From the office of Sen. Barry Glassman:
Northern Harford County State Senator Barry Glassman (35) of Harford County and the Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Area Council seek bond bill funding from the State of Maryland in the amount of $500,000 to construct the Broad Creek Maryland Boy Scouts of America Ecology Learning Center.
The Broad Creek Maryland Boy Scouts of America Ecology Learning Center will be a necessary tool educating tens of thousands of Maryland youth and families about healthy ecology and conservation practices. This project is clearly meant to benefit youth and families from throughout the State of Maryland. The Center will be built on property owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Area Council at the Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation (BCMSR), a 1,700 acre environmentally diverse property in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. BCMSR is the largest undeveloped privately owned property in Harford County.
Maryland State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff indicates that the property scores exceptionally high in their environment impact assessment. It is located within one mile of the Susquehanna River, 12 miles of the Chesapeake Bay, and within 3 miles of the municipal water intake providing drinking water to 3 million people in Baltimore City and 4 surrounding counties.
All youth want and need positive programs and role models in their life. Using the benefit of one of Maryland’s crown jewels, the 1,700 acre BCMSR, as a tool to cultivate, nurture, build, and hone life skills in the underprivileged youth and all youth of Maryland is the ultimate goal of this innovative project. The Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Area Council and its Scout reservation fall within the watershed boundaries of the United States’ largest estuary. According to the Chesapeake Bay Trust “preserving the Chesapeake Bay’s habitat is crucial to improving water quality and also to all the fish, crabs, oysters, and other wildlife that call the Bay home” (www.cbtrust.org). Accordingly, educating youth of appropriate ecology and conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay will be a key educational goal at the Center.
The property provides important youth development and environmental education for 30,000 Boy Scout campers annually as well as approximately 6,000 youth in non-Boy Scout groups including schools, governments, community, church groups and other non-profit organizations including Girls Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cal Ripkin Foundation, Royal Rangers, NAACP Youth Program, Maryland DNR, and Harford County High Schools.
Through the construction of the Broad Creek Maryland Boy Scouts of America Ecology Learning Center the Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Area Council seeks to enhance the Conservation and Ecology Program at BCMSR, and to establish an innovative and unique program facility on the property. This facility will serve as a year-round learning center to support weekend and summer ecology programs.
The Broad Creek Maryland Boy Scouts of America Ecology Learning Center will be “green” and designed and built to meet the US Green Building Council’s Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED) certification requirements and to utilize local construction materials. The facility will be designed to be energy self-sufficient using technologies such as solar, passive solar lighting, and wood fuel heat. Energy efficiency will be designed into the facility. The facility itself will serve as a model for conservation and provide participants with “teachable moments.”
Program at the facility will be designed to complement year-round programming. Advertised, fee-for-service weekend programs, facilitated by the Conservation Committee and lead by natural resource professionals and educators, will be offered. These programs will be varied and can include, for example, a weekend workshop focused on forestry, instructed by a professional forester. The facility will also provide a variety of programs at no charge including but not limited to: star hikes, museum tours, guided nature hikes, and Leave No Trace awareness workshops. It is also anticipated that during longer camping or workshop programs nightly sessions will be offered by volunteers, including expert lead bird hikes, tree identification, and nature hikes.
In the State of Maryland there is a significant effort underway to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Estuary and all programs which have an impact garner support at state and local levels as well as in the business and private sectors. As known stewards of our environment the Boy Scouts of America is looked to for our help in these efforts not only to protect and restore, but also to educate. We know that Scouts coupled with area business support, and the support of this grant, will garner other resources to help augment the value of the program for many years.
Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Area Council anticipates the following funding sources to comprise the overall project budget of $1,000,000:
$500,000 Maryland State Bond Bill
$500,000 private industry, foundations, and grants
Project completion, including all necessary land preparation and building construction, is anticipated on or before December 31, 2011.