green news


BG_FB_Gala profilelogoby Cheryl Kollin

It’s hard to visualize $165 billion. That’s the value of food wasted in the U.S. annually. It is also hard to grasp the staggering amount of food — 246,000 tons that is wasted right here in Montgomery County every year. The enormity of food waste hit home for me watching farmers donate many bathtub-sized grey bins of their unsold, perfectly good vegetables and fruit at the end of a bustling Sunday at the Olney Farmers Market.

While there are many active food recovery programs in our community, 23% of food in Montgomery County is still being wasted, while 82,000 people do not know where their next meal will come from. A new initiative called Community Food Rescue aims to build a coordinated countywide system that fulfills the vision of the Montgomery County Council, County Executive Ike Leggett, and the on-going efforts of the Montgomery County Food Council’s Food Recovery Working Group.

Read more here. View our short introduction film. Follow us on Facebook.

Cheryl Kollin is program manager for Community Food Rescue.

logogreenwheatonJoin Bethesda Green and other supporters of GreenWheaton at their 3rd Annual Gala, Wednesday, June 25, 6 – 9 pm, Ballroom at Wheaton Glen above the Wheaton Fire and Rescue Squad located at 2400 Arcola Avenue, Wheaton, MD.

The Gala, sponsored in part by Safeway, IHop Restaurant, The George Apartments and M&T Bank, celebrates the organization’s successes in three years of non-profit educational work and green initiatives in the Wheaton community, and serves as a fundraiser for continuing efforts into the future.

For the first time, the 2014 Gala will feature an awards ceremony recognizing a local group or citizen for its green efforts in the Wheaton community. The 2014 winner of the GreenWheaton “Green Community Award” will be Northwood High School’s Academy of Technology and Environmental Systems Sciences in recognition of its efforts to promote a “walkable” Wheaton.  GreenWheaton will also present a donation to Wheaton for the purchase of an additional Big Belly solar powered waste recycling station (bringing the number to 18 coming to Wheaton in June).  This will be largest installation of Big Belly units in Montgomery County.

Also featured will be local green vendors, door prizes, local wine, beer and food from Wheaton favorites Hollywood East Cafe, Limerick Pub, Green Plate Catering, and Los Chorros.

For tickets, please visit greenwheatongala2014.eventbrite.com. Use the promo code: GReen for a special discount.

Over the past year, GreenWheaton has provided seminars on “greening” for both residents and businesses, coordinated monthly green drinks happy hours, and put out a monthly informational e-newsletter. The organization has coordinated several recycling events, including two paper shredding and electronics recycling events at Signal Financial Credit Union.

Recently, the group  held its first coordinated event with Bethesda Green and Silver Spring Green, a two-hour expert panel discussion on “Demystifying Clean Green Energy,” attended by over 80 people.

by Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Recent anti-pesticide laws enacted by local jurisdictions have moved members of the Montgomery County Council to examine the county’s current pesticide practices, both public and private facility management and lawn care/landscaping services, but not in farming or agricultural land uses.

DC’s Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act was passed unanimously in August 2012. It restricts non-essential “cosmetic” pesticides from all government-owned property and restricts the use of pesticides on private property around schools and child-occupied facilities and properties next to waterways.

In July 2013, Takoma Park, MD City Council passed unanimously “Safe Grow Act of 2013,” which restricts the use of certain pesticides on all city-owned and private property within the City.

Residents in DC and Takoma Park – Julie Taddeo and Catherine Cummings – brought their concerns to their respective council members about the health risks and exposure to pesticides, especially to young children, as there is a growing amount of research linking early exposure to synthetic pesticides and childhood leukemias and cancers. (See Policy Statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.)

In the Kentlands neighborhood in Gaithersburg, the community is considering alternatives to synthetic pesticides currently used in the common landscaped areas after concerned residents brought up health risks to exposure of these synthetic pesticides that are applied every fall and spring.  In 2011, the Kentlands Citizens Assembly voted to stop spraying pesticides in tot-lots due to residents’ concerns of pesticide exposure to children. The other concern is that the pesticides also run off into the local Muddy Branch stream and that local drinking water health suffers.

