement these time frames. A specific, written schedule for each development project will allow the review of project, sketch and site plans to be accomplished in 120 days, as required in the new Zoning Ordinance.

A voluntary concept plan process will allow plans to be reviewed by staff at a very early stage so that major concerns can be identified and hopefully resolved without slowing down the review process. The goal of this revamped review process is to make doing business in Montgomery County more predictable.

In addition, the Planning Department is conducting staff and public training sessions to ensure a smooth transition to the new zoning ordinance. On October 7, the Department held an evening event for the Montgomery County community that included a presentation of the zoning changes and a question and answer segment. The event drew 70 people.

View the video of the community training on the Zoning Ordinance held on Tuesday, October 7 at the Planning Department Headquarters.

Oct 8 14

Natali Fani-Gonzalez Appointed As New Planning Board Member

by Bridget Schwiesow

fani_gonzalez photo

The Montgomery County Council votes unanimously

The Montgomery County Planning Board is pleased to welcome Natali Fani-Gonzalez as the newest member of the Planning Board. On Tuesday, October 7, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to appoint Natali Fani-Gonzalez to the vacant seat.

Born in Venezuela, Fani-Gonzalez, 33, is the founder and principal of the Rockville-based public relations firm, The Matea Group. She is the first Latino and first millennial to serve on the five-member Planning Board, which reviews master plans and policies governing growth and development throughout Montgomery County. Fani-Gonzalez will serve a term through mid-2018 in a part-time position that pays $30,000 annually.

In her letter requesting appointment, Fani-Gonzalez promoted her skills saying, “I will bring a pragmatic vision with a strong social conscience amplified by the use of technology.”

“I am pleased that Natali was selected to serve as the newest member of the Board,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. “I am excited for the energy and creativity that Natali brings to the job as I know she will help keep Montgomery County moving forward.”

A human and civil rights activist and entrepreneur, Fani-Gonzalez has been recognized as a 2013 “Leading Women” honoree by The Daily Record for her numerous contributions to Maryland. She started her career as a lobbyist for CASA de Maryland, the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the state, and then joined the communications team of the Service Employee International Union Local 32BJ before starting her own public relations firm.

Fani-Gonzalez graduated from Goucher College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. She lives with her husband and their two children in Kensington.

Fani-Gonzalez was one of 25 applicants for the planning board vacancy and one of four interviewed for the position.

The vacancy now filled by Fani-Gonzalez was created when Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier decided not to seek a second term. Casey Anderson, who was already serving on the board, was designated as the new chair in July 2014. Fani-Gonzalez will serve a four-year term.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Oct 8 14

Montgomery Parks Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Maryland Emancipation Day – October 31 – November 2

by Melissa Chotiner

Montgomery Parks will host a weekend of inspiring educational activities for all ages.

SILVER SPRING, MD— One hundred and fifty years ago, enslaved people living in Maryland were freed by a new state constitution on November 1, 1864.

Each November, Montgomery Parks celebrates freedom from enslavement in Maryland with a weekend of educational activities and events at various African American historic sites in our parks. This year the celebration will include:

  • Hikes on the Underground Railroad Trail
  • Living history demonstrations and reenactments
  • Archaeology site excavations
  • Tours of a former slave plantation and 19th century log cabins*
  • Live music, crafts, games and food

*American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be available at Oakley Cabin and Josiah Henson Park

 A Special Emancipation Day Event* will be held at Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park in Olney on Saturday, November 1 from noon to 4 p.m. Activities will include a reading of the Maryland Emancipation Amendment, with a keynote address by Dr. Deborah Newman Ham of Morgan State University, living history demonstrations, musical performances by local artists and a host of other activities for the whole family.

Montgomery Parks joins other historic sites throughout the county to celebrate this special occasion. All events are open to the public. Park hosted events are FREE with the exception of a special night hike on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, on Friday, October 31 which costs $5 per person. A schedule of weekend events is outlined below. More details are available at HistoryintheParks.org.  The weekend events conclude Montgomery Parks’ season for offering historic and cultural tours, which resume in April of 2015.

