New Environmental Studies and Historic St. Mary’s City Partnership Receives Grant Award from the Maryland Agricultural Council

News Release, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary’s City, MD- On Thursday, February 7, a faculty, staff, and student team representing the Heirloom Garden Project – a new partnership between the environmental studies program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Historic St. Mary’s City – received a grant award from the Maryland Agricultural Council during the Annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture gala in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Hosted by The Maryland Agricultural Council – whose mission is to promote Maryland agriculture and to educate the public on its importance – the award gala included special presentations from U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Governor Larry Hogan, and Joseph Bartenfelder, secretary, Maryland Department of Agriculture. Attendees included a large contingent of senators and delegates from Maryland’s General Assembly and Congressional Delegation.

Selected from a large competitive pool of proposals as an outstanding example of creative and unique programs being done on a local level, the Heirloom Garden Project will grow historically accurate heirloom crops for living history programs at Historic St. Mary’s City; facilitate agriculture-based service learning opportunities for St. Mary’s College students; and produce educational materials about the importance of past and present sustainable agriculture practices for the general public.

Project Coordinators Barry Ross Muchnick, assistant professor environmental studies, and Peter Friesen, director of education at Historic St. Mary’s City, accepted the award on behalf of the project, along with Bonnie Kangas, acting manager at the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm and environmental studies major Madeline Beller ’19, a student member of the larger team that collaborated on the project proposal.

Environmental studies students researched and wrote the grant proposal as part of the upper-level, interdisciplinary Keystone Seminar (ENST490) in Fall 2018, which examined the relationship between food systems and environmental citizenship. Committed to learning through experiential and applied discovery, the seminar hosted a grant-writing workshop by Sabine Dillingham, director of research and sponsored programs, and enabled students to break ground on the project through structured service-learning hours and reflective writing assignments.

Located at the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm, The Heirloom Garden Project embodies how the environmental studies program links theory and practice by building bridges between campus and the broader community.

For more information about the Heirloom Garden Project, or to learn how you can volunteer, contact

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