Monday, November 30, 2009

Delmarva BioBlitz Award Winners Announced at Tally Rally

Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE) announced the winners of the Second Annual Delmarva BioBlitz at the BioBlitz Tally Rally on November 19. The event was hosted at the Hazel Outdoor Discovery Center in Eden, Maryland.

The Delmarva BioBlitz connected kids and families to nature through fun, semi-competitive nature exploration, while raising funds for non-profit organizations working on the Delmarva Peninsula. The BioBlitz helped adult and youth teams of up to 10 citizen-scientists conduct inventories of plants and animals in their local parks, watersheds, and throughout the region during the week of October 10 - 19, 2009. All proceeds were shared 50/50 between DLITE and the designated partner charitable organizations.

Thanks to event sponsors, the Hazel Outdoor Discovery Center and Jolly Roger Amusement Park, four prizes of $500 each were awarded to local non-profit organizations. Prizes were awarded to the youth team that inventoried the most total species, and one to the youth team that raised the most money. Prizes were also awarded to adult teams in each category.

The adult team award for most species inventoried went to the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. The Coastal Bays team counted 403 species during an eight-hour block on October 18. The team averaged one species every 71 seconds.

The adult team award for most funds raised also went to the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. The Coastal Bays team raised $2,114.15 by soliciting pledges for species inventoried. The team raised $5.25 for every species inventoried.

“The Delmarva BioBlitz is a great fund raising event for us,” said Dave Wilson, Jr., Executive Director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. “Not only do we receive contributions that benefit our own programs, we also get a chance to showcase the incredible diversity of wildlife that lives in the land and water of our coastal bays.”

The youth team award for most species inventoried went to the Coast Kids, a program of the Assateague Coastal Trust. The Coast Kids team counted 274 species during a four-hour block on October 10. The team averaged one species every 52 seconds.

The youth team award for most funds raised also went to the Coast Kids. The Coast Kids team raised $1,221.00 by soliciting pledges for species inventoried. The team raised $4.46 for every species inventoried.

"The BioBlitz is such a great opportunity for children to learn about biodiversity in a fun and semi-competitive way,” said Verena Chase, Coast Kids Program Director. “I am so proud of our Coast Kids BioBlitz team members. Some of the kids are talented naturalists already. For instance, they know a lot more about bugs and snakes than most adults do. The children were very focused searching the beach, marsh, meadow, forest, and garden habitats for species. Some animals, such as white-tailed deer and red fox, were identified by their tracks, some birds by their call, and the kids even dug up a termite nest. The Delmarva BioBlitz is undoubtedly the most fun fund raiser."

The Delmarva BioBlitz was sponsored by the Hazel Outdoor Discovery Center and Jolly Roger Amusement Park. The Delmarva BioBlitz is supported by the Delmarva Environmental Educators Network (DEEN) and the No Child Left Inside Coalition.

For more information, please contact Jim Rapp at or 443-614-0261.

Grow Berlin Green Explores Green Initiatives on the Shore

By Kate Patton

The public is invited to an informal work session in Berlin on Dec. 10 featuring guest speaker Briggs Cunningham, the coordinator of the Chestertown Goes Green initiative.

The event is hosted by Grow Berlin Green (GBG), the campaign to establish Berlin as a model community for participatory environmental protection, conservation, and smart growth policy and practice. Cunningham – who is also Chestertown’s climate action coordinator - will speak on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 3 – 5 pm at Berlin’s Town Hall. The public will have an opportunity to learn about the Chestertown initiative in the afternoon work session and also later that evening at the Lower Shore Land Trust Annual Dinner.

The issues related to environmental protection, conservation and smart growth are not unique to Berlin. Towns throughout Maryland are wrestling with how to reduce waste and conserve resources, and sharing information is a key to identifying best practices and lessons learned. Priority issues such as stormwater and wastewater management, energy, water and land conservation, and waste reduction and recycling are being discussed across the state. The green initiative in Chestertown, active since 2007, is a useful case study to build upon.

In the spring of 2007, Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey approached the Center for Environment & Society (CES) at Washington College for assistance in implementing the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (MCPA). A Chestertown Climate Action Committee was formed, ultimately producing a formal relationship with CES and Washington College. With grant support from the Town Creek Foundation and the Shared Earth Foundation, Cunningham was hired as the full-time Climate Action Coordinator for Chestertown.

Cunningham will share an overview of projects he manages, including the Chestertown Goes Green effort, how the initiative is taking shape, challenges to the project and the future of the work. Cunningham also coordinates the Urban Greening Initiative and Washington College’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the American College and University Presidents’ commitment to climate change.

The Chestertown initiative is one example within Maryland of citizens, schools, residents and businesses working together to create a more sustainable community. Going Green Downtown: A Sustainability Guide for Maryland’s Main Streets, developed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is a resource for Main Street communities across the state. The document provides an overview of the Clean, Safe and Green strategy to increase sustainability within Maryland’s Main Street communities, examples of projects already implemented in Maryland, as well as resources for funding and technical support. It can be found online at

Cunningham will also speak at the Lower Shore Land Trust dinner at the Atlantic Hotel at pm on Dec. 10. The cost is $35.00 and includes a three course dinner and live entertainment by Berlin musicians Katherine Munson and Raquel Orsini. The Lower Shore Land Trust, a Grow Berlin Green partner, will present a brief overview of its land protection accomplishments in 2009, as well as goals for the upcoming year.