WEEKEND EVENTS SCHEDULE

Friday, October 31, 2014

Voices of the Underground Railroad: Special Night Hike on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail”
7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
16501 Norwood Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Admission: $5.00
Sign up at: ParkPass.org (Course #298099)

Bring your flashlight and journey back in time to the 1800s on this two-mile night hike, where you’ll meet persons of the past (portrayed by re-enactors), including brave fugitives, a Maryland governor, a freedman and minister among others. NOTE: Appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and up.  Trail is not ADA-accessible.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Underground Railroad Experience Trail Guided Hikes

Hikes begin 9:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Free

“Conductors” lead one-way, 90-minute interpretive hikes of the two-mile natural surface trail from Woodlawn Manor to the historic Sandy Spring Friends Meetinghouse. Shuttle buses will transport hikers back to the Woodlawn Manor.
Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park*
12:00 noon  –  4:00 p.m.
3610 Brookeville Road, Olney, MD 20832
Free

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Maryland’s Emancipation, Oakley Cabin will host an afternoon of live music, living history demonstrations, tours of the historic 19th century log cabin, games, crafts, and more for everyone to enjoy! Food will be available for purchase.

Emancipation Day Program | 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm*

  • Keynote address by Dr. Debra Newman Ham, Professor of History & Geography, Morgan State University
  • Presentation by the reenactors of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, B Company, Washington, DC
  • Hearth cooking demonstrations by living history demonstrator, Anita Henderson and culinary historian, Michael Twitty
  • Performances by blues musicians presented by Music on the Rise
  • Storytelling performances by members of the Griots’ Circle of Maryland

Parking is only available at Longwood Recreation Center, 19300 Georgia Avenue with shuttle service to / from Oakley Cabin through the afternoon.


The Harper 1870s Homestead at Brookside Nature Center Tours & Demonstrations
12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.
1400 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
Free

Visit the Harper 1870s Homestead to learn how families lived off the land. Learn about the roles apples and other crops played in preparing for the coming winter. Enjoy demonstrations and hands on activities including: apple cider pressing, corn grinding, preparing crops for storage, cooking with corn, honey gathering, mattress stuffing, seed mosaics, period games, crafts, and more! (Purchase tickets on-site for cider tastings, crafts, and other activities)
Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery Open House
12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.
18524 Brooke Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Free

In celebration of Maryland’s Emancipation Day, the museum will present a new 60-minute documentary featuring five of Montgomery County’s church communities: Community Cornerstones: Historic African American Communities in Montgomery County, Maryland.  The documentary will be shown in special screenings throughout the afternoon beginning at 12:00 noon. Food will be available for purchase.

For more information visit: http://www.sandyspringslavemuseum.org/
Sandy Spring Museum Open House
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Admission charged

Join producer/director/dramaturge Harriet Lynn, of the Heritage Theatre Artists’ Consortium, and six dynamic area residents who will share their personal stories and insights on these subjects on the 150th anniversary of the Maryland Emancipation. The performance begins at 2:00 p.m. and will also contain music, songs, poetry and intriguing tales from past to present.

For more information: http://www.sandyspringmuseum.org/
Button Farm Living History Center Tours & Demonstrations
12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.
16820 Black Rock Road, Germantown, MD 20874
Free

Journey to the Historic Button Farm and Living History Center to learn about plantation life in Maryland. Visitors engage in a hands-on experience of plantation life. The site, located inside Seneca Creek State Park, features a Civil War-era barn, historic outbuildings, livestock pens, museum garden, and slave cemetery. For more information: http://buttonfarm.org/


Beall-Dawson Historical Park | Open House
12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.
103 West Montgomery Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850
Free

Maryland Emancipation Day at the Beall-Dawson House and Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine will feature music by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices and President Lincoln reading the Emancipation Proclamation. Picnic on the beautiful front lawn in front of the Beall-Dawson House and visit with Ann Maria Weems (an enslaved Rockville girl who escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad). Local residents will share stories of their forbearers who were enslaved in Montgomery County. Food will be available to purchase. For more information: http://www.montgomeryhistory.org/

 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Josiah Henson Park Open House*
12 noon – 4:00 p.m.
11420 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda 20852
Free

