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Groups Are Active Throughout Maryland
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by Mary Corddry | 2006

See what Maryland Sierrans are doing to protect the environment in their own communities.

This is the first roundup of activities and issues of the nine Sierra Club Groups in Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Catoctin, Eastern Shore, Greater Baltimore, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Southern Maryland, and Western Maryland. There is a link to each Group’s website on the Maryland Chapter’s home page at www.maryland.sierraclub.org. If you have information to contribute to future “Roundups” for the Chesapeake newsletter, please contact Mary Corddry at XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com or at 410-248-0423.

Common themes are evident in the Groups’ priorities:  preservation of “special places” to maintain quality of life for current and future generations; support of “smart growth” in areas with the necessary infrastructure; opposition to sprawl, unplanned development, and unsustainable growth; importance of closely reviewing local comprehensive plans and rezoning proposals; and necessity for constantly monitoring local activities for adverse environmental impacts.

Each Group has an Executive Committee with a Chair, and sends a Delegate to the Maryland Chapter’s Executive Committee. Most Groups have vacant leadership positions such as Executive Committee members, treasurer, newsletter editor, webmaster, committee chairs, and outings leaders. Volunteers are needed and welcome in any capacity.

Groups have various ways to come together—socials, dinners, picnics, special topic forums, environmental movies, outings. The Groups are closely monitoring environmentally-related legislation being considered by the General Assembly in this year’s session. They will be interviewing candidates for local office in this year’s elections, in order to recommend endorsements.

 

Anne Arundel Group

Chair: Ann Wolfe, 410-867-0900

The Group had a dinner in February.

A moratorium is proposed on annexation of further property into Annapolis, to prevent additional development from overwhelming Annapolis Neck.

The Group endorsed candidates in Annapolis elections during November 2005. The main concerns were the growing environmental impact of overheated development and the increasing traffic in and around Annapolis.

In January, the Group had an outing at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, as part of its effort to honor special places in the county that are in need of continued protection. Other areas of concern are Waterworks Park and the Crownsville site.

The Group is seeking entries for a juried photo exhibit it is sponsoring at Arundel Center for April 2007.

 

Catoctin Group
(Carroll, Frederick, Washington Counties)

Chair: Kim Stenley, 410-756-6402, kstenley@earthtones.com

The Catoctin group works to inform people about the environmental and public health issues we face at the local, state and national levels by hosting films and discussions. We also offer stream monitoring training where we teach others how to use equipment purchased with a national Sierra Club grant to help monitor water quality in the Monocacy watershed.

Some members have been meeting monthly in Carroll County to work on clean air and energy issues, such as clean diesel and solar power. The group also provides feedback on the counties’ master and comprehensive zoning plans and regulations.

The group is planning Earth Day activities in Carroll and Frederick counties, including a Friday evening film and discussion at the library and a Saturday, April 22, event in downtown Frederick. If you would like to participate or have any ideas, please email Kim Stenley (kstenley@mcdaniel.edu).

We are also planning more hikes and outdoor activities this year. The next one is tentatively scheduled for Saturday March 18. We are putting together an email list of Frederick, Carroll and Washington hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are interested in being notified of these activities, please send your email address to Chris Hodge at chrishodge@adelphia.net (guests from adjacent areas are more than welcome).
Also, let us know if you would be interested in being an outings leader.

Eastern Shore Group

(Cecil County and Eastern Shore counties)

Chair: Diane Bedlin, 410-643-3283 dianebedlin@gmail.com

A major issue is the proposed mega-development of 3,200 new houses, shops, and golf courses near Blackwater National Refuge in Dorchester County.

The Group is also concerned about saving Unicorn Lake in Queen Anne’s County from environmental devastation, due to plans for a 58-acre landfill next to the lake.

 

Greater Baltimore Group

(Baltimore City and County, Harford County)

Chair: Ron Henry, 410-838-9119, RonLHenry@msn.com

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, Executive Director of the 1000 Friends of Maryland, presented at the Group’s January Executive Committee meeting about the 2006 General Assembly legislative priorities of the Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment.

The Greater Baltimore Group collaborated with Friends of Harford to independently review about 328 rezoning requests being considered by Harford County as part of its first Comprehensive Zoning Review since 1998. Recommendations were presented in a report to the County Council. Updates on the process are at www.friendsofharford.com or www.co.ha.md.us/PlanningZoning/ComprehensiveZoningReview.

Baltimore City is holding nine hearings between February and April on its first comprehensive master plan in 30 years. The plan and information about the hearings are at liveearnplaylearn.com.

Meetings have begun for the Liquid Natural Gas terminal facility proposed at Sparrows Point.

Baltimore City proposed a plan for a bicycle network. For information see www.baltimorecity.gov/government/planning/bikeplan.html.

