Royce Hanson Award

MCA presents the Royce Hanson Award in recognition of outstanding commitment toward the protection of Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. The award is named after its first recipient, Dr. Royce Hanson, former Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Commission and original architect of the Ag Reserve.

2015- Anne Sturm

For decades, Anne Sturm has been tirelessly making the Reserve a sustainable home for farming and animal life- shown here tending her bluebird boxes. Learn more about Anne’s treasured bluebirds:

Anne moved to Sugarloaf Country in the late 60s to breed Arabian horses and has been an ally of farms and animal habitat ever since. Past Royce Hanson Award recipient Jim Brown remarks, “Anne reminds me of this Guardian Angel who hovers over the Ag Reserve constantly defending  and protecting this amazing natural resource for our and future generations.”

In the mid-70s Anne helped create three local preservation groups that still exist today – Historic Medley District (HMD), Sugarloaf Regional Trails (SRT) and Sugarloaf Citizens Association (SCA). Each group was founded with a specific mission to preserve the landscape and culture of what became the Ag Reserve. Anne has been most active in SCA – taking a leading role in pushing for county-wide recycling and attempts to scale back decades of ill-conceived land uses that would limit the practice of farming. As SCA’s President from 2010-2011 Anne worked closely with MCA on scaling back Barnesville Oaks, advocating against Global Mission Mega Church among other zoning and water quality issues. A cheerful collaborator, Anne continues to work on community issues and treasures the Ag Reserve community and friendships she has forged in efforts toward its protection. Anne says, “I have found that besides the open farmland that we all enjoy, the most lasting result of joining with like-minded people to protect the Agriculture Reserve is good fellowship.”
Anne’s positive impact is not just felt locally but farther afield – in 1978 she was a founding member of the North American Bluebird Society and continues to monitoring nest box trails, working with local golf courses, and mentoring others in the protection of numerous bird species.

Save the date to Celebrate Anne- October 18, 2015 – details here.

2014 – William J. “Bill” Roberts, Esq.

For decades, quietly and with acute precision, Bill Roberts advised and guided Reserve civic groups, individuals and municipalities. The list of issues Bill took on is long, ranging from a proposed Outer Beltway to landfills to ill-conceived special exceptions, and, though busy with his private practice, he rarely turned us away. Over the years he gained quite a respected reputation in the County, with staff at the County’s Planning Department often referring to and relying on him as that “brilliant country lawyer from Poolesville.” Brilliant is right.

MCA Board member and longtime Reserve Activist Dolores Milmoe writes,

“Through his efforts on behalf of civic and environmental groups over the decades, Bill had a significant and lasting impact on this beautiful region, also known as the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve. From frequent phone calls, to written briefs, to legal representation, Bill was the very best at helping us navigate land-use issues and policy debates.  Much of his advice was pro-bono because he felt so strongly about the issues.  He helped wage important legal fights against the County Government and its attempts to burden our landscape with unwanted waste facilities.”

Sadly, Bill left us too soon, having passed away after a courageous battle with cancer earlier this year.  Read more of his life well lived: WilliamJRoberts

Join us, and our co-presenters Sugarloaf Citizens’ Association and Historic Medley District, in celebrating the life’s work of our “country attorney” on Sunday, October, 19, 2014:  Details here.

2013 – Jim Brown of Barnesville

“What strikes me about Jim is his patient tenacity.  His ability to take important issues to the next level, his political acumen are extraordinary. Jim’s sense of responsibility to the Reserve and our community is inspiring.  Jim – just gets it done.”

MCA Board member and long time Ag Reserve resident and activist Dolores Milmoe speaks for many throughout the Reserve and the County when she describes Jim Brown, the 2013 recipient of the Royce Hanson Award. Jim served as president of Sugarloaf Citizens’ Association for 8 years (2001-2008).  SCA has been doggedly and successfully protecting the Reserve and the Sugarloaf Mountain Region since 1973.  Jim’s tenure as SCA president and continuing advocacy can be described as patient, respectful, intelligent, humble and stoic. Jim is quick to praise and recognize others. Now we rightly recognize his long time leadership in ensuring that the Reserve and the environment are protected.

