A rally in Annapolis for clean water legislation draws the governor and lots of support.
Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff
About CBF's Maryland Office
Geographically, economically, and culturally, the Chesapeake Bay is the center of Maryland life. But pollution from the state's cities, sprawling suburbs, and poultry and dairy farms has severely degraded the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was founded in Annapolis—Maryland's state capital—in 1964. From Annapolis, we advocate for strong legislation to protect water quality, educate thousands of students and teachers a year about Bay issues, restore oyster reefs and stream buffers, and lobby for resources to help farmers and communities limit polluted run-off and reach water quality standards.
The Philip Merrill Environmental Education Center opened in 2001 as both CBF's headquarters and the organization's Maryland state office. In design, construction, and operation, the building reflects CBF's mission to protect and restore the Bay. The Merrill Center is one of the world’s most energy-efficient buildings, incorporating natural elements into a fully functional workplace that has minimal impact on its Bay- and creek-front surroundings. Find out more about the Merrill Center.
The capitol dome in Annapolis viewed from Chesapeake Bay. Photo by Donna Rice.
2013 Maryland Legislative Session
The 2013 legislative session was a success for the Bay! Here's what we'll see as a result: more trees planted along farm streams, new construction projects (and jobs) to upgrade aging storm water systems, more oyster shells collected to enlarge reefs, and more winter crops planted on crop fields, among other benefits.
The Maryland General Assembly approved record funding to clean up the Bay next fiscal year—from $395 million for the State Highway Administration to reduce polluted runoff into local waterways to $31.5 million to help farmers, cities, and counties ramp up their local clean water efforts.
In addition to dollars, the legislature approved some innovative new policies to accelerate the Bay cleanup, including one law that verifies farmers are actually reducing pollution in return for business certainty once they meet all water quality standards.
We also helped defeat attempts to roll back our Bay clean-up progress—from reducing water pollution standards, to repealing zoning restrictions in rural areas, and delaying stormwater system upgrades.
Thanks to Governor Martin O'Malley, our legislative leaders, CBF and its partners and members, we are finally turning a corner. The success of the 2013 legislative session will help ensure that Maryland meets its responsibilities under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and restores the Bay for future generations to enjoy.
Photo courtesy NRCS
Senate Bill 1029—The Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program
More Pollution Reduction, Sooner, Cheaper
One of several major bills passed by the 2013 Maryland Legislative General Assembly and supported by CBF was SB1029, the "Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program." The bill offers farmers who voluntarily meet 2025 water quality goals now (12 years ahead of schedule) flexibility when they meet any potential new laws and regulations. The program offers certainty that farmers are actually reducing pollution on their farms, and also gives farmers business certainty once they meet all water quality standards.
(left to right) Pam Abramson and Amy Reyes of RALE (Residents Against Landsdale Expansion) at the future site of an 1,100 new home subdivision in Frederick County. Photo by Tom Pelton/CBF Staff
Some Counties Are Working Hard to Implement Maryland's New Anti-Sprawl Law; Others are Not
By enacting the Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, the state Administration and Maryland General Assembly took a critical step forward in protecting our waters, open spaces, and rural agricultural economy from the impacts of harmful sprawl. This new law, which took effect on July 1, 2012, seeks greater accountability and predictability by encouraging counties to map future growth into categorical "tiers." Counties were to adopt "tier maps” for future growth by December 31, 2012 or face limits on new growth outside areas with existing sewers.
Many localities are working hard to implement the law. Unfortunately, a few counties appear to be falling short of the law and are putting our waterways and rural lands at risk. Some counties, such as Frederick and Cecil, have adopted maps that do not measure up to the standards in the law, according to the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP). As a result, these maps do not adequately protect our waters and rural lands from overdevelopment.
Below you will find a map of the "Septics Law" adoption status by county.
Source: Maryland Department of Planning
Click to view larger
It isn't fair to saddle existing residents and businesses with the substantial costs of cleaning up new pollution from harmful sprawl. We are making progress in reducing pollution to the Bay. Development is the only major pollution source on the increase. It is only fair—and sensible—to target new growth where it will pollute less.
Maryland's General Assembly is in session now. The state legislature must stand firm and reject attempts to scuttle or weaken the law, which is critical to the success of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
For more information visit the Maryland Department of Planning website.
Reinvigorating CBF's Student Leadership Program
The Education department is reinvigorating the Student Leadership program. Today's students are not just kids who will inherit the Bay several years down the line. They have already inherited it and they have just as much power to clean the Bay as older citizens do. Through student-directed projects focused on Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint campaign priorities, CBF student leaders will realize their legacy as the inheritors of the Chesapeake, while discovering the capacity within themselves as successful environmental leaders.
|Maryland Association of Student Councils' Former President Mark Ritterpusch (left) with CBF's Jeff Rogge (right). Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.
Middletown High Schoolers participate in a CBF Fox Island experience. Photo by CBF Staff.
Jeff Rogge and Lucas Johnson have been hired to work full time on the Student Leadership campaign, identifying and supporting environmentally active students in projects and activities that align around CBF priorities such as the Blueprint campaign. Lucas will be focusing on students who have participated in CBF education programs, and Jeff will be networking with organized student groups, such as the Maryland Association of Student Councils.
