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Check donations can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 1955
Leonardtown, MD 20650
or donate online:
As 2023 comes to a close, we thank you for your invaluable support and review the many good things you’ve made possible this year. We’re quite proud of all that we accomplished in 2023.
PTLT completed a purchase in May of a conservation easement on an 86.7acre property. By the end of this year, we should close on two more conservation easements totaling 93.58 acres. With these new easements, we will have protected more than 10 square miles of land from development – forever! Funding for these easements came from the Maryland Rural Legacy Program and from the U.S. Navy. Sue Veith of St. Mary’s County Government assisted us in evaluating conservation values of each of these properties.
We completed acquisition of a forest conservation easement in April, allowing Historic St. Mary’s City to clear enough land to build a boating facility at Chancellor’s Point.
Early next year we will be closing on a conservation easement of more than 400 acres. More easements are in the pipeline, thanks to the hard work of our new conservation manager, Abby Greenwell.
Originally from St. Mary’s County, Abby graduated from Ryken High School and Old Dominion University before serving as an officer in the Navy. She moved back to St. Mary’s County where she and her husband James are raising three young children and managing a small farm. From the day we brought her aboard in March, Abby has been doing an outstanding job of enlisting property owners willing to place their properties under conservation easements.
We held an event June 15 at Jubilee Farm to thank our donors and volunteers. The event was made possible by a generous donation by the farm’s owner, Maggie O’Brien. On October 14, we held PTLT’s inaugural Turtle Trot, (a 5K walk/run race) at Point Lookout State Park. All participants finished before the rain started. We staffed an information table at the Earth Day observance at Summerseat Sanctuary. Unfortunately, we were rained out at St. Mary’s Watershed’s Riverfest in September, courtesy of Tropical Storm Ophelia.
We also continued a favorite PTLT tradition: our annual winter Weed Warrior workdays to clear vines and invasive plants at Myrtle Point County Park and Historic St. Mary’s City. This fall, our winter campaign started at Myrtle Point on November 4th.have helped to improve the health of our planet.
PTLT board member David Moulton reported on a study of modifying hay harvesting schedules to protect ground nesting birds. The findings: a modest delay in the first cutting does indeed improve fledging success.
The Southern Maryland Conservation Alliance, of which we are a member, is proving to be quite effective. We identified two large properties in Prince George’s County that will probably be saved from development. Meanwhile, the US Fish and Wildlife Service presented its proposal for a Southern Maryland Woodlands National Wildlife Refuge. Stay tuned. Our Huntersville Rural Legacy Area, including much of the MacIntosh Run watershed, falls within this priority conservation area.
In keeping with a key component of PTLT’s mission, we monitored all our conservation easements. One function of this land monitoring includes helping resolve landowner concerns.
Our thanks to all who made this happen. Until March we were an all-volunteer organization. Volunteers are handing off the easement acquisition work to Abby, but are continuing to conduct public outreach, training, and attending meetings – including the (virtual) Non-Profit Risk Summit and the kickoff of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area, volunteer coordination, easement monitoring, financial management including required IRS and state filings, as well as publicity via social media, our website, and newsletters.
Finally, special thanks to our donors. Donations help us fund such activities as the incidental costs of acquiring conservation easements and building a dedicated endowment for long-term stewardship of donated easements.
As you make your contributions this season, please consider PTLT in your charitable giving. PTLT is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
Thank you. I look forward to seeing you in the outdoors!
Frank Allen, President, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust
EXTRA CHILDREN'S Turtle Trot T-Shirts available for sale!!! Get your high-quality cotton t-shirts with the adorable Turtle for your favorite children. All sales help support PTLT's mission to save land in our community! $20 each. Scoop them up while they last. Sizes: Youth XS, SM, M, and L
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust just acquired a new conservation easement – a forest conservation easement. Historic Saint Mary’s City, working with Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, plans to move the sailing program over to Chancellor’s Point – for better, more reliable wind. To make this possible, they will need to cut some trees along the waterfront. Tree removal within the critical zone is subject to stringent regulations. This means that a grove of trees must be planted – and maintained – nearby on the waterfront as mitigation. A neighbor, and friend of HSMC generously offered to plant such a grove, and to maintain it. PTLT is responsible to ensure that the grove planting meets regulations and is preserved forever.
