Howard County Legacy Leadership
Institute for the Environment
I spent hours of my childhood romping in fields, swimming in creeks and ponds, exploring the woods and swinging from wild grape vines. I haven’t stopped. Along the way I earned a degree in Biology, took a layperson’s version of a seminary education (EFM), and later was trained in doing taxes.
Opportunities to teach in non-traditional ways kept popping up-I taught workers how to test peoples’ lung function in hospitals, I mentored groups in the four-year EFM program, I homeschooled my sons until high school, and I taught creative math to middle schoolers in a one room school house.
Currently I am on the boards of the League of Women Voters, Howard County Citizen’s Association, Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway, and the Rockburn Land Trust. I was appointed to Howard County’s Environmental Sustainability Board as a citizen representative. My goal is to help the environmental community in Howard County work better together on common issues. To assist communications among the groups, I began an environmental list serve (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hccenvironment/).
All in all, I enjoy building bridges between people (and groups), matching people’s passion with things that need to be done, building community, finding better ways to do things, learning new things, and advocating for the community and the environment. To help balance my life, I enjoy gardening, raising chickens, and observing amphibians.
Tracey T. Manning, Ph.D
Tracey is a social and personality psychologist by training, specializes in leadership and influence, particularly in nontraditional forms of influence, such as non-positional leadership and volunteer leadership. Tracey earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC and her B.A. at DePaul University, Chicago, IL.
Formerly research associate professor, Center on Aging, and senior scholar, Burns Academy of Leadership, both at University of Maryland College Park (UMCP), Tracey currently teaches graduate leadership courses for the School of Public Health at UMCP and coordinates the Howard County Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment, which she co-founded.
Following on the latter work, she also conducts environmental leadership workshops, including how to communicate climate science to widely diverse lay audiences. Recently she has worked in this capacity with NASA’s Earth Science division researchers June 10, 2015, with Alaska EPSCoR scientists in Kenai May 3, 2016, and with public lands staff and tour guides in Fairbanks and Juneau April 29 and May 5, 2016.
In additional to her faculty role, Tracey has facilitated numerous leadership workshops in the US and the UK and consulted with individuals and organizations on a wide range of leadership issues. Her research has been published in Women in Management Review, the American Psychologist, the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, and the Journal of Leadership Education. However, she mainly thinks of herself as a bridge-builder, translating scientific research so that others can apply it to make a positive difference in their contexts.
Barbara Schmeckpeper Ph.D.
Barb is the happy grandmother of two nature-loving children, Volunteer Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) and Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment (LLIE), HoLLIE Steering Committee and Coordinator. She is a retired molecular biologist who spent the majority of her career on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Barb has over 30 years of work experience in academic basic research (Human Genetics) and directing clinical histocompatibility testing (tissue typing) using molecular biological techniques, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the American Red Cross National Histocompatibility Laboratory; experience in large collaborative projects with the National Marrow Donor Program; 30 + peer-reviewed publications.
She participated in Legacy Leadership Maryland (2003-2004) and Eastern Shore LLIE (2004); she has been active in planning and implementing Eastern Shore LLIE and mentoring Legacy Leaders since 2005. She contributed hundreds of hours annually volunteering with two centers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as environmental educator, restorer of marsh habitat, native plant gardener, grant writer for program support at CBEC, fund-raiser, and volunteer coordinator.
Barb contributed to her community in Howard County as a member of her homeowners association board of directors (5 years), as Habitat Steward (Howard Co. Dept. of Recreation and Parks), as a Howard Co. Master Gardener by presenting programs to the public including school children, and though PTA activities for 20 years while her children were in county schools.
Betsy Singer, M.S.
As children growing up near the banks of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, we were outside running the neighborhood with friends, more than we were inside watching shows on the new black and white TV set. Riding bikes and occasionally, horses, on the Mississippi River levees above the deepest part of the river offered adventure not easily matched.
After college at LSU Baton Rouge, a writing job for the Corps of Engineers in New Orleans offered me an office perched on the very same levee system. Now I had a picture-window view of the deepest part of the Mississippi. In 1973, the first major flood on the river in 23 years began in the upper tributaries of one of the largest river systems in the world.