In his prior role as the Education Field Senior Manager for the MD/DC/PA team, Jeff was presented with the Susan Nash Travetto Friend of MASC Award, for his efforts on behalf of CBF. Lucas returns to the Education department, having previously worked on the No Child Left Inside campaign. Most recently, he was a field organizer for the Obama Presidential Campaign. He worked in the electoral battleground of Williamsburg, Virginia, where he coordinated Obama supporters to persuade undecided voters and turn out other supporters.
Both Jeff and Lucas are very excited about empowering students to support the Blueprint and Save the Bay™.
From the Ground Up
Produce from Clagett Farm makes its way to the refrigerators of The Food Bank. Photo courtesy Capital Area Food Bank
Social Justice Grows from CBF's Clagett Farm
For 20 years the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Clagett Farm has provided free, fresh produce to people living in poverty and near-poverty in Washington, D.C. The project, a collaboration with Capital Area Food Bank, blends local, sustainable organic agriculture with social justice. CBF calls the program, "From the Ground Up."
Feeding the Hungry
Here's how it works.
Customers of Clagett's community supported agriculture (CSA) program buy shares of the farm's harvest beforehand, and collect whatever is in season weekly, from salad greens in early May through winter squash in November. Regular customers pay a rate that covers enough program expenses to allow the farm to donate 40-50 percent of its annual production to low-income people through the Food Bank. That's about 35,000 pounds of produce a year on average.
Participants can pick up their shares either at an appointed place and time within the District or at the farm in Upper Marlboro, which is only 14 miles east of the U.S. Capitol Building, just off the Capital Beltway. In addition, the CSA offers reduced-price shares and work shares to low-income families. An extensive group of volunteer weeders and pickers helps to keep the program's operating costs low.
The result is that people of all income levels in the Washington, D.C. region can receive top-quality vegetables and fruits from this local farm, while helping to support an extraordinarily effective and efficient food bank that speaks to the needs of people around our Nation's Capital.
Therein lies the second half of the "From the Ground Up" story. The Food Bank carefully selects recipient member agencies—food pantries, clinics, after-school programs, soup kitchens, and shelters—with the organizational strength and the facilities to maintain quality and efficiently distribute a broad range of produce to its clients. For 2012, there are nine participating agencies in the District, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
Feeding the Soul
Students enjoy a day on the farm. Photo by CBF Staff
The Food Bank also offers a wide variety of educational programs. Some of these programs are in the form of classes and demonstrations, including getting D.C. kids out to Clagett for actual harvesting and other farm fun.
Recently seen at Clagett: children from the city ride a hay wagon, arrive at a farm field, and spread out excitedly to pick sweet corn, okra, and tomatoes under the careful supervision of Carrie Vaughn, Clagett Farm's Vegetable Production Manager. She shows them how to pick the produce respectfully. They bring their prizes back to the wagon in bins and head to the farm's washing station to clean them for transport to the Food Bank.
An important element of the CBF/Farm Bank collaboration is an orientation day for participating agencies at Clagett with Carrie Vaughn, her husband, Rob Vaughn, who serves as Assistant Farm Manager, and Michael Heller, Clagett's Manager for the past thirty years. The following excerpted letter, addressed to Food Bank staffer Dylan Menguy, demonstrates the value of this orientation:
"I left the farm with a wealth of information, and I felt empowered to educate my staff and community on the miracles occurring at Clagett Farm. I know that if I had not taken the time to go to the Clagett Farm orientation, I would have missed a great opportunity to learn about the great works of the farm.
Thank you. I am grateful for the opportunity."
Gwen Pope Manager
SHABACH! Emergency Empowerment Center
2101 Kent Village Drive
Landover, Maryland 20785
Photo by CBF Staff
Maryland Is the First State to Require Environmental Literacy
The Maryland State Board of Education now requires that each public school student be environmentally literate before he or she graduates from high school. The historic vote cements Maryland as the first state in the country to approve a graduation requirement in environmental literacy, a credit to Governor O'Malley, to board members, and to Dr. Nancy Grasmick, the former State Superintendent of Schools.
The state school board vote clarifies for schools that each child must receive a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education that meets the approval of the State Superintendent of Schools. Regulations given final approval by the board provide critical flexibility and oversight for school systems as they develop effective environmental literacy programs aligned with the Maryland State Environmental Literacy Standards.
While many exemplary environmental education programs already exist in some Maryland schools, not all students have access to these programs. That can occur when schools feel compelled to emphasize math and reading instruction over science and other subjects because of the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law. School districts must now move beyond standard courses that provide minimal focus on the environment. With programs that use an interdisciplinary approach, CBF's education programs are the ideal way for classes to get experience outside and to tie classroom lessons to real world situations. Whether the topic is STEM material, local literature, or even music, using the environment as an integrating context brings local issues to life and now directly helps students graduate.
Studies show environmental education has a measurable, positive impact on student achievement not only in science but in math, reading, and social studies. Business leaders also increasingly believe an environmentally literate workforce is critical in a burgeoning green economy. Field experiences and related activities, when part of the regular school curriculum in environmental education, also help students become healthier.
"This is a defining moment for education in Maryland," said Governor O'Malley. "By approving this environmental graduation requirement, the Board of Education is ensuring that our young people graduate with a keen understanding of and connection to the natural world. Only through exposure to nature and education about our fragile ecosystem can we create the next generation of stewards."