October 2011


by Dan Rudt                                                                                                                               

EPA Recognizes Maryland’s Panera Bakery-Cafes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on October 25 that Panera Bread’s 35 Maryland locations are on EPA’s list of top green power purchasers among retailers. Panera Bread of Maryland purchases 100 percent of its electricity through wind power renewable electricity certificates (RECs). The company’s purchase of more than 11 million kilowatt hours is equivalent to avoiding the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 1,350 passenger vehicles. “Supporting clean power makes good business sense and is good for the communities we serve,” said Brian J. Lemek, owner of Lemek, LLC, franchisee for Panera Bread bakery-cafes in the state of Maryland.

The EPA Green Power Partnership works with more than 1,300 partner organizations that are voluntarily purchasing green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Purchases of green power also help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and produce no net increase to greenhouse gas emissions.

Leggett Seeks Applicants for Ag Advisory Committee

County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill seven vacancies on the Agricultural Advisory Committee. Four positions are for farmers selected to represent the farm community, and three positions are for non-farmers. The 15-member committee advises the County Executive and County Council on all matters affecting agriculture in the County. Farmer representatives serve three-year terms and non-farmer members serve one-year terms. Members serve without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday evening of each month in Germantown. The deadline for application is November 12, 2010.

County Rebates Still Available for Homeowners

Eric Coffman of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection this week gave Bethesda Green an update on the Montgomery County Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. As of Tuesday, October 25, more than 250 residents are participating in the program, reserving a total of $310,000 for a variety of energy efficiency projects. The roughly 75 jobs completed to date have created (in combination with the state Home Performance and Utility Programs) more than 2,000 hours of work for local energy efficiency professionals. The County still has almost $800,000 of funding available for Montgomery  County residents to help improve the efficiency of their homes.

Coffman suggests applicants ask for electronic copies of audits, proposals and invoices from service providers to make the application process easier. He says the vast majority of projects have been approved within 48 business hours of receiving the application. A few notices to proceed have gotten caught in spam filters, so if an applicant doesn’t hear from them in a week, he suggests they log into their account online. If they still have not received approval, he asks that applicants contact help@mcenergyfunding.com. One last tip for applicants: Make sure to check the “other sources of funding” link on www.mcenergyfunding.com for information about state, federal, and utility company incentives.

Bethesda Central Farm Market to Stay Open Year-round

The Bethesda Patch reports, in an October 26 article by Anna Isaacs, that the Bethesda Central Farm Market will remain open on Sundays throughout the winter at its location on Elm Street between Woodmont and Wisconsin avenues. According to the article, market co-founder Mitch Berliner expects at least 20 vendors to offer a variety of products this winter. Read the Patch article here.

Pepco Pledge to Save Campaign

Pepco is conducting a multi-pronged Pledge to Save Campaign in support of the state of Maryland EmPOWER initiative, which seeks to reduce energy consumption 15 percent by 2015. Pepco Maryland customers can make a “Pledge to Save,” signaling their commitment to reduce electricity use and entering them for a chance to win a $250 Lowe’s Home Improvement gift card. The deadline to submit a pledge is December 1, 2011.

Another feature of the campaign is a children’s art contest. Kids ages 5-10 (grades K-5) are invited to draw a picture illustrating what they are doing to save energy at home, at school or at play. The contest deadline is November 15, 2011. Six winners will be chosen and each will receive a $100 gift card. Pepco has started posting entries on the campaign’s Facebook page. Also for kids, the Energy Detective Activity Book teaches what electricity is, why it is important to conserve it, and what we can do to use less of it.

Upcoming Green Events

Open House about the proposed Purple Line Project, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase. Hosted by the Maryland Transit Administration  (MTA). The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile light rail line from Bethesda to New Carrollton. Help design a project that best serves the community. Learn about the  benefits and status of the Purple Line Project, light rail systems and stations, and what’s next.

