by Lynne Forsman
For those both new and old to Annapolis green, our 15 Years of Green video is chockful of memories, accomplishments, and pictures.
Yet, it’s also time to think about and appreciate what we’ve accomplished and learned in just the past year.
A month of reset and examination of our programming for the year with Climate Change at the forefront! Annapolis Green’s Green Reads book club is a success, completing its inaugural year of amazing content, discussions, and inspiring reading (or listening). Check out our website to see where we’ve been, what we’ve learned from each book. Our book club leader, Karen Grumbles, has also written several blogs with her thoughts on the selections. Might you join us this year?
Inciting change through advocacy is intrinsic at with this time of year, particularly as the General Assembly is in full swing. We advocated for good environmental legislation in what turned out to be a pretty good year for laws that benefit our state and our planet. This year saw passage of bills affecting environmental justice and clean water, carbon reduction in the built environment, tree planting, electric vehicle charging infrastructure expansion, electrification of the state’s transit fleet, stronger enforcement of existing laws and more. We also advocated for a comprehensive Climate act and bills on dangerous PFAS pollution and plastic bag bans that did not pass. Here is a summary of the session from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Sadly, at the end of the month we said goodbye to our beloved office and garden at 92 Maryland Avenue when the building was sold. That has moved us to investing in People vs Place, taking stock, and realizing we need to prioritize and wait for the next incredible opportunity.
Connecting online is the way of our world these days. Keeping it fun, yet informational is key. Collaborating with the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership we had an engaging online talk, “Birds in the Vineyard,” that included a virtual wine tasting at Great Frogs Winery with music by birder Dan Haas. With our partners at Homestead Gardens, we teed up our Here We Grow program with a series of online talks Homestead presented including “Planting Resilient Species” and more.
During Earth Day month we highlighted one of the best ways we as individuals can mitigate Climate Change is by driving electric. To celebrate the national Drive Electric Earth Day, we launched EV-ED … that stands for Electric Vehicles on Earth Day. Still under our attention-grabbing Kick Gas! programming, we teamed up with Anne Arundel Public Library’s WestStreet branch to put on an in-person mini EV Showcase with COVID protocols in place. We even had info about electric boats!
After a fun EV Trivia and Comedy Night, we made sure that Here We Grow continues to… go! Our program of planting natives, big and small, is yet another way to give back to the Earth. We added “beautiful and delicious,” encouraging adding vegetables and fruits in with your flowers! With our campaign targeting container and balcony gardens to those much larger, we educated, inspired, and even assisted in planting vegetables and herbs at The Graduate’s entrance garden! We continue to connect the community with vast resources locally and regionally to help with their green thumbs!
For the Greener Good… this month now signifies the synergy that comes from environmental nonprofits working and fundraising together. Each GreenGive partner plays a unique role in inspiring environmental action and philanthropy. It’s a terrific display of the incredible environmental efforts that make our community thrive:
- Annapolis Green, bringing the community together to take action for the sake of the environment that nurtures us
- Arundel Rivers Federation, speaking for the West, Rhode, and South Rivers
- Friends of Jug Bay, educating about and caring for this wetland sanctuary
- Scenic Rivers Land Trust, protecting lands from development forever
- Severn River Association, speaking for the Severn River
- Severn Riverkeeper, speaking for the Severn River
- Spa Creek Conservancy, speaking for the creek that runs through the heart of Annapolis
- Luke’s Restoration of Nature, restoring an urban forest
- Unity Gardens, building community by funding gardens
- Watershed Stewards Academy, training and mobilizing community leaders for clean water and sustainable landscapes
Plastic Free July is a national movement, yet we want to make “plastic-free” the mantra for the whole year. Our Plastic Free Annapolis program continues to be of utmost importance, especially as we come through and out of (we hope) the pandemic. Disposable plastic is needed in health care but continues to grow and that is not good for the environment as plastic made from petroleum products. One of the largest plastic offenders that litters our streets and the Bay is the tiny plastic filter on a cigarette butt. Thanks to funding from several state agencies, Annapolis Green partnered with the City of Annapolis to implement a public education program called – No Butts in the Bay. With new receptacles deployed and then recycling the collected butts, through media promotion, signage and volunteers, the program’s aim was to influence smokers to properly dispose of their butts, that is, not on the ground or in our waterways. Our goal always… is to keep our town as plastic free as possible, clean, and beautiful.