The river gauge outside my window made international news when the Mississippi crested at 18.47 feet over a city that is an average of 7 feet below sea level. New Orleans was saved when the Corps opened man-made spillways at Bonnet Carre and Morganza, both built after the massive 1927 flood on the Mississippi. Growing up, hurricanes and flooding were relatively common, like Hurricane Betsy that devastated New Orleans and Camille that wiped out the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
What we used to call “Mother Nature” and now call “the environment” never lost its mystery and allure. But the 2006 publication of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” made a major impact on me. What could be more momentous for the planet we live on than the calamity that could result from global warming? And what can we do about about it?
Today, I’m active in Howard County groups that work to protect and repair the natural environment through education and public policy. I became heavily involved after I served as Co-Chair of the landmark Howard County Environmental Sustainability Commission and later completed two four-year terms on the Environmental Sustainability Board of Howard County. At the same time, a group of us founded HoCo Climate Action to educate and advocate against fossil fuels and in support of moving to a clean renewable-energy economy. We partnered with Chesapeake Climate Action Network for rallies, protests, campaigning and talking to our legislators and representatives.
Another group of professionals, turned volunteers, created the Howard County Legacy Leadership Environmental Institute. We recruit and educate people in the global, regional and local issues of environmental protection and the science of global warming. These programs reinforce the dangers to our lives and livelihoods of continuing to use massive amounts of fossil fuels to power our communities. We suggest solutions, too, and have made a measurable difference in people’s lives.
I’ve covered environmental issues as a Board member of the Howard County League of Women Voters since 2011 and have that role for the state league as well. Before I became a full-time volunteer, I was a Communications Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD for 30 years.
Audrey retired from the National Aquarium in Baltimore in 2006, where she had been the Director of Volunteer Services since 1981 and also of Staff Development since 1991. In her second career (as a volunteer) at the Howard County Conservancy, her work has included leading hikes with elementary children as a naturalist, serving on the Board of Directors, chairing the public programs committee, and facilitating events.
She grew up in a family that was actively engaged in volunteer activities – an embedded legacy that she has carried forward all of her life in various community, church, and association Board endeavors. Her most recent environmental efforts involved working with others to create the Maryland Master Naturalist and the HoLLIE programs.
As the pace and lifestyles of modern mankind has often separated human beings from their personal connection to the wonders of Life on this planet, humanity faces the existential threat of of climate change. We need to reignite our love affair with nature, with all its intricate and mysterious and miraculous relationships. It should be impossible to destroy what we love.
Learning to live more simply, to cherish the wildness of nature, to live in balance and work to support the natural balance of nature – that's what matters more than any other issue at this point in history. I hope we can inspire the next generation/s to embrace and care for their Mother Earth; it won't be easy, but everything depends on their success. It's what I believe is the so-what, the real “why” of HoLLIE
I have always had an attraction to nature. I was fortunate to grow up in a time where I could spend most afternoons after school out of doors, often exploring the woods across the street from our house. I was also fortunate to spend a lot of time at my grandparents' farm, where I loved playing with the cows and chickens, picking garden vegetables, and playing in the streams that ran through the pasture. I've always felt this connection and the desire to keep our woodlands whole and thriving.
When I started school (actually before starting school), I developed a thirst for learning and logic that has never gone away. Even before I finished my college degrees, I was working as a computer systems support specialist (a classic occupation for introverts!). I continued that work through my entire career, always learning new software and technology, until I retired in 2015 and immediately began looking for new learning opportunities. I enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Lifelong Learning program in Columbia, and took up photography as a hobby.
I enrolled in the HoLLIE Environmental Learning and Leadership class on the recommendation of a colleague in 2017, and was instantly struck by what an incredible job the HoLLIE founders had done putting together a wonderful network of environmental contacts. It was also awe-inspiring to see what environmental projects other ELL graduates have gone on to complete in Howard County.
I feel like there is no better place I could volunteer my time than in helping people who are spreading environmental awareness and promoting environmental stewardship by building a network of active environmentalists. So I signed on as HoLLIE’s “back office” staff - webmistress and unofficial photographer.