He hopes his proposal to make paintings that help preserve the mountain will win a
To enter, Moulden produced a two-minute video introduction, available on the website.
His video proposal touches on Catoctin's hidden history of long-gone farms and settlements: things he has discovered walking dogs with his family through the mountain.
Modern bicycle traffic has cut new paths, and invasive plant and insect species have eroded the mountain over the years.
"These are examples of threats and dangers" most people may not understand, Moulden said.
In the 19th century on the mountain, settlers started farms, and they and Civil War soldiers cut down most of the trees, Moulden said. He enjoys finding remnants of hand-hewn stone walls, built from local rocks plucked from the fields.
"It's really fun to find these things," he said.
Trees, almost all less than 200 years old, cover most of the mountain, minus the missing oaks that gypsy moths wiped out two decades ago, he said.
Increasing amounts of trash, erosion and environmental damage prompted Moulden, an artist and nature lover, to look for a way to help groups that are already working to preserve the mountain. Art seemed a natural fit for him.
"Almost all of my paintings are of landscapes," Moulden said, adding that trees dominate his work, and he has a sense of humor about it: "I branch out from time to time and do bushes."
If he gets the grant, he plans to document with photos and stories the mountain's beauties and stresses. He will create a series of 10 paintings that he plans to donate to the
"My energy would be going to help those groups," he said.
They may choose to use the paintings in some way that helps, whether it is through something like an auction or reproduction, he said.
"I'll be giving it to them," he said.
First, Moulden has to get the grant. If he gets past
"I'm going to motivate all the different organizations to vote for me," Moulden said.
Contestants have suggested projects that involve the fine arts, social services, technology, historic preservation, education, performance arts, construction, environmental policy, travel and wildlife conservation. Moulden has not inspected the competition too closely but hopes his project stands a good chance.
"I might leave a legacy," he said.
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