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Got questions?  Contact us by phone or email:

Barbara Schmeckpeper, Ph.D. Coordinator (410-381-5279) or


Cathy Hudson, Coordinator (410-796-7232)  

About ELL anchor

About HoLLIE in-person Classes

The Howard Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment (HoLLIE) was introduced in Howard County in 2009.


HoLLIE offers a learning-packed, eight-week environmental education and volunteer leadership institute in Howard County, with registration managed by Howard County Rec & Parks (but it's not restricted to Howard County residents.)

The course is held  Thursdays in February and March at the Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum, except for two days when it is held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.


This intensive volunteer leadership and environmental education program is based upon the award-winning Legacy Leadership Institute model developed by Laura Wilson, Ph.D., Director, University of Maryland Center on Aging.


The institute’s original outreach was to persons 50+ and was designed to allow participants to use leadership skills to address environmental concerns and give back to the community, usually with 100+ hours of volunteer service to a local environmental organization.

The in-person class institute is restarting in 2023 after 2 years of virtual-only lectures due to COVID.  It is shorter than the program originally introduced in 2009; it's open to adults of all ages, with optional field trips, and has no volunteer requirement following the classes.  However, any participant who follows up the course by engaging in an approved environmental volunteer project with a county environmental organization may be certified as a HoLLIE graduate. 

To learn more about what the in-person program is like, please click the links below or the tabs at the top of this page for more information.  Visit:

Classes-2022 - where you can download or view a prior-year Class Syllabus

After Class    - to find more information about the volunteer work                                                done by our HoLLIE graduates

Gallery          - to see prior HoLLIE classes in action and on our field trips!

Meet Our HoLLIE Coordinators

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Our coordinators develop the HoLLIE class curriculum and use their experience and contacts with environmental groups in the region to arrange a stellar list of speakers that cover the entire range of environmental concerns from global climate change to local food security and sustainability.   

Cathy Hudson

B. S. Biology.  On the boards of the League of Women Voters, Howard County Citizen’s Association, Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway, the Rockburn Land Trust, and the HoCo Environmental Sustainability Board.  Farmer and owner of Myrtle Woods Farm.

Tracey Manning Ph.D.
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A social and personality psychologist by training, Tracey currently teaches graduate leadership courses for the School of Public Health at UMCP, focusing on leadership learning and unlearning, especially for those typically underrepresented as leaders, like minorities, women, and volunteers.  Besides HoLLIE, she is actively engaged with the Columbia Association Climate Change & Sustainability Advisory Committee and the Wilde Lake Village Board where she co-chairs the CARES environmental committee.

Barbara Schmeckpeper Ph.D.

A degree in microbiology led Barbara to a career in human genetics and histocompatibility testing at Johns Hopkins. She is an environmental educator, restorer of marsh habitat, native plant gardener, and grant writer at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center and a Howard County Master Gardener. 

Betsy Singer, M.S.

Founding member of HoCo Climate Action and HoLLIE.  Active in Howard groups that work to protect and repair the environment through education and public policy, including the League of Women Voters and the Earth Forum.  Also on the state LWVMD Board of Directors for the environment.

Audrey Suhr

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. 

Wanda Prather, M.S.

After spending my entire career in computer technical support, I retired in 2015.  I took the HoLLIE Environmental Learning and Leadership class in 2017, and volunteered as HoLLIE’s “back office” support – webmistress and unofficial photographer.

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