January 2012


Local high school green teams and other interested recyclers, here’s a great way to do your part to reduce waste and help support Bethesda Green.  Collect your old cell phones and bring them to Bethesda Green for recycling.

We’ve partnered with two of our Green Business Incubator CompaniesGreenSavings.Coop and their Supplier Member VertiGO Solutions — to turn your old cell phones into a valuable donation.

Just bring your old phones to Bethesda Green — 4825 Cordell Avenue, on the second floor above the Capital One Bank — and deposit them in the VertiGO Box at the front desk.   The company’s VertiGO RECOVER service specializes in mobile phone recycling to ensure wireless devices are handled in a way that doesn’t compromise sensitive information or impact the local environment.

VertiGO Solutions will make a cash donation to Bethesda Green for the value of any recycled phones.

 

Greetings Fellow Environmental Organizations,

Is your organization looking for some stellar interns this summer? Or, perhaps your organization has a need for interns year round?  If so, we have an excellent opportunity in which to participate.

On February 25, Bethesda Green will be hosting its third annual Fields of Green Internship Fair.  Right now we are in the process of inviting employers looking for highly qualified candidates to sign up to be a part of our fair.  Not only will you meet the candidates for the internships face-to-face, but your internship posting will be widely shared among our diverse network as well as posted on our Fields of Green webpage leading up to the event.

In year’s past we have matched many amazing candidates with wonderful green job sector opportunities.

Help us develop the next generation of green leaders and promote local job creation by participating in the Fields of Green Internship Fair!  We accept both paid and unpaid positions at the fair.

Interested in Sponsoring the Fields of Green Internship Fair?  Get details HERE.

Have a job or internship to offer? Download and fill out the Job Description Form HERE.

For more information, please contact Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org.

by Dan Rudt                                                                                                                       

Strong LEED Numbers for DC, Virginia and Maryland

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) on January 19 released data on the 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) with the largest square footage per capita of commercial and institutional building space to earn LEED certification in 2011. DC was included on the list because it outranked all the leading states, and did so by a healthy margin. The District came in with 31.5 square feet of LEED certified building space per person. In contrast, the top 10 states all ranged between 2.74 and 1.81 square feet per person.

The local area was well represented on the list. In addition to the District’s leading performance, Virginia ranked third among the states and Maryland fifth. The other top five states were Colorado and Illinois, first and second, and Washington State, placing fourth. “This is a great accomplishment for the D.C. metropolitan region and a testament to the drive, commitment and leadership of all those who live, work and play in our community,” said Mike Babcock, board chair of the National Capital Region Chapter of USGBC. “We also realize there is still more to do and hope to effectively guide the effort by engaging, educating and encouraging the dialogue around the value of sustainability.”

In terms of the total square footage of commercial and institutional building space earning LEED certification in 2011, as opposed to the per capita figures, DC came in with more than 18.5 million, Virginia with 19.4 million and Maryland just under 12 million square feet.

Starting a Small Farm in Maryland

For anyone interested in starting a small scale farm or for farmers interested in improving their skills, this is for you. 

University of Maryland Extension, Baltimore County has partnered with Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council to offer a workshop series to learn about starting and operating a successful, intensive small farm. Workshops start January 31 and are held at University of Maryland Extension in Cockeysville.

The focus of this series is on small-scale, fruit and vegetable production using conventional, sustainable and organic methods. The program is open to all and is taught by farmers and knowledgeable university faculty. Participants will learn marketing, production and business skills necessary to become successful market farmers. The $40 fee covers the entire workshop series. Please register by January 25. More information in this online PDF.

Swedes Planning Intercity Bikeway

The Swedish Traffic Authority, A. K. Streeter reports in Treehugger, has studied, and now proposes, a four-lane bikeway from Malmo to Lund, two cities about 20 miles apart. Like a limited access highway, the bikeway will have exits, but no roads will intersect it.

