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Ron Henry’s Letter from the Chair
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by Ron Henry | 2009

Hello, All. Well, here we are in midst of the autumn quarter already. And what an energetic period it has been thus far!

Hello All,


Well, here we are in midst of the autumn quarter already! And what an energetic period it has been thus far.

In February 2009, a Jamboree Committee (JamCom) was formed.  Many teleconferences and other coordination efforts resulted in our Jamboree, a well attended “Fun and Learning Event” on the first weekend in October 2009.

Thanks to all who attended: our volunteers who performed many tasks; all workshop presenters; the Bioblitz, Challenge Course, and Outings teams; our unequaled food staff; our auction team with chair Betsy Johnson and auctioneer par excellence Mike Martin; our keynote speaker, national President Allison Chin, for her excellent overview of national issues; and national Vice-President Robin Mann for her interesting, energizing conservation priorities presentation.

Allison and Robin—Thank you for carving out time to be with us and share with us. You provided a very meaningful and memorable experience for the Maryland Chapter.

Special thanks are due all the JamCom committee members, our MD Chapter staff, and especially our chair, Alana Wase.  She stepped up when the former chair had to vacate, and shepherded us through this very successful event. Special thanks are also due to the Camp Barrett staff and management for their fine, well-run facility, and to Mother Nature for providing the wonderful weather that contributed immeasurably to the success of Jamboree 2009.

August and September were busy months for members of the Chapter Core Functions Tasks committees formed from our July Excom meeting. Those committees focused on 1) smart energy and global warming solutions, 2) reducing waste and toxics, 3) safeguarding and protecting communities (people), and 4) resilient habitats. During the September meeting, each task force’s plans were presented and, winnowed by discussions in small work groups, were collated and prioritized. Subsequently, the larger planning committee determined that the MD Chapter’s  2010 campaign priorities  would be the transmission lines campaign (MAPP and PATH), also a Sierra Club national priority, and the “Save the Mattawoman Creek” campaign. 

The transmission lines campaign has a well developed strategy in place and was the subject of a suite of  wonderful articles in the Autumn 2009 Chesapeake. Thanks to those who have already donated to this campaign! See our front page article for more on this campaign.

The health of the Mattawoman is a long-standing issue for the Southern Maryland Group. A decision by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is due December 1 on permitting the initiation of the Cross County Connector (CCC), an ill-conceived highway that, if constructed, would devastate the viability of Mattawoman Creek.  Mattawoman, as readily acknowledged by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is the “Best of the Best” of the four remaining premier spawning areas of the Chesapeake Bay estuaries.  The many species of fish that spawn there provide recreational and commercial value for the Bay, and a nationally recognized and highly regarded bass fishermen’s tournament venue. And it is also a major provider of the “feeder fish” for larger ocean fish that are a mainstay for ocean saltwater sports fishermen.

Mattawoman is now recognized as a major environmental concern by the Recreational Fishing Alliance, the environmental arm of the ocean-sports-fishing boat and yacht builders industries with both national and international outreach, and its Maryland branch, the Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermen’s Association (MSSA).

By the time of this publication, a major MD Chapter Mattawoman “Kickoff,” a canoeing and kayaking tour of the Mattawoman, will have occurred on November 8.  Thanks in advance for all those who signed on and turned out for the tour.  A comprehensive long-range campaign strategy to follow the canoe and kayak tour  is being developed for the “Save the Mattawoman” Campaign. We have more on the Mattawoman on page  7  of this issue. 

Preparations and planning for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly legislative session are underway and will continue throughout the remainder of 2009 and through the 2010 legislative session that begins mid-January and ends mid-April. The CCE (Citizens Campaign for the Environment), a group of environmental organizations with which MD Chapter Sierra Club has been involved for many years, has established its legislative priorities for the upcoming session. For more on our legislative initiatives, see page 5 for Yi-Hsuan Lee’s article on our legislative committee, and  page 4 for Dave O’Leary’s piece on our conservation and legislative priorities.

We  are now conducting an election for three open  at-large executive committee delegates. The nominees’ statements and the ballot appear in this issue, so please, read the statements, and vote.

Finally, I want to take note of the coming 2010 political year! It promises to be even more important than the successful 2008 political year in terms of real environmental achievements. We have made strides in 2009 but there is much yet to be done.

The chapter and group political committees are geared up and will be calling on you for support. Please be proactive in this process. There has never been a time in my lifetime when so much change is needed and so imperative from the environmental perspective. 

Let’s be the change we want to happen! We can make the difference! Let’s do it!!                                                                               n

> 2009 Table of Contents


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