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Boonsboro Environmental Commission hopes town will embrace green initiatives

December 18, 2012|By DAVE MCMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO — The Boonsboro Environmental Commission has started to work and one of the projects it hopes the town will embrace is a statewide program that helps towns develop green initiatives, two people associated with the commission said.

Town officials announced last summer that they formed the environmental commission, which will be an advisory commission to Boonsboro Town Council and Mayor Charles F. “Skip” Kauffman Jr. Any programs or goals established by the commission will have to be approved by the council.

Environmental issues over the years in the town have included the formation of a recycling task force that helped pave the way for curbside recycling there. The town next year will celebrate its fifth Green Fest, a growing environmental event that offers speakers and other attractions, including a recycling collection zone.

Town Council member Barbara Wetzel, who is the council’s liaison to the Boonsboro Environmental Commission, said previously she thinks it is important to have such a commission, since environmental issues are becoming more complicated.

The commission had its first meeting Dec. 11 and the organization is asking the council to adopt a resolution for the town to participate in Sustainable Maryland Certified, Wetzel said Tuesday night.

Through Sustainable Maryland Certified, communities can implement a variety of green-related efforts such as water-conservation plans, expanded tree plantings, energy audits for buildings, local food preservation classes, community supported agriculture markets and composting programs. Communities can also get points for wellness programs, like establishing first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program to battle childhood obesity.

For every initiative a town successfully implements, its gets points, said Brigitte Schmidt, chairwoman of the Boonsboro Environmental Commission.

For example, establishment of a farmers market will give a town 15 points, while promoting a local farmers market is worth five points, Schmidt said.

In order for a town to become Sustainable Maryland Certified, it must accumulate 150 points, according to the program’s website at www.sustainablemaryland.com.

“You customize it to your town. There’s a lot of flexibility to it,” Schmidt said.

Four towns in Maryland are certified through the program: Berlin, Chestertown, Mount Rainier and Rockville.

Sustainable Maryland Certified is a new effort from the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland and is supported by the Maryland Municipal League, according to the website.

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