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by Mary C. Corddry | 2008

There is something for everyone! The local Groups of the Sierra Club are active with the Sierra Club’s “Cool Cities” initiative, encouraging local governments and citizens to take action to address global warming. They survey and interview local candidates for public office, and make endorsements in collaboration with the State Chapter. They are involved with local land use and environmental issues. They volunteer for service outings to eradicate invasive plants, plant native species, maintain trails, and clean up streams. They enjoy the environment by hiking, biking, kayaking, stargazing, camping, and backpacking. They discuss environmental issues and socialize at dinners, picnics, slide shows, movies, and speaker series.

The following is what’s happening with 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. If you have information to contribute to future “Roundups” for the Chesapeake newsletter, please contact Mary Corddry at XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com  or at 410-239-4590.

The local Groups of the Sierra Club are active with the Sierra Club’s “Cool Cities” initiative, encouraging local governments and citizens to take action to address global warming. They survey and interview local candidates for public office, and make endorsements in collaboration with the State Chapter. They are involved with local land use and environmental issues. They volunteer for service outings to eradicate invasive plants, plant native species, maintain trails, and clean up streams. They enjoy the environment by hiking, biking, kayaking, stargazing, camping, and backpacking. They discuss environmental issues and socialize at dinners, picnics, slide shows, movies, and speaker series.

There is something for everyone. Contact your Group to get linked with your favorite issue or activity. The Maryland Chapter’s home page has a link to each Group’s website at http://maryland.sierraclub.org.

 

Anne Arundel Group

Chair: David Prosten, 410-263-6341 or 410-703-0847, dprosten@yahoo.com

 

By David Prosten—About 100 members and friends of the Anne Arundel Group participated in the group’s annual potluck dinner January 26. They listened to the guest speaker, State Comptroller Peter Franchot, discuss his office’s approach to environmental issues across the state. Several Anne Arundel County activists were honored, including long-time Executive Committee member Earl Bradley, Annapolis Alderman Sam Shropshire, former Executive Committee member Joan Turek, and the late Tina Lorentzen Carlson. Attendees were encouraged to bring a dish made of ingredients grown or harvested within 100 miles of Annapolis.

The group is applauding two of its own who have taken on major environmental roles in the public sector. Nita Settina, a group activist and a former Executive Committee member , has been named superintendent of the Maryland state park system. Joan Turek—who resigned from the Executive Committee because of county conflict-of-interest rules—was named in December to the Anne Arundel County Planning Advisory Board by County Executive John Leopold.

The Cool Cities group continues to meet monthly, with a focus on reducing the county government’s carbon footprint.

The Executive Committee held a morning-long retreat in February to look at goals and objectives, and set an active agenda for 2008. A primary focus: getting more of the group’s 1,400 members involved in club activities.

Plans are being made  for the group’s annual Earth Day 5K Race and Walk, our big annual fundraiser held at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to competitors in several categories. Hundreds of dollars worth of goodies donated by local merchants will be given away as door prizes following the event. Check the group’s website for information and an application. The event this year will be April 19.

The group is successfully using its new e-mail list for members who want to participate in the e-mail alert program.

 

Catoctin Group (Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties)

Chair: Chris Hodge, 240-388-6446, mdhiker2@yahoo.com

 

By Gregor Becker—Global warming is a concern that we want towns to recognize! Carroll and Frederick counties have recognized the concern and pledged to work on it locally and to support more action at state and national levels.

The Catoctin Group will host a meeting on Wednesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at the North Carroll Library to discuss strategies to bring Cool Cities before the Hampstead Town Council. Sykesville was the first Cool City in Carroll County, the first locally to sign a global warming agreement. Westminster and Mount Airy have adopted similar agreements. Hampstead will be a greater challenge since  Mayor Haven Shoemaker has written pieces in the newspaper against global warming “hype” and county acceptance. We want to convince a majority of the Council of the merits of adopting a resolution on global warming. There are many Sierrans in the Hampstead area; we need some who are motivated to help with this. Contact Gregor Becker at lorax4@carr.org (best) or call  410-346-6336.

