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Summer Chesapeake

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Environmental Wins and Losses in Assembly Session Dominated by Budget Woes

by David O'Leary
This year’s General Assembly session was once again a whirlwind of activity, dominated even more than usual by discussions of the state budget. Fortunately, environmental issues received some attention, and at least some elected leaders recognize that investing now to protect the environment will save money in the long run, and in many cases, create jobs. It is quite clear that we still have a lot of work to do in Annapolis in 2010 and beyond.

Letter from the Chair

by Ron Henry
Hello All,
Can you believe it? The 2009 Maryland General Assembly is now past tense. And what a challenging session it was for all! Not only did our delegates and senators have to deal with the usual batches of bills of every conceivable nature, but the 2009 session was driven both explicitly and implicitly by the severe impact of our national economic turmoil.

Omnibus Wilderness Bill Signed into Law

by Chris Yoder
By Chris Yoder—On March 30, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. The most important public lands bill in decades, it cleared its final hurdle in March, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed it. Both Maryland Senators supported the bill, as did all but one of our Congress members in the House of Representatives. Roscoe Bartlett was the only Maryland member of Congress who voted not to safeguard millions of acres of new wilderness, protect hundreds of miles of rivers, expand trails, and shelter over a million acres of key rangeland hunting and fishing grounds from oil and gas drilling.

Utah’s Red Rock Canyon

by Chris Yoder
By Chris Yoder—We can celebrate the Omnibus Bill’s protection of critical habitat, archaeological treasures, and natural values in Utah’s Washington County, but that county is only one small corner of the most important, most fragile, and most threatened wilderness quality lands remaining in the lower 48. Millions of acres of Utah’s red rock canyonlands and basin and range plateaus remain vulnerable to ORV (off-road vehicle) vandalism, and to the blind rush to seek the last drop of oil or sniff of gas, without regard to the damage done to the irreplaceable environment that will be our generation’s legacy to the generations to come.

“Waste Not” Expo in Central Maryland

The Frederick County Commissioners, so bent on constructing an incinerator for the county’s trash, have put the construction bids on hold. On Saturday, March 28, the Catoctin group cosponsored a terrific Waste Not Expo, aimed at “zero waste.” The exposition was held at Frederick High School in Frederick, MD. Over 300 people came to learn how communities across the country are increasing recycling, and choosing alternatives to landfills and incinerators. From 9:30 A.M. until 2:00 P.M., there were speakers, booths, kids’ activities, and music.

Green Jobs Conference Promotes Recycling

by Laurel Imlay
By Laurel Imlay—This year’s “Green Jobs” Conference was held in Washington, DC in January. Getting labor and environmentalists to the same event was a cool start to make necessary alliances in our goal to save the planet. Connecting, communicating, supporting, and learning about each other to build people power is our best hope for a sustainable future.

Creating Healthy People and Healthy Environments: The Connection between Hunger and Habitat

by Jody Tick
By Jody Tick— The premise of community food security is based on “a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice” (Mike Hamm and Anne Bellows). It’s this concept of sustainability—economic, social and environmental—that drives the Capital Area Food Bank’s Harvest for Health program. In this day and age of growing awareness of where food comes from and how it’s produced, Harvest for Health addresses social and environmental justice issues of our food and food system. Our programs operate on the tenet that in order to have a truly sustainable food system, it has to be affordable and accessible to all.


by Jim Long
By Jim Long—I was recently asked to explain the importance of protecting the potato dandelion, a diminutive plant endangered in Maryland. Its moniker is unfortunate, for it conjures that bane of lawns, the common dandelion, a Eurasion invader that, like so many non-native species, has become a widespread weed. Our Krigia dandelion, on the other hand, is a native wildflower of open woods, prairie, or intermittently wet land. It tends to the uncommon on the coastal plain, where it lies in the path of the Cross County Connector extension, the controversial highway proposal that would traverse the watershed of Mattawoman Creek, one the healthiest tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay.

I Remember

by Morita Bruce
I Remember: A Poem by Morita Bruce

The Sierra Club’s Climate Recovery Agenda

by Carl Pope
By Carl Pope—In 2008, Americans chose change. “New Energy for America” trumped “Drill, Baby, drill,” marking a major change across the country.

Group News Roundup

by Mary C. Corddry
Edited by Mary C. Corddry—Following is a roundup of 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 or at 410-239-4590.

Camping Tech

by Dan Soeder
By Dan Soeder—Back in the days when John Muir was trying to launch the Sierra Club, he turned to outings as a mechanism to build membership. Muir held the opinion that if the Club could just get people out into the wilderness to see what was there, they would be more inclined to support efforts to preserve it. We sometimes forget how much more difficult outings were logistically in the old days. The Club ran one big outing out of San Francisco every summer called the High Trip. The expedition traveled to Yosemite Valley, climbed up above the valley into Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra, and stayed at campsites along the Tuolumne River. In 1909, it took almost two weeks to get up there from San Francisco, lugging a ton of gear in horse-drawn wagons. A hundred years later, it can be done in an afternoon.

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