ESLC Climate Change/Sea Level Rise Half-Day Conference Set for April 1

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The Eastern Shore is the third most susceptible region to the effects of sea level rise in the country. The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), a progressive, environmentally-focused nonprofit organization headquartered in Easton, will host the half-day conference, Unsinkable Eastern Shore II: Rural America Responds to Climate Change, on Saturday, April 1st from 9am to 1pm. The event will be held at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center – the former McCord laundry facility which ESLC rehabilitated and has since occupied with several other conservation groups since 2015.

The event is $20 to attend and includes breakfast, two panel discussions, and presentations by two keynote speakers. Also included with admission is a copy of speaker John Englander’s book High Tide on Main Street, which Politico Magazine called “one of the 50 most important books to read in 2016.” Attendees may register online at eslc.org/events, but are encouraged to do so soon, as seating is limited.

The conference will be hosted by ESLC’s Coastal Resilience Manager, Brian Ambrette, who has been working with town and county government on the Mid and Upper Shore for more than two years, helping to bring awareness about the effects of climate change – most notably, sea level rise – as well as working to help implement sound planning in the form of mitigation strategies and town/county comprehensive plans.

“I hope our audience will learn how their communities and their neighbors are embracing change as an opportunity to innovate and make the systems we rely on stronger and greener”, notes Ambrette. “I am excited about the new ideas that our keynote speakers will inject into the conversation.”

While the conference panels boast a mix of knowledgeable educators and emergency management professionals, the inclusion of oceanographer, author, and consultant John Englander is perhaps the most impressive addition to the conference. As a leading expert on sea level rise, Englander’s broad marine science background coupled with explorations to Greenland and Antarctica has allowed him to see the big picture of sea level rise and its societal impacts. He has served as chief executive officer for such noteworthy organizations as The International SeaKeepers and The Cousteau Society. Interestingly enough, legendary Captain Jacques Cousteau tapped John to succeed him as CEO.

Please contact ESLC’s Communication Manager, David Ferraris, at dferraris@eslc.org or 410.690.4603 x165 for more information.

Senator Ben Cardin Set to Visit ESLC Cambridge Project March 10

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Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) will be visiting Cambridge, Maryland on Friday, March 10, 2017 to join join representatives from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), Baltimore’s Cross Street Partners, and Preservation Maryland for a tour and media availability regarding The Packing House – a historic tax credit rehabilitation project.

In addition to addressing the media and answering questions immediately following the tour, Senator Cardin will spotlight his new legislation to improve the federal historic tax credit program, which will benefit rural communities and small towns across Maryland.

A partnership between ESLC, Cross Street Partners, and the City of Cambridge, The Packing House (ThePackingHouseCambridge.com) is an urban revitalization project that seeks to repurpose the historic, 60,000 square-foot Phillips Cannery building in Cambridge into an active, mixed-use plan for office and food-related innovation.

This structure is the last standing piece of the storied Phillips Packing Company empire, which employed thousands in Cambridge and served as the largest supplier of rations to American troops in World War II.

The project was recently awarded a $3M historic tax credit for revitalization of a structure located within an underserved community. Plans include an array of food-related uses that acknowledge and support local hunger and nutrition needs, building off of the Eastern Shore’s agricultural resources and a growing local food economy of growers, makers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants.

The ambitious vision to renovate and repurpose the former Phillips ‘Factory F’ is key to the continued revitalization of Cambridge, including Cannery Park – the adjacent 6.6 acres of land which includes the Cambridge Creek headwater area that will begin a stream restoration process this coming spring.

The event is free and open to interested members of the public, friends of ESLC, and the media. For members of the media planning to attend the grand opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center immediately afterwards, a bus will be held at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge so that they will be able to attend both events. Please contact ESLC’s Communication Manager, David Ferraris, at dferraris@eslc.org or 410.690.4603 x165 for more information.

LOCATION: Phillips Packing Plant, 411 Dorchester Avenue, Cambridge, MD 21613
AGENDA: Arrive at Packing House 11:15am; Tour the building; Press availability 11:40am; Depart Packing House at 12:00pm.

Phillips Packing Company in Cambridge Selected to Receive Historic Preservation Tax Credit Award

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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) announced today that the Phillips Cannery ‘Factory F’ received a $3M (of $9M available) Maryland Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit award reservation for fiscal year 2017 from the Maryland Department of Planning. The project is amongst only eight projects selected statewide based on the urgency of the need for rehabilitation and the strategic location of the project. The rehabilitation of the Phillips Cannery will not only help Cambridge revive one of Maryland’s precious resources, but also assist in sustaining vitality in the community. The tax credit program is regarded as one of the most effective tools for revitalizing historic communities.