Learn How to Protect the Seneca Creek Watershed, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 6:30 pm8:30 pm, Izaak Walton League of America – Rockville Chapter, 18301 Waring Station Road in Germantown. Great Seneca Creek is the largest watershed located entirely within Montgomery County and is a source of drinking water for much of the area. Meet local watershed partners and discuss ways to work together to improve local water quality. Sponsored by the City of Gaithersburg, Montgomery County Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, and Seneca Creek Watershed Partners.  For more information please contact Audra Lew at 301-274-8110 or e-mail alew@icprb.org.

Bethesda Green Happy Hour, Thursday, Nov. 3, 5 pm – 8 pm, The Parva Restaurant and Lounge, 7904 Woodmont Avenue. You are invited for casual conversation and networking. Meet the Bethesda Green Incubator Companies and learn more about the Incubator. Enjoy complimentary appetizers in Parva’s beautiful second floor lounge. Donation requested at the door. RSVP at the Bethesda Green Meetup page.

Thursday, Nov. 3, “Wind Jobs Potential for Montgomery County” expo, featuring local businesses that would create offshore wind energy jobs, 6 pm – 7 pm. Followed by a Town Hall Forum: Maryland Offshore Wind Power for Montgomery County, 7 pm, Featuring: State Delegate Ben Kramer and State Senator Manno, along with health, economic, environmental experts, and local businesses. Mid County Community Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring. Hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. Register at CCAN Website. Background information here.

E-cycling day @ Whitman High School, Sunday, Nov. 6, noon – 4 p.m., Walt Whitman High School parking lot, 7100 Whittier Boulevard, Bethesda. Bring your old TVs, computers, small appliances, etc. Help spread the work and share this flyer with others.

Local Food Goes Digital, Monday, Nov. 7, 6 pm – 8:30 pm, Chef Tony’s Restaurant, 4926 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda. Support the Montgomery Countryside Alliance. Join us for cocktails and appetizers at Chef Tony’s Restaurant, specializing in seasonal, fresh and locally-grown cuisine. Learn how Foodem.com, a web-based marketplace, is connecting local farmers, food distributors and specialty food manufacturers with restaurants, schools, hotels and grocers. By doing so, Foodem.com does its part for the sustainable food movement by satisfying the growing consumer and business demand for more local, sustainably-produced, and healthier food choices. Cocktails and appetizers will be available at a discounted price. Part of the sales will be given to Montgomery Countryside Alliance, preserving and enhancing Montgomery  County’s Agricultural Reserve. Please RSVP by November 5.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Thursday, Nov. 10, 4 pm – 5:30 pm., 4825 Cordell Ave., corner of Woodmont Ave., Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank, Bethesda. A team of volunteers, EOM supports all of Bethesda Green’s communication efforts. From recycling to energy efficiency, sustainability to green building/design, EOM expresses the organization’s various areas of expertise in a clear and concise manner via various media.  New members are welcome to join. More information here, or contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan, dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org.

Montgomery County’s first “Know Your Farmer,” Call-In Webinar, Wednesday, November 16, 8 pm. Montgomery Victory Gardens hosts “Challenges and Opportunities Facing Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century,” a discussion with Montgomery  County farmers Nick and Sophia Maravell.  Nick is the operator of Nick’s Organic Farm in Potomac and one of only four farmers sitting on the prestigious National Organic Standards Board, while his daughter Sophia, who has studied organic agriculture throughout the world, is one of our nation’s new generation of aspiring farmers. Register here.

Montgomery County Green Business Crash Course Webinar, November 17, 8:00 – 11:00 am. Offered in partnership by Montgomery College and Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The course instructor will guide you through the application process to accelerate your certification. More info and registration.

by Dan Rudt

Funding Threatened for Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

Tom Pelton of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation warns that if Congress slashes $23 billion from the federal Farm Bill, as it appears poised to do by next week, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative could be eliminated. The program funds farm runoff control projects in parts of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Maryland’s Eastern Shore; and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The funds help farmers pay to construct fences to keep cattle out of streams, build manure control facilities, and plant strips of trees and grasses along waterways, among other things. Losing those funds, Pelton claims, would make it much more difficult to reach pollution control goals for the Bay.

