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ORLT's 30 Stories for 30 Years: Dan Hope

Follow along as ORLT celebrates its 30th Anniversary by

presenting stories that celebrate people and land.

This week, we bring you the 4th story in our 30 Stories for 30 Years series from Dan Hope, founding and current board member of ORLT. An enduring board member, Dan has shared his passion for the land and experience in park planning, environmental education, and organizational capacity building with us for 30 years. He served as hardworking ORLT chair for many years, working both in the office and in the field (monitoring his fair share of ORLT's early easements). We are grateful for Dan's commitment—it has made ORLT what it is today. His interest in land conservation was sparked in childhood, as he describes below.

My parents, knowing it or not, introduced me to the natural world. In the second grade, we moved to a small town in Iowa with a cornfield in the backyard; pigs and chickens were nearby. A mink farm was next to my school’s playground. Then, we moved to Massachusetts near the ocean and marshland. I could see both from my elementary school desk. Much to my mother’s dismay, the marsh became my playground. It was in a public park conserved by the children of Ruben and Lizzie Grossman in memory of their parents. It was my first introduction to the importance of protecting and donating land. When my mother managed to pry us from the muck and smell of the marsh, she took us on trips to learn the history and landscape of New England.

When we moved back to Maryland, my front yard was a 400+ acre farm, and the Patapsaco State Park, Maryland’s largest at 14,000 acres, was my side yard. The stream through our yard wound its way through the woods and joined the Patapsaco River, which flowed to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay and YMCA fishing trips to Canada, Boy Scout camping, including Philmont in New Mexico, were all part of my outdoor education.

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