Annual String Of Pearls award for East New Market

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Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
East New Market Mayor Caroline Cline (2nd from left, front row) joined other Dorchester County String of Pearls honorees at the Nov. 12 reception and award ceremony.

EASTON — The prestigious String of Pearls annual award ceremony was held on Nov. 12 at the new headquarters of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) on S. Washington St. in Easton. The first award was presented in 2010 to honor landowners who preserve their land forever in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed via conservation easements containing restrictions that prevent future development, no matter who owns the land.

Local trusts nominate award recipients and each property becomes a “pearl” of land that is dedicated to preservation of the natural ecosystem. A Register of Pearls in the Bay watershed is signed by award recipients and is on display in Annapolis.

The project’s goal is a series of “pearls” to connect with wildlife corridors that act as the string to hold the preserved properties together. String of Pearls is the brainchild of Dick Lahn whose goal was to recognize property owners who unselfishly cede potential profits from development to permanently protect watershed land and the wildlife that occupies it. Most are private landowners but some, like East New Market’s contribution, are public.

The ceremony included: String of Pearls (SP) Advisory committee member State Senator Edward Reilly; SP board member and Anne Arundel County Clerk of the Court Robert Duckworth; SP director and founder Dick Lahn; and ESLC Director Robert Etgen.

East New Market Mayor Caroline Cline was one of five Dorchester County recipients of the award. The town’s public Friendship Park contains 9.6 acres of open fields and trees adjacent to the privately owned historic Friendship Hall. It was acquired by the town with ESLC help and offers a newly-constructed children’s’ play area and picnic facilities. The next phase is a walking trail that is wending its way through the permitting process with hopes to begin construction within the next few months.

Other Dorchester County recipients included: Anna Farm, 225 acres donated by John and Mary Kral; Rehobeth Farm, 7.1 acres contributed by Gloria and Jim Lighthizer and the memory of Conor and Bobby Lighthizer; 221 acre Good Luck Farm in Bucktown by the family of Monroe and Leomia Lake: Millie I. Lake, Benito Lake Sr., and Edward James Sr.; and the Friends of the Stanley Institute, Inc. and Christ Rock United Methodist Church, each of which has a preservation easement.

“Pearls” are dotted throughout both the Eastern and Western Shores. The hope of participants and the vision of its founder is that each protected piece of land will be connected by wildlife corridors that string the land together like a necklace. A very valuable necklace for future generations.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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