States Agree to Form Northeast Electric Vehicle Network

Ten northeast states (including Maryland) and the District of Columbia announced the formation of the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network on October 19 to expedite the deployment of electric vehicles in the region and promote the use of alternative fuels. As part of their ongoing collaboration through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), the participating jurisdictions will promote all clean vehicles and fuels and facilitate planning for and the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and related infrastructure throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The group will also work together to attract additional public and private investment in infrastructure for clean vehicles.

Americans Believe U.S. Headed in Wrong Direction on Energy

A poll released on October 19 by The University of Texas at Austin found fewer than 14 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction on energy. The 3,406 respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the job that 26 different organizations, corporations, institutions and government bodies were doing to address energy issues. Congress — with ratings of 8 percent satisfied, 71 percent dissatisfied — ranked dead last. “This survey shows that the public craves leadership on energy issues,” said Bill Powers, President of The University of Texas at Austin. The majority of Americans see energy prices as high and likely to increase. Four out of five are interested in learning more about how to reduce their energy use.

Energy Department to Invest $60 Million in Concentrating Solar Power Technologies

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Tuesday (10/25) a $60 million investment over three years for applied scientific research to advance Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies. CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight to produce heat, which can then be used to produce electricity. The funding is meant to support research into technologies that have the potential to dramatically increase efficiency, lower costs, and deliver more reliable performance than existing commercial and near-commercial CSP systems. DOE expects to fund roughly 20 – 22 projects, and encourages industry, universities, and National Laboratories to apply.

2012 Beginner Farmer Training Program Accepting Applications

Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is accepting applications up to November 30 from new farmers interested in participating in the Beginner Farmer Training Program. Five to ten trainees, mostly college graduates with some farming experience and a commitment to a career in sustainable and/or organic agriculture, will be selected to participate in the free program that begins on January 13, 2012 with a two day conference. Participants will attend workshops one evening per week for eight weeks in February and March at the new Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture. They will undergo field training on a weekly basis at an organic farm in Baltimore Country or Harford County and participate in farm tours and workshops from May through August at various sustainable farms in the region.

Upcoming Green Events

Peter Doo LEED EB: O+M Event, Thursday, October 27, 8:00 – 11:00 am, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. Building owners, managers, developers and other building professionals are invited to attend a special presentation on LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. Details here.

BG101, Thursday, October 27, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit, Thursday, October 27 – Saturday, October 29, Hilton Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Includes a consumer trade show and conference sessions that are FREE TO THE PUBLIC – on Saturday 10/29 9:30 – 2:30. Test drive a Chevy Volt, learn how to use your smart phone to control your home’s thermostat and lighting while you’re away, how to finance home energy improvements and much more. Click here, then scroll down to “Saturday, October 29th” for more information about the free consumer event.

Audubon Naturalist Society Annual Meeting, Friday, October 28, 6:00-9:30 pm (Program starts at 6:30 pm), Woodend Sanctuary,  MD. Featuring “Looking Back & Forward at Our Region’s Water,” a lively talk by longtime environmental reporter and renowned author Tom Horton. Silent Auction items include six original, framed J.J. Audubon stone lithographs and other rare works of art. More information here.

“The Age of Stupid” Film and Discussion, Friday, October 28, 6:30-9:30 pm, The Festival Center in Adams Morgan, 1640 Columbia Road, NW.  View the climate-change blockbuster film, followed by discussion w/ Mike Tidwell, Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network. More details here.

Rockville Bike Advisory Committee (RBAC) Invites You to Try Nancy’s Bike Route, Saturday, October 29, 2:00 pm. Ride starts at Rockville Memorial Library, heading south toward Bethesda.  Details here.

Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour, Thursday, November 03, 5:00 – 8:00, The Parva Restaurant and Lounge, 7904 Woodmont Avenue. You are invited for casual conversation and networking. Meet the Bethesda Green Incubator Companies and learn more about the Incubator. Enjoy complimentary appetizers in Parva’s beautiful second floor lounge. Donation requested at the door. RSVP at the Bethesda Green Meetup page.

by Cheryl Kollin, Full Plate Ventures

Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA offers small scale food aggregation.

In response to people’s growing awareness and demand for more fresh and local food, we’ve seen a plethora of farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) spring up in the last decade where farmers get to sell direct to consumers. The next step in scaling up this “good food” movement is to develop the wholesale market for bulk buyers such as restaurants, hospitals and schools, so that more people have access to local, sustainable, and fresh food. Recently big players such as Walmart, national grocery chains and distributors such as Sysco initiated local food buying programs. But for small and mid-size food producers—including local farmers and specialty food producers, as well as small and mid-size food distributors, there are still many barriers in connecting sellers and buyers efficiently, fairly, and profitably.

For small and mid-size food sellers, we don’t yet have an efficient infrastructure to get local food to wholesale bulk buyers. On the growers’ side, many new and small farmers don’t have enough continuous supply for the volume needed. Yamas Mediterranean Grill owner Tony Alexis builds his menus on healthy Mediterranean cuisine. He wants to support local farmers but can’t find a steady supply of ingredients he uses every day. Shannon Varley, Bella Terra Family Farm, a small scale farmer in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, is so busy between growing food, raising a young family, and finding land for new farmers that she has little time to find new buyers for her meats, vegetables, eggs, and flowers.

Whitmore Farm, a small scale farm, employs sustainable farming.

Kash Rehman knows firsthand about gaps and inefficiencies in food distribution from both seller and buyer perspectives; he worked for a local food distributor in Laurel, MD and owned a restaurant in College Park, MD. As a food distributor, Kash saw inefficiencies in bulk food ordering, which is still mostly taken on paper or is phoned in. “Chefs often work late hours and leave their orders on voice mail. Orders get garbled, delivery mistakes made and redeliveries are inefficient,” explains Kash. Chef Tony Marciante, the chef proprietor of Chef Tony’s Restaurant in Bethesda builds his menus on fresh, seasonal and local foods. There are 561 farms in Montgomery County, but as a small business, he laments, “I don’t have the time or staff to place many individual orders or pick up from many local farms for that night’s menu.” Kash’s experience also points to the current food business where large national food distributors capture a disproportionate share of the food sales market.

These barriers and gaps led to Kash’s brain-child to shake up business as usual. Last November he launched Foodem.com, an on-line ordering market place where bulk food buyers, such as hotels, restaurants or caterers, could compare prices from multiple food sellers and place orders electronically. “Foodem is the only business to business (B2B) online wholesale food marketplace that connects food distributors, specialty food manufacturers and farms with wholesale food buyers,” Kash explains.

While his impetus for Foodem was built on efficiency and profit, he’s created the digital infrastructure needed to better connect local food producers with local businesses. Aggregating smaller sellers into one, easily accessible online location, could attract more buyers and at the same time, aggregating orders within a compact geographic location could drive prices down—sometimes a formable barrier for small business’s green purchasing. For example, if several restaurants within downtown Bethesda purchased compostable “to-go” containers, volume discounts would make sustainable packaging more affordable. On-line price comparison across multiple sellers also builds transparency into the system. Sellers can’t favor one client to secure their business only to raise pricing on another client.

Chef Tony’s Restaurant in Bethesda, MD.

As part of DC Tech Week, join us to learn more about our region’s local, sustainable food movement and Foodem’s efforts to build a local food marketplace. Chef Tony will be serving up fabulous seasonal appetizers. Cocktails and appetizers will be available at a discounted price; part of the proceeds will be donated to Montgomery Countryside Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to Montgomery County’s 93,000 acre Agricultural Reserve, the most successful farmland protection effort in the country.