Bicyclists will have a dual layer of protection from wind consisting of bushes and a solid fence. The bikeway also will include “periodic bicycle service stations.” The intercity route, which will connect the two cities’ downtown areas, is expected to cost $7.1 million.

Streeter reports that in Lund, 60% of the population uses bicycles or public transportation to get around. In Malmo, “cycling has increased 30% each year for the last four years.” That last fact would indicate that someone in Malmo, either local government or a very active civic group, has rallied a great many people to switch from cars to bicycles in a short period of time. Surely it can happen here.

Upcoming Green Events   

BG 101, Wednesday, Jan 25, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. We’re on the second floor above the Capital One Bank branch on the corner of Woodmont and Cordell. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

WSSC Talks About Our Drinking Water, Jan 31, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Gaithersburg City Hall, 31 S. Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Sponsored by Muddy Branch Alliance, co-sponsored by GO GREEN. The speaker is Joe Johnson, WSSC Chief Superintendent for Potomac Water Treatment Plant. Joe is an excellent speaker and is always a delight to learn from. Montgomery County and Prince George’s counties have a sanitary sewer system as opposed to Washington DC’s combined sewer system.  In other words, WSSC is not responsible for stormwater because stormwater does not enter WSSC’s sanitary sewer system. But the Potomac Water Treatment Plant does have an intake in the Potomac River-below Muddy Branch.  So we are drinking what comes off our lawns. Please RSVP using the form link at the bottom of this page: http://www.muddybranch.org/event/january-meeting-wssc-talks-about-our-drinking-water

Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour: Warm up for Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb 2, 5 – 8 pm, The Wine Bar, Doubletree Hotel lobby. Join Bethesda Green for casual conversation and social networking. Win a romantic dinner for two at The OZ restaurant. 

■ Hear about Bethesda Green’s community outreach plans

■ Briefing about new website, mygreenmontgomery.org

■ Enjoy light appetizers

■ Happy-hour-priced beer, wine and specialty drinks

■ Raffle for gift card — dinner for two at The OZ, the Doubletree’s signature restaurant

RSVP through Meetup

Documentary film: “Bag It: Is your life too plastic?”  Saturday, Feb 4, 7:30 pm- 9:30 p.m.  Washington Ethical Society (library), 7750 16th Street, NW, Washington DC 20012 (0.7 miles from Silver Spring Metro Station; S4 Metrobus). “Bag it: Is your life too plastic?” is an eye-opening and funny documentary film that navigates the plastic world.  Are plastic bags neccessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? The 65-minute award-winning documentary film will give answers to this questions.  65 min. movie followed by 30 min. discussion.  Snacks provided; $5 donation requested.  RSVPs helpful but drop-ins welcome. Sponsored by the WES Earth Ethics Committee. Email for movie information and RSVP: EarthEthics2@verizon.net or call Sue Jacobson, 301-309-6731.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting, Wednesday, Feb 8, 4:00-5:30 pm at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. We’re on the second floor above the Capital One Bank branch on the corner of Woodmont and Cordell. 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. 

Specifically, EOM:

■ Designs and schedules educational programs

■ Collects and shares best practices

■ Engages in general marketing for Bethesda Green

■  Manages all aspects of the website

■ Creates content for the newsletter

■ Uses online tools for outreach purposes

For more information, contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan, dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org

Green Matters: Urban Farming Pioneers, Friday, Feb 24, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Brookside Gardens. This year’s Green Matters will kindle your inner urban farmer and entice you to think about food production in wholly different ways. We’ll highlight innovative approaches to feeding the world’s population. For complete information about speakers and sessions, visit this page.

Bethesda Green’s Third Annual Fields of Green Internship Fair, Saturday, Feb 25, 10 am – 2 pm. 4825 Cordell Avenue, Second Floor above the Capital One Bank. The Internship Fair provides college-age young people an opportunity to meet representatives from a number of companies and non-profits offering job experience in the green business sector. More than 20 companies will be in attendance. Learn about academic and government programs, as well as a variety of internships, including those with our own Green Business Incubator companies. Check out more details and internship opportunities here.

