by Mary C. Corddry |
Edited by Mary C. CorddryThe following reports what is happening with the nine Sierra Club groups in Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Catoctin, Eastern Shore, Greater Baltimore, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Southern Maryland, and Western Maryland. If you have information for future Chesapeake Roundups, please contact Mary Corddry, XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com, 410-239-4590.
Edited by Mary C. Corddry—The following reports what is 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 for future Chesapeake “Roundups,” please contact Mary Corddry, XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com, 410-239-4590.
Sierra Club groups are participating in the state legislative process, identifying local priorities. Groups are active in the Sierra Club’s “Cool Cities” initiative, encouraging local governments and citizens to address global climate change. They are involved with local land use and other environmental issues, following local government activities and participating on advisory committees and at hearings. They eradicate invasive plants, plant native species, maintain trails, and clean up streams. They enjoy the environment by hiking, biking, paddling, 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, www.maryland.sierraclub.org, has a link to each group’s website.
Anne Arundel Group
Chair: David Prosten, 410-263-6341, 410-703-0847, email@example.com
By David Prosten—More than 100 members and guests turned out January 22, 2011, at the Anne Arundel Group’s annual potluck dinner. The guest speaker was former long-time U.S. Representative Wayne Gilchrist, who offered an insider’s look at how national legislators deal with—or don’t deal with, or in most cases don’t even understand—environmental issues. The group honored former legislator Virginia Clagett for her 36 years of public service, and also recognized the Annapolis Unitarian-Universalist Church for its successful Green Sanctuary program.
Our group is gearing up for its annual Earth Day 5K Run and Walk, which normally attracts between 100 and 200 participants. It will be Saturday, April 23, 2011, at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. The group also continues to monitor the county’s comprehensive zoning process. Developers and others have asked the County Council for more than 350 zoning changes, some of which could allow massive development and/or development in inappropriate areas.
Catoctin Group (Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties)
Chair: Dan Andrews, 410-857-4129, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gregor Becker—“Sustainability” seems to be the newest “dirty word” in Carroll County. The word was used in the United Nation’s Agenda 21, a global action plan proposed in 1992. It means meeting the needs of present generations without depleting the ability of future generations to meet their needs. But Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild has lambasted the term itself, warning of the dangers of “sustainability.” www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/un_agenda_21_coming_to_a_neigh.html . Carroll County’s Sustainability Plan, the product of a year’s work, including efforts by two McDaniel College (Westminster) students, has been disapproved.
The problem seems not to have been with the plan itself, but that the concept of “sustainability” is abhorrent to property rights zealots. Okay, what do you call planning for the future, allowing for a clean world with adequate resources to be passed on to future generations? Perhaps stewardship. Carroll County commissioners axed funding for ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, a global association of over 1,200 local government members providing services to support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Fortunately, our county Cool Cities agreement has not been rescinded, so far.
Debate Continues on Waste Disposal
Carroll and Frederick activists are still opposing trash incineration, through local Sierra groups and county WasteNot! groups. Robin Davidov, director of the Northern Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA), spoke to WasteNot! members on February 23, 2011.
Other rumored “alternatives” are incineration at a proposed Baltimore incinerator or incineration at the Lehigh cement kiln in Union Bridge. A waste hauler who contributed to the successful commissioner campaigns has proposed a 20-year contract to haul Carroll County waste to Baltimore. Commissioner Roush, a former manager at Lehigh, took some fellow commissioners on a tour of the cement plant. In an information session on February 16, 2011, Dan Andrews learned that Lehigh emits 47 tons of lead per year, as well as mercury and other pollutants. Several groups are calling for continuous monitoring. Federal regulators have initiated tougher new air quality standards for cement plants.
Frederick Film Fest
Catoctin Sierran Brigitte Fortin has worked with the Friends of Frederick County, which will be sponsoring a film series at the Maryland Ensemble Theater. OURCOMMONWEALTH is proud to partner with local businesses and organizations to present the second annual IMAGINE! Frederick Film Series, a free community education program that will offer residents a chance to learn about and discuss actions to move our community towards economic, environmental and social sustainability. For details see: http://www.friendsoffrederickcounty.org/events/ourcommonwealth/maryland-ensemble-theater-supports-imagine-frederick-movie-series/
March 28, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
A Chemical Reaction “This award-winning documentary film is a heart-warming, inspirational, human-interest story about the origin of the natural lawn care movement in Canada and the U.S.”
