Monthly Archives

February 2020

Wellness Ambassadors of End Time Harvest Ministries Take Action

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End Time Harvest Ministries Reverend and CEO, Gail Addison, touches on the successes of this tree planting and environmental literacy project, which was funded by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program.

Empowering residents to take action is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to the protection and restoration of our natural resources. The Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, awards grants to organizations that engage County residents in the restoration and protection of local rivers, which ultimately boosts the health of their neighborhoods.

End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM), located in Bladensburg, Maryland is a faith-based organization with a mission that includes empowering youth to become leaders in their neighborhoods. One way that ETHM meets this goal is through their Wellness Ambassadors program, offering youth a variety of activities that promote health and wellness.

ETHM was awarded a grant in 2017 to conduct a Wellness Ambassadors Environmental Health Summer Employment Program. This program aimed to boost environmental literacy by connecting local stormwater management to the health and wellness of students and their families in the Port Towns, Kenilworth, and Riverdale neighborhoods. The Ambassadors participated in tree planting activities that were led by the Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation (CKAR CDC) and supported by the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS). A total of 15 native trees were planted at an Edmonston Road site, an area selected by CKAR CDC for revitalization.  Students and their families also participated in a workshop held by AWS on the importance and benefits of trees in managing stormwater runoff.

Do you want to build a healthy neighborhood, too? Plant a tree! Trees help manage stormwater runoff by taking up greater amounts of stormwater through their roots (compared to a grass-only lawn), which filters out pollutants and reduces the amount of pollution that reaches our local waterways. Trees also filter polluted air and have the added benefit of making communities quieter by absorbing sound. Picking native trees to plant is especially important because they provide food and habitat for native wildlife and they require less maintenance.

This tree planting project boosted environmental literacy and gave students and families the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning experiences that positively contributed to their environment and overall health. Congratulations to End Time Harvest Ministries on a successful and engaging project!

I Just Spent a Year Without Buying Plastic. You Can Too.

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This blog was originally submitted by Dr. Jana Davis, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, to the Capital Gazette newspaper where it ran as in the opinion column on February 16th.

It may sound impossible, but I can say, as a (somewhat) normal person, it’s very possible to reduce buying plastic by 90% with very limited impact on lifestyle. Why did I try this? I looked down one day at my dollar-store plastic flipflop

s and thought: “These Ridiculous. Pink. Things. Will be in a landfill for billions of years.” I had also heard that there is almost more plastic in the oceans than fish and saw an image of a starved albatross on a deserted island with a stomach filled with plastic. I decided I could do something.

I, perhaps like you, am not a “super greenie.” I am not only not a vegan, I’m not even a vegetarian (gasp!). I don’t drive an electric car; I don’t even drive a hybrid (shame!). I don’t do yoga, though I respect people who bend that way. I love the dollar store, despite that it is filled with plastic. I’m just a normal person (except for the dollar store thing).

So, if I can do this, so can you. Over the last year, I kept using plastic I already owned, but I didn’t purchase new plastic.

Here’s how:

Easy: You can still buy many items in regular stores with little extra effort. Examples: eggs (cardboard), yogurt (Oui brand in glass), ice cream (Turkey Hill doesn’t have a plastic layer lurking inside), produce (some groceries offer Brussel sprouts and mushrooms loose, not in packaging), spinach (frozen in cardboard). Cleaning supplies: Even regular stores, if you search, offer one brand of powder detergents in cardboard boxes.

Hard but not impossible: Cheese, meat, fish. Dust off your negotiating skills. You’ve got to order from the counter and gently convince them to wrap your stuff in paper. Some like the challenge. Some think you’re crazy. If they don’t have paper, offer them a container you brought from home or tinfoil.

You may have to get creative with toiletries. The store Lush sells shampoo bars with no packaging (work great), conditioner bars (work less great), and some kind of beeswax product for those of us who need mane taming (works OK, but my standards have lessened). For those who can’t wrap their minds around rubbing a bar on their heads, Plaine Products online ships liquid stuff in metal containers.

Tooth care is tougher. Apparently, it’s pretty easy to make your own toothpaste, but I don’t cook so I’m certainly not going to try some chemistry experiment I can’t eat. Nelsons Naturals ships glass toothpaste jars that don’t cost that much more than college tuition. (The taste takes some getting used to.) For other items, try packagefreeshop.com.

Impossible to date: Super processed snack stuff. (It isn’t good for you anyway.) A few brands have a paper or foil outside packaging and paper inside (e.g., Pepperidge farm Milano cookies). Hair dye (the Henna stuff just doesn’t cover grays. If I needed that sort of thing). Clothes (much of the microplastic in the oceans comes fr

Photo for this blog provided by Plastic Free QAC: a grassroots, non-profit organization committed not only to beautifying Queen Anne’s County, but also in changing behavior and empowering residents and businesses to make more environmentally friendly choices day to day. Click on picture to enlarge.

om synthetic fabric). Look for cotton.

Eating out: I can’t count how many times I have said: “May I please have a water with no straw” in the past year. (Let’s be honest: It was “Vodka cran, no straw.”) I carry around with me a little set of bamboo utensils, and yes, it feels weird. You get to know which restaurants serve sides in unnecessary plastic containers and which you can ask to refrain from that, and how to still eat out but not result in an albatross stomach’s worth of plastic trash. For leftovers, ask for a piece of tinfoil.

If you want to start with just one thing, start with grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags are the worst; they really don’t get recycled, and they blow all over and end up in rivers.

Yes, I know: You left your reusable bags in the car. One day, as I was lamenting this great conundrum at the checkout line, I realized: Wait a minute. I walked into the store from my car in less than a minute. It isn’t a hike along the Appalachian Trail. But – someone might – steal my cart! Someone could look at my cart’s contents and realize “Holy cow! What an amazing shopper! This selection is SO much better than my own! I’m taking this cart!”

But you know, it’s not actually my food yet anyway. So, you could — just a suggestion — go BACK to your car to get your reusable bags.

This really isn’t as hard as you might think: It just takes a little getting used to and some changing of habits.

But my year is up, and I think there is only one thing I am adding back in: Hair dye.