A pesticide is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “any substance or mixture of substances intended for: preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. Under United States law, a pesticide is also any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant.”

Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal, who chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, requested a discussion and presentation on September 9 at the Council’s Transportation, Energy and Environment Committee to inform the Council members about the county’s current practices, to hear testimony from Takoma Park and DC legislators, and to hear from people that are for and against local legislation.

So, what comes next?

Keith Levchenko, Senior Legislative Analyst for Montgomery County Council says that, “Currently, no legislation has been introduced at the County Council.  Council member Roger Berliner, Chairman of the T&E Committee, announced at the T&E discussion that he is considering introducing pesticide legislation.  If legislation is introduced, then a public hearing and committee discussion specific to the bill will be scheduled.”

Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin is the founder of Green Gaithersburg, a member of the newly formed Chesapeake Greens Collaborative, a coalition of environmentally friendly organizations that promotes sustainability and sound environmental practices in our communities.

Photo Credit:  Diane Lill

Photo Credit: Diane Lill

by Jon Akpapunam

Have you seen kids excited for a salad party? Kids who participated in GreenKids’ Salad Science program are.

Salad Science is just one of the fun programs offered by GreenKids program at Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS). Students grow their own salad greens and learn about plant parts and nutrition over a six-week period.  At the end of the program, students partake in a salad party—with toppings provided by Whole Foods Market—to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Such programming enables GreenKids to leave its mark on students and is a big reason the program received a 2012 Bethesda Magazine Green award.

GreenKids is a grant-funded educational outreach program that establishes two-year partnerships with participating schools.  It offers free resources and field experiences—with the ultimate goal of receiving Maryland Green School Certification from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.

ANS Deputy Director Lisa Alexander started the program as a pilot in 2005, eager to assist her child’s school, Rock Creek Forest, become a Green School.  The pilot program led to new knowledge and exciting possibilities for environmental education.

Since 2005, GreenKids has raised more than $1 million to directly support the environmental science literacy of Montgomery County and Loudon County Public School students and teachers. The program has engaged more than 28,000 students with hands-on lessons.

Photo Credit: James Kegley

Photo Credit: James Kegley

GreenKids brings nature to students and teachers

The goal of GreenKids is to connect students with the natural world and instill in them the understanding “that there is more to life than just you,” said Diane Lill, Director of the GreenKids program. Through lessons focused on composting, gardening, recycling, watershed education, energy conservation, and habitat restoration, this program allows students  to learn more about the role they play in our world.  Enthusiastic students learn about natural resources and the process of growing their own food.

The program also supports some wonderful (and sometimes under-appreciated) teachers with professional development and works with teachers to make these programs an enduring part of the curriculum.

Through fun activities and outdoor trips, GreenKids provides students and teachers with great knowledge that will last them a lifetime.  “What do you remember from elementary school?” Diane asks, “Awesome field trip, outdoor activities, or perhaps an amazing teacher?”—all of which GreenKids encapsulates.

Photo Credit: Balance Photography

Photo Credit: Balance Photography

Diane’s work for GreenKids came full circle at the 2012 Bethesda Green Gala.  During her speech, Diane thanked the teachers that took her outside as a young student.  Following her speech, two Gala attendees inquired about her outdoor experiences as a child. To her amazement, she realized that they were teachers from both her Outdoor Environmental Education and C&O Canal experiences and was encouraged that they are still involved in the green movement.  “One field trip can have an amazing experience on someone’s life,” she explained.  It is obvious her experiences as a child had a lasting impact; perhaps her current students will contribute to the green movement in years to come as well.

A recent graduate of Denison University, Jon Akpapunam is an intern at both Clean Currents and the City Parks Alliance. He is passionate about both learning and developing new perspectives and strategies to create a more sustainable future.

2013 BETHESDA GREEN GALA

Bethesda Green celebrates 5 years of promoting sustainable living with a fabulous Gala at the historic Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. This event brings people from DC metro area who share the vision of a more green and sustainable community.

Highlights of the evening include honoring 2013 Green Award winners and recognizing businesses, organizations, communities and individuals who are providing green services or promoting and living a green lifestyle.

 BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Do you know a Green Champion?

Nominations for the 4th annual Bethesda Magazine Green Awards, conducted in partnership with Bethesda Green, are now being accepted for businesses, organizations, communities and individuals who are providing green services or promoting and living a green lifestyle.

Click HERE for details and entry form. Submission deadline is June 28; self-nominations ok.

Winners will be profiled in the November/December 2013 issue of Bethesda Magazine and honored at the Bethesda Green Gala, October 3.

by Susanna ParkerBGnews_logo.

Rock Creek’s Deer Population Causes Dissent

Rock Creek Park has a deer problem. The deer population, which is approximately 73 deer per square mile, is wreaking havoc on the native flora, resulting in a loss of biodiversity. When deer populations become too big for their territory, the resulting competition for food causes the deer to go after tree seedlings, along with their preferred diet of native, low-lying vegetation and underbrush. The loss of tree seedlings and native vegetation allow invasive vegetation to take hold, and the forest begins to degrade. When deer populations are at a more reasonable ratio, such as 25 per square mile, enough seedlings survive that they can replace old trees as they die, and the forest is preserved. The problem Rock Creek Park and the National Park Service face is the method they should use to achieve that optimal population.

Many, including the National Park Service, believe that controlled hunting is the best way to control the deer population. With a closely followed program, sharpshooters could reduce the deer population to manageable and sustainable levels within 2 years. The Humane Society of the United States strongly opposes the plan, calling it a “wasteful killing program.” They advocate for, and have offered to pay half the cost of, a program of administered birth control. Unfortunately the suggested vaccine does not meet the Park Service’s requirements for birth-control agents, and may in fact increase the deer’s breeding season, resulting in late-season births and increased fawn mortality. While similar birth-control programs have been successful in other parks, such as Assateague Island, the Park Service plans to go ahead with the controlled hunting. Nick Bartolomeo, the park’s chief of resource management, points out that while large predators roamed the park many years ago, “[they] wouldn’t be tolerated if they were here, so we have to take action.”

For the full article and infographics on deer population, visit The Washington Post.

Apply for a Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award!

Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award winners are recognized for their strong commitment to sustainable practices, measurable results, and continual improvement. Gain recognition within your community, your organization and among peer institutions by applying for an award today. Leadership Winners are presented with a certificate, receive recognition through press and social media, notification to elected officials, and will be featured in a video. Just share five environmental practices and one measurable result that you employ in your office space and in your organization’s activities and events. Click on the link below to download the application. Applications are due April 30, 2013.

Maryland Green Registry Application

Upcoming Bethesda Green Events

  • Developing an Investor Package, Bethesda Green Finance Workshop Series for Green Businesses. April 25, 8 am – 10 am, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

In the fifth installment of the Bethesda Green Finance Workshop series, our panel will discuss approaching investors with a solid plan for success. Investors often require documentation of concrete business plans, including documents geared toward each stage of engagement, “teasers,” and detailed descriptions of business and financial models. The panel, featuring Joseph Chirico of Capital One, Barry Michael of Focus Investment Banking, and Cheryl Heusser of Snyder Cohn, will address both how to develop these documents, and how to use them effectively. Admission is $15; please RSVP to rsynder@bethesdagreen.org.

  • Greening the National Capital Region: The Commercial Real Estate Commitment to Building Green, Tuesday, April 30, 5:30 pm – 8 pm, 7550 Wisconsin Avenue.

Bethesda Green is currently launching a Green Building and Sustainable Development seminar series to help participants understand green trends impacting the commercial building sector. To kick off the series, Bethesda Green has partnered with NAIOP MD/DC to highlight Bethesda’s newest commercial office building: Akridge’s 7550 Wisconsin Avenue. Come tour the building, see the green infrastructure, and network with those passionate about sustainable development in Bethesda. Admission is $30, and includes light fare, beer & wine. Please RSVP to Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org by Thursday, April 25.

