Anne Arundel County Recognizes 25 Years of Agricultural and Woodland Preservation

Anne Arundel County Recognizes 25 Years of Agricultural and Woodland Preservation

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On, Thursday, May 25, County Executive Steuart Pittman and the Department of Recreation and Parks held an event to celebrate the past 25 years of Agricultural and Woodland Preservation in Anne Arundel County, at Historic Hancock’s Resolution in Pasadena.

Mr. Pittman and Jessica Leys, Director of the Department, were joined by former County Executive Janet Owens for the ceremony. Owens is a lifelong resident of Anne Arundel County, having grown up in Lothian, and she was the first and only elected woman county executive in Anne Arundel County’s history.  Under her leadership, the 1999 Tobacco buyout in Maryland was implemented, which had an enormous impact on the agricultural landscape of the County and the success of the Agriculture Preservation Programs in the County.

The event also marked the occasion of the retirement of Barbara Polito from the County, after 26 years of outstanding service to the County’s land preservation programs. According to Jessica Leys, Anne Arundel County has secured close to 10,000 acres under Barbara Polito’s direction, accounting for 70% of the land preserved under the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), Rural Legacy, and Anne Arundel County Local programs.  There were over $57.5M in land transactions during her tenure, with another 500 acres currently in the pipeline. Barbara has been a long-time Board member of the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area, and has worked directly with Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, the Soil Conservation District and our State Agricultural partners, the Offices of Planning and Zoning and the Office of Law.  She has been the Departmental Liaison for the Friends of Hancock’s Resolution for many years, and was also instrumental in working to complete the “String of Pearls” in Jug Bay, which resulted in 6 farm areas surrounding Jug Bay being preserved in 2017.  During this time, Barbara also oversaw the management of  the Dairy Farm and Rockhold Creek Farm, working closely with the farmers and the 4H group.

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Congratulations to all involved in the successful Agriculture preservation Programs, and to Chesapeake Crossroads Board member Barbara Polito on her retirement from the County, and warmest wishes to Barbara as she begins her next chapter!

Note: In 2014, the heritage area created a video, “Stewardship Success Stories,” about local land preservation programs, and Barbara Polito was one of the presenters. Watch the video here: