American Chestnut Land Trust
   Connecting people with the land

Land Management

The goal of ACLT's Land Management program is to manage all of the lands, structures, and waters for which we are responsible in an environmentally sustainable manner in order to protect the natural and cultural resources of the Parkers Creek and Governors Run watersheds for the benefit of this and future generations.

To meet this goal, ACLT has adopted a Master Land Management Plan as well as individual property management plans and forest stewardship plans. In general, ACLT promotes late successional (old growth) forest structure and the protection of rare, threatened and endangered species of plants and animals.

Volunteers play a critical role in all aspects of managing the land (see Volunteer Opportunities).


Trail Maintenance Program

ACLT has constructed and maintains 19 miles of trails and three trailheads (see Trails and Maps). Each spring and fall (see Calendar of Events), we conduct Hiking Trail Maintenance Days when major projects to maintain the trails are undertaken with volunteer help. Throughout the growing season, volunteers also assist with mowing and brush trimming to keep the trails open. Email landmanager@acltweb.org for more information.


Invasive Plant Control Program

ACLT conducts an annual Vine Vindicator training program to educate the public about the problems caused by non-native invasive plants and to train volunteers to identify and safely remove them. Several Saturdays throughout the year (see Calendar of Events), Vine Vindicators volunteer to improve the habitat for native plants by controlling non-native invasive species. ACLT also has a regular Wednesday morning group that meets for Weed-Whacking Wednesdays. Email landmanager@acltweb.org for meeting time and location.


Maryland Master Naturalist Program

In 2013, the American Chestnut Land Trust launched a new Maryland Master Naturalist program in Calvert County. The program's mission is to engage citizens as stewards of Maryland's natural ecosystems and resources through science-based education and volunteer service in their communities.

Modeled on the highly successful Master Gardener program established by the University of Maryland Extension, the Maryland Master Naturalist program provides training for volunteers who want to learn and share their knowledge of the state's natural world. The Calvert County program at ACLT focuses on the ecology of the Coastal Plains region of Maryland and offers local volunteer opportunities.

Experts from all over Maryland present fascinating and interactive lectures on topics including: an introduction to ecological principles, interpretation, botany, soils, geology, ornithology, weather and climate, insects, mammals, freshwater and tidal wetlands systems, fish, herpetology, and invasive species. Special Master Naturalist field trips include identification of birds by sight and song, tree identification, fossils of Calvert Cliffs, and nighttime amphibian sightings and calls.

Course participants complete 60 hours of classroom and field training. Following successful completion of the course, participants give back, within one year of the training, 40 hours of approved volunteer service at the training host site in order to become a Certified Master Naturalist Volunteer. To maintain certification, participants perform 40 hours of approved volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training annually. The Calvert County program is co-sponsored by Battle Creek Nature Education Society and Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust. Volunteer service can be performed at these two sites in addition to ACLT.

To express interest in the classes which are held from late January through early May, contact the ACLT Land Manager at landmanager@acltweb.org.


Double Oak Farm

A CSA (community supported agriculture) program was started at ACLT's headquarters at Double Oak Farm in 2010 to add another dimension to ACLT's effort to connect people to our preserved properties. A CSA is a fresh new way to preserve the cultural tradition of agriculture in Calvert County. Promoting agriculture and encouraging people to buy locally grown foods has many benefits for the community. It provides wholesome food at its peak flavor, reduces transportation costs and energy consumption, supports our county's agricultural economy, and encourages new uses of fallow farm fields that we hope will help to preserve the rural character of Calvert County. Email volunteer@acltweb.org for more information.


Water Quality Monitoring Program

ACLT began taking water samples in Parkers Creek in 1998. The goal of the program is to maintain a continuous record of water quality. By sampling once a month, we hope to be able to detect changes in water quality that may indicate a change in the health of the stream. Volunteers are trained to sample for dissolved nutrients, total suspended solids, phytoplankton abundance, temperature, water clarity, and salinity. Email volunteer@acltweb.org for more information.


Property Monitoring

ACLT annually monitors its own properties and private properties on which we hold conservation easements to document current conditions. Volunteers accompany the land manager to assist in this important task. Email landmanager@acltweb.org for more information.


Deer Herd Management Program

During regulated times of the year, we allow hunters to use our property in exchange for volunteer hours they contribute to ACLT's land management program throughout the remainder of the year. Deer browse destroys the understory vegetation that provides habitat for birds and other species of wildlife and also inhibits the forest's ability to regenerate itself. Email landmanager@acltweb.org for more information.


Cultural Resource Stabilization

The agricultural history of the lands ACLT manages is reflected in the scattered structures that remain throughout the landscape. ACLT has inventoried these structures and prioritized them for stabilization and/or restoration. ACLT has restored the Hance-Chesley Cemetery with the help of the Calvert Garden Club and the Percy Howard Barn on Scientists Cliffs Road. Additional barn restoration work is planned. Email landmanager@acltweb.org for more information.

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Volunteers maintain trail with mulch created from Earth Day cleanup.

Hiking Trail Maintenance Day

ACLT Land Manager identifies invasive Phragmites on the beach.

Students restore habitat by raising and planting underwater grasses.

Maryland Master Naturalist

Double Oak Farm CSA

Double Oak Farm CSA

Double Oak Farm CSA

Double Oak Farm CSA

Water Quality Monitoring

 

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