  • Bethesda Green’s Fourth Annual Solar & Green Home Expo, Saturday May 11, 10am – 3pm, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

Join us for our fourth annual Solar & Green Home Expo, an information-packed showcase event featuring many green home expert services and solar providers. The goal of this event is to provide homeowners and other interested parties an opportunity to get the latest information about area services and incentives to green their homes. Local area green home businesses will display their services throughout the Bethesda Green office space while individual workshops related to greening your home will be conducted throughout the day. To learn more about this free community event, visit the event page here.

Upcoming Partner Events

  • GreenWheaton’s Green Drinks Networking Happy Hour, Thursday April 25, 5 pm – 8 pm, Limerick Pub, 11301 Elkin Street, Wheaton

Join GreenWheaton and local environmentalists for an evening of networking and casual conversation. This month’s special guest is Reuven Walder of Ecobeco, who will be discussing energy efficiency initiatives and incentives for home and business.

  • The Green Network of Montgomery County’s Damascus Wastewater Treatment Tour, Saturday April 27, 10 am – 2 pm, 23730 Log House Road, Damascus

For the first time, the Damascus Wastewater Treatment Plant will be open for public tours! Join members of the Green Network of Montgomery County to explore the plant. Winner of numerous awards, the tour will provide you with the opportunity to see how Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission treats your water. For more details, visit their Meetup page here.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

by Susanna Parker

A Busy Week at Bethesda Green

This week is a busy one at Bethesda Green. Join us Wednesday evening for our Emergency Preparedness panel discussion, and be sure meet us Thursday at Parva Restaurant Bar and Lounge for our monthly networking happy hour. Hope to see you there!

Farm to Freezer a Finalist in the TEDxManhattan Challenge!BGnews_logo

Implemented in June 2012, Farm to Freezer works with Bethesda Cares and local farm markets to save leftover produce from being discarded. Farm to Freezer’s many volunteers have helped to turn 5,000 pounds of fresh gleaned produce into frozen vegetables and tomato sauce that will be used to provide Bethesda’s homeless population with nutritious meals year-round. After the resounding success of their first season, Farm to Freezer is ready to expand in a big way. One major step is their inclusion in the TEDxManhattan Challenge; if selected, Farm to Freezer founder Cheryl Kollin will speak at the 2013 New York TEDxManhattan event, and Cheryl’s presentation, “Changing the Way We Eat,” will be broadcast to viewers worldwide. But Farm to Freezer needs your votes! Voting is a simple click, with no personal information or registration required. The deadline is December 15, so please tell your friends and vote today!  To learn more about this challenge and their work, read Farm to Freezer’s full blog post here.

Savenia Labs Premiers Single Serve Coffeemaker Energy Ratings!

Savenia Labs is an independent testing laboratory that provides lab tested energy and environmental impact ratings on popular appliances. Their previous work includes toasters, microwaves, and dehumidifiers, among others, and they have just released their newest ratings: the world’s first ever energy ratings for single serve coffeemakers. The surge in popularity of Keurig brewers and Green Mountain coffee pods has turned these single serve makers into one of the hottest holiday gifts — but how efficient are they? Savenia Labs’ energy ratings allow consumers to make an informed decision, choose the most environmentally friendly makers, and the most efficient machines. Along with the newly released ratings, Savenia Labs’ blog features posts on all aspects of single serve makers, including waste generated, what is actually in those mysterious pods, and cost variations among brands. Be sure to check out their blog, read their press release, and be informed before you buy!

Upcoming Green Events

  •  Drilling Down: A Conference on Fracking Risks and Action in Maryland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 am – 4 pm, Langsdale Auditorium, University of Baltimore, West Oliver Street, Baltimore.

Hydrofracking is a hotly debated process that can lead to environmental problems like drinking water contamination and increased air pollution. The natural gas industry is applying for permits to begin the process of hydrofracking in Maryland, and we currently have no laws protecting our communities from the risks that come with it. The Drilling Down conference in Baltimore, presented by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, is a call to action for Marylanders to learn about this process and fight against its implementation in our state. The conference will include speakers such as Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, State Senator Jamie Raskin, author and head of the Environmental Policy Institute Lester Brown, and many more.

Registration is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Student tickets are available for $10. All tickets include lunch. For more information, and to register for this exciting event, please see Event Details.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

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