Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MAEOE Moves Into Green Office Complex

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education has a new home in one of the greenest buildings in the state: The EnviroCenter in Jessup. Interest and demand for environmental education has steadily increased since MAEOE’s formation in 1985. While this move is designed to centralize operations to streamline client services, Bronwyn Mitchell, Executive Director for MAEOE added, “The new office will focus additional attention on the tremendous environmental education work being done by thousands of educators in hundreds of locations throughout the state.”

As the organization supporting environmental education professionals, it was important to select an office that reflected and complemented the organization’s mission. In the U.S. alone, buildings represent 39 percent of our primary energy use, consume 12.2 percent of our potable water (15 trillion gallons per year), and 40 percent of global raw materials. Green buildings significantly reduce this environmental burden, while providing a healthier place to work and live. “More than an office, the EnviroCenter is a teacher, textbook, and classroom,” explained Mitchell. “Each visitor to the office will leave knowing more about green building strategies and techniques than when they entered.”

A sampling of the EnviroCenter’s environmental attributes include:

· Walking distance from MARC commuter train between Baltimore and Washington
· ½ block from a Howard County Green bus line stop
· Maximum site density by saving an old 1905 farmhouse and incorporating it into the building
· Capturing of rain water for irrigation and landscape features by Water Savers, LLC
· Passive cooling design features
· Carpeting by “Interface” made with recycled materials and recyclable
· Bamboo flooring
· Siding made from recycled asphalt shingles
· Solar tubes and daylight shafts provide natural lighting and save energy
· Hydronic solar heating integrated with a radiant floor heating system for even, comfortable heating
· A 2.25 kW photovoltaic Solar electric system to offset the electric loads of the building
· A fiber optic daylighting system to focus light from outdoors to indoor light fixtures
· Use of biodiesel for supplementary heat
· Interior trim of wheat stalk boards and sunflower seed husks
· A living "Green" roof
· Environmentally friendly finishes with low or no volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)

MAEOE joins current EnviroCenter tenants in this green office complex, including: ASG, environmental design and construction consultants; Water Savers, working to provide solutions for water and energy conservation; The Green Building Institute, a non-profit offering green building courses; Phase II Architecture; and the Robinson Foundation, developing a nature center in Howard County. Founding partner, Stan Sersen, describes it as a community that shares business ideas, personal networks, and professional passions towards creating a more sustainable world. He explained that “MAEOE is the perfect complement to the suite of occupants. The organization embodies the past, present and future of environmental education in Maryland.”

MAEOE’s new address is:
7761 Waterloo Road Jessup, MD 20794
Tel: (443) 733-1212
Fax: (443) 733-1219

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Solar Decathlon: Last Three Days - Oct. 15-18

The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition where 20 teams of university students from around the world develop fully-functional houses that draw all their energy from the sun.

After spending two years developing their homes, the students ship their partially completed homes to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., finish building the homes, and then compete in 10 contests that measure the team's skills in architecture, home design, and communications. The solar homes must produce enough electricity and hot water to perform all the normal functions of a home, including powering the lights and home electronics, washing clothes and dishes, showering, and cooking, all while maintaining a comfortable temperature. Teams can also earn bonus points if their homes produce a surplus of electricity.

The event will be open to the public on October 15-18. For more information, visit http://www.solardecathlon.org/.

Monday, October 12, 2009

MAEOE Welcomes Ryan Pleune as Maryland Green School Coordinator

MARYLAND: Ryan Pleune has been chosen to lead MAEOE’s Maryland Green School Program as it enters a period of unprecedented growth. “Originally from Utah, Ryan will bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of new ideas to the program. He is going to broaden the Maryland Green School program by exploring opportunites to connect the program to education reform. I’m excited about the bright future of the program” explained MAEOE Executive Director Bronwyn Mitchell.

Since 1999, 266 or approximately 10 percent of Maryland public and independent schools have been certified as Maryland Green Schools through MAEOE’s signature program, which was recognized by Governor O’Malley as a model in his Children in Nature Partnership State Environmental Literacy Plan. The program was also recently featured in a PBS national documentary highlighting Green School initiatives, scheduled to air on Earth Day 2010. MAEOE’s Maryland Green Schools initiative challenges schools to integrate the environment into every aspect of the school culture including professional development, curricular connections, student-led projects which model environmental best management practices, and community engagement.

