NEWS AND EVENTS
2023 Environmental Service Award for Maureen Fine
The Prince George’s Sierra Club is delighted to announce that the 2023 Environmental Service Award goes to Maureen Fine for Outstanding Work Nurturing Local Ecosystems. The Environmental Service Award will be presented at a special community forum – Environmental Justice and You: Stormwater Management – on Saturday, October 7, 11 AM-2 PM at the Mount Rainier Nature Center. All are welcome to attend this fall meeting to celebrate Maureen’s work and to join in the community discussion about nature-based solutions for stormwater problems. Register here to reserve your seat at the table.
Each year, the Prince George’s Sierra Club presents an Environmental Service Award to a Prince George’s County resident who has done outstanding work for the environment in our County. Past recipients have included diverse professionals, government officials, entrepreneurs, and volunteers who have been recognized for their work in conservation, advocacy, education, legislation, environmental justice, climate action, waste diversion, and more. To learn more about past recipients, visit our website. The 2023 Environmental Service Award honors Maureen Fine for her Save BARC initiative, her work as a habitat advisor with the Prince George’s Audubon Society’s Wildlife Habitat Program, and decades of local environmental activism. Read more
Prince George’s County passes a “Better Bag Bill” to reduce plastic pollution and incentivize reuse!
On June 20, 2023 the Prince George’s County Council passed CB-32-2023, the “Better Bag Bill”, which will dramatically reduce litter from plastic carryout bags and increase the use of reusable bags or no bag across the County.
The bill prohibits retailers from providing plastic carryout bags at the point of sale, and requires retailers to charge and retain at least 10 cents for alternative carryout bags. The charge is retained by retailers to pay for paper or other carryout bags.
Shoppers who bring their own bag or don’t take a bag will not have to purchase a carryout bag. The bill’s provisions will go into effect on January 1, 2024. Read more.
2022 was a great year! Read all about it here. With your help, 2023 can be even better!
COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ABOUT TRANSPORTATION EQUITY
February 4, 2023
In partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Social Justice Ministry at Gethsemane United Methodist Church, the Prince George's Sierra Club celebrated Rosa Parks's birthday by observing Transit Equity Day with a special community forum at the Columbia Park Community Center in Landover on February 4. The program, Environmental Justice and You: Transportation Equity, included inspiration, conversation, and lunch with birthday cake. Programs like this are made possible by donations from people like you. To support the work of the Prince Georg’s Sierra Club, click on the yellow donate button. Read More
Programs like this are made possible by donations from people like you. To support the work of the Prince George's Sierra Club, click on the yellow donate button.
Volunteers are needed! If you would like to get more involved in local environmental advocacy, become an outings leader, or help plan our next community outreach event, contact email@example.com.
2022 Maloney Award Winner
The Prince George's Sierra Club is delighted to announce that the 2022 Mike Maloney Environmental Service Award goes to Mary Abe for her outstanding work for Climate Resilience.
The development of a Climate Action Plan has been a major undertaking for environmental stewardship in Prince George's County during the past two years. As staff for the County's Climate Action Commission, Ms. Abe worked tirelessly on that effort, bringing together the ideas of diverse Commissioners, consultants, colleagues, and county residents to develop a comprehensive plan for decreasing greenhouse gases and increasing climate resilience. Prior to joining the Department of the Environment to work on the Climate Action Plan, her local work on storm water management projects and ecosystem restoration showed her commitment to taking a nature-based approach to addressing environmental challenges. As stated by Dawn Hawkins-Nixon, "She often looks to protection and expansion of green space to define a path forward to improving environmental health as well as public health." The 2022 Maloney Environmental Service Award honors Mary for her persistent efforts to decrease climate impacts on our communities and make Prince George's County more resilient as climate change unfolds around us.
The 2022 Maloney Award will be presented at the Prince George's County Sierra Club Summer Picnic at Cosca Regional Park on Saturday, July 9, 1-4 PM. Don't miss this opportunity to get together with local environmental advocates and celebrate the work of our 2022 Maloney Award recipient! Find out more and register here.
Press Release: Prince George’s County Board of Education Adopts First in the Nation School System Climate Change Action Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
College Park, MD – On April 28, 2022, the Board of Education (BoE) of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) adopted a Climate Change Action Plan outlining how the school district will begin to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity by 2030, and all other energy usages, including boilers, HVAC, and transportation by 2040, as well as 100 percent zero waste by 2030 as committed to under a resolution adopted by the BoE on March 1, 2021.
This Climate Change Action Plan was the result of a year-long effort of a workgroup co-chaired by District 3 Board Member, Pamela Boozer-Strother, and lead volunteer of Climate Parents of Prince George’s County, Joseph Jakuta, both of whom are also parents of PGCPS students. The workgroup was made up of and informed by local elected officials, PGCPS staff, students, technological and policy experts, labor leaders, environmental and justice advocates, and parents.
