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Smitten. That’s what I was when I saw the lush green trees on the Ma & Pa trail, the acres of rolling hills carpeted in green, the rushing waters of the Gunpowder and the golden fields of giant sun flowers at Broom’s Bloom Dairy farm.

Harford County is a beautiful place and that is one of the reasons I moved here from Los Angeles.

But to keep it that way we need a determined effort that includes private and public sector groups, including local government to make it happen.

I have worked on landmark legislation with the governor of California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote green technology and rally for renewable energy. Coming from that experience, I was delighted to participate in a recent workshop to contribute and help a coalition of organizations and the County government determine the most important goals and strategies for developing a Green Infrastructure Plan (GIP).

With a financial grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adm. (NOAA) and the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), the Susquehanna Wildlife Society and the Conservation Fund are collaborating with the county to identify opportunities and make recommendations to protect and restore our valuable resources and to connect them into a “green network.”

A “green network” not only creates a healthy ecosystem, which includes preserving forests, streams and aquatic wildlife, but also provides recreational opportunities and promotes walkable communities for jogging, walking and cycling. It also increases the County’s economy relating to farming, forestry, recreation and tourism. In addition to the social interaction among disparate groups, studies have shown a green infrastructure also lowers stress, reduces anxiety, improves ADD/ADHD, air and water quality, and increases overall life satisfaction in people of all ages.

A draft of the Green Infrastructure Plan is due later this year and it will be up to the County Council to determine what aspects will be accepted and implemented. However, the county currently DOESN’T envision seeking stronger environmental protections through regulations.

Without proper regulation we leave everything to chance and that does not bode well for our lifestyle in the future.

I already see the results of poor planning in unsightly overbuilding and traffic congestion. I don’t want to see Harford County turned into another Baltimore suburb like Towson. It can happen if we don’t do something about it.

Our environment needs a friend on the Harford County Council, and with my experience and as a committed stakeholder, that friend is me.

Take a stand and help invest in your community by joining my campaign. You can volunteer or contribute by going to the tabs on this website’s home page. Keep informed by liking and following my Facebook page: Karen Kukurin for Harford County Council C.

Authorization, Friends of Karen Kukurin, Treasurer Rita Scharmann

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