Volume XVII, Issue 26 # June 25 - July 1, 2009

Letter from the Editor

photo by Phil Hoffmann
Preservationist Ned Hall will be honored for his efforts protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
photo by Heather Boughey
That same evening, Bill Burton will be lauded with a fundraiser to benefit the Bill Burton Environmental Research Center at Gibson Island Country School, where he donated his library.

Let Us Now Praise Legendary Men

Honor Bill Burton and Ned Hall on June 30

June 30 is a big day this year, for on that Tuesday you can add to the honor awarded two eco-warriors in the cause of Chesapeake Bay. Both are men whose achievements are legendary, and you’ve learned about both in the pages of Bay Weekly.

One, 82-year-old Bill Burton, you’ve encountered almost every week since June of 1993.

The other, Ned Hall, appeared only once, in a comprehensive profile by Nancy Hoffmann: (www.bayweekly.com/year02/issueX11/baylifeX11.html).

As Hoffman explained, comprehensive was the only alternative with Hall, now 93.

“I began the interview,” she wrote, “by asking Hall how he had acquired the land in his care, and he responded: Let me start at the beginning in the late 1600s …

Hall, Hoffmann learned in her four-hour interview, spent most of his life working as a professional surveyor in Anne Arundel County. He has walked most of the county and likely every inch of his land. With a loving eye, he has studied the county’s rises and falls, its sands and rocks, its trees and brush, its foxes and rabbits.

Hall’s ancestors came to Anne Arundel County in 1695. He purchased his own 70 acres in Gambrills in the 1950s.

Hall’s land, Hoffmann wrote, was first mined for bog iron, iron ore found in rocks. Then it was worked by tenant farmers. In 1700, he told Hoffmann, it was probably good soil, but in 1921, they couldn’t even afford to farm it.

Hall shouldered the job of preservation. First, he had his property designated a tree farm. Next, he and his wife Alice put their land under conservation easement, giving the property’s development rights to a land trust. Their farm will forever remain in its natural state.

For that gift, Hall will be honored June 30 as the first in the Chesapeake Bay String of Pearls.

String of Pearls, says organizer Dick Lahn, “has the mission of honoring people who have acted to preserve lands in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed either by outright public donation or by conservation easement. To recognize in perpetuity their legacy, their names and description of the lands will be inscribed in the Register of Pearls of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and displayed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.”

Honor Ned and the Hall Family at noon at Anne Arundel County District Court Ceremonial Courtroom, 7 Church Circle, Annapolis: [email protected]

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And Bill Burton? Enough read, I say, modifying his famous phrase, for he’s told you week after week that the salvation of the Chesapeake is the cause to which he’s dedicated the last years of his life.

In honor of that grand, articulate, no-nonsense dedication, Dick Franyo of Boatyard Bar and Grill and Joe Evans of Proptalk magazine are celebrating Burton as their Chesapeake hero of the year. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Bill Burton Environmental Research Center at Gibson Island Country School, where Burton donated his library and where his beloved granddaughter Mackenzie Noel ‘Grumpy’ Boughey just finished first grade.

“I want to catch some kids when they’re starting and get them interested in the environment and just hope it will work,” Bill told me.

Join in the celebration 6-8pm at Boatyard Bar and Grill, Eastport. $50; rsvp: [email protected]

       Sandra Olivetti Martin
     editor and publisher