Top Ten Things You Would Have Learned at University of Vermont's Sustainable Business Program
By Cynthia Belliveau, M.P.A., Ed.D., Dean of University of Vermont Continuing Education
This summer, professionals from as far away as the Sudan and from companies as varied as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Dupont, and Domtar, came together at the University of Vermont in Burlington to talk about one of today’s most pressing topics - sustainable business.
Together, they learned, networked, and discovered the inner workings of leading sustainable businesses that continue to innovate in this space, such as Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s and All Earth Renewables. In the process, they found that sustainability is not the province of one industry, or set of professionals - it is an all-encompassing idea that must filter into all niches of the business world. The challenge is to figure out how. Attendees walked away with a toolkit to bring to their own business environments.
Here’s what you would have learned had you been there, too.
1. Profit is NOT a dirty word. Sustainability and profit are not necessarily at odds with one another. Businesses that create and add value with full recognition of externalities can be profitable as long as they meet a need. Rocki-Lee DeWitt, professor of management in the School of Business at the University of Vermont.
2. The psychology of sustainability. Before shouting about the benefits of sustainable decision-making, it's important to ask oneself the tough questions like "do human beings truly care about the future?" Jon Erickson, professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.
3. Even famously responsible companies face major challenges. Sustainability is a constant and ever-evolving goal, and we can always reach new heights. Green Mountain Coffee Roaster's transparent effort to make Keurig technology more sustainable is the perfect example of how their commitment to corporate social responsibility is driving innovation. Michael Dupee, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
4. Going sustainable can be cheaper than "business as usual." The indirect costs of using toxic chemicals, for example, are often not measured explicitly by companies when purchasing decisions are made. This is an oversight because the cumulative costs associated with safe transportation of these chemicals, their disposal, and the resulting employee health problems may be higher than if a more environmentally friendly material is used. Martha Woodman, faculty, accounting, School of Business at the University of Vermont.
5. Triple Bottom Line accounting is a conundrum. Economic performance is measurable, but environmental and social impacts are more difficult to quantify. This does not, however, stop companies like Ben & Jerry's from trying. Read their Social and Environmental Assessment Report here: www.benjerry.com/company/sear. Andrea Asch, manager of Natural Resources, Ben & Jerry's.
6. Open book accounting. A commitment to transparency can improve business and teach employees to think like owners. Justin Worthley, general manager, Rhino Foods, a food company based in Burlington, VT.
7. "Think global, act local" is NOT enough. Purchasing decisions are rarely black and white. Consumers have the power to influence global development, and to be truly planetary citizens we need to also fight global poverty through purchase decisions. An item's carbon footprint should not deter a customer if such trade truly supports development in distant lands that desperately needs income and has fewer alternatives than a local producer. Saleem Ali, professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont.
8. Give green credit wherever greed credit is due. While smaller sustainable brands often pave the way and show industries how to turn a profit while being responsible, behemoths like Wal-Mart have the power to change the world due to their size and breadth. Karen Fleming, associate professor of Business at Green Mountain College.
9. Vermont is a state where innovation in sustainability is soaring, but it's not alone. Pockets exist throughout the nation where dedicated people have started making a difference. With true commitment, "business as usual" will soon contain a new set of priorities in all fifty states. Matt Sayre, program developer at the University of Vermont.
10. Collaboration fosters change. Program attendees came from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Vault.com, Dupont, Goodrich, Domtar, QVC, the U.S. General Service Administration, Scotts Miracle-Gro, the Association of Vermont Recyclers, Green Mountain Electric Supply, and the dairy farming, higher education, legal, real estate, accounting, marketing and financial sectors. Attendees shared their wisdom with each other and helped each other brainstorm ways to make their own businesses more sustainable.
I invite you to join us at UVM for future sustainability programming and become part of a passionate community of professionals.
The University of Vermont also hosts a new LinkedIn Group for professional in sustainable business here.
About Cynthia Belliveau
Cynthia Belliveau, M.P.A., Ed.D. Dr. Belliveau is dean of University of Vermont Continuing Education and teaches in UVM's Department of Nutrition and Food Science. In 2005, Dr. Belliveau founded the "Sustainable Business: Practices in Support of People, Profit and Principles" program, designed to integrate the work of business and environmental faculty at the University. She currently serves on the Governor's Agricultural Development Board and has held board/committee positions for the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Lake Champlain Workforce Development Investment Board and the Intervale Strategic Planning Committee
Blue Water Baltimore Appoints New Executive Director
Baltimore, MD - Blue Water Baltimore, a nonprofit organization focused on improving Baltimore’s watersheds and protecting its water resources, has named Halle Van der Gaag as its Executive Director. Van der Gaag is an experienced nonprofit executive and expert on issues of water quality and land use who has held management positions with the Trust for Public Land and the Parks & People Foundation. More recently, she was the Executive Director of the Jones Falls Watershed Association (JFWA) for five years and was instrumental in merging the JFWA with four regional water quality organizations to create Blue Water Baltimore, the leading advocate for waterways in Central Maryland.
Van der Gaag takes the helm of the $1.4 million organization as it looks to expand its outreach, lobbying capacity, and fundraising, having served as the Deputy Director of Blue Water Baltimore since its creation in 2010.
“Halle is the ideal person to lead Blue Water Baltimore into the future,” said T.J. Mullen, Chairman of Blue Water Baltimore. “No one knows this organization, its programs, and its priorities better than she does. Halle has a wealth of experience in both generating funding for and running a wide range of programs, which are the lifeblood of the organization. Equally important are the excellent relationships she has developed with local, state, and federal legislators and regulators, all of whom have a direct bearing on our ability to preserve and protect our local waters which directly impact the Chesapeake Bay as well.”
“As a full service organization with programs ranging from tree plantings and citizen-based initiatives to holding polluters legally accountable, Blue Water Baltimore is in a unique position to make a positive impact on the range of issues that affect water quality,” Van der Gaag said. “Central Maryland is defined by its relationship with water, from the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay to the thousands of creeks, streams and tributaries that extend throughout the region. Improving water quality here means improving our quality of life.”
Governor Martin O'Malley Highlights Agriculture, Volunteerism at Maryland State Fair
GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY HIGHLIGHTS AGRICULTURE, VOLUNTEERISM AT 130th MARYLAND STATE FAIR Governor cites traditions of agriculture and service as keys to sustainable, civil future; Presents Smart, Green and Growing Awards
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance to address state agricultural and volunteerism leaders in a visit to the 130th Maryland State Fair in Timonium. The combined Governor’s Volunteer and Agriculture Day luncheon celebrated farming and volunteerism as the foundations of our state and the keys to a sustainable and civil future for all Marylanders.
“There is a strong connectivity between our goals for agriculture, civil service, and the more sustainable future that all of us prefer for our state.” said Governor O’Malley. “Throughout the great Revolutionary history of our state, we have derived our strength here in Maryland from our shared sense that tomorrow can be better than today, and that each of us shares a personal responsibility to help make it so. The awards presented today reflect that same spirit of shared responsibility and commitment to the future of our great State.”
Agriculture Day, traditionally held on the Thursday in the middle of the 11-day run of the Fair, highlights the strong agricultural traditions that make Maryland the strong state that it is today and that carry us forward to the future. It is celebrated with a luncheon gathering of agricultural leadership from around the state and a host of special, agriculture-related activities. Farming provides a healthy, local food supply, preserves beautiful, productive farmland, and strengthens rural economies for the benefit of all Marylanders.
Traditionally, Governor’s Volunteer Appreciation Day is held on the first Sunday of the Maryland State Fair. Governor’s Volunteer Appreciation Day 2011 took place August 28. The Governor’s Office on Services and Volunteerism hosted the Governor’s tent, which provided space for state agencies and community exhibitors. Activities in the Governor’s tent included karaoke, a face painting station, jewelry studio, visor making and a card design center. Special invitations were extended to returning military troops and their families to spend a day at the State Fair, compliments of the Governor. Requests for Governor’s Volunteer Appreciation Day discount tickets poured in from across the state. Each ticket allowed a group of five people admission to the State Fair at a discounted rate, including discounts on the price of rides and the new State Fair Coupon Book.
