June 2011


Green News & Events, Week of June 27 – July 03, 2011
by Dan Rudt

Chesapeake Region Now Has an Online Searchable Native Plant Database – Sarah Morse of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance, writing about the new plant database, points out that, “Replacing portions of lawn areas and typical landscapes with native plants that suit local conditions reduces or eliminates the need for fertilizers and pesticides which wash into our streams, rivers and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.” The new plant database, developed jointly by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Image Matters LLC, will assist area property owners and landscapers in identifying plants that will thrive locally without those pesticides and fertilizers.

An Environmental “First” for Maryland Public Schools – The Maryland State Board of Education voted last week to add a new high school graduation requirement in environmental literacy for all Maryland public school students. Maryland will be the first state in the nation to enact such a requirement. According to My Green Guide Maryland, “public schools will be required to infuse core subjects with lessons about conservation, smart growth and the health of our natural world. Local school systems will have flexibility in how these programs take shape in each county, but all will align with standards set by the State.” The No Child Left Inside Coalition, closely aligned with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the state government’s Partnership for Children in Nature, all worked to make the new requirement a reality.

A New Tourist Attraction in Atlantic City: Wind Turbines – Jacqueline L. Urgo of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “Some casino hotel guests are so fascinated that they ask for rooms with a view of the five delicate fans…” There is so much interest in the 385 foot turbines that the Atlantic County Utilities Authority will offer twice-weekly tours of the facility during June, July and August. The turbines, along with a solar array, provide 65% of the electricity needed to power a wastewater treatment facility located on a coastal salt marsh. The facility treats 40 million gallons of wastewater a day. More information and a contact telephone are available at the Jersey Shore Guide.

Founder of Bkind Vending Profiled in Bethesda Magazine – The photo of Jason Schwartz is that of a man who takes his business seriously. He’s walking around Bethesda in a bee outfit and a wicker basket, presumably full of healthy snacks. Jason founded Bkind Vending last year to distribute a line of snacks he would be happy to buy for his own kids. Bkind is part of the Bethesda Green Business Incubator, which provides support to green, socially responsible companies. Read about Schwartz and Bkind on pages 46-47 of the July/August Bethesda Magazine.

Upcoming Green Events

Green Night at Big Train Baseball  Wednesday, June 29, 6:30 pm. Treat yourself to an evening of fun, friends and green information. Game time is 7:30 at Shirley Povich Field in Cabin John Park, but come early and meet Bethesda Green staff and supporters, as well as Dartmouth College’s amazing Big Green Bus and our friends from Honest Tea.

BG 101  Thursday, June 30, 4 – 5:30 pm. Bethesda Green’s monthly orientation session. Learn about Bethesda Green history, programs, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Greening Condos Series, Session 5  Wednesday, July 6, 7 – 8:30 pm. The topic of this free Bethesda Green and ecobeco educational session for condo owners and residents, condo boards and property managers, is Eco-Friendly Exteriors – Solar PV, Solar Hot Water, Green Roofs, and eco-Landscaping. Seating is limited. More information and RSVP here.

Clean Water Innovations Trade Show  Wednesday, July 13, 10 am – 3 pm. The Maryland Department of the Environment is hosting the 1st Annual Maryland Clean Water Innovations Trade show in Baltimore. This free event will provide a forum for professionals and stakeholders from around the State to display innovative storm water management and water quality management techniques, exchange information, and promote the protection of Maryland’s resources. Please R.S.V.P. by June 28.

Mid-Atlantic SPROG  July 31-Aug 7.  The Sierra Club Student Coalition annual summer training program for student environmental leaders is accepting applications. High school and college students will spend the week at the Hard Bargain Farm in Accokeek, Maryland, learning to organize and manage environmental campaigns. They will also meet like-minded students from around the mid-Atlantic area and most likely have a great deal of fun.

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Bethesda Green invites homeowners to Solar Bethesda, June 25

Become more energy independent, save on your utility bills and contribute to a healthier environment

Solar power has never been more affordable, thanks to technological advances and generous government rebates and tax credits. If you are a homeowner or commercial energy consumer, Solar Bethesda is a free, one-day event where you can have your questions answered by solar experts. Learn about solar costs, benefits, rebates and tax credits; hear from neighbors about their experience with solar power or solar hot water; check your home’s solar readiness with satellite mapping; and meet with local solar contractors.

Peggy Dennis, President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, attended the inaugural Solar Bethesda in 2010 and, as a homeowner with recently installed solar panels, is participating in a residential roundtable discussion at this year’s event.

“Coming to Solar Bethesda last summer gave me the inspiration and information I needed to go forward with the process of having solar panels installed,” said Dennis. “The companies I worked with were great at making everything from paperwork to installation go very smoothly, and now we’re enjoying the benefit of having electric bills that are almost non-existent.”

Sponsors and exhibitors include leading solar solution providers, as well as other energy and financing experts from the public and private sectors, including lead sponsors Standard Solar, Kenergy Solar, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, and Solar Energy World.

Solar Bethesda takes place Saturday, June 25, 10 am – 4 pm at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank at the corner of Cordell and Woodmont in Bethesda. Attendance is free and we will have activities for the kids. Please RSVP at http://www.bethesdagreen.org.

Green News & Events, Week of June 20-26, 2011

by Dan Rudt

Capital Bikeshare May Be Coming to Rockville Next Year – According to the Washington Post, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board approved the use of a $1.9 million Federal grant last Wednesday to fund the expansion of the Capital Bikeshares program into Rockville. The plan calls for 200 bicycles and 20 docking stations at Metro stops, Rockville Town Center, Montgomery College and Rockville Pike. The program now serves 13,835 annual members in DC and Arlington with 1,100 bicycles. Grant money will be used to pay for memberships for low-income Rockville residents.

How Did Your Representatives in Annapolis Vote on the Environment this Year? – Environment Maryland has published its 2011 Legislative Scorecard, created in conjunction with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. The scorecard lists each State Senator and Delegate’s votes on several key environmental bills. Bethesda’s State Senator Brian Frosh scored 100% in favor of the environment, as did Bethesda Delegates Ariana Kelly and Susan Lee. Delegate Bill Frick scored 80%. A PDF file of the scorecard, with summaries of each bill and scores for all Maryland Delegates and State Senators can be found here.

Major Announcements about Electric and Hybrid Production from Renault-Nissan and Ford – With all the news media focused mercilessly on a certain New York Congressman recently, you might have missed the June 9 news from Ford Motor Company about their plans to triple hybrid production and introduce a plug-in by 2013. That would mean an output of 100,000 EVs and hybrids a year. Not to be outdone, Renault-Nissan’s CEO told Wired.com he was ready to invest $5.6 Billion to build 500,000 electric cars a year by 2013. These are aggressive (and impressive) plans when you consider total electric car sales worldwide in 2010 came to 20,000 vehicles.

Upcoming Green Events

Bethesda Solar ExpoSaturday, June 25, 10 am  – 4 pm – Bethesda Green invites you to the second annual free solar expo. Get your questions answered by solar experts, local solar contractors and neighbors who have switched to solar power. More information and pre-registration here.

Green Night at Big Train BaseballWednesday, June 29, 6:30 pm – Treat yourself to an evening of fun, friends and green information. Game time is 7:30 at Shirley Povich Field in Cabin John Park, but come early and meet Bethesda Green staff and supporters, as well as Dartmouth College’s amazing Big Green Bus and our friends from Honest Tea.

BG 101Thursday, June 30, 4 – 5:30 pm – Bethesda Green’s monthly orientation session. Learn about Bethesda Green history, programs, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Greening Condos Series, Session 5 – Wednesday, July 6, 7 – 8:30 pm – The topic of this free Bethesda Green and ecobeco educational session for condo owners and residents, condo boards and property managers, is Eco-Friendly Exteriors – Solar PV, Solar Hot Water, Green Roofs, and eco-Landscaping. Seating is limited. More information and RSVP here.

Blog post by Jeanette Perthel

On a warm Thursday night, the sun sets on the patio at The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase in Friendship Heights. This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified hotel was the venue June 2 for Bethesda Green’s “Step Up to Summer” happy hour where much of the environmental community gathered to eat, drink, and socialize in the summer air.

Everyone looked excited as they stepped onto the patio and saw the delightful set up. Savory appetizers and a bar serving wine, beer, and cocktails were calling everyone’s name as they settled into the welcoming and fun atmosphere. Each visitor donated $10 and in return they were entered in a raffle contest to win either the Green Guide: The Complete Reference for Consuming Wisely or two-night weekend stay at The Courtyard by Marriott, both prizes compliments of the hotel.

Many organizations and community leaders were present at Bethesda Green’s Happy Hour including: A Wider Circle; Clean Currents; Green Market Solutions; County Councilmember George Leventhal; and Jim Young, senior director, corporate facilities, Marriott International and an integral member of Marriott’s Green Council.

A Wider Circle Founder Mark Bergel

Mark Bergel, the Founder and Executive Director of A Wider Circle, presented an uplifting and inspiring speech that  encouraged all of us to come together to eradicate poverty in region. A Wider Circle is an incredible organization that provides basic needs such as furniture, home essentials financial planning, and stress management for those in poverty.

Picking the raffle winners followed the presentations. From a green bucket a small blue ticket was pulled and numbers were read aloud. Wendy Howard was the first winner! She won the Green Guide. As the next blue ticket was pulled and read aloud everyone was giddy and listening intently, hoping they would win the two-night stay at the hotel. Ironically, Marriott VP Jim Young’s number was pulled. Chuckling, he said, “pick another one.” Again the same silence fell as the numbers were read, this time Mike Kennedy won! Congratulations to both the winners!

The hum of conversation continued with many laughs, smiles, and pictures. Friendships bloomed and so did the summer season at the happy hour. One could tell it truly was the happiest of hours.

A Bethesda Green intern, Jeanette Perthel graduated from Churchill High School and is attending Towson University this fall.