This year saw the re-emergence of our creative portable water refill stations the NAPTOWN TAPs, reminding us all to forego the single-use plastic water bottle and bringing home the much larger message of plastic reduction.
From the Hammond-Harwood House’s Secret Garden Tour and the Sailing community (Brendan Sailing, Annapolis Sailing School) to “summering” at Sherwood Forest and big presence at the Annapolis Boat Shows, the TAPs are ready for 2022!
We Kicked Gas! For the six months leading up to September ramped up messaging on driving electric through an EV Comedy and Trivia Night, the monthly Ask an EV Owner (with EVADC, the drivers’ group), and even hosted an EVs and Ice Cream Social at Maryland Hall – to get the “scoop” on driving electric! All of this led up to our Kick Gas in Annapolis, our 7th annual in-person Electric Vehicle Showcase at City Dock during National Drive Electric Week. With over 60 cars, e-bikes, motorcycles, an electric yacht, and seminars, our event was opened by special guests US Senator Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles, Anne Arundel County Executive Stuart Pittman, and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, and many other elected officials and dignitaries to the toe-tapping tunes of the Naptown Brass Band. It was our best and biggest EV Showcase ever.
This month we introduced you to Maggie Hughes, our Program Manager, who will take over as Executive Director on January 1.
Composting… it’s our other rallying cry to keep methane in check at the landfill. Due to popular demand, we brought back the Great Pumpkin Drop Off at Truxtun Park in partnership with the City and with additional support from the Annapolis Rotary Club. We collected both BIG (as in the huge 1,000-pounders that had been on display downtown) and small (cooking pumpkins we donated to Anne Arundel Food Bank) and lots of jack-o-lanterns. Veteran Compost once again hauled over 10,000 pounds to be processed and turned into next spring’s hot item – Pumpkin Spice Compost (Sold by us as a fundraiser over the holidays and next spring for planting.). The pumpkin pickup coincided with a six-month drop-off composting pilot program at Truxtun to keep kitchen scraps – vegetable and fruit cuttings, coffee grounds, meat and bone scraps, and more out of the landfill. It’s still on… through March 30, 2022.
For us, composting also means going Zero-Waste – and although COVID still kept its hold limiting large gatherings, we commend Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County; both called us in to help make several of their events sustainable. We hope that’s a sign of things to come in the new year!
Most of the world’s leaders gathered in Glasgow for COP26 to announce steps their countries will take right now to deal with the Climate Crisis. We kept the conference front and center and then bought the issues back to our community by hosting an engaging and informative online talk by Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles and Dr. Peter Goodwin, President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability, University System of Maryland. Annapolis Green will continue to be an active local voice on Climate Change, making it part of our ongoing conversation and providing actionable ideas on a community level.
Times of Change. First, we’re amazed it’s been 15 years since our first Green Drinks Annapolis (which we miss more than we can express). We felt that it was to unveil a video, 15 Years of Green, that captured some of our initiatives and accomplishments, with a special thanks to our contributors. We also came to terms with the inevitability for a change… and involves our visionary Co-founder Elvia Thompson who is stepping away from the day-to-day running of Annapolis Green. At the same time, we celebrate our new Executive Director Maggie Hughes, who will make our 2022 something very special.
With our list of Founding One Hundred donors complete, and new members added to our Board, we continued to thrive even without revenue from in-person events that has helped to keep us afloat for years. It’s been a difficult time but we are hopeful and excited for the future. We hope you will join us in: 1) staying informed about the issues – global and local – that affect our lives, and 2) taking action. Every action, no matter how small, makes a difference when we work together. Annapolis Green is a Force for Good, continuing to advocate, educate and re-energize with creative initiatives to preserve our planet and its life-giving resources on a grassroots level, right here, in our community. We realize positive change typically comes from ground up – in our communities. By making Climate Change issues both understandable and actionable, we spark honest conversations to collectively produce encouraging results. Join and support us – be a Force for Good. Please make a year-end donation to Annapolis Green right now.