April 11, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
A Community of Gardeners (tentative) “Through the voices of young people, senior citizens, immigrants, garden volunteers and educators, the film will explore the vital role of seven urban community gardens, not only as sources of fresh, nutritious food, but as outdoor classrooms, places of healing, centers of social interaction, and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods.”
In January, Brigitte Fortin met in Boonsboro with members of WasteNot! Frederick and citizens of Washington County in an effort to begin a grassroots movement: WasteNot! Washington. The meeting received good press coverage.
The annual Boonsboro Green Fest will be Saturday, May 7, 2011.
On February 3, 2011, Dave O’Leary from the Maryland Chapter, Lew Sherm, and Dan Andrews attended a public meeting to educate citizens and foster public involvement regarding the R. Paul Smith coal-fired power plant in Westernport. Several environmental groups want the EPA to require the installation of pollution control devices on this very old power plant which, though operating at minimal capacity, is very dirty.
The Maryland Heartland Sustainable Living Fair will return with a new name, “2011 Go Local Fair.” It will be at the Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 South Center Street, Westminster, Maryland on May 21, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check out the booths, programs, and activities; give hope to the next generation.
Members of the Catoctin Group, in association with the Carroll County Forestry Conservancy Board, are hosting two training sessions on removing invasive exotic weeds. The training consists of a one-hour on-line training session about identifying invasive exotic weeds, followed by a hands-on class lasting about two hours. One hands-on class will be at Bear Branch Nature Center/Hashawha Environmental Center on April 30, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. Another class will be at Piney Run Nature Center on May 14, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. Those who complete the training will be Carroll County Weed Warriors, certified to remove invasives from Carroll County parks. Those from other counties are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Carolyn Puckett, 410-876-1995, or email@example.com.
Eastern Shore (Cecil County and Eastern Shore Counties)
Chair: Don Grace, 410-352-3722, Don.Grace@mdsierra.org
The Eastern Shore Group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at the Wicomico Library, 122 South Division Street, downtown Salisbury. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m. The group is working on the Sierra Club Cool Cities campaign to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the Eastern Shore. We have an intern from Salisbury University in the offices of the Salisbury city government documenting a full greenhouse gas inventory to serve as the baseline for the city to reduce energy consumption.
A presentation has also been developed showing residential energy users how to reduce their energy consumption. The presentation highlights rebates and programs available through the power company, and a self-audit to find 50 ways to save energy in the home.
On February 1,2011, the Lower Shore members sponsored, with four other environmental groups in the area, a showing at Salisbury University (SU) of the film, “Oceans of Plastic.” We met new people and munched on delicious refreshments, while learning about the growing problem of plastic in our waters. Afterward, we heard about the Maryland Bag Bill and everyone enthusiastically signed our petition cards. There was a big turnout, and many stayed late to discuss environmental issues. Thanks to the SU caterers for going the extra mile by exchanging plastic water bottles, styrofoam cups, paper napkins, and plastic spoons with eco-friendly dinnerware and fabric napkins!
For further information, contact Don Grace, Don.Grace@mdsierra.org.
Greater Baltimore (Baltimore City and County, Harford County)
Chair: Chris Yoder, 410-466-2462, firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Greater Baltimore group meeting and event will be on April 27, 2011. Please join us for a social evening at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center for potluck and a talk by a natural resource specialist from the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability. The topic will be watersheds and their influence on streams, rivers, and the Bay. Baltimore County has initiated a plan to improve and protect the small watersheds of the Oregon Ridge streams: Oregon Branch, Beaver Dam, and Baisman Runs. Learn all about watersheds and find out what can be done to restore them to improve water quality for drinking and recreation.
As we set up for the potluck dinner, between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., we will have an outings meeting to discuss past and planned outings. Prospective outings leaders are welcome to attend, meet outings leaders, and discuss what is required to lead an outing. The potluck will start at 6:30 p.m., and the talk at 7:30 p.m., lasting no later than 9:00 p.m. Come with family and friends and bring a dish to share.. Reservations are not required.
The nature center is at 13555 Beaver Dam Road and can be reached from the Shawan Road west exit (#20B) from I-83 north of the Baltimore Beltway. Take Shawan Road to the traffic light at Beaver Dam, make a left and stay to the right toward the parking lot. Walk up to the nature center. Call Joyce, 410-254-7240, with any other questions.
We have many wonderful outdoor activities planned this spring. See them listed in the outings section in this newsletter or check http://maryland.sierraclub.org/baltimore/ To join the outings listserve, please email email@example.com.
We welcome new outdoor hike leaders. Please contact Jack Wise, 410-256-1963 to find out more!