During the luncheon, Governor O’Malley presented the 2011 Smart, Green and Growing Excellence in Agricultural Stewardship Award to Steven Ernst for his long history of sustainable, conservation farming. Governor O’Malley also presented the 2011 Smart, Green and Growing Government Innovation Award to St. Mary’s County Government for its work with citizens and other stakeholders to codify new laws to successfully save the county’s agricultural heritage.
During today’s luncheon Secretary Hance welcomed Casey Miller, 16, named Miss Maryland Agriculture 2011 on August 26 at the Maryland State Fair. Miss Miller, of Clinton in Prince George’s County, grew up on the 250-acre family owned Miller Farms, one of the oldest working farms providing fresh produce, soy beans, wheat, straw, flowers and close to the D.C. area. Her family’s ancestors have farmed the land since 1840. She is entering her junior year at St. Mary’s Ryken High School.
Governor O’Malley also recognized John Porcari, former Maryland Transportation Secretary and current U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Michael Scuse, Acting Under Secretary Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Shawn Garvin, EPA Region 3 Administrator. Following the luncheon, the State Fair leadership and other dignitaries toured the fairgrounds, visiting the Exhibition Hall, Farm and Garden Building, the Maryland State Fair Museum, and Natural Resources exhibits. Special activities included a slime lab, honey extraction demonstration, Master Gardener and Flower Day as well as traditional cattle and horse show, and a home arts show.
2011 Smart Green and Growing Award Recipients
Excellence in Agricultural Stewardship – Steve Ernst (Washington County farmer)
Steven Ernst was honored for his long history of sustainable, conservation farming. A seventh-generation farmer, Mr. Ernst manages a 624 acre grain, swine and sheep operation in Clear Spring (Washington County). In June 2010, Mr. Ernst became the first farmer in the state certified under the new Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP) – a designation that indicates the operation’s nutrient management plan and soil conservation and water quality plan have been prepared and implemented in full compliance with state requirements and that conservation best management practices have been installed and maintained to prevent any significant pollution from leaving the farm. These best management practices include grassed waterways, riparian buffers, filter strips, a manure storage facility, a pesticide storage facility, conservation crop rotation, residue management and long-term no-till planting and extensive use of cover crops. By planting cover crops regularly, placing the farm under perpetual easement with the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, and by becoming the state’s first certified agricultural conservation steward, Mr.Ernst exemplifies the best of the agriculture industry and serves as a true role model for others to emulate.
Government Innovation – St. Mary’s County Government
St. Mary’s County Government was honored for its willingness to work with citizens and other stakeholders to codify new laws to successfully save the county’s agricultural heritage. Between 1987 and 2002, rural St. Mary’s County lost 15 percent of its active farmland, for a loss of 12,000 acres. To protect its rural character, the county created a Task Force on Transferable Development Rights, a Task Force on Adequate Public Facilities, and a Rural Preservation District Task Force. Between 2002 and 2010, the county implemented a lattice of controversial but critical land use reforms that ultimately stopped the loss of farmland. The county accomplished this turn-about with five distinct tools: (1) strong rural zoning, (2) an improved transferable development rights program, (3) a growth management policy, (4) a “right to farm” ordinance, and (5) zoning incentives for new forms of agriculture. Each task force included farmers, developers, environmentalists and a diverse representation of other community interests. They also received staff support from two county departments: the Department of Land Use and Growth Management and the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Maryland Grants for Capital Assets Now Available From MARBIDCO
ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) has announced a grant funding opportunity to encourage Maryland's agricultural producers to expand or diversify their business operations by installing capital assets to make product that is "value added". Eligible applicants must be a crop or livestock producer or processor, agricultural cooperative, seafood processor, or timber products processor, and have been in business for a minimum of two years.
Applicants can receive up to $20,000 for projects such as production buildings and major fixtures, livestock or seafood processing facilities, fruit or vegetable processing facilities, timber or wood products facilities, and manure digesters. Cash matching funds are required, and must be at least equal to the amount of grant funds requested.
The submission deadline for applicants seeking to receive MVAPG-Capital Assets Option grants from MARBIDCO is Monday, October 3, 2011 by 4:00 p.m. (Applications received in the mail with a Saturday, October 1, 2011 postmark will also be accepted). Grant award announcements will be made on or about October 28, 2011. Late applications will not be accepted.
Please visit the MARBIDCO website for more information and to download the MVAPG application form: http://www.marbidco.org/applications.html. Questions about the MVAPG-Capital Assets Option may also be addressed by contacting Kristen Robinson, MARBIDCO Financial Programs Officer, at (410) 267-6807.
Miss Maryland Agriculture Named at the MD State Fair
Friday evening, 16-year-old Casey Miller of Clinton in Prince George’s County, Maryland was named Miss Maryland Agriculture 2011. Miss Miller grew up on the 250-acre family-owned Miller Farms, one of the oldest working farms providing fresh produce, soy beans, wheat, straw, flowers close to the DC area. Her family's ancestors have farmed the land since 1840. The family raises fresh produce, soy beans, wheat and straw and flowers.
Ms. Miller is entering her Junior year at St. Mary’s Ryken High School. She sings in her school choir, is a member of the school’s drama/theatre club and of the Key and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Clubs. She has volunteered for Prince George’s County Christmas in April, St. John’s Church and sings for church and at special events.
“Living on a farm has given me a true appreciation of knowing what hard work really is all about. Our farm has given me memories that will last a lifetime,” said Ms. Miller. “I hope one day to share these memories with my future family and carry on the same traditions.”
Ms. Miller was awarded with scholarship and cash awards valued up to $13,000. As Miss Maryland Agriculture 2011, she will be present throughout the run of the Maryland State Fair to award prizes, and meet with fairgoers, dignitaries, and media representatives. Her responsibilities will continue throughout the year, as she will participate in a number of activities representing Maryland agriculture.
Eagle Scout Project for Sotterley
Receiving the distinction of Eagle Scout requires strong motivation, willingness to learn, careful planning, with a strong commitment to service. Isaac Wieser possesses all of these admirable characteristics, plus unmatched, unbridled enthusiasm. Born with Down syndrome, he doesn’t allow challenges to intimidate him one bit. Last week, after a full year of planning, organizing, supervising, and development, he delivered 10 white cedar bluebird houses to Sotterley Plantation, as part of the wildlife encouragement program.
“I’m so excited!” Isaac exclaimed, upon entering the Sotterley office with his mother and brother … and he has every right to be. After identifying Sotterley’s need for this valuable project at the 2010 Garden Fair, he set to work. With assistance from his family and fellow boy scouts in Troop 420 of Leonardtown, what began as an idea has become a reality.
After learning that bluebirds prefer white cedar, Isaac’s grandfather generously donated the wood for the project. Isaac’s next phase of learning included how to use a drill press and other tools correctly and safely, under the instruction of his father. Once the prep-work was complete, he supervised the construction of the high-quality bluebird houses. Grouping the scouts into teams, each responsible for a specific task on an assembly line, he oversaw each phase of development for quality assurance.
“We are so incredibly honored that Isaac chose Sotterley for this most amazing gift. This will help us to increase the bluebird population at Sotterley,” stated Nancy Easterling, Executive Director. “Most importantly, we have made a great friend in Isaac.”
Much thanks to Isaac Wieser, the Wieser family, and Boy Scout Troop 420 of Leonardtown, Maryland. We are grateful … and excited!
Battlefields showcase natural as well as military history
By Lara Lutz, Bay Journal News Service
The bloodiest day in U.S. history took place in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, along a Potomac River tributary called Antietam Creek.
The Battle of Antietam left more than 23,000 men dead, wounded or missing on a single day in September 1862. Many fell before noon. They died in farm fields and woodlands, along orchards, dusty roads and fence lines. Days later, most bodies remained untended.
It was a horrific clash on incredibly beautiful land, just beyond Sharpsburg, Md. Today, the National Park Service maintains more than 3,000 preserved acres of the battlefield to honor the sacrifice that occurred there. The nation is marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and historic significance is top priority.
But while hundreds of thousands of people tour Antietam National Battlefield each year to contemplate the events of 1862, a steady stream of visitors comes for another reason - the vistas, woodlands and wildlife.
The landscape that defined the battle has become a treasure in its own right.
Paddlers travel the creek to the site of an epic conflict at Burnside Bridge. Others stroll along tour roads in early morning light and hike through secluded fields and forests. Birders search for species like the Eastern bluebird, blue grosbeak and grasshopper sparrow. Wildflowers abound.
Acting Superintendent Ed Wenschhof said that Antietam, which so far remains free of intense development pressure, is habitat for 33 plant and animal species on Maryland's threatened, rare, and "watch" lists. It also boasts some of the best quality limestone forests in the state.
Other battlefields in the Chesapeake region play similar roles. Created to honor some of the bloodiest battles in North America, they have become havens for wildlife and people alike. Their preserved expanses of land, with a variety of protected habitat features, become increasingly important as residential and commercial development continue to increase.
The Wilderness Battlefield, near Fredericksburg, VA, only recently escaped close quarters with a Wal-Mart supercenter. Public protest erupted over a proposal to build the store on a privately owned portion of the battlefield immediately next to the national park. In January, Wal-Mart dropped its plans as the dispute moved to court.
"Battlefields like Manassas, Monocacy and Gettysburg are really being encroached by urban development," Winschhof said. "They have become refuges for many species and also refuges of green space for recreation."
The Audubon Society designated both Gettysburg National Military Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park as Important Bird Areas, primarily for their outstanding grassland habitat.
Although Manassas is located in a developed area less than 30 miles from Washington, DC, the park hosts more than 150 bird species, 54 of which breed in the park. Fishermen and birders frequent the grounds, and the dramatic presence of Virginia bluebells draws many visitors each spring. Bryan Gorsira, natural resources manager at Manassas, said that history now shares the spotlight with nature. "The park's primary mission is the Civil War but as time goes by its significance has become more and more its natural resources."
Photographer Don Cooper began capturing images of Antietam wildlife while working for National Geographic in 1974. He has made daily visits in the spring and fall, and still roams the grounds on a weekly basis.
"Antietam is a just a treasure trove of wildlife," he said.
Cooper likes birds, and birds like Antietam. Among those featured in his work are eagles, owls, raptors, orioles, Eastern bluebirds and a range of aquatic species that linger near the creek. He often explores the Snavely Trail, where he has photographed more than 20 species of wildflowers. Another of his favorites is the Dunker Church.
"Behind the church is a wonderful woods, a hot spot for warblers and humming birds," Cooper said.
The 12-acre tract is called the West Woods, and natural resources manager Joe Calzarette knows it well.
In 1862, the West Woods was a parcel of oak and hickory that saw intense fighting and troop movement. Until 15 years ago, though, the West Woods had ceased to exist. The trees had been cleared for farming and it was Calzarette's job to bring them back.
Under his guidance, scouts, school groups and other volunteers began planting 15,000 bare root seedlings. Today, the West Woods is again a part of the landscape - a success for both historic and natural resources.
But supporting both nature and history well is always a challenge. Managing Antietam's natural resources requires balance, strategy and adjustment.
"We have a mandate to restore the landscape to the way it looked in 1862, but we want to use strategies that are as environmentally sound as possible," Calzarette said.
More than 30 acres of woods and 12 acres of orchards have been restored to their historic locations. When saplings at one site failed to survive in poor soil, the management plan shifted to nurture valuable grassland habitat for birds.
Large areas of the battlefield must be retained in open space to preserve the viewshed and the sites of fields and pastures of 1862. This means that trees can't always grow where Calzarette would like to see them.
"What do you do with a stream bank where ideally you'd have a full buffer of trees, but historically the trees weren't there?" Calzarette said.
As a compromise, some buffers have limited width and consist largely of grasses and shrubs. Wherever possible, especially in back areas of the park along Antietam Creek, saplings claim a wide shoreline buffer.
More than 1,200 acres of the battlefield remain in active agriculture through partnerships with local farmers. The field patterns have remained largely the same in the 150 years since the battle, but farm practices have changed greatly.
"We have agriculture overlaying sensitive karst geology, so water quality is one of our highest priorities," Calzarette said. "We use conservation tillage, rotate crops, limit pesticides, use gravity-fed troughs - all the best management practices we know to keep it historically accurate but environmentally safe."
Gettysburg National Military Park deals with similar issues on a larger scale, with nearly 6,000 acres to manage and 2,400 acres in agriculture. Approximately 2,000 acres are grassland habitat, some of which was created recently to reopen historic vistas.
Gettysburg education specialist Barbara Sanders wants to see natural resources programming increasingly integrated with the park's other offerings. She believes that promoting natural and historical resources as a package will encourage field trips during tough economic times.
"With school budgets so tight, the trend has been to cut field trips," Sanders said. "So I've made some efforts to show that a field trip to Gettysburg is not only valid for teaching social studies and citizenship, but for teaching other subjects too. We have to be all of these things, and not just the place where General Lee brought his army."
The Manassas National Battlefield Park has already been a formal part of the environmental education program for sixth graders in Prince William County, Virginia. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training grant, students investigated the stream system on the battlefield and learned about its connection to the Bay.
Park managers say that tourists pressed for time often limit their stops to the driving tour, so students and other local residents are usually the first to immerse themselves in the natural heritage of these Civil War sites. But as the surrounding landscape grows more crowded, the region's battlefields continue to coax slower visits from people seeking not just a sense of history, but a quiet streamside respite and the glimpse of quail among the grass.
Distributed by Bay Journal News Service
Governor Martin O'Malley Announces Record Cover Crop Enrollment
VIENNA, MD - On August 16, surrounded by fields of soybeans, Governor Martin O’Malley joined Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, agricultural leaders, local farmers, and elected officials to announce record cover crop acreage by Maryland farmers.
“We are working with Maryland’s farmers to protect family farms and agriculture jobs, and to keep family farming profitable,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today’s announcement is great news for our farmers who continue to take strong conservation actions to diversify their farming operations and use new and innovative ways to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Together, we are creating jobs and supporting rural economies, improving our quality of life, and securing the future of Maryland agriculture and our environment for generations to come.”
Governor O’Malley announced that Maryland has approved a record 550,000 acres of winter grains to date in the Cover Crop Program, which were requested by a record 1,767 farmers – 206 of which were new to the program this year. This record acreage represents 155 percent of the Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan goals for cover crops. Cover crops are one of the most cost-effective means of helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
Cover crops are planted in the fall after the autumn harvest to help farmers control soil erosion and reduce the amount of nutrients washing into the bay over the winter. Once established, cover crops recycle unused plant nutrients remaining in the soil from the previous summer crop, protect fields against wind and water erosion, and help improve the soil for the next year’s crop. Maryland’s Cover Crop Program provides farmers with grants to plant cover crops on their fields immediately following the summer crop harvest
“Not only is Maryland’s cover crop program a very attractive and flexible program, it has the potential to do more for the Bay than ever before. Maryland farmers are on track to exceed the Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan milestone for cover crops with record number of approved acres,” said Agriculture Secretary Hance. “We commend and thank all farmers who, together, have enrolled more than half a million acres of small grain crops that protect our soil and water by taking up any left over nutrients and preventing soil erosion over the winter.”