Interest in Maryland Green Schools has grown steadily throughout the program’s history, although Mitchell explained that the program has entered a period of hyper-growth. “It seems every school wants to be a Maryland Green School -- and wants to be one now!” She estimates that the record set in 2009 of 70 new Maryland Green Schools will easily be eclipsed in 2010.

Mr. Pleune will put his experience as a classroom teacher and outdoor educator, along with innovative ideas and his accessible yet charismatic personality, to work as MAEOE’s Maryland Green School Coordinator beginning on October 13. Pleune is anxious to get started, and MAEOE is equally anxious to have him, his enthusiasm, and his dynamic ideas on board as soon as possible.

ABOUT MAEOE: Founded in 1985, the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which seeks to develop a Maryland citizenry that understands and is engaged in responsible environmental behavior and stewardship by training and supporting Maryland educators.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Good 100: The Teacher Salary Project

Everyone knows teachers aren’t paid enough. But what we don’t often think about is the effect of that meager paycheck.

Teachers play a huge role in the educational outcomes of their students, but they’re leaving the profession in droves. Forty-six percent of public-school teachers bail within their first five years. That the average annual salary for a new teacher is only $35,000 isn’t helping to retain talent.

People who are good at teaching have a wide range of intellectual and interpersonal skills and are tireless workers—those are qualities that can easily bring them more money in the marketplace.

That’s why the Teacher Salary Project is so important. Built on the success of the book Teachers Have It Easy by the teacher and journalist Daniel Moulthrop, 826 National’s CEO Nínive Calegari, and the writer Dave Eggers, the Teacher Salary Project is a multipronged media and advocacy effort to remind a forgetful America how important, overworked, and underpaid our public-school teachers are.

On the Teacher Salary Project website, teachers from across the country are invited to send in videos documenting their personal challenges. These stories will be distributed online, and combined with material from the Academy Award–winning documentary filmmaker Vanessa Roth, to create a film that explores the firsthand experiences of America’s teachers.

The website is also building partnerships with organizations across the country that are working to improve public education through local ballot measures and experimenting with progressive pay systems.

In the end, the goal is make sure the job of teaching is valued—to make it something for which people will even compete. And as Calegari points out, “As long as you expect American teachers to take that Mother Teresa vow of poverty, you’ll never have that competition.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PumpkinFest Weekend - Irvine Nature Center - Oct. 16-18

PumpkinFest Weekend is a celebration of the fall harvest season. Pumpkins on the Green, a casual "un-gala" style event to benefit Irvine Nature Center will be held at the Center on Friday, October 16 from 6:30 - 11:00 p.m. The event will also kick off PumpkinFest on October 17 and 18 Irvine's annual fall harvest festival, two fun days for families and communities to celebrate the delights of the fall season. Each October, hundreds of families gather
at Irvine to enjoy a day of music, food, and fun, including:
  • Arts
  • Face Painting
  • Food
  • Pony Rides
  • Hay Rides
  • Scarecrow Making
  • Nature Games and more!
For more information on Pumpkins on the Green, contact Rachael Buhler at: 443-738-9227. For more information on PumpkinFest, contact Monica Wiedel-Lubinski at 443-738-9213.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cash for Lawn Clunkers - Baltimore 10/18/09

Sunday, October 18, 2009
Noon to 4:00 pm
Herring Run Nursery
6131 Hillen Rd., Baltimore
(at Mount Pleasant Golf Course)

Trade in your old, noisy, gas-guzzling lawn mower for a coupon worth up to 1/3 off the cost of a brand new battery-powered, cordless, rechargeable, electric mower.

Help clean up the air and local water, make your community a healthier (and quieter) place, provide for birds... and save money at the same time!

Event presented by Together Green, Audubon Maryland-DC, Herring Run Watershed Association, Herring Run Nursery, Neuton Mowers, and Baltimore City Department of Public Works.

Need to know:
  • Only push mowers will be accepted, no riding mowers at this event.
  • Your mower must be drained of all oil and gas - recycling facility and assistance provided onsite if needed. Or drain in advance and properly dispose of fluids, such as at Baltimore City Household Hazardous Waste event October 10 -11
  • Coupon is for $110 off of a Neuton Battery Powered Mower plus free shipping.
  • Limit one mower/ coupon per household.
For more information: