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by Mary C. Corddry | 2011

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 XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com or at 410-239-4590.

Group News Roundup

 

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 XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com or at 410-239-4590. 

Groups are active in the Sierra Club’s “Cool Cities” initiative, encouraging local governments and citizens to take action addressing global climate change.  They are involved with local land use and environmental issues, following local government activities and participating on advisory committees and at hearings.  They volunteer to 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 has a link to each group’s website at www.maryland
.sierraclub .org.

 

Anne Arundel Group

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

 

By David Prosten—More than 100 runners and walkers participated in the Anne Arundel Group’s 17th Annual 5K Run and Walk on April 23.  Plaques, medallions, and dog biscuits went to the fastest overall runners, the winners in several age categories, and participating dogs – in that order.  A great time was had by all in this annual group fundraiser.

 

The group has been closely following zoning and development issues in the county, working with other environmental groups to keep a lid on over-development and environmentally harmful zoning exceptions.

 An invasive plant removal workshop and exercise co-sponsored by the group, the county, and Quiet Waters Park on June 18 drew a good crowd.  “Weed warriors” learned how to spot and remove a variety of invasives that choke off native plants.

 

Catoctin Group
(Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties)

Chair: Dan Andrews, 410-857-4129, dooze@qis.net

 

By Dan Andrews—Here’s what we’ve accomplished in May:

·         May 21st. Several group members staffed a table at the Go Local Fair in 
Westminster.

·         In late May, Alana Wase spoke to the group and and helped us arrange the showing of “Gasland” in Middletown.  20 - 30 people attended.

·         In June Karen Moody organized and led a hike on Appalachian Trail near Washington Monument State Park.

·         We are still opposing the waste-to-energy (WTE)  incinerator; a meeting is scheduled for June 29th. Latest news: The Carroll County commissioners are looking into chopping our municipal solid waste (MSW) into “fluff” and burning it in the Lehigh Cement kiln in Union Bridge. Lehigh will test burn “fluff” this summer.

 

By Carolyn Puckett—Carroll County is making progress in setting up a “weed warriors” group to combat invasive exotic weeds at our nature centers.  The Carroll County Forest Conservancy Board sponsors the program, with assistance from the Carroll County Master Gardeners and the Catoctin Group of the Sierra Club.  The program is modeled after the weed warriors program in Montgomery County.  We piloted the program in 2010 at the Bear Branch Nature Center/Hashawha Environmental Center.  We have also had a couple of weed removal sessions at Bear Branch/Hashawha this year.

For 2011, the Carroll County Parks and Recreations staff approved expanding the program to Piney Run Nature Center.  We held our first 2011 weed warrior training at Bear Branch Nature Center on April 30.  The second training session was June 5 at Piney Run Nature Center.  We trained over 50 volunteers, many of them students and their parents, during these two sessions.  On June 11, a multi-site weed removal event was held at Piney Run Nature Center, Hashawha Environmental Center, and the Audubon Society’s Audrey Carroll Bird Sanctuary in Mt. Airy.  Additional weed removal sessions will follow during the year at these sites.  Talks have begun about expanding the program to Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center, owned by the town of Manchester.

For information about how you can participate in the events to restore the woodlands in Carroll County’s parks, contact Carolyn Puckett, cpuck @comcast.net or 410-876-1995.

 

Eastern Shore (Cecil County and Eastern Shore Counties)

Chair: Don Grace, 410-352-3722, Don.Grace@mdsierra.org

 

By Don Grace—The temperature was 95 degrees in the shade when Sierra Club intern and Salisbury University student, Kelly Shanahan, joined Mayor Jim Ireton to announce the results of efforts to make Salisbury a “Cool City.”  Kelly has worked since January as an unpaid intern to document the city’s greenhouse gas footprint.  The results are in.  Salisbury’s inventory covers seven areas of the city’s energy use: buildings, streetlights and traffic signals, port facilities, water delivery,  waste water plants, vehicle fleet, and employee commuting.

This work was accomplished under the Sierra Club’s “Cool Cities” program and funded by a grant from the Town Creek Foundation.  The Cool Cities and Cool Counties programs were initiated in 2007 under the leadership of the Mayor of Seattle; King County, Washington; Fairfax County, Virginia; and the Sierra Club.  The program now covers more than 1,000 cities and counties across the county, including 20 governments in Maryland, which pledge to fight global warming “one city at a time.”

 To establish a baseline for progress in reducing emissions, Kelly compiled data for fiscal year 2009.  Using software provided by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, under a membership for Salisbury funded by the Sierra Club, data was collected from utility bills and other documents and converted to carbon dioxide equivalents.  The baseline data is now available for comparison to 2012 and subsequent years.  The Cool Cities’ goal is to demonstrate a 9 percent reduction between the base year and fiscal year 2012.

 Kelly documented the production of 10,668 metric tons of carbon dioxide in Salisbury in 2009.  The city has already switched to more fuel-efficient vehicles in its fleet, converted all of its traffic lights to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), increased its purchase of energy from renewable sources, and implemented other recommendations made by the city’s Environmental Task Force.  The city is making efforts to increase public open space, construct more walking trails, and expand the city’s tree canopy.

Salisbury also received an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant for retrofitting Fire Station #2 with clean energy technology.  The city of Salisbury and the Center for Watershed Protection have jointly applied to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for a Watershed Assistance Grant to develop a watershed plan for the Wicomico River.

 

In the Upper Shore area, Sierra Club members are meeting with Cecil County government officials to encourage Cecil to join the Cool Counties program.  Participating counties commit to reduce greenhouse gas contributions to climate change through internal operations; to demonstrate regional leadership to achieve climate stabilization and protect communities; to help communities become climate resilient; and to urge the federal government to support these efforts.  In Maryland, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Howard, Prince George’s, and Carroll Counties are participating in the Cool Counties program.

 

Greater Baltimore
(Baltimore City and County, Harford County)

Chair: Chris Yoder, 410-466-2462, cncyoder@comcast.net

 

By Chris Yoder—It’s election season already.  Baltimore City’s Mayor, City Council President, and all members of the City Council are up for election this fall. The primary election, the one that counts, will be September 13 and the deadline for voter registration is August 23. Sierra Club volunteers, in cooperation with representatives of sister environmental groups, are already interviewing candidates for information on which to make  endorsement decisions.  This election offers Baltimore area members an opportunity to make a difference in local government decisions that will shape the trajectory of local environmental action for the next four years.  You can help by helping your group get out the vote for candidates who understand the importance of creating a sound environment for the city and people who live in it.  Contact the group’s political chair, Janet Schollenberger, 443-386-5054, and make a difference.

It’s also time to think about our group’s leadership.  Decisions like political endorsements, environmental priorities, and Greater Baltimore Group activities are taken by the group Executive Committee (Ex Com).   The Ex Com is elected by the group’s membership.  An election will be held this fall.  Ex Com membership offers an opportunity to take an active role in the Sierra Club.  Contact Chris Yoder (410-466-2462, or chris.yoder@mdsierra.org) to nominate a candidate or put your own name forward.

Don’t feel informed on local issues and activities?   In the 21st century there’s no substitute for electronic media.  If you haven’t shared your e-mail address with the Sierra Club,  or “friended” the Club and the group, you are missing the information you need to transform your Sierra Club membership commitment to our planet into an opportunity for local activism.  We don’t spam you in fact the Club limits our e-mail messages to two a month.

The Baltimore Outdoor Sierrans (formerly Young Sierrans) hold monthly socials on the second Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at various locations.  Their monthly outings are typically on the Saturday that follows this social.  To find current locations or for more information visit their website at http://maryland.sierraclub.org/baltimore/bos/ or contact Kathy at 410-440-9896 or youngsierrans@gmail.com. Check out our Facebook page!

The Greater Baltimore Group’s outings program offers hikes and strolls of varied lengths and difficulty, including outings that are child and dog friendly.  There are a variety of other activities including kayaking, camping, hayrides, stream cleanups, and tubing.  Check the group’s web site for a schedule of outings and other events.  We established a meetup group, Greater Baltimore Sierra Club, which you may join at http://www.meetup.com/baltimoresierraclub/.

We also have a Facebook group that you can join at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=76458501970.  Facebook will be updated with information about hikes, meetings, and public meetings relevant to the Sierra Club. 

 

Howard County

Chair: Ken Clark, 301-725-3306, kenclark7@live.com

 

By Ken Clark—The Howard County Group is opposing a Waverly Woods service station and convenience store that have been proposed for a site abutting the Little Patuxent River, at the corner of Marriottsville Road and Barnsley Way.  The Little Patuxent watershed is about to cross the 25 percent impervious surface threshold, the transition point from being impaired (9 - 25 percent) to no longer being capable of supporting human uses and aquatic life (>25 percent).  This is a particularly bad location, as the proposed service station is only 90 feet from the river and would be placed on fill material.  Service stations have been identified as stormwater hotspots, where runoff pollutant levels are unusually high.

The Robinson Nature Center, off Cedar Lane in Columbia, is expected to open in September. Construction is complete, but the exhibits are still being created.  The building is expected to meet Platinum LEED standards.

 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, kenclark7@live.com,  about getting on an email listing of outings and events.

 

Montgomery County

Chair:  Alvin Carlos,

Alvin.Carlos@maryland.sierraclub.org

 

By David Hauck—The Montgomery County Group believes that Sierra Club members in the county can provide the energy and expertise to create an environmentally sustainable future for our county.  Volunteers are working to ensure that in the future, homes will be more energy efficient; communities will be more walkable and vibrant; residents will have access to an expanded public transit system; and parks will be protected from threats posed by invasive plants and encroaching development. 

To learn more about what we are doing in each of these areas, please visit our website, maryland.sierraclub.org/Montgomery, and explore our three program areas—Energy Efficiency, Smart Growth/Transportation, and Habitat Protection.  If one or more of these issues captures your interest and you want to get more involved, the next step is to contact the volunteer who heads up our activities in that area:

·         Energy Efficiency:  Susan Eisendrath  susan.eisendrath@maryland.sierraclub.org

·         Transportation:  Ethan Goffman  ethan.goffman@maryland.sierraclub.org

·         Smart Growth:  Pam Lindstrom  pamela.lindstrom@maryland.sierraclub.org

·         Invasive Plant Removal:  Jeremy Arling  jeremy.arling@maryland.sierraclub.org

 

The next invasive plant removal event will be on Saturday, July 9 from 9 am to noon at the Underground Railroad Experience Park at 16501 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring, MD.  Our goal this year is to remove vines from more than 200 threatened trees.  Come out and help us continue the progress we have made over the last three years.  For details on this and other events, please go to the Calendar on our website: http://maryland.sierraclub.org/montgomery/calendar.html

We are looking for a volunteer to help us put out our monthly e-Newsletter.  If you can do HTML coding, know basic CSS, have experience with design and layout graphics, and have Dreamweaver, Photoshop or another graphics software package, you can play an important role in helping us inform and motivate Sierra Club members in Montgomery County.  For more information, please contact Jane Huff,  jane.huff@maryland.sierraclub.org or David Hauck, david.hauck@maryland.sierraclub.org

 

Prince George’s County

Interim Chair: Alex Hirtle, 301-927-2105, alexhirtle@hotmail.com

 

By Alex Hirtle—The Prince George’s Group is undergoing some major changes.  This spring, Chip Reilly, who has served as Chair of the group for over four years, stepped down due to increased family and professional commitments.  Chip had re-organized our meetings so we were having them consistently and were focused on several goals decided by members at an all-day group “retreat” in Riverdale Park about two years ago.  Chip was recognized and honored for his service and hard work at our spring potluck.

Speaking of awards, Bonnie Bick, a long-time activist and tireless advocate of good government and environmental preservation in the county was presented with the Walter “Mike” Maloney Environmental Service Award during a ceremony at our spring event.  Bonnie is known throughout the state, not only in the Sierra Club, Belt Woods, Chapman Forest, Mattawoman Creek, and others.  Bonnie, a long-time resident of Oxon Hill, has also been fighting the Peterson Company and its unsustainable growth at National Harbor. 

The group has recently been focused on stormwater management, mainly due to a bill that was handed down by the new county executive, Rushern Baker.  The bill, which does not address the dramatic concerns of areas in the developed tier which have nearly no stormwater design, is being debated by the county council.  The Sierra Club has at least three solid advocates on the council for a stronger bill, but need two more for a majority.

Related to stormwater management is the Watershed Implementation Plan II (WIP II) that the county has been developing by mandate from the state through President Obama’s executive order to force responsible jurisdictions to clean up the Bay.  The Prince George’s Group has a small but growing working team that meets regularly and will provide public input on the WIP II plan to ensure strong
regulations that meet each two-year total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits.

Finally, a new executive committee will be voted in shortly.  Interim Chair Alex Hirtle, who served years ago as chair of the Anne Arundel Group and has been the Prince George’s Social and Program Chair for the past several years, has been coordinating meetings every other month at members’ houses in a potluck fashion.  Please join us for our next meeting towards the end of July.  Contact Alex at Chair.PG@mdsierra.org or leave him a message at 301-927-2105.

 

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

Chair: Meredith Sweet, meredith.sweet
@verizon.net

 

The Group publishes a quarterly newsletter, “News from Southern Maryland.”  Check the Group’s web site for a schedule of outings and other events. Monthly invasive plant removals are planned.

 

Western Maryland
(Allegany and Garrett Counties)

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

 

By Sam White—The Western Maryland Group hosted a booth at the 4th Annual DelFest Bluegrass Festival in Cumberland on Memorial Day weekend.  Volunteers displayed information about the harmful effects of Marcellus Gas drilling, and gathered signed postcards to mail to our congressional representatives.

There will be a meeting in July, TBD.  If interested, contact Sam White,301-264-4162 or   sam.white
@maryland.sierraclub.org.

The group publishes a newsletter, “Nature’s Advocate of Western MD,”  and 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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