Dan Rudt is the editor of Montgomery County Sustainability News, or MoCo-Sustain.com, a daily news Website serving the local area with environmental sustainability news, information and events.

Getting Ready for TEDx Manhattan 2012 Viewing Party

by Cheryl Kollin, Full Plate Ventures

We’ve had an overwhelming response to attend our TEDx local viewing party — Changing the Way We Eat — this Saturday, Jan 21.  While formal registration for the event is closed, guests are invited to visit throughout the day.  If you plan to join us for breakfast or lunch, please email cheryl@fullplateventures.com.

Lunch is our local, seasonal potluck lunch challenge (see details below).  Free weekend parking is available in the public garage on Woodmont Avenue, a block from Bethesda Green.

If you can’t stay for the whole day, select your visit by program offerings.  See our calendar page for more information about the TEDx presentations.  Here’s the line up:

9 am – 10:30 am — Welcome to Bethesda Green and Who’s in the Room?

10:30 am – 12:05 pm — TEDx Session 1 – ISSUES

12:05 pm – 1:20 pm — Local Lunch Potluck Challenge

If you join us for lunch, please bring a seasonal, locally-grown and/or locally produced dish to share — homemade is encouraged — according to the category by last name.  Honest Tea, hot tea, and coffee will be provided.  There is a refrigerator but no warming facilities.

A-H — appetizers, bread, cheeses, spreads, veggies

I-P — main dishes, side dishes

Q-Z — desserts including fruit

Our Local Discussion Panel

  • Growing Legacy On Metro’s Edge — a film teaser by Mark Leisher Productions
  • Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve — Kristina Bostick, Montgomery Countryside Alliance
  • Introducing the new Montgomery Food Council — Caroline Taylor, Montgomery Countryside Alliance
  • Local Food Goes Digital: Connecting local food producers with buyers on the web — Cheryl Kollin, direct to consumer; and Kash Rehman, Foodem for wholesale markets
  • Tracing your food from farm to fork — Dick Stoner, Maryland Small Farmers Cooperative
  • Hunger in Bethesda? — Susan Kirk, Bethesda Cares

1:20 pm – 3:15 pm — TEDx Session 2 – IMPACT

3:15 pm -3:45 pm — Hunger For Change – Intro to new local discussion circle with Marney Bruce, Simplicity Matters

3:45 pm – 5:30 pm — TEDx Session 3 – INNOVATION

5:30 pm – 5:45 pm — Closing thoughts at Bethesda Green

This TEDx local viewing party is presented by: Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures, and SlowFood DC.

We gratefully acknowledge our sponsors’ food and drink donations for this event: South Mountain Creamery, Honest Tea, and Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company.

by Dan Rudt

County Requests $1 Million for Bikeshare Program

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has, for the fifth time in three years, submitted an application to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) for a $1 million grant to fund a bike-sharing system in down-county transit corridors. What is different about this application? It is the first since the state government announced a bike-share grant program this past November.

If approved, the grant will fund 29 docking stations and 204 bikes between the Beltway and the D.C. line. The docking stations will be located at several Montgomery County Metrorail stops on both branches of the Red Line and will be integrated with the Capital Bikeshare system in D.C. and Arlington.

Montgomery County previously secured a $1.3 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant for a bike-sharing program in portions of the City of Rockville and Shady Grove. That grant is provided through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments under the FTA’s Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program to link lower income residents and employers with jobs and job training. The City of Rockville is partnering with the County to provide matching funds and implement the program. The Rockville/Shady Grove bike-sharing program will eventually be connected with the proposed down-county system as it expands.

The new bike-sharing application requests 80 percent of the funding needed for capital facilities. The County would be responsible for the remaining 20 percent, which it intends to raise through private sector sources. The County also will be responsible for operating and maintenance costs, some of which are expected to be offset by revenues from membership and usage fees.

Building developers, businesses, residents and other organizations in the County that have an interest in bike sharing are invited to contact the County’s bike-share program staff at  mcdot.bikeshare@montgomerycountymd.gov  to explore opportunities for joint funding, as well as to suggest locations for bike-share stations.  

Montgomery County Food Council Taking Applicants through Friday

The Montgomery County Food Council aims to bring together a diverse representation of stakeholders in a public and private partnership to improve the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of Montgomery County through the creation of a robust, local, sustainable food system. The Food Council Search Committee selects and appoints between 13 to 17 representatives for a two-year long term as Montgomery County Food Council Members. Members are selected based on their individual qualifications in the following areas:

1. Commitment to improving the Montgomery County food system.

2. Lives, works, or has a strong interest/investment in Montgomery County.

3. Expertise in one or more local food-related issues such as agriculture, food security and access, nutrition, food business and industrial practices, food education and research, land use, urban food production and distribution.

4. Representation of one of the five food-system sectors (production, processing, distribution, consumption, waste management) and one of the following “working communities”:

 ■ Business Community

 ■ Local Governance

 ■ Community Organizations and Citizens

 ■ Health and Educational Organizations

 ■ Rural and Regional Organizations

5. Capacity to bring specific food system relationships and resources to the effort, as well as potential to represent diverse sectors of the local food system and/or the community at large.

The application process closes this Friday, January 13. Council members will be selected by Friday, January 27 and the first general meeting of the Montgomery County Food Council will be on Wednesday, February 15. Application and more information here.

Thirteen Green New Buses for Ride On

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently announced the addition of 12 new hybrid electric-diesel buses and one new non-hybrid clean diesel or ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) bus to the existing Ride On fleet.

For many of us, the word diesel conjures up images of foul smelling black sooty exhaust. Today’s clean, or ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, however, contains 98.5% less sulfur than the diesel fuel of two decades ago. In addition, the newer diesel engines inject a solution into the exhaust stream to help reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Finally, today’s diesel engine exhaust systems include an emissions-reducing device called a particulate filter that traps most of the remaining tiny particles of soot in the exhaust. Given all these emission reduction measures, and the fact that diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, taking the bus today does more to curb air pollution than ever before.

Of course, these are not the first green buses for Ride On. Eighteen percent of the 339 bus fleet is now hybrid electric-diesel, another 19 percent are non-hybrid, ultra-low-sulfur-diesel, and 27 percent run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

The new buses, made in the USA by Hayward, California-based Gillig, were purchased with $6.55 million in federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds provided by the State of Maryland. They will be used on Ride On’s busiest routes in the down-county and mid-county areas.

Upcoming Green Events

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Wednesday, January 11, 4:00 – 5:30 pm., 4825 Cordell Ave., corner of Woodmont Ave., Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank. 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.

Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, 13th Annual Conference, “Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality,” January 13-14, National Conference Center, Lansdowne, VA. Two keynote addresses on local food economies, six learning tracks, pre-conference workshops, farmer panel on advocacy and much more! Information and registration here.

MLK Day of Service 2012, Monday, January 16, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Montgomery County will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center and at two satellite site locations (Universities at Shady Grove in Gaithersburg and the Silver Spring Civic Building). That is followed by a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at Strathmore Hall at 4 pm. Volunteers can sign up to participate in this exciting event and learn about the great work that local organizations are doing, find out ways to get involved, and make a difference. More information and registration here.

Help the Hungry Food Drive:  Support those in need by bringing non perishable food items to the Bethesda North Marriott.  Food collection will be located near the Montgomery County Volunteer Center table.  Donations will go to Manna Food Center.

TEDxManhattan 2012: Changing the Way We Eat, Saturday, January 21, 9:00am – 5:30pm, at Bethesda Green. This all day, free event is a combination of live video from TEDxManhattan and local sessions at Bethesda Green. The event will highlight several aspects of the sustainable food movement and the work being done to shift our food system from industrially based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. Speakers with various backgrounds in food and farming will share their insights and expertise.