Enjoy guided tours and join Park archaeologists at the archaeology dig on site. The “Emancipation Day Program,” held 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., features an historical reenactment of a 1860s-era debate between Gov. Thomas Hicks and Maryland legislator Severn Teakle Wallis, in “The Question of Maryland’s Secession.” Wrapping up the program will be a special presentation of the performances by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices. Guided tours begin on the half hour starting at 12:00 p.m. Last guided tour begins at 2:00 pm (tours last about 60 mins.). The Time Team America PBS episode, “The Search for Josiah Henson” will be shown in its entirety throughout the afternoon. Showings begin at 12:00 noon, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Parking is ONLY available at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center/Wall Local Park, 5900 Executive Boulevard, North Bethesda.
The Harper 1870s Homestead at Brookside Nature Center Tours & Demonstrations
12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.
1400 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
Free

Visit the Harper 1870s Homestead to learn how families lived off the land. Learn about the roles apples and other crops played in preparing for the coming winter. Enjoy demonstrations and hands on activities including: apple cider pressing, corn grinding, preparing crops for storage, cooking with corn, honey gathering, mattress stuffing, seed mosaics, period games, crafts, and more! (Purchase tickets on-site for cider tastings, crafts, and other activities)
Sandy Spring Museum Open House
12:00 noon5:00 p.m.
17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Admission charged

The Museum chronicles the history of the families that lived and grew here on farms and in trades, creating one of the oldest sustained communities of African American landowners in the nation.

For more information visit: http://www.sandyspringmuseum.org/

For more information about Montgomery Parks Emancipation Day programming and to stay informed of upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and training dates, visit HistoryInTheParks.org.

 

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Oct 8 14

Montgomery Parks Hosts 3rd Annual “Trees Matter” Symposium on November 5, 2014 at the Silver Spring Civic Building

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will bring together some of the country’s leading tree experts for the 2014 Trees Matter Symposium on November 5, 2014 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The day will focus on health and welfare of trees in our increasingly developed landscapes. Admission is $65. To register, visit www.ParkPASS.org and enter Course #300699.

 

WHO:  Leading tree experts from around the country will discuss innovative efforts to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and suburban settings.  Featured speakers include:

  • Melanie Choukas-Bradley, Naturalist and teacher in the D.C. area, and author of several acclaimed books, including City of Trees,
  • Kevin T. Smith, Supervisory Plant Physiologist, USDA Forest Service,
  • Guy Sternberg, Certified Arborist, landscape architect, author and owner of Starhill Forest Arboretum,
  • Matthew Foti, President of Matthew R. Foti Landscape and Tree Service, Inc. and featured arborist for WBGH’s “This Old House.”

 

WHAT: The 3rd Annual Trees Matter Symposium will convene experts to discuss the latest research on safeguarding urban trees. Session topics include:

  • “Exploring the ‘City of Trees’ and Rock Creek Park,”
  • “More than Maintenance: Concepts and Practices for the Care of Mature Trees,”
  • Part 1: “Tough Trees for the Landscape,”
    Part 2: “Starhill Forest Arboretum’s Signature Tree Collection and Cultivar Introductions,”
  • “Bare Root Transplanting Large Trees.” 


WHEN: 
Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


WHERE:
Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910

 

WHY: Learn new techniques and concepts aimed at ensuring the survival of trees in our built environment. Trees provide many benefits: they cleanse and cool our air, stabilize our soils, provide wildlife habitat and beautify our urban and suburban areas.

 

For more information visit www.MontgomeryParks.org/Trees

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

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Oct 1 14

Montgomery Parks Announces Completion of 32 Intercounty Connector Mitigation Projects in Parks

by Melissa Chotiner

Exemplary projects to be presented at Peachwood Neighborhood Park on October 11, 2014.

SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission announces the completion of 32 Intercounty Connector (ICC) mitigation projects in parks spanning the entire county. Peachwood Neighborhood Park is a prime example of the different types of environmental enhancements established in Montgomery County parks as part of the State Highway Administration’s (SHA) ICC Environmental Stewardship and Compensatory Mitigation Program. Park staff will provide tours detailing the projects at Peachwood Neighborhood Park on October 11 at 10 a.m. Media and the public are invited to attend.

IMG_8607

The ICC Environmental Stewardship and Compensatory Mitigation Program  was directed by SHA and conducted to offset the environmental impacts of the ICC and go over and above required environmental mitigation.

Located along one of the county’s most valuable resources, Peachwood Neighborhood Park is nearly 20 acres and part of the Upper Paint Branch Special Protection Area (SPA). The Upper Paint Branch stream valley is a unique, nationally recognized coldwater fishery that contains the only suburban stream system in the county that supports a self-sustaining brown trout population.