Please RSVP by Nov. 6, click here

Sponsors and Speakers:

Cheryl Kollin, Principal, Full Plate Ventures, will discuss the local, sustainable food movement in our region and the barriers small-producers face in getting their products to market.

Kash Rehman, Founder and CEO, Foodem.com, will discuss how this on-line market disrupts conventional supply chain and fills the gap between wholesale food buyers and sellers.

Tony Marciante, Chef and Owner, Chef Tony’s Restaurant, will discuss buying local and choosing the freshest ingredients as the basis of his daily menu and how he uses Foodem to buy more local food while streamlining his business.

Monday, November 7, 6-8:30 pm

Chef Tony’s Restaurant
4926 St. Elmo Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Drinks, appetizers, discussion and networking

by Dan Rudt

Maryland Solar Installation Applications to Double this Year

Margie Hyslop writes in the October 7 Gazette that the state Public Service Commission says it has received 1,550 applications so far this year from Marylanders seeking to certify their homes or businesses as solar renewable energy facilities. At that rate, applications are expected to double the 922 received last year. Montgomery County has more solar power installations than any other jurisdiction in the state. Hyslop says Kevin Lucas of the Maryland Energy Administration estimates 150 to 200 of Maryland’s 1,700 solar power installations are commercial; the rest are residential. The state currently generates 26 megawatts of solar power.

Maryland is not alone in solar energy growth. Public Radio International program, Living On Earth, reports that this year, “the U.S. [solar panel] industry expects to double its production.” The program mentions three reasons for this stunning growth. The first is the federal government solar installation incentive signed by President Bush three years ago. (Not mentioned in the story are the many state and local government incentives.) The second is the huge drop in the cost of solar panels from roughly four dollars and twenty cents a watt three years ago, down to roughly one dollar and twenty cents a watt today. Finally, the advent of solar leasing programs that eliminate the up-front cost of rooftop solar has created a spike in demand.

Gaithersburg Residents Create their Own “Citizens Plan” for Smart Growth

An article by Pam Lindstrom in the October 5 Greater Greater Washington begins with: “Filling a void of vision for a livable, sustainable future for Gaithersburg, my neighbors and I created our own plan for managing growth along the MD-355 corridor.” Lindstrom, with fellow Gaithersburg resident Judy Christensen, and architect Scott Knudson of Wiencek and Associates offering pro bono services, organized three charrettes in spring 2011, inviting neighbors and zoning lawyers representing some of the larger land and building owners in the 355 corridor. They presented their “Citizens’ Plan” to Gaithersburg elected officials and Planning Commission in July, and were met with a positive response. Here is a link to the article and another to a PDF of the Citizens’ Plan on the City of Gaithersburg Website.

Wind Energy: Marylanders are Ready; Are Politicians Willing?

A survey of 805 registered Maryland voters found 62 percent said they are willing to pay an additional $2 per month for electricity if more of it is generated by “clean, local offshore wind farms, instead of coming from coal, oil and gas.” Only 34 percent said they are not willing to pay more. The telephone survey was conducted throughout the state in late September for the National Wildlife Federation and the Offshore Wind Coalition. Margie Hyslop breaks down the poll numbers in the October 10 Gazette, and discusses the possible political ramifications of the survey in a follow up article on October 14.

Hyslop found that politicians who support a Maryland offshore wind farm plan to use the survey results in the next General Assembly session as one justification to move forward. In addition, she says, “advocates are more organized, have hired a lobbyist and are putting together a business coalition” to support the wind farm.

Let your Voice Be Heard; Take the Cycle Maryland Survey

The Maryland Office of Tourism, Department of Transportation, and State Highway Administration are conducting a bicycle user survey to learn more about cyclists in Maryland and what products they would find most useful to help plan bicycle trips. They hope to gain knowledge that will be used to improve cycling products and services. The survey is expected to take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. After you are finished, you may choose to enter a prize drawing. The survey is here. The Cycle Maryland Webpage is here.

