There has been a whole lot of national and local conversation about isolation, excess screen time, and physical/mental health during COVID. We are all experiencing unprecedented stresses and may not have our usual support networks and de-stressing options available to us.
People want and need fresh air, sunshine, and a break from working and learning now more than ever. But how and where to start? Don’t worry, this is what #explorethereserve is all about!
Born out of a community outreach group discussion, #explorethereserve will highlight weekly ideas for getting off screens and heading outside to improve mental and physical health, explore our corner of Maryland, and provide inspiration for COVID-safe adventures in and near Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve.
What is the Ag Reserve?
Montgomery County’s 93,000 acre Agricultural Reserve maintains and protects the rural and agricultural legacy of the area. It was spurred into creation by the rapid disappearance of farmland and open space post WW2. The Ag Reserve has been described as “”the most famous, most studied and most emulated” farmland protection program in the US.
It comprises farms, fields, forests, and waterways; is bordered by state and national parks; and contains a multitude of historic sites and buildings. With virtually unlimited opportunities for recreation and relaxation year round, the Ag Reserve is a perfect place to explore.
Weekly explorations in the Ag Reserve
On a weekly basis, a location will be highlighted, resources such as maps and links will be provided, and suggestions for modes of enjoyment will be shared. You can feel free to visit alone, with family, or your bubble and can choose activities or just appreciate the place.
You can dig deeper by exploring the resources section of each post–suggested books, websites, organizations, and online publications to expand your knowledge. There will also be a section listing nearby local businesses like farms and restaurants you might like to check out on your explorations.
Explore the Ag Reserve Safely and Respectfully
- Leave no trace is a great guiding principle. Bring a bag and take your trash with you for disposal. Do not remove artifacts from historic sites and parks. If spending time near or in the water, please don’t disturb the streambed by moving rocks–it’s a sensitive ecosystem.
- Stay safe and comfortable–since parts of the Reserve can be remote and phone/WiFi coverage may be weak or non-existent, if you are planning on exploring the Reserve on your own, let someone know of your location. Print/download a map if you’ll be heading into wilder areas. Dress in layers for the weather and wear sunscreen/use bug spray if needed. Lock your car and put any valuables out of sight.
- Friends you don’t want–be aware of your surroundings and, especially at certain times of year, keep an eye out for snakes, wild animals, and irritating plants . During tick season, follow safety protocols for clothing, repellent, and checking at home.
Let’s keep exploring the ag reserve!
New adventures will be posted each Wednesday morning on the Taste Travel Teach website and linked via the Taste Travel Teach FB page.
Share #explorethereserve further by reposting to your own social media and sharing with family and friends.
Use the hashtag #explorethereserve to share our experiences/photos on social media to inspire others and build community.
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Suggestions for upcoming #explorethereserve adventures? Click on the Contact button here or send a FB message to Christine.
Thanks for reading about the #explorethereserve project. I hope you will enjoy learning, exploring, and discovering more about Montgomery County’s Ag Reserve.
See you every Wednesday morning for a new adventure!
ABOUT TASTE TRAVEL TEACH & CHRISTINE RAI:
- Click here to learn more about me and my credentials.
- Check out my shop for unique products with my creative flair.
- Contact me here about teaching a class, leading a tour, or speaking to your group.
- My current project: I’m finishing up my first book, a sunny guide for positive living featuring my vibrant multimedia art.
- Upcoming event: Cheese tasting fundraiser to benefit the Upcounty Prevention Network. Click here to learn more.
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Copyright Christine Rai, 2020