Monday, November 30, 2009

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.

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