County Farmers Selling Pumpkins, Hayrides and Seasonal Fun

Support your local farmer, and have fun doing so! A number of Montgomery County farms are now offering pumpkins and hay rides, pony rides, petting zoos, mazes and haunted houses. For a list of pumpkin farms and their offerings, click here and scroll down to the Montgomery County listings.

Upcoming Green Events

Montgomery County Community Service Week, October 16 – 22. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center invites you to participate.  Attend the Volunteer Engagement Expo on Saturday, October 15 from 1-6pm at White Flint Mall where representatives from 20 local nonprofits will have information about current volunteer opportunities or click here for more information.

Green Home Expo, Saturday October 22, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. This free educational event is held at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor, above Capital One Bank. Learn easy ways to green your home and save money.  Presentations will cover conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.  In addition to industry vendors, meet representatives from nonprofits and Montgomery County government. More information.

Community Forklift Fundraising Extravaganza, Saturday, October 22, 7:00 – 10:30 pm, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD.
Entertainment by the DC Lady Arm Wrestlers, Silent auction, Wonky Dog food truck, DJ One HeART Muszik, and adult beverages! Must be 21 or over. Community Forklift is a low-cost building materials warehouse open to the general public and a project of Sustainable Community Initiatives, a 501c3 nonprofit. More information on tickets, sponsorships, or to donate a silent auction item.

Community Meeting about Bus Rapid Transit, Monday, October 24, 5:30 – 8:30 pm, Parks and Planning headquarters, 8787   Georgia  Ave., Silver Spring. The Montgomery County Planning Department hosts a community meeting to discuss bus rapid transit (BRT). The proposal includes dedicated traffic lanes for buses along as many as 16 traffic corridors covering 150 miles. Come see where the service is proposed and let the planners know how you think Bus Rapid Transit service can best fit into our community.

Food Day, Monday, October 24, 7:00 pm, at the Church in Bethesda, 5033 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814. You are invited to a local screening of the documentary film “Ingredients” co-sponsored by Church in Bethesda, Bethesda Presbyterian and Graceful Growing Together. The evening will also include short presentations by community members about healthy food, sustainable farms and related topics. Please RSVP if you plan on attending!

LEED for Existing Buildings, Operations + Maintenance Event, Thursday, October 27, 8:00 – 11:00 am, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. This presentation is designed specifically for building owners, managers, developers and other building professionals. Details here.

BG101, Thursday, October 27, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit, Thursday, October 27 – Saturday, October 29, Hilton Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Includes a consumer trade show and conference sessions that are FREE TO THE PUBLIC – on Saturday 10/29 9:30 – 2:30. Test drive a Chevy Volt, learn how to use your smart phone to control your home’s thermostat and lighting while you’re away, how to finance home energy improvements and much more. Click here, then scroll down to “Saturday, October 29th” for more information about the free consumer event.

by Dan Rudt                                                                                                               

Bethesda Magazine 2011 Green Champions Honored

Bethesda Green’s 2nd Annual Gala this past Wednesday (10/5) honored this year’s winners of the Bethesda Magazine Green Champion awards. Winners included green energy supplier Clean Currents, non-profit Rock Creek Conservancy, Congressional Bank, Brookside Gardens, the Bullis School, the Young Activists Club at Piney Branch Elementary, and Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Beverly Firme writes about the event for the Bethesda Patch.

Community Meeting about Bus Rapid Transit

The Montgomery County Planning Department will host a community meeting to discuss bus rapid transit (BRT). The plan would include dedicated traffic lanes for buses along as many as 16 traffic corridors covering 150 miles. Come see where the service is proposed and let the planners know how you think Bus Rapid Transit service can best fit into our community. The meeting is on Monday, October 24 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at Park and Planning headquarters,8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.

