The mission of the Howard County Conservancy is to educate children and adults about our natural world, preserve the land and its legacy for future generations and model responsible stewardship of our environment.

Received by the Conservancy in 1993 by Ruth and Frances Brown, Mt. Pleasant is a 325-year-old farm now operated as a nature reserve and educational facility. The Gudelsky Environmental Education Center, on-site at Mt. Pleasant, is Howard County’s first nature center, opening in 2005. The Conservancy, originally founded in 1990 as a private, nonprofit land trust, today has a dual mission of preserving land in Howard County and providing educational programs.

Dedicated to educating youth and adults about environmental stewardship and ecosystems, the Conservancy focuses its programs on local animal and plant life found in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Conservancy has been educating Howard County youth since 1997, and has been an Educational Partner with the Howard County Public School System since 2003.

Located on 232 acres of rolling hills, with a variety of habitats, Mt. Pleasant is ideally suited for nature study and exploration. Mt. Pleasant is home to more than 140 species of birds and other wildlife, and offers beautiful vistas of the Patapsco Valley – all just 15 minutes from Columbia.

Mt. Pleasant Farm’s historic buildings include the farmhouse which encompasses the original log cabin, a carriage house, blacksmith shop, bank barn, wagon shed, corn crib, smokehouse, and two hen houses. Mature hardwoods, historic gardens and trees, and an heirloom orchard surround the farmhouse and outbuildings.

The Conservancy maintains a number of active partnerships with a variety of organizations for its education programs, public events, land conservation, and Mt. Pleasant restoration. These include a Howard County Public School System Educational Partnership, and partnerships with Howard County Master Gardeners, Howard County Recreation & Parks Department, the Howard County Bird Club, Howard County Beekeepers, the Howard County Blacksmith Guild and others.

Read about our 2023 Accomplishments and our 2023 Annual Report. A breakdown of expenses can be viewed in the Annual Report.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about the Howard County Conservancy.

Thirty years ago, the Conservancy was a young organization focused on land conservation when Mt. Pleasant became our home base. Thanks to the support of our community, we’ve grown tremendously since then. We now reach more than 40,000 people at our two nature centers and nationally through our Youth Climate Institute. This video was produced by Early Light Media.


Our Commitment to Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The mission of the Howard County Conservancy is to educate children and adults about the natural world, to preserve the land and its legacy for future generations and to model responsible stewardship of our environment. Our mission calls us to fully honor, respect and include people of all races, cultures, communities, religions, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, languages, and people with physical or developmental differences.

As an advocate and steward of the environment, we have a duty to be intentional around these matters.  We acknowledge and condemn a history of systemic racism and other forms of inequity, injustice and oppression. We pledge to work consciously to connect people of all backgrounds to the natural world.

Mt. Pleasant is home to our nature preserve and the Gudelsky Environmental Education Center. We acknowledge that Mt. Pleasant farm was worked by enslaved people. For centuries before colonists arrived, Indigenous people, such as members of the Susquehannock and Piscataway tribes, camped, fished, hunted and traveled through this property. Indigenous stewardship of these lands, which were taken from the tribes by colonial powers, is a model for a right relationship with the earth.

The Howard County Conservancy will strive to:

  • continuously review and remove barriers to access, making our spaces and programs welcoming to all.
  • reflect the multiculturalism of our community in our programming.
  • develop clear strategies to ensure our board, staff, and volunteers mirror the diversity of the community we serve.
  • emphasize and act on the principles of equity and justice in every aspect of our mission.

Environmental justice is a right, not a privilege. Everyone deserves a life free of environmental and health hazards and should have equal access to a healthy environment, irrespective of socio-economic status or background.

Nature welcomes everyone, and everyone belongs in nature.