Learn about our burgeoning local food movement and opportunities to engage in our community, here in Montgomery County. No need to stay for the whole day. Drop in as your schedule allows. Local co-hosts of this event are Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures and Slow Food D.C.

Information about the New York speakers is here. The Bethesda program is outlined here, where you will find a registration link as well.

2012 “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by CCAN, Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:00 am, The Beach at National Harbor, Maryland. For seven years, groups of people who care have plunged into cold bodies of water in our region to fight climate change, bring back the Arctic sea ice, and save polar bears. The Polar Bear Plunge is the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s biggest annual fundraising event. The money raised during the plunge goes to support programs to combat global warming at the state level in our area. Information here.

BG 101, Wednesday, January 25, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Dan Rudt is the editor of Montgomery County Sustainability News,  or MoCo-Sustain.com serving the local area with environmental sustainability news, information and events.

by Dan Rudt
Editor, Montgomery County Sustainability News  

EV Chargers Coming to Bethesda, Rockville

Electric vehicle charging stations are coming to Bethesda Row, Rockville Town Square, and Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike. Miami-based Car Charging Group will install Level II, 240-volt, EV charging stations, manufactured by Coulomb Technologies at the three sites, all owned and/or managed by Rockville-based Federal Realty Investment Trust.

Drivers will have access to the ChargePoint® Network, an online network connecting EV drivers to unoccupied charging stations. That access means EV owners will have flexible payment options, mapping and driver support services and the ability to make reservations through their mobile apps.

“Besides the obvious environmental benefits, a big advantage of electric cars will be the ability to conveniently charge your vehicle when you’re already stopped somewhere on your daily routine,” said Michael D. Farkas, CEO of Car Charging Group.

Federal Realty has taken other steps toward environmental sustainability. Mike Kelleher, director of asset management for the company stated, “The partnership with Car Charging Group to install EV charging stations is the next step in the continual greening of our operations, which already includes the creation of biofuels through recycled oil and grease waste from restaurants at our Bethesda Row mixed-use development, LEED certifications at many of our recent developments as well as numerous energy efficiencies and minimized usage of natural resource at a number of properties throughout the portfolio.”

Very Special Food Event at Bethesda Green

“Changing the Way We Eat” is the topic of an all-day, free event at Bethesda Green on Saturday, January 21. No, it’s not a diet seminar. It’s a day of talks about the growing sustainable food movement here in Montgomery County and around the world – and how we can all hop aboard. The day will be split between live video sessions from New York City and local sessions in Bethesda where attendees can learn about the new Montgomery Food Council, preview a portion of a documentary-in-progress about our local food system and the Montgomery County Ag reserve, share a pot luck lunch of local winter foods, and meet others who are interested in a local sustainable food system. Click to the Bethesda Green event calendar for the where and the when and for more detailed information.

SemaConnect is Growing Fast

One year ago, SemaConnect was a startup with two employees. Today, the Annapolis-based company has a staff of twelve. By this time next year, the Maryland Clean Energy Center reports in its December newsletter, SemaConnect founder and CEO Mahi Reddy expects that number to double. His company’s product is an electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

The company developed the ChargePro, with features such as smart grid integration, RFID card authentication and sustainability reporting. SemaConnect also partnered with solar companies, including Advanced Technology and Research (ATR) Corp. of Columbia and TimberRock Energy Solutions of Frederick, to create EV charging stations with solar voltaic panels built onto them.

“This autumn,” the CEC reports, “the company raised $4.2 million to support increased production and signed a deal with 350Green, a California-based developer of EV charging networks, that will see 1,500 ChargePro units installed in California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and elsewhere. Company officials estimate that recent developments will push SemaConnect’s revenues close to $5 million in 2012.”