To protect and preserve this habitat and other environmental aspects of the park, the mitigation work included:

Bioswales in the neighborhood surrounding the park;
A stormwater management pond
Stream restoration; and
Tree plantings

 

Montgomery Parks’ staff worked in close collaboration with SHA during planning to determine the most important needs of the community and correlate them with the greatest environmental needs of the sensitive area where the park is located.

 

“We knew the importance of involving the community in this project,” said Matt Harper, Montgomery Parks Principal Natural Resources Specialist. “Before doing any work on the park, we conducted a park user survey to understand which amenities park users valued and what they felt the park lacked.”

 

As a result of the survey, park staff incorporated a variety of additional initiatives into the project including installing a new basketball court, resurfacing the tennis courts, repairing and repainting of the handball court and removing impervious surface from the parking lot.

 

The success of this project was achieved through collaboration among the SHA, Montgomery Parks and the Peachwood community.

 

A number of other ICC mitigation projects have been completed in the SPA including but not limited to:

  • A stream restoration along the right branch of the Good Hope tributary, as well as along the main Good Hope Tributary;
  • A stromwater pond retrofit and outfall stabilization within the Great Hope Homes Community;
  • A 12 acre wetland creation within the Peach Orchard/Allnut property;
  • Ovreall stream restorations in the Gum Springs tributary, Left Fork of Upper Pint Branch and Paint Branch Mainstem;
  • Stormwater facility upgrades south of Peach Orchard Heights, along Cabin Creek Drive, within the Fairland Gardens community, in Wembrough Neighborhood Park, and in the Colesville Heights community; and
  • Multiple reforestation sites.

 

About the ICC Environmental Stewardship and Compensatory Mitigation Program (ES/CM)

Symbolizing the ICC project’s commitment to the environment are initiatives that go beyond meeting minimum requirements to mitigate for environmental impacts – unrelated to the ICC – that otherwise would remain unaddressed. These include 51 environmental stewardship projects that are addressing environmental needs caused by development in the area. Many environmental mitigation and stewardship projects, all of which are located in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, have been combined into approximately 51 projects that have an estimated value of more than $97 million.

 

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.

 

For more on the Montgomery Parks visit www.MontgomeryParks.org

 

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Sep 30 14

Montgomery Parks Hosts Champion Tree Tour

by Melissa Chotiner
The largest tree in Montgomery County and the state of Maryland is this American Sycamore located in Dickerson Conservation Park.

The largest tree in Montgomery County and the state of Maryland is this American Sycamore located in Dickerson Conservation Park.

SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery County is home to 300 champion trees—the largest known trees of a given species in a particular geographic area. On October 21, Montgomery Parks and The Montgomery County Forestry Board will host its annual Champion Tree tour, which runs from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and costs $45. Attendees (ages 18 and older) journey around the county in a van with Montgomery Parks Forest Ecologist Carole Bergmann and Joe Howard of the Montgomery County Forestry Board to learn about a variety of these unique trees. The 2014 tour will feature many trees located around Silver Spring, the area of the county most densely populated with champion trees, including a willow oak that is 18’ in circumference and a mammoth sassafras, among many others.

 

“We…on the Forestry Board…are really interested in getting folks to acknowledge the fact that we have so many grand old trees here and to try to learn about them and protect them,” said Bergmann.

 

“People are always amazed at the number of big trees there are,” added Howard. “We’ve got the most state champion trees (in Montgomery County) and there are four national champion trees in our county.”

 

The largest known champion tree in the county and state is an American sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) located in Dickerson Conservation Park. The 137-foot tall tree has a circumference of 310 inches or 25 feet and crown spread of 108 feet. It is one of more than 200 trees in a growing inventory of historic, significant and champion trees that are nurtured and protected by Montgomery Parks Arboriculture Section’s Tree Preservation Program.

 

Champion tree nominations are accepted annually by the Montgomery County Forestry Board. Information and nomination forms are available at www.mcmdforestryboard.org.

 

A video of last year’s Champion Tree tour is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb7YNhAS5LY. For more information and to register for the upcoming tour visit www.ParkPASS.org (Course #296049).

 

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.

 

For more on the Montgomery Parks visit www.MontgomeryParks.org

 

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