In November 2005, a conference on “Clean Money – Campaign Finance Reform: A Real Solution for Maryland” was sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Group, Common Cause Maryland, and others.

In 2005, the Greater Baltimore Group had about 34 outings. Additional outings were offered by the Young Sierrans and by the Baltimore Inner City Outings.

 

Howard County Group

Chair: Ken Clark, 301-725-3306, kenclark7@comcast.net

In 2005, the Howard County Group’s outings program had a record year of 87 outings and 918 participants. The number of outings has increased every year for more than 10 years.

In January, there was a legislative issues summit, at which Terry Cummings of the Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment (a coalition to which the Sierra Club belongs) presented about environmental bills that may be proposed during this year’s General Assembly session.

On March 17, there will be an environmental film night at the Howard County Recreation and Parks Headquarters in Columbia.

Earth Day, Saturday April 22, is the next major event for the Conservation Committee.

 

Montgomery County Group

Chair: Anne Ambler, 301-946-5599, anneambler@comcast.net

The Group has a Scorecard on its website for County Council members’ votes with significant environmental implications. An update is in progress.

The Group hosts environmental programs at least monthly in members’ homes, with a potluck meal and then a speaker, film, or discussion.

It also hosts four auditorium programs a year, currently at Brookside Gardens Auditorium in Wheaton. In April, the program will be an environmental career fair.

Concerns include protecting the county’s agricultural reserve from development by private institutional facilities, stopping urban sprawl, Turn the Tide for actions that individuals can take for measurable impact on the environment, Parks Not Pavement Campaign to protect the seven conservation areas and stream valley parks in the path of the proposed InterCounty Connector (ICC), opposition to the ICC, and stopping sediment from going into streams from developments.

 

Prince George’s County Group

Chair: Chip Reilly, 301-218-3920, cbreilly@his.com

In Prince George’s County, the group is busily laying plans for its annual event, tentatively set for the evening of Saturday, April 1st. We’ll present the Maloney Environmental Service Award to a deserving politician. With your attendance, the fun and the fulfillment will surpass last year’s great event.

We are asking members to contact the Prince George’s County Council to insist that they pass a viable and fair “Transfer of Development Rights” bill, to fulfill their promise to do growth management. Tell them that we want growth management funded reasonably, not by allowing developers to cut the trees (using off-site mitigation) and not by disregarding master plans (through widespread density increases) in the Developing Tier. The “TDR bill” (CB-5-2006) creates a mechanism whereby rural landowners get paid to not sub-divide their land, so that the county can afford adequate public services in the established areas, instead of diverting resources to far-flung new housing projects. We also support, with qualifications, proposed bills CB-4-2006 and CB-6-2006 requiring that design of new sub-divisions include at least 50% open space and improved design standards.

For details on the above matters, see http://maryland.sierraclub.org/pg/. If you wish to speak to someone about the annual event, call Alex Hirtle at (301) 927-2105, or about growth management bills, call Chip Reilly, at (301) 218-3920. We need your interest in these affairs.

Southern Maryland Group

(Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties)

Chair: Bob Boxwell, 410-394-6153, bobboxwell@hotmail.com

On June 3, the Group is sponsoring the 13th Annual Potomac River Swim for the Environment. The event, which is the Group’s largest fund-raiser, takes swimmers 7.5 miles from Hull Neck, Virginia across the river to Point Lookout State Park, Maryland. There will be a picnic at Point Lookout. Contact Donna Cave at 301-932-7249 or DonnaCave@aol.com.

A Public Forum on Clean Energy was held in February, sponsored by the Southern Maryland Group and the Southern Maryland Greens. Over 60 people attended to discuss what we can do about our rapidly changing climate and how we can use alternative energy sources to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, conserve energy, and use more efficient, less polluting sources of power.

Also in February, there was a “Walk on the Wild Side” at Myrtle Point Nature Center on the banks of the Patuxent River. This marked the 11th anniversary of hikes to increase public awareness of this unique treasure.

 

Western Maryland

(Allegany and Garrett Counties)

Chair: Sam White, 301-264-4162, cedarrockcsa@yahoo.com

Residents continue to fight Terrapin Run, a  4,300 home subdivision proposed for eastern Allegany County, in an area that is an ecological buffer zone for Green Ridge State Forest. (See article page 10.)

In November 2005, the Group had a get-acquainted dinner followed by a public program. Betsy Johnson, chair of the Maryland Chapter, spoke about sprawl–how to keep unsustainable growth out and promote development within the existing local infrastructure.

The Group is holding an Excom election this spring. Anyone interested in volunteering a few hours each month should contact Sam White at 301-264-4162 or Mark Diehl at 301-724-6238.

The Group proposed a Citizen’s Forest Watch for each State forest to report on forest issues. Contact Mark Diehl if you are interested.    

> 2006 Table of Contents

   
   

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