Kodak American Greenways Award Goes to Potomac Conservancy

Potomac Conservancy is one of four honorees to receive national recognition for outstanding achievement in greenways and open space preservation at the 22nd annual Kodak American Greenways Awards, presented at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (10/6).

“I am particularly pleased to present the Potomac Conservancy with an award for its outstanding record of leadership and accomplishment in conserving and advancing stewardship of the Potomac River corridor and its tributaries for the benefit of present and future generations,” said The Conservation Fund’s President and CEO, Larry Selzer. “In the face of relentless regional development and population growth, the Potomac Conservancy has been an effective voice for protecting this irreplaceable resource.”

The Kodak American Greenways Awards were established in 1989 by Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society and The Conservation Fund. The other winners this year were U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville.

For Teens: Project Green Challenge

Youth-led non-profit Teens Turning Green has organized a Project Green Challenge that seeks to engage high school and college students across the country and inspire them to transition “from conventional to conscious.” The 30-day green lifestyle challenge runs through October. Huffington Post writes about this and other teen-focused green education offerings.

Chesapeake Bay Trust Seeking Award Nominations

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is currently soliciting applications for its 2012 Awards Program. Five awards are available, one for Teacher of the Year, two student scholarships, a Steward of the Year and a project grant. Nominations must be completed online by December 16. Award criteria are available here.

Upcoming Green Events

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Thursday, October 13, 4:00 – 5:30 pm. This team of volunteers meets monthly to discuss Bethesda Green’s marketing and communications needs.

Conservation Montgomery Four Corners Community Stroll, Saturday, October 15, 10:00 – Noon. Learn about the natural features of the Four Corners community and the threats to open space in the area. Carol Ann Barth, First Vice President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, will lead the walk and discussion. More information.

Montgomery County Community Service Week, October 16 – 22. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center invites you and your group to participate. More information.

Green America’s Annual Luncheon, Wednesday, October 19, 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Washington Post Conference Center. Green America’s mission is to harness economic power, the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Learn about the organization, their campaigns and programs. More information.

Green Home Expo, Saturday October 22, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at Bethesda Green. Learn easy ways to green your home and save money.  Presentations will cover conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.  In addition to industry vendors, meet representatives from nonprofits and Montgomery County government. More information.

Community Forklift Fundraising Extravaganza, Saturday, October 22, 7:00 – 10:30 pm, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD. Entertainment by the DC Lady Arm Wrestlers, Silent auction, Wonky Dog food truck, DJ One HeART Muszik, and adult beverages! Must be 21 or over. Community Forklift is a low-cost building materials warehouse open to the general public and a project of Sustainable Community Initiatives, a 501c3 nonprofit. More information on tickets, sponsorships, or to donate a silent auction item.

Food Day, Monday, October 24, 2011, 7:00 pm, at the Church in Bethesda, 5033 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814. You are invited to a local screening of the documentary film “Ingredients” co-sponsored by Church in Bethesda, Bethesda Presbyterian and Graceful Growing Together. The evening will also include short presentations by community members about healthy food, sustainable farms and related topics. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

Peter Doo LEED EB: O+M Event, Thursday, October 27, 8:00 – 11:00 am, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. Building owners, managers, developers and other building professionals are invited to attend a special presentation on LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. Details here.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit, Thursday, October 27 – Saturday, October 29, Hilton Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Includes a Consumer Trade Show – FREE TO THE PUBLIC – on Saturday 10/29, 9:30 – 2:30. More information.

by Dan Rudt                                                                                                               

And the Winner Is…University of Maryland “WaterShed”

The University  of Maryland had two big wins at this year’s U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. On Friday, UMCP was declared the winner of the architecture prize. On Saturday, the school was named overall winner in a solar home contest that included universities from Belgium, Canada, China, New Zealand and the United States. The UMCP entry, called WaterShed, is a solar powered home that also conserves, filters and reuses water.