Brunswick residents, please see the contact information above. We had a productive initial meeting a few months ago, but only a few attended. So we are looking for more participants as we prepare to approach the City Council. Gregor made two calls to each of  20 Sierra Club members in Brunswick. We expect to meet again on Saturday, March 22, but the location is not set as this newsletter goes to press. Our initial meeting was at the home of Paul Lehman and may be again. The meetings in Hampstead and Brunswick are open to anyone interested in global warming issues. You needn’t be  a Sierra Club member to care about the earth.  Everyone is welcome. Please R.S.V.P .to Gregor; see contact information in preceding paragraph.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 24  from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Maryland Heartland Sustainable Living Fair at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Just $10 a person or $15 a couple. Children 15 and under are free. Check out www.sustainablelivingmd.org.

The Catoctin Group communicates with members electronically for the most part. Our website is http://maryland.sierraclub.org/catoctin/ OR go to sierraclub.org, and then select Maryland Chapter and Catoctin Group OR  email us at mdhiker2@yahoo.com to receive alerts on actions, hikes, or meetings.

 

Eastern Shore (Cecil County and Eastern Shore counties)

Chair: Howard Bedlin, 410-643-3283, Howard.Bedlin@ncoa.org

 

A new conservation committee has been meeting in the lower shore of the Eastern Shore consecutively for the last three months and is building momentum.  The group is currently working on a recycling symposium for Earth Day and is excited to begin working on a Cool Cities campaign.  For details about the time and place of the next meeting contact Laura D’Alessandro at 443-523-8987 or my.name.is.laura.d@gmail.com.

 

Greater Baltimore (Baltimore City and County, Harford County)

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

 

By Mary Corddry—The Greater Baltimore Group has a general meeting planned for February 25 with a speaker, Baltimore Trails author Bryan MacKay,and with a hiker’s quiz developed by Richard Klein. The quiz winner will receive  a backpack donated by REI, an outdoor equipment store.

The Sierra Club joined other environmental organizations to rally at Baltimore City Hall on February 25 for an “Eco-Summit: Health and Environmental Justice.” The purpose of the rally was to ask the City Council to transform Baltimore into a “Cool City.”

Baltimore County’s Comprehensive Zoning Map Process is underway. Residents and civic organizations have proposed properties for rezoning. The County Council will vote on the rezoning issues this summer, and new zoning maps will be issued in November. Group members participated with  North County Preservation  to develop a Geographical Information System (GIS), assisted civic organizations and residents with using the GIS to identify properties for downzoning to a more restrictive rural conservation classification, are holding workshops for citizens on February 27 and March 5, and are now helping to review the properties proposed for rezoning and to provide information to community groups, the County Zoning Department, and County Council about environmental issues related to the proposals.

The Group is partnering with the Greater Dundalk Alliance to oppose a liquid natural gas terminal and storage facility at Sparrows Point and related dredging in the Patapsco River. It is also working on a class action lawsuit concerning the adverse health impacts of the area’s past industrial activity.

The Group publishes a quarterly newsletter, “The Baltimore Sierran,” which is mailed to members and also is available on its web site. Check the Group’s web site for a schedule of outings and other events. The Group has hikes of varied lengths and difficulty levels, including outings that are child- and dog-friendly. The Group also has happy hours, kayak outings, bike rides, star-gazing, camping, hayrides, stream cleanups, trail maintenance, and invasive plant removals.

Howard County

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

 

By Ken Clark—Following are the Howard Group’s upcoming Events:


Scott Weidensaul, Return To Wild America

Thursday, March 13, 7:00 p.m. at the Howard County Conservancy.

Author Scott Weidensaul retraces the 100-day trek around North America by Roger Tory Peterson 50 years ago. “Return to Wild America” has been praised by critics for the examination of what has been lost and celebration of what remains of the wild nature of America. Slides and lecture. The Howard County Conservancy, http://www.hcconservancy.org/, is hosting this program, and the Sierra Club is one of the sponsors.

 

Howard County Green Fest

Saturday, April 5, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Glenwood Center next to the Glenwood Library.

See our web page for details, http://maryland.sierraclub.org/hc. The Sierra Club will have a table at this event and may lead a hike.

The Howard County Group has a very active outings program, including frequent backpacking trips. Check the Group’s web site for a schedule of outings and other events. You may contact Ken Clark about getting on an email listing of outings and events.

 

Montgomery County

Chair: David Hauck,
301-270-5826, david.hauck@maryland.sierraclub.org

 

By David Hauck—We continue to work on developing programs that will help us achieve the three  goals the Group has set for Montgomery County.