A joint venture between ESLC and Baltimore’s Cross Street Partners, the project is moving forward in an effort to repurpose Factory F as a hub for creative food production, retail and small business, and entrepreneurial initiatives that build off of the Eastern Shore’s famed farming resources and growing local food economy. More specifically, the “Food and Farming Exchange” would include a microbrewery, kitchen incubator and market, shared-use office innovation hub, oyster bar, and event space available for rent to the community.

But the financial piece of the puzzle isn’t complete just yet. With a price tag of $18.5M, the new Phillips building still faces stiff headwinds in raising additional funding and securing tenants who will bring the renovated building to life. With an incredible commitment from town/county/state/federal government, along with the support of the food and farming communities of Cambridge and the Eastern Shore, ESLC believes that a rehabilitated Phillips Factory F would provide enormous upsides for everyone involved.

In an effort to combat sprawl on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore, ESLC founded its Center for Towns Program in 2011. Director Katie Parks leads the organization’s offer of technical support with projects involving the planned conversion of empty lots, underused or rundown buildings, and other available space within a town’s already existing infrastructure as an alternative to overdevelopment of rural areas.

The 60,000 sq ft historic Factory F building is significant due to its association with events that shaped the history of Cambridge. Originally built in 1920 as a furniture factory, the building later became part of the Phillips Packing Company empire which employed thousands in Cambridge, purchasing upwards of 1 million dollars in product from Delmarva farmers annually. The building, while neglected and vacant since the 1960’s, was the only structure spared from demolition and features an open floor plan, soaring ceilings, and the opportunity to retain many historic architectural features that will impart the space with an authentic, Eastern Shore manufacturing aesthetic.

New Conservation Easement Announced in Caroline County

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Jim Saathoff, owner of Me & Jimmy, Inc., has recently granted a conservation easement on a 40 acre parcel in Caroline County to the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The easement preserves a small horse farm along a stretch of the Choptank River with important riparian wetlands and forest.

For Saathoff, this property was his last that hadn’t already been permanently preserved with a conservation easement. “Now all of my properties are in preservation and will continue to be used as they should be, for farming and natural resources, not development,” said Saathoff.

Saathoff’s other properties are all preserved with easements, including his late wife Sue’s family farm, The Good Luck Farm, located in Dorchester County. A conservation easement protects the forest habitat for the once federally listed endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel, as well as hundreds of acres of productive agricultural land.

Saathoff is a life-long farmer and proponent of farmland preservation. His commitment to farmland preservation will ensure future generations have access to the land and the life that has made him what he is today. ESLC is honored to have been a partner in the preservation of this latest piece and look forward to our continued relationship ensuring that they all remain available forever for farming, future generations, and the plants and animals that call them home.

For information about conservation easements and permanently protecting land on the Eastern Shore, please contact ESLC Land Conservation Program Assistant Michelle Funches at 410.690.4603, ext. 169.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them. More at www.eslc.org.

Bummer: Chesterfield (Carter Farm) still Lacks Development Partner

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For the last several months, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) has worked to advance community conversation around the eventual development of Chesterfield (Carter Farm), in Centreville, Maryland. ESLC views Chesterfield as a once in a lifetime opportunity for Centreville to redesign its own front porch on the beautiful Corsica River.

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ESLC held formal and informal meetings with Centreville residents and town representatives, allowing a transparent and public process that established guiding considerations for development. Coupled with community input, planning and design industry professionals generated innovative ideas and refined development parameters, carving out the following design considerations: (1) Access for public open space and recreation, including integration into the town trail system; (2) Preservation of the Carter farmhouse; (3) Agricultural components, including robust community gardens and other scalable uses; (4) Commercial such as a destination inn, market and/or farm to table restaurant; and (5) Housing – a mix of types, sizes and price points.

The resulting vision celebrates a mix of commercial, residential, and abundant community uses. ESLC’s vision leverages off public access connections, including the Carter Farmhouse and a new destination farm to table inn as amenities, which would further connect communities to the land and retains the farm’s agricultural heritage though community gardens. The vision integrates with the trail system around Town, opens access to the Corsica River, and invites Town residents and visitors onto the property as a hub of commercial and community activities with a balance of housing to add to a core of downtown energy.

The organization’s contract on Chesterfield ended on Wednesday, September 21st at 5pm, as the conservation group was unsuccessful in recruiting a development or financial partner to advance the project. Also without success, ESLC approached the current owner with a proposal for a partnership that would have pushed the development towards the community vision with ESLC fundraising to offset costs of added community amenities.

