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Celebrating the Forest Preserve’s 20th Anniversary

Mayor Emmett Jordan holds the city’s Proclamation of the 20th Anniversary of the Forest Preserve. He’s joined by “forest protectors” Susan Barnett, Paul Downs and Konrad Herling, as Council member Ric Gordon applauds. Photo by the author.

What a glorious event it was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Greenbelt’s beloved Forest Preserve. A crowd of forest-lovers turned out to hear how the Great North Woods were saved and became our Forest Preserve.  And the many people who were responsible for the success of that long drive, and those who are actively caring for, protecting and speaking out for our forest were honored.

I loved hearing some details of the 16-year battle to save the woods – the events held year-round in the forest, day and night and Labor Day Festival booths “creating a bond between the people and the land.” And the obstacles I’d never heard of – fighting the widening of Ridge Road to four lanes, and the county’s move to build three schools in Greenbelt’s woods. Through it all, as Susan Barnett recounted, their motto was “Never Go Away!” The story of the creation of the Preserve is well documented in this article in the Greenbelt News Review.

Members of the Forest Preserve Advisory Board with Susan Barnett. From left, Owen Kelley, Bryan Bruns, Damien Ossi, Donna Hoffmeister, and Thomas Doggett . Photo by Lisa Milani.

Photo of Susan Barnett by Heather Ettus; others by the author.

The event, held at the New Deal Cafe, was organized by the Celebrate the Greenbelt Forest Preserve Committee and MC’d by Konrad Herling and Susan Barnett.

Certificates of Recognition Awarded

  • In Recognition of Exceptional Leadership to Judith “J” Davis.
  • In Recognition of Mindful Stewardship to Forest Preserve Advisory Board : FPAB’s certificate was received by Donna Hoffmeister who was co-chair for the past 5 years. Damien Ossi was co-chair for the past 5 years, too. (Other FPAB members there were Bryan Bruns, Thomas Doggett, Damien Ossi, Owen Kelley; Not present were Susan Gregerson, John Paul Schmit, Beth Novick)
  • In Recognition of Unique Advocacy by an Organization to Maryland Coalition for Responsible Transit. MCRT’s certificate was received by Pat Jackman. Other Board members present were Susan McCutchen, Suzzie Schuyler, and Rhonda Kranz.  Not present was Dan Woomer and Bill Boone.  Bill is not on the board but he is a huge driver of MCRT’s work.
  • In Recognition of Unique Advocacy by an Individual to Damien Ossi, Owen Kelley and Catherine Plaisant.

Members of Maryland Coalition for Responsible Transit: Owen Kelley, Susan McCutchen, Susan Barnett, Pat Jackman, Rhonda Kranz, and Suzzie Schuyler. Kathy Bartolomeo was absent. Photo by Heather Ettus.

Left, Owen Kelley receiving the Certificate in Recognition of Unique Advocacy by an Individual from Susan Barnett; photo by Heather Ettus. Right, display of Owen’s publications about the forest.


Click here for Owen’s “A Hundred Wild Things: Field Guide to Plants in Greenbelt’s North Woods” or here for his “Ridership Revisited: The Official Ridership Forecast for the Proposed Baltimore-Washington Maglev Is a Factor of Ten Too High.”

And here on Greenbelt Online, where Owen is a member of the Editorial Board, you can read his eight meticulously researched articles about the proposed maglev train.

Melissa Sites’s Song about the Forest Preserve:

After Melissa’s song, she continued performing as Forest Preserve heroes danced. From left, Paul Downs, Susan Barnett, Jean Newcomb (visual communicator/graphic designer for the Celebration Committee), and Kristie Fletcher (the Committee’s “word wizard”). Photo by the author.

Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland YouTube channel. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog weekly at GardenRant.com.

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