Abby Greenwell, Conservation Manager, already out in the field
with Jackson Webb, on his farm with recent PTLT easement
Interview by Phil Hayward
Abby Greenwell remembers a time not so long ago when traffic on Rt. 235 (aka Three Notch Road) would come to a standstill, not because of an uncountable succession of traffic lights, but because drivers of two approaching cars had paused for a cross-lanes conversation. Such was the 1980s transitioning into the ‘90s in St. Mary’s County.
“It was a true small town,” says Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust’s new manager.
Coming of age in this bucolic era provided Greenwell with a personal reason to save what can be saved of the region’s natural resources. And for her, this means land and the many interlocking ways it affects our quality of life.
Greenwell graduated from Saint Mary’s Ryken High School in 2005 and in 2009 from Old Dominion University where she earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice. “I attended on a Navy ROTC scholarship, so my career path was set when I graduated.”
It was a career path that prepared her for working with PTLT.
In the Navy she served as a Surface Warfare Officer with commands aboard USS Nitze (an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer), Destroyer Squadron 28, and the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower. Her roles included training officer, schedules officer, and operations officer. After separating from active-duty Navy, Greenwell joined Prevailance Inc. in Virginia Beach as a government contractor working on a nationwide training exercise. During this same time, she deployed as a U.S. Navy reservist to the Middle East.
“I spent the first 10 years of my professional life being a true jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none” Greenwell says. “I learned how to manage complex projects and to build plans of action over months or even years. At the same time, I learned how to involve stakeholders and build professional relationships.”
Considering PTLT’s close work with landowners, county and state governments, and fellow conservation organizations, her experience is invaluable.
In the following question-and-answer session, Greenwell digs deeper into her views on conservation and how she expects to apply them for PTLT. (continued on "Read More" page)
Abby Greenwell, PTLT Conservation Manager,
sharing the love of nature with her children
Benefits of a Conservation Easement
(Excerpt from www.mylandplan.org, American Forest Foundation)
Every conservation easement is a unique legal agreement, written specifically to fit your needs and goals. You can set up a conservation easement to:
Whether you place all or only part of your property into a conservation easement, you can expect to benefit from the agreement in several ways.
Estate tax benefits. A conservation easement that removes your land’s development potential typically lowers its market value—and that means lower taxes for the landowner. That can significantly reduce estate taxes when you pass on your property to the next generation, making it easier to keep the land in the family and intact.
Property tax benefits. By lowering your land’s value, a conservation easement can also lower your property taxes.
State and federal tax benefits. If your conservation easement is permanent, was donated—not sold—to a land trust for conservation purposes, and meets certain other IRS conditions, it can qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation that can reduce your state and federal income taxes. The easement is treated as a donation of the development rights to your land. That means the value of the donation (and the amount of the deduction you can claim) would be the difference between the property’s market value if its development were not restricted in any way, and its value with the easement’s restrictions in place.
Permanency and control. Most easements are permanent and crafted specifically to meet your goals. Their restrictions remain in force even when the land changes hands. With the right easement terms in place, you can have the peace of mind of knowing your land will be protected as you wish well beyond your lifetime.
Although conservation easements offer significant benefits, they are not for every landowner. There are some important points to keep in mind when you consider a conservation easement.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust holds conservation easement on properties in Southern Maryland where we purchase or accept donations of development rights on properties and impose other conservation-related restrictions on the land. We work closely with the landowner to make sure that easement terms are what the owner wishes – the conditions in the easement apply to all future landowners so this is the only way that landowners can be certain that the land will be kept the way that they want. It is very difficult to alter or terminate the easement, so this type of land protection is the best that exists. Other than restrictions that apply to the easement, the landowner still owns the property.
For more information, read more by our partner, Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) .
Check donations can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 1955
Leonardtown, MD 20650
or donate online:
On December 1st the Maryland Board of Public Works approved an award of $2,217,053.00 to the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) to acquire conservation easements in the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area in Northern St. Mary’s County. PTLT plans to apply this funding toward acquiring conservation easements on several important properties including a 437-acre waterfront parcel that will significantly help protect the environment and wildlife habitat in St. Mary’s County.
PTLT asks any property owners in the Huntersville Rural Area who may be interested in the conservation easement purchase program, or have questions, to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-862-3421.
Wonder what the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is all about? Watch this video and learn the history and philosophy behind our organization.