first published in the October 2022 Equiery

Charles C. Fenwick, Jr., recently won the 2022 Robert N. Clay Conservation Award presented by the board of directors of Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR). Fenwick earned this award for his work with Shawan Downs in Cockeysville. The award was established in 2014 in partnership between ELCR and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and honors individuals in the Thoroughbred industry for their commitment to conserving land or access to land for horses and horse related activities. Fenwick was nominated by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

Prior to WWI, Shawan Farm, a 2,500-acre estate, was home to horses and cattle. The farm also hosted steeplechase races and the annual Worthington Valley Horse Show, which benefited the Women’s Hospital in Baltimore. Over time, the estate was divided among several descendants of the original owners. Between 1982 and 1992, 16,000 acres of the Green Spring Valley was developed. In 1997, area residents grew concerned about the loss of additional farmland and worked together to keep the core of Shawan Farm away from development. Fenwick was one of those residents who, along with 19 neighbors, acquired the property under the aegis of the Land Preservation Trust (LPT), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity. An additional 175 neighbors donated around $10,000 each to share in creating the equestrian venue now known as Shawan Downs.

Today, Shawan Downs contains over 250 acres of preserved open space and hosts such equestrian activities as The Legecy Chase, The Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point, MCTA Spring Horse Trials and the Maryland Junior Hunt Cup.