While the nonprofit group’s contract has lapsed, ESLC remains committed to Centreville. According to ESLC Center for Towns Director Katie Parks, the priority is “to support the outcomes of the community conversation and determine how they may be applied to the property now, or be set in place for when the property is developed in the future.” ESLC will share the conceptual visual with the town and public, including a narrative outlining their process, lessons learned, and recommendations.

The outpouring of support and ideas from the community was inspiring to ESLC and yielded a vision rooted in community, which prioritizes public access to the land and water. And while turning that vision into reality at Chesterfield is elusive today, Centreville can still grow by choice on this farm and others. The organization is deeply grateful to the communities and leadership of Centreville for their partnership in reimagining this gem.

ESLC 17th Annual Planning Conference Request for Proposals

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The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s 17th Annual Planning Conference, “Food Fight! Healthy? Sustainable? Realistic?” will be held November 10th at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, Stevensville MD.

This conference will take a fresh look at one of the most basic human needs: food!

We welcome proposals for speakers who want to engage attendees in highly interactive sessions to evaluate how we are planning for a better, more equitable, food system built upon Eastern Shore agriculture. As the Eastern Shore’s #1 land use and our region’s biggest economic driver, agriculture continues to play a pivotal role in how the region prospers.

Who benefits from the current food system? Can Shore agricultural or behavioral shifts improve human, societal, and environmental health? What changes to our food system are realistic?

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-4-22-04-pmTopic areas may include:
– How we define “local” foods
– The reality of GMOs
– Crop diversity on the Eastern Shore
– Food deserts, injustice in the food system
– CAFOs and how the industry meets consumer demands
– The environmental impact of large scale agriculture vs. small scale
– Value-added agriculture and artisanal foods
– Aquaculture, urban agriculture and other innovative practices
– History of Eastern Shore agriculture
– Organic and sustainable farming
– Soil health
– Ability to feed the growing global population
– Mechanized labor vs. manual labor in food production

Ideal proposals will be short, but provocative – setting aside time for vigorous audience participation and interaction. More can be found on the event registration page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ 17th-annual-planning- conference-tickets-27078772337
If you are interested in submitting a sketch proposal for the 17th annual conference please submit your application no later than Friday, September 16, 2016 to Rachel Roman at rroman@eslc.org.

Where History and Preservation Meet: ESLC to Hold Party to Preserve at the Hermitage

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The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) will hold their annual Party to Preserve event at the Hermitage – one of the most interesting properties on the Eastern Shore – on Saturday, October 8th from 4 – 7 pm. Tickets for the event are $125 per person and available for purchase on the organization’s website at www.eslc.org.

The Hermitage is a nearly 1,000 acre historic property located on the banks of the Chester River in Queen Anne’s County and owned by former ESLC Board President Ben Tilghman and his wife, Paige. The Hermitage sits as the centerpiece of the preserved estate; a working farm where family and agriculture have been the way of life for more than 350 years. The estate has been belonged to a member of the Tilghman family since the 17th century, beginning with Dr. Richard Tilghman, a surgeon in the British Navy, who was patented the land in 1659 by Charles Calvert, Lord Baltimore.

Guests of Party to Preserve will be treated to a farm-to-table, local culinary experience, including an oyster bar featuring sustainably farmed oysters. Live music by quartet Fiddle Oaks will provide the musical backdrop to this conservation-themed event.

For the second straight year, rather than including a silent auction or similarly fashioned fundraising component, ESLC will offer up a dozen new, educational workshops with topics that fit within the organization’s primary focal areas of Land, Towns, and People on the Eastern Shore. Similar to TED Talks in nature, Shore Talks were introduced at 2015’s Party to Preserve event and gave purchasers the ability to learn (often hands-on) more about topics ranging from oyster aquaculture to songbird banding.

Shore Talks sessions will be available for purchase to the public (whether attending the event or not) online, beginning in September at www.eslc.org.

Local businesses and individuals interested in event sponsorship opportunities are asked to contact ESLC Outreach Coordinator Carin Starr at 410.690.4603, ext. 171, or cstarr@eslc.org.

So, come sip a cocktail on the porch, dine on the freshest, local foods, and stroll the grounds rich with history while reminiscing with friends as you Party to Preserve with ESLC!