To join political activities, please contact Janet Schollenberger 443-386-5054, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are meeting with Baltimore County public officials, and will be making endorsements in the Baltimore City mayoral and council races in the fall.
Our website redesign is in progress with a new link to a “meet up” page. Visit it at http://maryland.sierraclub.org/baltimore/ and send comments and content to Paul Schoen 410-667-4889 email@example.com.
Welcome to the new Baltimore Group Treasurer, Daniel Broh-Kahn. A huge thank-you to Katja Kjelgaard for her years of service in that role. Please send your positive energy and good thoughts to Carolyn Mullen, executive committee member and environmental justice chair, who is recovering from surgery.
And THE BIG NEWS from Baltimore Young Sierrans: we are changing our name to the Baltimore Outdoor Sierrans. We are doing this because, for many years, people have said, “I thought you were a high school group,” or, “I thought you were a group that provides young people with outdoors experiences,” or, “I’m 41...can I still come to a Young Sierrans event?” After much deliberation over the long list of possible new names, we officially got the “thumbs up” from our parent groups—the Greater Baltimore Group and Maryland Chapter—to change our name to BOS this month (like that acronym?). Our planning meeting occurred during the last big snow storm, but we managed to plan events through August (and more are being added to the calendar). Check out the website for a peek at what is to come—hikes, bikes, cabins, and more! For the love of the Wild, Kathy. Phone 410-440-9896, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://maryland.sierraclub.org/baltimore/youngsierrans, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=51601732426.
Chair: Ken Clark, 301-725-3306, email@example.com
By Ken Clark—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.
Chair: Alvin Carlos, alvin.carlos
Message from our new chair, Alvin Carlos
I am excited to work with you all as the chair of the Montgomery County Executive Committee. I’m coming in fresh from helping the Sierra Club identify the candidates whom we endorsed during the 2010 county and state-level elections.
Like you, I joined the Sierra Club because I enjoy being outdoors and believe our environment is worth preserving. If we allow these to be degraded, we are robbing our children of the opportunity to experience the beauty and calmness that nature can bring. Currently, I work as the Development Director of a non-profit advocacy organization called Bank Information Center in Washington, DC. We are calling for the World Bank to change its energy sector strategy from a focus on coal and fossil fuels and instead, to help countries transition to a low-carbon economy.
I hope you will remain active and support the initiatives of the Montgomery County Group. In 2011, we are planning to ramp up efforts to educate Montgomery County residents about potential energy savings in their homes. We will continue to support adequate funding for the Purple Line and to hold our monthly invasive plant removal events.
Your ideas, time, and support are always welcome! When you get a chance, please visit our website, http://maryland.sierraclub.org/Montgomery/, for more information and opportunities to help out.
By Jane Huff—Meet the new chair of the executive committee of the Montgomery County Group, Alvin Carlos. The rest of the executive committee remains the same, with Susan Eisendrath, Ethan Goffman, Jane Huff, and David Sears having been handily re-elected to join Gerald Ehrenstein, Hrant Jamgochian, Kate Konschnik, and Pamela Lindstrom. At the January excom meeting, David Sears agreed to be the vice-chairperson, Gerry Ehrenstein will remain the treasurer, and Jane Huff will continue to edit the e-news so that Steve Lonker can produce the online version and eNEWS. David Hauck, chairperson emeritus, will continue as the group representative to the Maryland Chapter while Hrant Jamgochian will serve as alternate representative. Pictures and biographical notes for the five re-elected members of the excom can be found in the December issue of The Montgomery SIERRAN at http://maryland.sierraclub.org/Montgomery/ We have diverse backgrounds, but we are all committed to working for the Sierra Club and trying to achieve its goals in 2011.
This year we will promote intelligently planned “smart growth” for such areas of our county as West Gaithersburg, Wheaton, and White Flint, where development will concentrate. We will continue to educate our members and other county residents about Montgomery County planning laws and processes. We will emphasize the importance of building a robust public transportation network by supporting a combination of the Purple Line light rail, bus rapid transit, continued funding for Metro and improvements to MARC. Protecting Montgomery County parks and open spaces will involve encouraging volunteers to help remove invasive plants and continuing public education about the problems of habitat destruction. Check the website for events on these and other topics and join us in our programs.
