I recently attended a very inspiring conference in Gettysburg, the 7th Annual Conference of the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area,” which had such an intense focus this year on sustainable growth and heritage tourism that I and a number of my fellow heritage area directors decided to set aside the time to attend. This turned out to be a great decision!
The best takeaway for me was about getting the Stewardship message across. More than one speaker told us that the biggest threat to preservation is not really the factors you expect (economics, developer greed, somebody wanting to make a fast buck), but it is lack of awareness. If made aware of the real meaning and value of our precious historic buildings, landmarks, and cultural landscapes, our unique built environment, the incredible wealth of our natural resources, our decision-makers want to do the right thing. It is our job to highlight what is important and valuable and irreplaceable about our heritage, to watch out for the threats, and to educate one another — the public, our students, our stakeholders, decision-makers and legislators — to help us all gain a heightened awareness of the roles we all must play in the Stewardship of our heritage. Thanks to the conference organizers for sharing this powerful Stewardship message, and the examples of precious resources lost and others saved : awareness will make the difference.
Donna Ware, Senior Vice President for Preservation at Historic Annapolis, Member of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, and Chair of the Four Rivers Stewardship Committee, begins our dialogue with the following:
What Is Your View?
What is your view? This blog will explore the importance of stewardship of our heritage and landscape. Stewardship is an action and belief that we are all responsible for preserving and perpetuating the legacy that has been given to us. Who cares? We are all caretakers of this legacy. Rachel Carson, the great conservationist, challenged us with the responsibility of caring for our environment when she asked, “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
Created in 1996, the Maryland Heritage Areas Program was designed to be an economic tool for enhancing the heritage tourism industry in our state. Since its inception, one of the integral elements of the program has been stewardship of our cultural, historical and natural resources. If we are to draw increasing numbers of tourists to the many state heritage areas with the promise of a engaging and quality visit, then we must be able to provide that memorable experience. The state program calls upon us to sustain our regional identities, use our resources wisely and protect historical, archaeological and natural resources. We want future generations of visitors and residents to “view” and to see or experience again and again the compelling legacy of our area – one that has been well cared for by good stewards of the past, present and future.
So, what is YOUR view? Please join our dialogue! You may comment here or submit your own blogpost with your own viewpoint and/or statement on a stewardship issue important to you.
To submit a post for consideration to be a part of this blog, send your text to heritage_are at aacounty.org and we will contact you, thank you! We look forward to hearing “Your View”!