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Notes Policy Progress So Far in 2016

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Unlike most land trust organizations across the country, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) incorporates a policy manager position into its staff and yearly work plan, helping to more effectively and actively address and monitor land preservation issues that (or potentially will) affect the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

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ESLC’s Josh Hastings and Rachel Roman

ESLC’s Josh Hastings, with the assistance of Program Assistant Rachel Roman, have already spent the first quarter of 2016 monitoring and reacting to the action in this year’s legislative session in Annapolis, which officially ended on April 11th. With an agenda of priorities most accurately representing ESLC’s objectives, coupled with some strategic partnering between similarly-focused organizations, success was achieved in the form of HB 462: otherwise known as “Program Open Space – Transfer Tax Repayment – Use of Funds”.

With Governor Hogan’s signing (after having passed unanimously by the House and Senate), administrations and legislators are now no longer allowed to raid and divert money set aside for Program Open Space purposes, which include land conservation, historic resource protection, and park development across the state. In addition, the bill includes a repayment plan to restore previously diverted finds while returning to full cash funding in 2019.

In addition and of particular interest for rural areas like the Shore, the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RIMPIF) was allocated $2 million in the budget – the first time it’s received funding since its creation nine years ago. The program aims to fund projects that raise the overall standard of living in rural areas by increasing entrepreneurship, improving infrastructure, enchanting regional planning, and targeting community development.

Of course, these key wins come on the coattails of Congress’ December 2015 passing of the enhanced federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations – one of the most powerful conservation measures in decades. In case you missed it, the permanent incentive represents vastly increased opportunities for Americans to conserve their land voluntarily, meaning for land trusts across the country, protecting the special places in their widely varied communities becomes an even more attractive offer.

With Maryland’s legislative session complete and a long sought-after extension of tax incentives for preserved land now in the rearview mirror, ESLC has turned its focus towards projects centered in downtown Centreville and Cambridge. Center for Towns Director Katie Parks is leading these efforts, both of which put the land conservancy in a position of providing guidance and support in bringing responsible, smart growth to already existing Eastern Shore downtown areas.

The City of Cambridge has been identified as one of ESLC’s Center for Towns priority towns with its many needs. This project involves the potential rehabilitation of an abandoned, 60,000 sq. ft. downtown building with historical consequence. The Phillips Packing Company’s “Factory F” once sat as part of a hub of economic activity that employed (and housed) literally thousands of Cambridge residents, with its canned goods feeding American troops in WWII. It’s the last remaining factory from the Phillips vegetable and food packing empire, and according to ESLC and Baltimore-based real estate firm Cross Street Partners, could be the centerpiece of a new “Packing District” where a proposed (yet tentative at this point) food and farming exchange would help to provide revitalization and needed community resources.

Centreville’s Carter Farm is a 72-acre site comprised of two parcels that ESLC has had on its radar for nearly two decades and considers to be one of the most important opportunities that exists for growing a vibrant town. The group has secured a six-month option to purchase the properties, currently zoned for residential development with an approved 138 unit subdivision and includes a mix of open field and forested land in the Critical Area.

“Our goal for the coming months is to allow for a community visioning and transparent public process,” explains ESLC’s Parks. “We’re working to create of a set of criteria and performance standards for future development, and development of a master plan that incorporates protection of natural features while supporting development that is consistent with the scale, pace, and character of Centreville.”

In addition to public input, the land trust will work with renowned design and development professionals to generate ideas and innovations that can help make the project design a valuable asset for the Centreville community. ESLC welcomes public comments and suggestions for the Carter Farm project at their website, www.eslc.org/blog.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them. Their vision for 2050 is an Eastern Shore where towns are vibrant and well defined; farms, forests, and fisheries are thriving and scenic; historic, natural, and riverine landscapes are maintained.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Spring Events

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The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has announced their spring calendar of events.

4.5.16  Workshop: Land Preservation 101

Time: 9 to 11 AM

Location: ESCC, 114 S. Washington Street, Easton, MD (Eastern Shore Conservation Center)

Have you thought about preserving your land but aren’t quite sure what that entails? Learn about the basics of conservation easements and what this opportunity can do for you. Experts will provide information, options, and answers to your questions. ESLC Land Protection Specialist Jared Parks, along with representatives from MET and MALPF will be in attendance. Coffee and Bay Country Bakery donuts will be served:) A FREE workshop but pre-registration at www.eslc.org is required. Questions? Contact Carin Starr at 410.690.4603, ext.171

 

4.9.16  SHORE TALKS: Spring Sheep Shearing

Time: 1:45 PM through the afternoon

Location: Wing & Wing Farm – 10295 Sherwood Manor Dr., St. Michaels, MD 21663

Join ESLC at Wing & Wing Farm in St. Michaels for a fun and educational afternoon with “Golden Shears” sheep-shearer Emily Chamelin. This family-friendly afternoon will also include bottle-feeding lambs, wagon rides, and baby chicks! Join us as we shed winter’s warm wool and celebrate this annual rite of spring! Register individually or for the discounted family rate at www.eslc.org.