Mobilized to act by Climate Parents of Prince George’s County, a campaign of the Sierra Club, and Chispa’s Clean Buses For Healthy Niños, a campaign of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, this announcement shows how support for clean energy, transportation, and food has grown in Prince George’s County and that PGCPS is ready to lead in the transition. The campaign showed there is continued support throughout Prince George’s County, including through a petition signed by residents in the County and support from municipal governments, parent-teacher associations, and non-profit groups.
“With this plan Prince George’s County Public Schools once again has shown it is both a state and national leader in regards to fostering a healthier learning environment using the clean energy technologies of the future,” says Joseph Jakuta. “It has been an honor to serve PGCPS in developing this plan that, when implemented, will lead to real emission reductions and cost savings in our schools. And the Board of Education and PGCPS staff have shown to be true allies to my children’s generation in the fight for a just climate future.”
"I want to thank all of the community leaders, students, staff, and advocates that have volunteered their time over the past year to develop this action plan,” said Board Member Boozer-Strother. “It is a well thought out approach for PGCPS to tackle its role in climate change. I am especially proud of the student leaders that participated in developing the plan, whether as members of the workgroup or as student moderators in our town hall events. These students are an inspiration for action."
“It is wonderful to see the school system's commitment to more sustainable operations for our children’s health and long-term wellbeing,” says Dr. Janet Gingold, chair of the Sierra Club, Prince George’s County Group. “The Climate Change Action Plan will put PGCPS on a new path toward a transition to clean renewable energy, more energy-efficient buildings, electrification of the fleet, improved waste management, and nature-based solutions to decrease impacts from extreme heat and precipitation stormwater. Our next generation of leaders will have new opportunities to learn about environmental stewardship, not only through the enhanced curriculum but also through examples in the school infrastructure and operations that they see around them every day. We thank the Board of Education for taking this important step forward for our communities."
PGCPS is the 20th largest school district in the country and the second-largest in Maryland with about 130,000 students enrolled in 207 schools with more than 19,000 staff members. The district’s schools and facilities make it one of the largest consumers of electricity in Prince George’s County and have the largest bus fleet in the state of Maryland.
Transitioning PGPCS away from the use of fossil fuels towards greenhouse gas-free electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation will be a vital piece of the puzzle for Prince George’s County to make its climate goals while improving the health of students and staff through reduced air pollution. The transition towards zero food waste will also play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well and lead to healthier diets for the students. The plan itself, as well as the process used to develop it, can also provide a blueprint for other school districts around the nation to take the next step toward implementing climate action goals
For questions contact Joseph Jakuta, lead volunteer on the Climate Parents Campaign at climateparentsPGMD@gmail.com or 512-203-4538.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
Climate Action Commission Releases Climate Action Plan
By Janet Gingold
On October 22, the Prince George’s County Climate Action Commission voted to put forward the Prince George’s County Climate Action Plan for a 30-day public comment period beginning November 1. The full plan and information about how to provide comments is available at mypgc.us/climateactionplan. Written comments can be submitted by email or through the comment portal. Dates and times for in-person hearings are expected to be published soon. Public comments will become part of the public record and will be presented along with the plan to the County Council in January 2022. Read More.
See the Climate Action Plan Flyer
Saturday, September 25, 2-4 PM
The Prince George’s County Sierra Club is delighted to announce that the 2021 Mike Maloney Environmental Service Award will be awarded to Sacoby Wilson, PhD, for his outstanding work for Environmental Justice.
June 24, 2021
Prince George's County Department of the Environment
ORGANICS COMPOSTING PROGRAMS EXPANDS!
Great news! Prince George’s County has launched the Phase 1 expansion of the program for curbside pick-up of food scraps for composting at the Organics Composting Facility in Upper Marlboro. Three thousand households in targeted neighborhoods with Friday trash pick-up have been sent postcards inviting them to opt in to participate using an individual verification code. Participating households will receive a countertop food scraps container and an organics bin for curbside pickup as well as instructions for participation. Food scraps will be collected along with yard waste during the Monday pick-up. See the the Prince George's County Curbside Organics Collection program here.
Food scrap composting
- Decreases our carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane
- Decreases food waste in the landfill
- Creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment that improves soil health
Items that can be composted include food, food-soiled paper, uncoated paper plates and bags, paper towels and napkins, coffee grounds, tea bags and loose tea, paper ice cream containers, egg shells, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, meat and bones, seafood and shell fish, bread, pasta and grains, as well as yard trim.
Watch your mailbox and be sure to opt in as soon as you get your postcard! If your neighborhood is not included in this Phase 1 expansion, be sure to tell your county council representatives that you would like to see this program rapidly expanding county-wide. Also, let the Climate Action Commission know that you want county-wide composting opportunities included in the Climate Action Plan through your written comments or at the upcoming Community Meeting on the Climate Action Plan on June 24. For more information about the food scraps composting program, go to mypgc.us/compost.
The Baltimore-Washington SC Maglev project is picking up speed. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for public review. The deadline for public comments is May 24. Visit our Issues Forum to read what your neighbors are thinking about effects on greenhouse gases and public lands.