” ‘When you talk about green collar jobs, these are the green collar jobs,’ ” Reddy said. ” ‘They are jobs that pay well and are right here in our state and really help establish our state as a clean tech industry leader. So I think this is all coming together and I am so happy to be part of it.’ “

Announcing an Environmental News Website Devoted to Montgomery County

This week marks the introduction of a new local Website, Montgomery County Sustainability News, or MoCo-Sustain.com. The site is dedicated entirely to publishing daily (M-F) news and information that impacts the environmental sustainability of Montgomery County. MoCo-Sustain.com includes links to local resources, and calendar listings of local environmental events, as well as the latest news. The Website is edited by Dan Rudt, who will continue to provide this column of Green News & Events for Bethesda Green.

Upcoming Green Events   

First Thursday Happy Hour @ BlackFinn, Thursday, Jan. 5, 5-8 pm, 4901 Fairmont Avenue, Bethesda. Ring in the New Year w/Bethesda Green. Join us for casual conversation and social networking.

What’s your New Year’s Green Resolution?

Jot it down with your name and email address. Bring your Green Resolution to the Happy Hour for a chance to win a BlackFinn gift card. We’ll share ideas and publish highlights on our website.

* Hear about upcoming Bethesda Green events
* Meet members of our Green Business Incubator
* Learn what you can do to make a difference in your community

RSVP through Meetup

Free Screening of Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? January 9, 2012, 7:00 pm, Brookside Gardens Visitor Center. Presented by GreenWheaton, with Brookside Gardens, Silver Spring Green and Safeway.  Join us to watch this engaging film about how single-use plastics affect our environment and our health — and simple steps we can take to reduce this waste.

Chronicling the global production, use and disposal of plastic bags and other plastics, the film documents the environmental consequences of these products, including the effects of plastics on a wide range of species, lands, waterways and oceans. Traveling the world on a fact-finding mission, the film also identifies smart alternatives and solutions. Plastic will never look the same again! Directed by Suzan Beraza. Produced by Suzan Beraza and Michelle Hill.

Free reusable grocery bags from Safeway will be available at the event on a first come first served basis.

The event is free, however, tax deductible donations to GreenWheaton are appreciated.

Please register now as seating is limited.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Wednesday, January 11, 4:00 – 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.

Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, 13th Annual Conference, “Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality” January 13-14, National Conference Center, Lansdowne, VA. Two keynote addresses on local food economies, six learning tracks, pre-conference workshops, farmer panel on advocacy and much more! Information and registration here.

MLK Day of Service 2012, Monday, January 16, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Montgomery County will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center and at two satellite site locations (Universities at Shady Grove in Gaithersburg and the Silver Spring Civic Building). That is followed by a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at Strathmore Hall at 4:00pm. Volunteers can sign up to participate in this exciting event and learn about the great work that local organizations are doing, find out ways to get involved, and make a difference. More information and registration here.

Help the Hungry Food Drive:  Support those in need by bringing non perishable food items to the Bethesda North Marriott on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Food collection will be located near the Montgomery County Volunteer Center table.  Donations will go to Manna Food Center.

TEDxManhattan 2012: Changing the Way We Eat, Saturday, January 21, 9:00am – 5:30pm, at Bethesda Green. This all day, free event is a combination of live video from TEDxManhattan and local sessions at Bethesda Green. The event will highlight several aspects of the sustainable food movement and the work being done to shift our food system from industrially based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. Speakers with various backgrounds in food and farming will share their insights and expertise.

Learn about our burgeoning local food movement and opportunities to engage in our community, here in Montgomery County. No need to stay for the whole day. Drop in as your schedule allows. Local co-hosts of this event are Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures and Slow Food D.C.

Information about the New York speakers is here. The Bethesda program is outlined here, where you will find a registration link as well.

2012 “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by CCAN, Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:00 am, The Beach at National Harbor, Maryland. For seven years, groups of people who care have plunged into cold bodies of water in our region to fight climate change, bring back the Arctic sea ice, and save polar bears. The Polar Bear Plunge is the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s biggest annual fundraising event. The money we raise during the plunge goes to support our programs to combat global warming at the state level in our area. Information here.

BG101, Wednesday, January 25, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Dan Rudt is the editor of Montgomery County Sustainability News, a daily news Website serving the local area with environmental sustainability news, information and events.