Baltimore County News
Baltimore County is a national leader in terms of diversity in public safety agencies
This morning, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Fire Chief John Hohman honored Assistant Fire Chief Jennifer Aubert-Utz, whose recent promotion makes her the highest ranking woman in the history of the Baltimore County Fire Department. Assistant Chief is the second highest rank in the fire department.
The Baltimore County Fire Department is recognized nationally as a leader in promoting gender diversity, with women making up some 20% of its sworn members, compared to the national average, which is in the single digits. The previously highest ranking female was A. Danelle England-Dansicker, a Division Chief, who retired in 2005.
“I am very proud of Assistant Chief Aubert-Utz’s achievement, and now little girls all around the County know that they could grow up to one day become the Fire Chief,” said Kamenetz.
Aubert-Utz holds a master’s degree in management with a concentration in public safety leadership from Johns Hopkins University, and she completed the four-year Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in 2015. She has devoted time to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and has taken a particular interest in pedestrian safety concerns, serving on pedestrian safety committees for the County and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. A Parkville resident, she has served in the Fire Department for 17 years.
“In addition to being extremely conscientious, forward-thinking and a real self-starter, Assistant Chief Aubert-Utz is a natural leader who has a uniquely effective way of mentoring people to draw out their individual strengths and inspire them to succeed,” said Fire Chief John Hohman. “She has earned the respect of our personnel with her vision and skills, and it is not so remarkable that she is a woman, but that she is so talented. She is recognized across the country for her leadership and is a role model and leader for both men and women in the fire service.”
“I feel honored to be chosen as the first woman to attain the rank of Assistant Chief," Aubert-Utz said. "I hope I can inspire other young women to pursue careers in community service."
"I'm familiar with Chief Aubert-Utz's excellent reputation from when she worked in my district and congratulate her on her quick ascension through the ranks," said Baltimore County Council Chair Tom Quirk.
Cold winter weekend, kids in the house and that constant refrain “There’s nothing to do around here!”
Are you prepared? Because, you know, it is coming. President’s Day weekend is just around the corner. Followed by another winter weekend and another and another…you get the idea.
Baltimore County Recreation and Parks to the rescue.
We put the word out to several of our outstanding naturalists and rangers and came up some fun things to do that are also great teaching moments. Here are some super places to visit, recipes for the birdies, winter scavenger hunt ideas and fun stuff to make that holiday weekend one to remember.
Saturday, February 18 Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. Tracks and Trails Detectives. 1:30 – 3 p.m. Winter animals are out and about even in winter’s cold. Learn about the clues they leave and join us on the trails to practice your animal detective skills. Dress for the weather. Children ages 5 – 10 with an adult. $2 per child; $5 family rate. Register in advance. 410-887-1081
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19 Marshy Point Nature Center. Maple Sugar Time. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. How do you get sap from a tree; how is maple sugar made; who made maple syrup and sugar? Join us for this ongoing weekend program where we’ll tap a tree, taste sap and boil up maple syrup. Tree tapping hikes every hour until 3 p.m. Free. 410-887-2817
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19 Lake Roland. Bird Extravaganza. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live birds, crafts, birding hikes, campfire, hot drinks and kids’ games. All these great activities as you search for birds in the “Great Backyard Bird Count”. No pre-registration, no cost and open to everyone. 410-887-4156
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19 Oregon Ridge Nature Center. Maple Sugaring Weekend. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come on down to our Sugar Shack to learn the magic behind the fascinating process of making maple syrup. Take an invigorating guided hike to the sugar bush to tap a tree for sap. Then, taste maple syrup and sugar. Hikes on the hour. Sugar on the snow demos at 12:30 and 3:45. Sugar time activities are free. Pure Maple Candy and Syrup will be sold in the Nature Center. 410-887-1815
Saturday, February 18 Cromwell Valley Park. Dead Leaves, Cheese, Butter and Kimchi. 1 to 2:30 p.m. What do they all have in common? Fermentation. Learn how fermentation allows our planet to work and then make your own fermenter. Bring a one gallon jug. $3 members; $5 non-members. Space is limited. Ages 8 and up. 410-887-2503
Sunday, February 19 Cromwell Valley Park. Tracks on T-Shirts. 1 to 3 p.m. Learn to identify animals by the clues they leave behind and make your very own animal track t-shirt. Bring a light color t-shirt from home. $2 members; $4 non-members. All ages. 410-887-2503
Monday, February 20 Lake Roland. School’s Out Day. 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Unplug the kids and let them spend the day exploring nature at the park. Bring lunch, snack, and water. Ages 6-12. $25 per child for the day from 8:30 to 2:30. Additional $10 for extended hours from 2:30 to 4:30. Registration required. 410-887-4156
Fun for any weekend
How about a day at one of our parks and nature centers. Click here for a list of Baltimore County parks that can fill your day with fun and adventure.
Here are some nature projects if staying home or near home might be more your style.
- Project Feederwatch, a citizen science effort to record the numbers and types of birds that come to backyard feeders in February.
- Here's a winter birdfeeder kids can make.
- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a fun winter scavenger hunt.
So there you have it – your weekend is all planned. Like vegetables, don’t tell your kids that it’s good for them too!
By Michael Schneider, Baltimore County Department of Recreation & Parks