For achieving the first goal—increasing energy conservation by residents and businesses—we are exploring a number of opportunities to partner with local groups and the County government on projects such as developing a “green resource guide” to encourage residents to become more energy-efficient and practice more sustainable lifestyles; creating a “green certification” program for businesses that encourages them to implement energy and resource conservation measures; and promoting a “green curriculum” in the schools.

We also are working to ensure that the global warming bills now before the County Council are strengthened and  passed. On January 31, I testified in favor of the bills and recommended several additions to them. We continue to meet with council members, their staff, and members of the County Executive staff in support of Montgomery County’s taking aggressive and creative steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Our second goal is to encourage the adoption of smart growth principles that will result in new communities that are more energy-efficient, use much less open land, and help to improve air quality by expanding the utilization of public transit. Members track proposed changes to land use master plans and advocate for smart growth revisions to these plans. In addition, we have developed a set of smart growth guidelines to provide a vision to guide development in Montgomery County to reduce our impact on the environment while enhancing our quality of life. We plan to use these guidelines in our efforts to build public support for smart growth. (For a discussion of these 10 smart growth guidelines, please see page 3 of our February-March 2008 Group newsletter available on our website. Go to maryland.sierraclub.org/Montgomery and click on “Newsletter” in the left hand column when our web page opens.)

For our final goal—protecting natural, critical spaces in Montgomery County, including the Agricultural Reserve, forest, and local streams—we are looking for ways to increase participation by local Sierra Club members in hands-on activities such as tree planting, stream cleanups, and activities that reduce storm water runoff.

Finally, we welcome two new members to our Ex Com, Tracy Stanton and Jim Grossfeld. Tracy has worked on smart growth issues and holistic land-use planning, and she’s done research on best practices for improving environmental quality and protecting public health within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition to her work on the Ex Com, Tracy is actively working to help us achieve our goal of greater energy conservation. Jim Grossfeld’s interests lie in building alliances between labor and environmentalists that challenge the false choice between good jobs and clean energy. Jim also is active in the field of public health and believes that problems such as workplace exposure to toxics and illness caused by industrial pollution in poor communities should not only be priorities for public health practitioners, but for environmentalists as well.

 

Prince George’s County

Chair: Chip Reilly, 301-218-3920, chipreilly@mac.com or chip.reilly@maryland.sierraclub.org

Group’s office: 301-277-0600 or 301-277-7111

 

By Chip Reilly—The campaigns on climate change, Cool Cities, and the elections have engaged hundreds of members in Prince George’s County during the past three months. The victory by Donna Edwards for the U.S. House seat in District 4 is a cause for celebration by Prince Georgians interested in responsive government. Work is underway, led by Chip Reilly and Fred Tutman, to create a “Prince George’s Environmental Knowledge Web”—a database of substantive and tactical knowledge on land use, environment, and transportation to strengthen the participation by residents of Prince George’s County in matters that impact their quality of life. The project, including interviews with senior activists, educational web pages and workshops, was funded by the office of Tom Dernoga, a County Councilman and environmental advocate.

Pending State legislation of great importance: In order to protect the rights of Prince Georgians in land use decisions, we support the Text Amendment Bill (www.princegeorgeshousedelegation.com/legislation/bill-history?local=PG/MC%20117-08), and oppose the Zoning Appeals (Standing) Bill (http://www.princegeorgeshousedelegation.com/legislation/bill-history?local=PG/MC%20119-08.)

Please contact your State legislator today and echo this position. We need people from other counties to support us, too. For more information, contact Chip at 301-218-3920.

 

Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties)

Chair: Frank Fox, 301-884-8027, ff725@yahoo.com

 

Invasive plant removal is being conducted two Saturdays per month at Swann Park and two Sundays per month at Chapman Forest. Trash is being picked up, and water quality is being sampled at a wetlands meadow tributary to Mattawoman Creek in Swann Park. These events have been conducted since 1999 with volunteers including the Sierra Club, Maryland Native Plant Society, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. For more information, contact Marc Imlay at 301-283-0808.

The Group publishes a bimonthly newsletter, News from Southern Maryland. Check the Group’s web site for a schedule of outings and other events.

 

Western Maryland (Allegany and Garrett Counties)

Chair: Sam White, 301-264-4162, sam.white@maryland.sierraclub.org or cedarrockcsa@yahoo.com

 

The Group publishes a quarterly newsletter, Nature’s Advocate of Western MD. n

 

> 2008 Table of Contents

   
   

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