As SCA president, Jim and the volunteers at SCA worked to prevent expansion of the coal fired Dickerson generating plant and forced Mirant to install latest air pollution control technology.  His work to ensure that non-agricultural uses such as overnight hotels/lodging and industrial uses be properly restricted succeeded.  Pressing for regional education about the Reserve has been a priority for Jim. He serves as president of the Piedmont Environmental Foundation.

A published author and youngest Administrative aid to a US Congressman (1970 -1976 – James Symington of Missouri), Jim is married to celebrated artist and environmentalist Tina Brown and lives in historic Barnesville.  Brown and Associates Government and Public Relations, founded by Jim in 1980, currently represents transit agencies and cities.

Past recipients:

2005 Royce Hanson

The original recipient and namesake of our award, Royce Hanson, has demonstrated a commitment to preservation and smart planning throughout an array of service to both academia and public work.   Appointed as the Montgomery County Planning Board’s first full-time chairman from 1972 to 1981, Hanson led the efforts to establish the county’s Agricultural Reserve.  To this day, the Reserve is recognized as the nation’s largest and most successful model for green space preservation on the urban fringe.  Mr. Hanson was re-appointed as Chairman of the Planning Board in 2006 and continues to guide the board with smart growth principles. To learn more about Mr. Hanson’s extensive contributions, please click here.

Kingsbury Family 2007

Kingsbury Family 2007

2006 Kingsbury Family – Kingsbury Orchard

The Kingsbury family own and run an orchard on Peach Tree Road where they have grown peaches and nectarines for four generations.  Not only have the Kingsburys provided fresh fruit to residents around the county for years, but they also offer a warm, personal connection to our rural heritage. Gene Kingsbury is a dedicated 5th generation farmer. In 2007, Kingsbury Orchard celebrated its 100-year-anniversary. The family has further demonstrated their commitment to land preservation by placing easements on their land.

2007 George Kephart & Minny Pohlmann

Royce Hanson & George Kephart

Royce Hanson & George Kephart

George Kephart grew up in Takoma Park. His father was an agronomist with the United States Department of Agriculture and later the World Bank. His grandfather was the writer and cultural historian, Horace Kephart, who was the advocate most responsible for creating the Smokey Mountain National Park. His uncle was George Kephart, the forester with the United State Department of Interior who fought for Native American forestry rights out in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Like his family George wore many important “hats” in his long career of public service including a j-boat skipper,an air & sea rescue helicpoter pilot for the the Coast Guard, business owner, CIA official, and community planner. It was in the last role as a planner that George made his historic contributions to rural preservation in Montgomery County. George served on the Montgomery County Park andPlanning Commission Board for two terms ending in 1979 – 1980. He worked very close with Royce Hanson on some key master plans including the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation, and the Preservation of Agriculture & Rural Open Space Master Plan. George was very proud to have cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the Agricultural Plan which created the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve in 1980.

Minnie Pohlmann lives on the Frederick County side of Dickerson up against Sugarloaf Mountain. Minnie has a long record of fighting on behalf of the Agricultural Reserve. She fought against industrialization of Dickerson when the PEPCO generating plant was approved in the 1960′s. Her leadership on land use was described in Tom Horton’s book “Bay County” , published in 1987 which chronicles changes in the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay. He titled one of his chapters “All Minny’s Fault”. Minny truly believed that public participation was critical to good environmental policy decisions. Minnny worked on everything from water quality, air quality, agricultural preservation, and conservation, and even starred in a press conference introducing President Bill Clinton’s “Dirty Water Bill” in Rock Creek State Park.

2008 Peg Coleman

Senator Garagiola, Peg Coleman, & Royce Hanson

Senator Garagiola, Peg Coleman, & Royce Hanson

Peg Coleman is known not only as a tireless champion for the Agricultural Reserve, but as an author whose books educate and inform us all about early life in Montgomery County. Born in Montana, Peg has been a county resident since 1968; she is the mother of four and the proud grandparent of nine. In 1980, Peg and her husband, Jim, bought a farm on Barnesville Road, which included an abandoned 1768 log cabin. They lovingly restored the cabin, and it is now a National Historic Register site, and the Pleasant Springs Farm Bed and Breakfast. Peg’s farm products include soap, goat cheese, and strong handspun yarns, many of which are dyed with flowers grown in the extensive garden behind the log cabin. Peg’s books, which focus on rural life and the early days of our county, include Montgomery County: A Pictorial History, Paul of Montgomery, Mama Wears Two Aprons, and Around Germantown. Besides working on the many land use issues we have encountered in the Ag Reserve, Peg has served on the County’s Ag Advisory Committee & Board. Numerous school groups have toured Pleasant Springs to learn about farming practices in this historic setting. And last April, Peg’s farm received an “Outstanding Business in Montgomery County” award from County Executive Ike Leggett. Among her many historic preservation efforts, Peg founded the Boyds Historical Society and spearheaded the restoration of the Boyds Negro School. She also served as the first president of Montgomery Preservation Inc. and continues to volunteer with Sugarloaf Regional Trails.