New Name and Address for Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment

The nonprofit, created in 2005 to protect and restore the 33 miles of Rock Creek and adjacent parkland, is now called the Rock Creek Conservancy. Their new office is located at the green business incubator at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, in Bethesda. The September 26 Bethesda Patch includes an informative piece about the Rock Creek Conservancy written by Beverly Firme.

Are Deer Eating your Plants? Ruth Clausen Has a Solution

Ruth Rogers Clausen has written a book that illustrates how to beautify your yard and garden while keeping the deer away. In 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants: The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Shrubs that Deer Don’t Eat, Clausen gives each plant a deer resistance rating and explains how to use it in your garden. Enjoy Alan Detrick’s beautiful photography while you plan and shop for next year’s garden. Busboys and Poets. Timber Press.

And If You Are Looking for Native Plants

The Maryland Native Plant Society Website is an excellent source of information about plants native to the Free State. Among the Website’s resources are a listing of plant nurseries around Maryland that stock a number of native plants, and a PDF guide, How to Shop for Native Plants.

North Bethesda Resident Honored by Sierra Club

The Sierra Club on September 23 announced the recipients of its national awards. Among them was Marjorie Richman of North Bethesda. Richman has been leading local and national outings for the Club since 1980 and received the Oliver Kehrlein Award for outstanding service to the Sierra Club’s outings program. The 2011 awards were presented in San Francisco Sept. 23-24 during the Club’s annual meeting.

Upcoming Green Events

Growing Native Webinar, Tuesday, October 4, 11:30 am. Growing Native, a project of Potomac Conservancy, engages thousands of volunteers in the Potomac River region each year to collect native hardwood and shrub seeds. The seeds are donated to state nurseries in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, where they are planted and used to restore streamside forests throughout the 15,000 square mile watershed. Email Deanna Tricarico at tricarico@potomac.org or call (301) 608-1188, x204 for information.

2011 Bethesda Green Gala, Wednesday, October 5, 6:00 – 10:00 pm, Round House Theatre. Come meet local folks from the businesses, non-profits, community organizations and individuals whose innovations, practices and lifestyles promote environmental sustainability — winners and runner-ups of the 2011 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards, who will be announced and recognized for their inspiring work in the environmental community. This promises to be an evening of sharing and connecting as a community where we celebrate our greener future. More information.

Muddy Branch Road Trash Pickup, Saturday, October 08, 8:30am – 11:30am. Join other volunteers and the Muddy Branch Alliance to pick up trash from Muddy Branch Square to Festival Shopping Center. Meet between 8:30 and 9:00 at the Starbucks in Muddy Branch Square. Sign up to help.

Conservation Montgomery Four Corners Community Stroll, Saturday, October 15, 10:00 – Noon. Learn about the natural features of the Four Corners community and the threats to open space in the area. Carol Ann Barth, First Vice President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, will lead the walk and discussion. More information.

Montgomery County Community Service Week, October 16 – 22. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center invites you and your group to participate. More information.

Green Home Expo, Saturday October 22, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at Bethesda Green. Learn easy ways to green your home and save money.  Presentations will cover conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.  In addition to industry vendors, meet representatives from nonprofits and Montgomery County government. More information.

Community Forklift Fundraising Extravaganza, Saturday, October 22, 7:00 – 10:30 pm, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD. Entertainment by the DC Lady Arm Wrestlers, Silent auction, Wonky Dog food truck, DJ One HeART Muszik, and adult beverages! Must be 21 or over. Community Forklift is a low-cost building materials warehouse open to the general public and a project of Sustainable Community Initiatives, a 501c3 nonprofit. More information on tickets, sponsorships, or to donate a silent auction item.

Food Day, Monday, October 24, 2011, 7:00 pm, at the Church in Bethesda, 5033 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814. You are invited to a local screening of the documentary film “Ingredients” co-sponsored by Church in Bethesda, Bethesda Presbyterian and Graceful Growing Together. The evening will also include short presentations by community members about healthy food, sustainable farms and related topics. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

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