For information about the work session or to attend the dinner, call 410-641-4467 or email by Dec. 7.

Kate Patton is the Executive Director of the LSLT. She received the Aileen Hughes Award for Outstanding Leadership in Land Conservation from the Maryland Environmental Trust in 2009.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving and Thoughts on Food

By Anita Ferguson

As you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal take a moment to consider where the food you are about to eat originated long before it got on your plate.

Most of us are disconnected from where our food comes from, how the food is packaged and how far it traveled to get there. It’s not easy to track, considering the majority of grocery store packaging and restaurant menus do not reveal a name of a farmer or farm where the produce was grown or the livestock was raised, what fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides were used to grow the produce, or the conservation practices the farmer used.

Today there is a growing national movement encouraging consumers to start buying local foods – foods that are produced as close to home as possible. Why? Protecting our environment, saving family farms and concern over food quality and food safety are just a few reasons to buy local.

Measuring the full environmental impact of food production, transportation, sale and consumption is a complex task, but we know that produce in the U.S. on average travels thousands of miles from farm to consumer, which translates to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, industrial food production depends on fossil fuels, which when refined and burned creates greenhouse gases.

In addition to helping protect our natural resources, buying local food is a great way to support farmers and our community in general. Farmers receive an average of less than 10 cents of every dollar spent on food, with the rest of the money going to processing, packing, and distribution. At farmers markets, however, nearly all of the money goes straight to the farmers. Helping farmers make a living also helps the local economy by ensuring the money we spend on food circulates within our own community.

Another added benefit of local foods is that knowing where your food comes from enables you to make more informed decisions, allowing you to choose food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed.

Try to eat local foods for one meal each a week, or incorporate local foods for part of one meal several days a week. Start with a vegetable – squash, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, beets and scallions are currently in season. Meat, eggs and dairy products are also currently available from local farmers.
An all local diet can be a challenge, even in a rich agricultural area such as ours, but keep in mind that local means as close to home as possible, so this may mean purchasing lemons from Florida rather than Chile.

For information where to find local foods, check out Delmarva’s Eastern Shore Farm Market Guide at More information is available from the Maryland Online Farmers Market at, and from Buy Local Challenge at A local resource list from the Local Eastern Shore Sustainable Organic Network is available on the publications page of our website at

The ability to preserve farming, protect our natural resources stimulating the local economy at the same time are truly reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Website Coming Soon!

After months of editing, writing, revising, removing and renovating, the staff of the Coastal Bays Program is proud to announce the launching of our new and improved website.
Thanks to the generosity, hard work, and wizardry of those at D3 Corp, the new site is bigger, better and more comprehensive than ever before. Our web address remains the same, but our site is now easier to use, with an interactive map, videos, photo galleries, an up to the minute calendar, and historical as well current information on the Coastal Bays. The new site should be live by early next week.
In terms of content, our site is rather voluminous and was quite a task to organize, but it had to be undertaken so that we can continue to get the message out about the importance of the Coastal Bays watershed. Good websites have become vital to the success of most organizations, non-profit and for profit alike, and we are no exception. As a non-profit, we need to get our message out as much as possible and as clearly as we can.
Our website must make it easy for users to learn more about our cause, to donate money, and to become more involved. It must also be easy for users to find the information they need and the contact information of key personnel. And it must accomplish all this in a way that’s inviting to the organization’s targeted donors and volunteers. We are happy to report that our new site does all that and more.
Of course, there will surely be a few kinks that must be worked out in the coming months, so please keep that in mind when browsing the new site. Feedback from the public is important to us, so don’t hesitate to contact us if the site can be improved. We are always looking for ways to communicate directly with the public, and we hope the new website will provide another avenue to do so effectively.
We would not have been able to update our site to this professional level without help. Thanks to D3 Corp’s generous in-kind work, we were able to afford the company’s technical and graphic expertise and search engine marketing skills.
This kind of community outreach and generosity did not start with us. D3 Corp has also contributed or donated in-kind work for several organizations within the Worcester County and Maryland. Moreover, D3 staff members actively contribute their time, energy and money to various non-profits, including the American Cancer Society of Worcester County, the Blood Bank of Delmarva, Women Supporting Women, Special Olympics, the Ocean City Paramedics Foundation and the Worcester County Humane Society.
Without exception, every person at D3 Corp who worked with us was professional, knowledgeable, courteous and patient. To John, Tanja, Natalee, Nikki, Mike, Nick and David and everyone who helped with this project at D3, thank you so much for making this project possible.
The new website can be previewed on Nov. 19 at 5:30 pm at D3’s West Ocean City office at the Berlin Chamber of Commerce November Business After Hours co-hosted by D3 and the Coastal Bays Program.