Volunteers Successfully Battle Cold, Chilling Winds and Invasive Vines on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
This was the third year that volunteers joined the Montgomery County Sierra Club at the Underground Railroad Experience Trail to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Two dozen hardy volunteers braved the cold and sawed, lopped, and pulled out the worst patch of oriental bittersweet vines remaining in this park. Starting at the amphitheater in the woods, where local school kids come to learn about the history and ecology of the park, the volunteers fanned out and attacked the thick clinging vines. Oriental bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus, was the main focus of the attack, but Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica was also cut. By the end of the morning almost two acres of forest had been cleared of smothering vines.
We always welcome new volunteers to the ranks of the vine and weed cutters. Vine and weed cutting takes place on the first and second Saturdays of each month in Rock Creek Park and on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, respectively, and on the third Sunday from March to May and September to October at Blue Mash. We work for two hours. Watch for dates and times in the calendar listings.
The next two Montgomery County Group excom meetings will be on Monday March 14, 2011, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and on Monday, April 11, 2011, 7:30p.m. – 9:30 p.m., at 103 North Adams Street, Rockville, MD. The monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Sierra Club excom is usually held on the second Monday of each month. All Montgomery County Sierra Club members are invited to attend. Come with your ideas and join us for planning and discussion.
Prince George’s County
Chair: Chip Reilly, 301-218-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chip Reilly hosted a potluck dinner and meeting at his house for members interested in discussing how to strengthen our county’s chapter. We held break-out sessions to discuss issues that the group sees as priorities for 2011. Some issues were: the “Cool Cities” Initiative; recycling; storm water management; transparency in government; opposing MAPP, a proposed 150-mile power transmission line, in Southern Maryland; club outings; public events; and outreach to the community.
On February 15, 2011, approximately 20 people attended the viewing of “Gaslands” at the College Park office. People are also showing this documentary in other parts of the county.
This year we will elect a new executive committee. It was agreed that chapter members will take turns hosting the executive committee potluck dinner meetings. The next meeting will be hosted by Martha Ainsworth (near Bowie) on April 2, 2011.
Group meetings will be held bimonthly on the first Saturday of even-numbered months. The times for conference calls in odd-numbered months will be determined later.
• 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Potluck dinner social. All welcome.
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Business meeting of the Prince George’s Group executive committee
Always check our website for updates at maryland.sierraclub.org/pg/
Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties)
Chair: Meredith Sweet, meredith.sweet
We welcome our new chair, Meredith Sweet!
There will be a hearing before the Charles County Commissioners at 6:00 p.m. on March 30, 2011, at the County Government Building, The hearing will be about the Water Resource Element (WRE) of the Charles County Comprehensive Plan. We are asking the commissioners not to accept the WRE sent to them by the Planning Commission. Instead, we want them to send that WRE back to the Planning Commission with firm instructions to create a Smart Growth WRE that meets guidelines for protecting our water quality, and does not assume the urbanization of our forests and wetlands. (For information about how the MAPP transmission line project threatens Mattawoman Creek, see page 9)
A Message from Bob Boxwell, chair of the Lower Potomac Tributary Team:
At this time we do not have Department of Natural Resources staff support so we are on hiatus. We will be concentrating on the Watershed Improvement Plan Phase II (WIP II) in response to the EPA’s “Pollution Diet” for the Chesapeake Bay. I am still on two advisory bodies, the Stakeholder Advisor Committee and a steering committee where many of the tributary team members from across the state still reside. The advisory bodies keep me apprised of the responsibilities that each county will be facing. There is a team in each county, mostly governmental people to start, which, once it gets a framework, should be able to get public input. Right now, I suggest that people list water quality problems they see in their county; places where erosion exists, and poor or failing storm water management; and that they team up with groups like the Master Gardeners, homeowners associations, and garden clubs. There is a whole lot to do and not much money to do it with, but, by working together, we can bring positive change to the Chesapeake Bay. (For more information on the Bay’s “pollution diet,” see page 10)
Western Maryland (Allegany and Garrett Counties)
Chair: Sam White, 301-264-4162, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sam White—The Western Maryland Group is working for a moratorium on proposed hydrofracking,, a method of drilling for natural gas in Marcellus shale. This kind of gas drilling is a serious threat to our clean drinking water and health. Please contact us to attend or host a viewing of Gaslands, a documentary about hydrofracking, and to join in this extremely important effort. (For more information on hydrofracking, see page 1.)
The group publishes a newsletter, “Nature’s Advocate of Western MD,” and it has an email discussion group/ Listserv at MD-WMD-FORUM @lists.sierraclub.org for members to talk about conservation issues pertaining to Western Maryland. The listserv is also used to announce group meetings, outings, and other events. To join, go to the website and click the “Join the list” link.
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