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

Happy New Year!

Has everyone thought of their Green Resolutions for 2013? My green resolution is to reduce waste  by buying less and recycling more. Please share yours in the comments!

Proposed Montgomery County Legislation Hopes to Attract Green Businesses

The “Green Organization Supplement” legislation, introduced to the County Council in early December, would allow environmentally conscious organizations to apply for grants from the county for up to $25,000. Authored by Councilman Roger Berliner, the bill is part of the county’s effort to attract more green energy companies, following the recommendation that the County make a stronger commitment to green development. Applying companies would have to be audited by the Department of the Environment for environmental sustainability. The bill could be a big step for Montgomery County, making it an attractive location for green start-ups and providing a boost to the local economy. Introducing the bill now will allow the proposed funds to be included for consideration in the 2014 fiscal budget. A public hearing on the legislation has been set for January 22.

For more information, please read the full Washington Examiner article, here.

Maryland Takes A Stand Against Invasive Plants

While kudzu is the most recognized (and most feared) of the invasive plant species, there are many other plants that pose a serious threat to Maryland’s native flora and landscape, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture is getting ready to take action. The Invasive Plants Advisory Committee was established in 2011 and given the task of creating a framework to rank species by their threat to the environment. Combining the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s protocols with Maryland-specific concerns, the framework will take into account: 1) a plant’s ability to spread, 2) its economic impact, 3) its risk of changing the environment, and 4) its risk of affecting human health. Plants deemed to be a threat will be assigned a rating of Tier 1 or Tier 2. Tier 1 plants will be banned from retail sale, and Tier 2 plants will require labeling informing consumers of their risks. Legislators hope that these steps will allow residents to participate in the protection of the environment, preventing the deliberate introduction of more invasive plants.

Invasive plants have long been a problem in this region, with many becoming so common that people don’t even know they aren’t native. English ivy, bamboo, Bradford pears, honeysuckle, wild garlic, and day lily are all examples of invasive species we see everyday. These plants have all been introduced into the environment, often for landscaping and decorative purposes, and have spread so widely and aggressively that they’ve driven out their native competition. The lack of native plants can then affect native animals, who find themselves without food sources and habitats. If the invasive species takes a firm enough hold, it can cause a native species to go locally extinct. The Maryland legislation is designed to halt this process, and will be a valuable resource for residents wanting to learn more. To help stop invasive species on your own, consider native gardening, the practice of installing only plants found naturally in this region. Not only will your garden be a haven for local species, but with a variety of growing seasons, something new will always be blossoming!

For more information on the legislation, please read the Maryland Gazette article here. For a list of invasive species in Maryland, please visit The Maryland Invasive Species Council. To learn more about native gardening, please visit the US Forest Service’s website, Celebrating Wildflowers.

Upcoming Green Events

  • Teeming With Life: Bringing Gabon to the National Zoo, Friday January 11, 6:30 pm, Smithsonian National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

Join Smithsonian National Zoo scientist Alfonso Alonso for a presentation on Gabon’s Gamba Complex — a little-known region of Africa with remarkable species diversity. Dr. Alonso will be joined by National Zoo animal keeper Gil Meyers and National Zoo veterinarian Dr. Chris Whittier. Their panel discussion will address Gabon-related research projects at the Zoo, as well as provide information about the upcoming Gabon Gamba Complex exhibit to be displayed in the spring. The presentation will be followed by a reception with complimentary beer, wine, and light hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $15 for FONZ members, $20 for non-members, and all proceeds will go toward improving the Cheetah Conservation Station and helping to bring new African wildlife species to the Zoo.

For information, and to purchase tickets, please visit Smithsonian National Zoo’s website.

  • 2013 “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge Hosted by Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Saturday January 26, 11 am, The Beach at National Harbor, Maryland.

Concerned about climate change, and want to make a difference? Register for Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s 8th Annual “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge and help make a difference! While some people might think it takes a crazy person to jump in the Potomac in January, Chesapeake Climate Action Network knows that great people coming together for a great cause can do incredible things – including willingly going into chilly Potomac waters! The event is the organization’s annual priority fundraiser, and helps them move toward their goal of creating swift action at local, state, and national levels, and getting the DC Metropolitan Area away from fossil fuels. Showing her commitment to the environment, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), will be joining in the plunge for her third consecutive year! To register for this fun event and help out an important cause, visit www.keepwintercold.org.

  • Grow Community Gardens While You Shop! Wednesday, January 9, Whole Foods Markets.

This Wednesday January 9, shop at any Montgomery County Whole Foods Market, and Whole Foods will donate 5% of sales to support the Community Gardens Program. Participating stores include Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Rockville, Kentlands, and Silver Spring.

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 Dan Rudt

Call to Action for DC Area Bicyclists

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) has published a “call to action” directed to area bicyclists and bicycling activists. Published in a 30 page PDF document on the group’s Website, the stated purpose is to make bicycling “a viable form of transportation for a much broader segment of the population.” WABA calls for “some unity among the many planning bodies, transportation agencies, and advocacy/advisory groups” in the Washington area in order “to move beyond simply making bicycling possible” and to fully integrate it into our regional transportation network. The PDF lays out how bicycling advocates can position themselves to help the region move toward that goal.

Habitat for Humanity Offers Free Weatherization Services

Non-profit home builder, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County (HFH-MC), now offers home weatherization services for county homeowners who cannot afford to pay someone to perform needed repairs and do not have the knowledge to do the repairs themselves. The aim is to reduce the homeowner’s electric, gas and water bills. Weatherization includes stopping air leaks from windows and doors, insulating attics and crawl spaces, replacing light bulbs with CFLs, installing low-flow shower heads, and similar services.

Eligibility for assistance depends on household income and number of family members. For a family of four, for example, annual household income must be less than $67,600. The homeowner must be willing to contribute up to 10 hours for education and sweat equity in the project, which is carried out by Habitat staff and volunteers. Individuals and families interested in applying should contact Teresa McCoy at 301-990-0014 x 19, or download the application.

Wanted: Birders with Binoculars and Winter Coats

Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas will participate in the Audubon Society’s 112th Christmas Bird Count from December 14 through January 5. The first Audubon census involved 27 people on December 25, 1900. Audubon and other organizations use the data collected to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action. Information about the bird count, including how to get involved, is on the Audubon Website.

Volunteer to Help Build Section of Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail

Volunteers are needed from noon to 4 p.m. on November 19 and 20 to help build a new, quarter-mile section of the Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail that will connect Northwest Branch and Sligo Creek parks. The new trail portion will be on the Breewood Property, located at the southeast corner of Sligo Creek Parkway and University Boulevard behind the Norwood Church. The project is a partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Northwood High School, Neighbors of Northwest Branch and Montgomery County Department of Parks. Volunteers are needed each day to clean up litter, build stepping stones across a small stream, remove small roots and debris along slopes and, in difficult soil, blaze the trail and cut heavy invasive vines. Meet at the front entrance to Northwood High School, 919 University Blvd., Silver Spring. Students can earn Service Learning hours for their work. Email Jennifer Chambers, the project coordinator, at jennifer@hikingalong.com.

Upcoming Green Events

Free Screening of Documentary, Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, Monday, Nov. 14, 7:30 pm, TC Williams High School Rotunda (second floor), 3330 King Street, Alexandria. This screening of the first full length documentary about the legendary conservationist, ecologist and author of The Sand County Almanac is presented by Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, Go Green Alexandria, TC Williams HS Environmental Club, and Equinox Investments. Read about the movie here. Registration, directions and important note about parking posted here.

Virtual Town Hall. Live Internet Discussion with County Executive Ike Leggett, Wednesday, Nov. 16, noon – 1 pm. Get your questions ready and send them in advance. More info here.

Montgomery County’s first “Know Your Farmer,” Call-In Webinar, Wednesday, Nov. 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.

Home Energy Efficiency Workshop, Thursday, Nov. 17, 6:30 – 8:30 pm., Silver Spring Civic Center. Silver Spring Green invites you to learn more about energy audits, making retrofits to winterize your home and how energy efficiency can save you money! Driving directions and registration.

Montgomery County Green Business Crash Course Webinar, Nov. 17, 8 – 11 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.

Keystone XL Pipeline — Bad for the Environment and Our Health — Where Do We Go From Here?, Nov. 19, 6 – 10 pm.  Presented at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in the sanctuary, 9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD 20815.  Event includes potluck dinner and a panel discussion after showing two movies about the Keystone XL pipeline by Academy Award nominee Leslie Iwerks: “Pipe Dreams,” about the environmental devastation of tar sands; and “Downstream,” about a doctor’s valiant efforts to save the health of an aboriginal community in Canada affected by tar sands. RSVP to:  Molly Hauck, mollyhauck@verizon.net or 301-949-0178.


Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 am – 2 pm. Wootten High School, 2100 Wootton Parkway, Rockville

Sunday, Nov. 20, 10 am – 2 pm, Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Shred and recycle your confidential paper and donate reusable clothing and household goods in working condition. Partners in these events are, Office Paper Systems, A Wider Circle, Interfaith Clothing Center, and NAMI Montgomery County. Volunteers welcome. More information and guidelines.

Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP), 3rd Annual Energy and Environmental Leadership Series Banquet, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 6 – 9 pm. Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (home of the world’s first sustainable aquaculture system), The Columbus Center, Baltimore. Philippines Ambassador to the United States, The Honorable Jose L. Cuisia will keynote the event. Also expected to attend are MD Secretary of the Environment Bob Summers, Secretary John Griffin of DNR, Chesapeake Bay Commission Director Ann Swanson and key Environmental Committee members of the MD General Assembly. Tickets are $90. When registering, type “BethesdaGreen” when prompted for a discount code and receive a $15 discount. More information and registration.