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Letter from Ron Henry, Chair of the Maryland Chapter
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by Ron Henry | 2009

Hello All,

What a summer we are having weather-wise—so far, one of the coolest in my memory.  It is so nice not to need the AC and to be able to save energy.  Thank you Mother Nature! 

During May 2009, the Maryland Chapter was chosen by the national Sierra Club as one of four chapters to participate in a pilot training program focused on building an efficient, effective, well-functioning, and congenial Executive Committee team. The team members were Alana Wase, Baird Straughan, Chris Yoder, Dave O’Leary, Don Grace, Laurel Imlay, and Ron Henry.

This training was conducted via six teleconference  calls over three months. The conference calls allowed all participants to be involved for the instruction portions, then to break into several smaller groups to work on assignments, and then reconvene as a whole for sharing summaries and discussion.

The initial call focused on the core chapter functions:  advance the Sierra Club’s mission; provide service to members, supporters, and the public; build local resources; and exercise effective governance and fiduciary oversight.  These core functions were the basis for a series of assignments that the team worked on  between calls, with facilitator guidance from National. 

The initial assignment enabled us to focus on the core chapter functions and conduct a State of the Chapter Assessment, identifying our strengths and the areas needing improvement.  A subsequent assignment focused on improving our team performance.  Ranking ourselves on characteristics of  high-performance teams, we agreed that our ExCom had developed trust, mastered discussion, and achieved commitment, while   needing improvement in accountability and focusing on results. 

Our final assignment focused on our State of the Chapter Assessment, specifically on the four core chapter functions.  From this, the Maryland Chapter leadership team established task forces during our July ExCom meeting as follows:  Smart Energy Solutions and Global Warming, led by Dave O’Leary;  Reducing Waste and Toxics, led by Dan Andrews and Ken Eidel; People, led by Baird Straughan and Ron Henry; Transportation and Land Use, led by Erin Barnes and Patrick McMahon; and Resilient Habitats, led by Marc Imlay and Chris Yoder.

Each task force leader has formed committees, and during August and September will develop plans for 2010.  The task force leaders will meet to collate their plans for discussion at the September 19 Ex Com meeting, during which the Maryland Chapter’s 2010 campaigns will be established.  This strategy will keep us in consonance with National, Chapter, and local issues.

All members are invited to participate in the process. If you note an area of interest, please contact the task force leaders and offer your comments and ideas.  These will be taken into consideration.


Remember the upcoming Maryland Chapter Jamboree that will be held October 2_4 at Camp Barrett, Crownsville, MD.  Please note the date on your calendars and attend.  It will be a wonderful weekend of learning, getting to know other Sierrans, and FUN!


Finally, I want to lift up the coming 2010 political year!  It promises to be even more important than the successful 2008 political year in terms of real environmental change.  Even with a changed administration at the federal level, even with the legislative changes that many are valiantly trying to attain, and even at the state level where we have been able to affect some changes, we find that we have have taken only a few baby steps towards attaining meaningful, measurable, and stringent legislation. 

Real change is sorely needed to affect true environmental protection and to promote a reduction in greenhouse gases and global warming, and mitigate climate change effects.  The lobbyists from industries of every kind are well-heeled and are spending millions to maintain their privileged status quo. Their vision of the future is always based entirely on economics as the first priority, regardless of any environmental considerations and without any acknowledgment of their responsibility or acceptance of accountability for the environmental damage they inflict.

So, this means that we have to dig in deeper in terms of our time, money, and personal efforts in order to effectively thwart the opposition’s “status quo.”  Otherwise, true change cannot take place! 

The responsibility is ours, each one of us, to do those things to make the difference.  I challenge you to do so.  Any change starts with us as individuals!  Let’s start!  Contact our Chapter and your Group political committees and offer your time and services.  We can make the difference!  And we must!    n


> 2009 Table of Contents


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