2009 Woody Woodroof

In 1996, Woody founded Red Wiggler Community Farm as  a  way to create meaningful, fully inclusive jobs for adults with developmental disabilities through the business of growing and selling organic vegetables.The name  Red Wiggler came from the concept of the unsung hero- the garden worm- that creates fertile soil where seeds will grow in to healthy plants which will in turn nourish a healthy community.  The farm began on 5 acres of land graciously donated from Carolyn Morgan’s 224 acre farm in the Ag Reserve. At that time, Woody lived and worked out of the Morgan’s “remodeled” granary attached to the dairy barn. Red Wiggler ran its operations from that barn until moving the program to Ovid Hazen Wells Park in 2005. The farm started small, feeding 12 CSA members and impacting 6 people with Developmental Disabilities and about 20 youth participants. Many people worked together in those early years as volunteers and modestly paid staff to help the farm grow and realize its mission.

Today the Red Wiggler CSA feeds over 120 households and impacts over 150 people with developmental disabilities living throughout Montgomery County. Over 400 youth and adults participate in Service Learning volunteer opportunities on the farm. Last season, Red Wiggler’s 5 acres of mixed vegetables produced 1,500 pounds of garlic in addition to 40 other crops. Future plans for the farm include a LEED Gold Farm Building and attached greenhouse that will enable year-round food production and employment  opportunities.Woody received the Leadership Montgomery “Unsung Leader” Award in 2008.  In 2007 Red Wiggler received the “Light the Fire” merit award from the Arc of Maryland. In 2003 Red Wiggler received the “Agricultural Award” from the Department of Economic Development for innovative employment directions in the field of agriculture.  To learn more, please visit

2010- Tony Cohen

Tony has long  been a thoughtful steward of Button Farm, preserving both the structures and history of this 19th century slave plantation. Tony makes history come alive for visitors

with hands-on history programs depicting slave life and the escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad. The farm is also very much in the present, growing heirloom vegetables, providing Community Sponsored Agriculture Shares and growing food for Manna Food Bank.

MCA, with the Royce Hanson award, acknowledges Tony’s joyful enthusiasm at bringing the cultural and agricultural  history of our region to life. More on Button Farm and the Menare Foundation.

2011 Austin Kiplinger

Austin (Kip) Kiplinger has had a life-long commitment to    preserving open space in Montgomery County. As such, over his 93 plus years, he has endeared himself to a wide range of county citizen groups and causes. He was one of the original supporters of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance and today serves on its Advisory Committee. His family has owned the historic Montevideo Farm in Poolesville which serves as the location for the annual Potomac Hunt steeple chase races. He has been engaged for decades as a community leader in local land conservation, horseback riding, farming and historic preservation. Among its many philanthropic activities, it was a generous grant from the Kiplinger Foundation that made possible the recent refurbishment of the historic Poolesville Town Hall.

Read more about Kip Kiplinger…


For many in Montgomery’s Ag Reserve and its rural villages, Chet is, and will always be, the embodiment of the trusted, warm and caring country vet. His sole interest – making the animals better, whether lap sized or farm sized, made us better too. For decades he and his trusted practice were the glue that binds in Montgomery’s rural community.

Chet lends his time and talent to a number of local civic groups such as Sugarloaf Regional Trails as well as the Sugarloaf Countryside Conservancy.  An avid birder, he is the current president of the Purple Martin Society of Frederick and is on a mission to help restore area population of barn owls.  He is acutely aware of the need to work together to ensure the strength and health of our rural communities and farms. The good news:  thanks to collaborative efforts, new farmers are coming to the Reserve, including the recent addition of a new creamery/dairy operation!  Needless to say, Chet will be one busy guy in retirement and will always be the admired country vet. Read more on Dr. Chet here…