4.16.16  SHORE TALKS: Mind Your Water

Time: 4:30 to 6:30 PM

Location: Bonate House, Bellevue

The perfect setting to learn about impacts and effecting change to the Bay. Dr. Michael Roman, Director of Horn Point Lab, UMD Center for Environmental Science, will provide background information and lead a discussion on changes to Chesapeake Bay over the last 100 years. The causes and consequences of changes in water quality will be presented along with restoration activities that have been implemented to improve the health of the Bay. Why does the Bay needs to be put on a diet?  Can the Bay heal itself? What we can do to help restore the Bay? Bonate House, home of host Penny Proserpi, sits at the confluence of Tarr Creek and the Tred Avon River. With its soaring sunny spaces and beautifully displayed antique collections, this is an exceptional classroom. Included in the presentation will be ways residents, state, and local governments can contribute to the health of our local rivers and creeks. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Register at www.eslc.org.

 

4.20.16  Beautiful Swimmers Revisited (fundraiser with Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy)

Time: 6 PM-8 PM

Location: Avalon Theatre, Easton, MD

A viewing of the new film by Sandy Cannon-Brown, David Harp, and Tom Horton. Inspired by William W. Warner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay. Tickets: $15 (includes one free drink ticket). Get your tickets by visiting www.avalonfoundation.org or at the Avalon Box Office.

 

4.23.16  Spring Bird Walk

Time: 8 AM-12 PM

Location: Turkey Creek Farm, Talbot County

Jared Parks, ESLC Land Protection Specialist and lifelong birder, will lead a walk along forested riparian buffers and open fields.  Blue bird houses abound.  Bordered by Turkey Creek and the Choptank River this will be an excellent opportunity to partake of spring’s migration. Dress for the weather, boots recommended, binoculars are essential. *Let us know if you do not have binoculars, we may be able to accommodate. Register at www.eslc.org.

 

4.29.16  SHORE TALKS: Oyster Aquaculture Tour

Time: 3 PM to 5 PM

Location: Hoopers Island Aquaculture Company, Hoopers Island

Join Johnny Shockley at Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Co. to experience technology and research that is transforming Maryland’s oyster industry. These developments parallel the existing public fishery efforts to re-establish a healthy balance within the oyster fishery and the entire Maryland seafood industry. This new balance will establish Maryland oysters as a sustainable product, which is very important to today’s consumer.  Oysters and local brew in Cambridge to follow. Register at www.eslc.org.

 

4.30.16  Paddle Into Spring

Time: 10 AM to 12 PM

Location: Turners Creek, Kennedyville, MD (Sassafras Environmental Education Center)

RSVP to 410.348.5214 or jbelanger at eslc.org. Dress for canoeing and bring water.

5.7.16  SHORE TALKS: Songbird Banding

Time: 8:30 – 11 AM

Location: Chester River Research Station, Chestertown

Come join the bird banders at Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory and experience the mysteries of spring bird migration. Located on Foreman’s Branch, a tributary of the Chester River, on a May morning you will likely see migrating and returning Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, and Indigo Buntings. Over 175 species of birds have been banded at this location. After seeing the banding operations and some of your favorite birds up close you will visit a nearby location on the farm and observe hundreds of Pink Lady Slipper orchids. Register at www.eslc.org.

 

5.12.16  SHORE TALKS: Third Haven, Peaceable Haven

Time: 4-6 PM

Location: Third Haven Meeting House, Easton, MD

Come tour the property and grounds of the Third Haven Meeting House. Built in 1682-84, it is believed to be the oldest frame building of worship that has been in continuous use in the United States. William Penn visited several times. Come feel the energy of the Meeting House, tour the historic cemetery, and learn a bit about Quaker history in Talbot County. Tea and sandwiches. Register at www.eslc.org.

 

5.21.16  SHORE TALKS: The Great Migration – Monarch Butterflies

Time: 6-9 PM

Location: Lobbs Creek Farm, Wye Mills

Tagging and tracking the migration of Monarch butterflies since 1999 in conjunction with the University of Kansas, Andi Pupke will take you on their journey and help you understand what you can add to your landscape to welcome them for a stopover on their journey. Dinner at Lobbs Crook Farm with hosts Billy and Meta Boyd. Led by Andi Pupke of Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage.Register at www.eslc.org.