Climate Action Plan
Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King
January 18, 2021
On January 18, Bill Walmsley didn’t think his daily trash pick-up from local streets was enough service for special day. So, he spent 2.5 hours collecting trash from the eastern side of Thomas Seabrook Neighborhood Park in Lanham. In addition to some large dumped items, including a tire and a TV, he found a disconcerting number of alcoholic beverage bottles, in this park with a well-used kids’ play area. Read More
Take a virtual tour of the Prince George's County Recycling Facility!
Ever wonder where your curbside recyclables go? Take a virtual tour of the Prince George's County single-stream Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)! Read more
Be a Voice for Environmental Justice in Prince George's County
Tell the PSC we need a just transition to clean, renewable energy now.
Around Brandywine and Waldorf, we have a cluster of gas-fired power plants, a coal ash landfill, and a Superfund site nearby at Joint Base Andrews. Is this fair?
Prince George’s County’s 2019 ban on single-use straws and stirrers that are not home-compostable went into effect on July 1st.
County Council Update - July 2020
After a very busy term coping with upheaval related to the COVID-19 pandemic and unacceptable police brutality and glaring inequities in our society, the Prince George’s County Council has retired for their August recess. The Council Members deserve our thanks for working long and hard on a host of issues, from establishing new systems for working remotely and ensuring that county workers are safe and paid to increasing social services for people hit hard by economic consequences of the pandemic. Using virtual sessions, the County Council also found time to follow through with hearings on environmental bills that had been introduced early in the year. Along with other interested county residents, members of the Prince George’s Sierra Club have provided testimony in support of better environmental policies at the county level. Read More
UNACCEPTABLE POLICE BRUTALITY
Inhumane assaults on Black and Brown people directly threaten us all. When law enforcement officers feel empowered to murder people they are sworn to protect and ordinary citizens come to believe they can invoke abusive police power against their fellow citizens, our society is beset by a plague much worse than a viral pandemic. Read More
CORONAVIRUS AFFECTS US ALL
Prince George's County Sierra Club members practice social distanmcing during an outing at Cedarville State Forest, March 15, 2020.
The COVID19 pandemic has changed how we get together to explore, enjoy and protect our planet. Locally, it has put a spotlight on the health disparities that affect our community, with people of color disproportionately experiencing the worst complications of this insidious virus. Protecting our air, our water and the green spaces where we can exercise and connect with nature becomes all the more important as we seek to make our county a place where all can thrive. While in-person activities are suspended, we continue to schedule on-line events including virtual outings, book discussions and educational forums. Check the calendar for upcoming events. All are welcome!
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL BOOK GROUP
The Prince George’s County Environmental Book Group meets monthly to discuss books that might inform action about the environmental issues that face us. If you want to lead a future book discussion, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome! Go to the calendar to register for discussions.
- May 18: American Wasteland: How America wastes almost half of its food by Jonathan Bloom
- June 16: The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future by David Wallace-Wells
- July 15: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllben
- August 18: The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human by Noah Strycker
If you have suggestions for future books or would like to lead a future discussion, contact email@example.com
The Prince George’s Sierra Club Group Wins a Waste Diversion and Recycling Award
Largo, November 18, 2019. The Prince George’s Sierra Club won a “Waste Diversion and Recycling Award” from the County’s Department of the Environment and Keep Prince George’s Beautiful last Monday. The award cited the Group as an “invaluable partner” with the County in reducing waste and increasing recycling efforts. In particular, it applauded the support of Sierra Club volunteers in recycling at special events, conducting surveys of shoppers’ plastic bag use, and educating businesses on the County’s ban on expanded polystyrene foam food containers. “The DOE truly owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Sierra Club for their continued support in visiting food service establishments to ensure they are complying with the ban on polystyrene.” Congratulations to all who have contributed to the Group’s zero waste efforts! Your work is recognized and appreciated by the County!
2019 Environmental Service Award
University of Maryland Golf Course
Sierra Club opposes re-purposing the UMD Golf Course for a parking lot, playing fields, track
Help businesses comply with the Prince George's foam ban!
Single-use polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) food containers are a major source of roadside litter, not biodegradable, and a known human carcinogen. There are many compostable or recyclable substitutes on the market. On July 1, 2016, Prince George's County's ban on the provision or sale of expanded Styrofoam food-service containers and packing peanuts went into effect. Prior to the ban, three-quarters of all eateries in the county had at least one foam food container, but virtually all of them were also using disposable food containers that were compostable or recyclable. A survey PGSC conducted in August 2016 showed that although fewer businesses were using foam, many were still not aware of the ban.
PGSC volunteers are stepped in to provide information to retailers and eateries in their neighborhood shopping centers and to monitor compliance with the ban. They visited 465 businesses in 45 shopping centers in northern and central Prince George's County. As a result of their efforts, the compliance rate rose from 76% in spring 2017 to 91% in October! And among non-complaint businesses, half already had on hand or had ordered replacements that were compliant. The main reason for non-compliance has been a lack of awareness of the ban. There are many more businesses to reach! If you'd like to help, contact Martha.AInsworth@mdsierra.org. This effort decreased use of expanded polystyrene foam in our county, not by rooting out violators but by educating businesses about the new regulations and available alternatives to toxic material.
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