Top counties ranked by the largest percentage of eligible farmland enrolled: o Allegany 702/800 acres – 88 percent o Calvert 5,616/6,600 acres – 85 percent o Montgomery 21, 167/26,000 – 81 percent o Somerset 25,144/31,500 – 80 percent
Top counties ranked by most acres enrolled: o Queen Anne’s – 63, 838 o Kent – 57, 799 o Talbot – 55, 322 o Frederick – 43, 434 o Dorchester – 40,991
The announcement was made at Lazy Day Farms/Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery in Dorchester County. The Layton family manages more than 1,800 acres, including 1,250 acres of grain, 12 acres of grapes and owns/operates the winery. The Laytons are innovative, agricultural leaders and Governor’s Hall of Fame inductees. They are known for their use of technology and forward thinking, conservation and environmental stewardship and service to the county and the industry. A brief slideshow featuring the Laytons is available here.
NRDC: It’s Not Just the Heat, It’s the Smog Pollution
WASHINGTON – Most of the nation – from seaside suburbs to our national parks - has experienced health-threatening “bad air” days this year due to smog pollution, according to a new analysis of government air pollution data by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Led by California, about 250 communities and parks in nearly 40 states have experienced one or more “code orange” dangerous air days this year, making it unsafe for children, older adults and people with breathing problems to go outside.
In all, more than 2,000 “code orange” air quality alerts occurred nationwide in just the first seven months of this year, with many areas having long stretches of days with bad air due to elevated smog levels.
NRDC’s analysis comes amid ongoing EPA delays for approving updated air pollution standards that could save thousands of American lives and stop tens of thousands of asthma attacks each year.
“The bottom line is that we have way too many days in way too many places when the air is unsafe for our kids,” said NRDC Clean Air Director John Walke. “The EPA needs to quit stalling on tougher smog standards promised years ago and protect our children, our elderly and all of us.”
Under standards set in 1997, the EPA considers air to be unhealthy if levels of ozone - the primary ingredient in smog - reach 84 parts per billion. The Bush administration lowered the ozone standard to 75 parts per billion in 2008, but ignored unanimous recommendations of its science advisors that a truly protective standard needed to be set within 60-70 parts per billion. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed adopting more protective standards within that range, and the agency is expected to announce its decision soon.
According to the NRDC analysis:
*California and New Jersey lead the country in dangerous air days. But even more rural states such as Maine, Vermont and Kansas also had dangerous air days this year, partly because of smog blown in from other states.
*Along with metro areas throughout California, cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C. and Washington, D.C. all had 20 or more dangerous air days already this year.
*Nine national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia National Park had dangerous air days this year because of smog blown in from other areas.
For detailed data on the NRDC analysis, click here.
For NRDC climate campaign director Pete Altman’s blog on bad air days, click here.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org.
Sultana's Canoe Camp Rescues an Osprey
On July 28, students in Sultana Projects' "Canoe Camp" helped rescue a young Osprey that had apparently crash-landed into the Chester River during its first flight. Sultana staff member Charlie Marshal - experienced chicken wrangler and 4H Club alumni - helped to gently coax the soaking, exhausted raptor into his canoe and successfully managed to get the Osprey back into it's nest.
Within 30 minutes Mama Osprey was back on the scene to help straighten out some loose feathers, and later that same day the Canoe Camp students watched as the young Osprey took to the skies again - this time successfully!
CBF Issues Statement Following Release of Blue Crab Stock Assessment
(ANNAPOLIS, MD/HAMPTON ROADS, VA) -- Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Senior Fisheries Scientist Bill Goldsborough issued this statement following the release of the just completed blue crab stock assessment.
Bill Goldsborough said: “This stock assessment provides important new science to guide the management of the Bay’s blue crabs over the next decade. It shows that if Maryland and Virginia stay the course, the Bay’s crab population could return to levels not seen since the 1960s. This will bring clear and measurable benefits to all of us who enjoy steamed crabs, for recreational anglers, and for the commercial watermen who depend on the resource for a living.”