April 24, 2009

Earth Week 2009 "Honor Roll"

TAKE A BOW!
Many individuals and families jumped onto the green bandwagon during the past year, as “green” appeared everywhere. Earth Week provides an opportunity to recognize some of the many in the Williamsburg area who deserve more than a pat on the back for their efforts to create a better planet.

I apologize to the many that I’m likely leaving off this list (which also appeared in the Virginia Gazette). Readers, please add your suggestions in comments at the end of the posting.

It’s also an ideal time to look back on some of the non-environmentally friendly happenings in our area. Local governments play a huge role in environmental impact—some positive and some not—so you’ll see some of their actions in both groups below.

LOCAL GREEN WINNERS

Christine Llewellyn and the Williamsburg Climate Action Network (WCAN) — For continuing grassroots efforts to promote energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy and spearheading opposition to the proposed Surry coal plant. Our prevailing winds put the Williamsburg area downwind of this proposed power plant's emissions.

David and Carla Hess — For installing the first major household rain cistern (1330 gallon capacity) in James City in Ford’s Colony

A. DeRose & Sons— For building the first five certified EarthCraft homes in our area in Ford’s Colony (see Green Homes on this blog for more info on EarthCraft Homes)

Norge Elementary School -- For being the first place winner in the Trex Company's recycling contest. 4th grade teacher, Ann Beaty, says, "The kids and parents really worked hard recycling 211 large bags of plastic. The second place recyclers were Clara Byrd Barton with 118 bags! We did a great job! It is amazing how much plastic there is in our world. We won one of two Trex benches made out of recycled plastic bags."

Stonehouse, Matthew Whaley, and Clara Byrd Baker Elementary Schools Students — For recycling another 300 giant bags of plastic bags.

York County schools — For geothermal energy-efficient programs in its six Energy Star buildings

Williamsburg and York County — For earning Green Government designations from the Virginia Municipal League

Environmental Coordinator Jennifer Privette and James City — For earning both an Outstanding Recycling Performance Award from the Virginia Recycling Association and a Green Team award from the Virginia Municipal League in the Green Government Challenge

James City County Citizens Coalition (J4C) — For promoting “smart growth” and sponsoring numerous green workshops throughout the past year

All local Adopt-a-Road and neighborhood clean-up volunteers — For trying to stay ahead of OPT (other people’s trash)

Faye Keenan and St. Luke’s Methodist Church — For keeping lots of mattress pads and fabric remnants out of landfills by transforming them into quilts for the homeless

James City-Bruton Volunteer Fire Department — For providing more “locavore” food at their new farmers market in Toano, thanks to volunteered goods or services from Taylor Lumber, Arch Marston at AES, David A. Nice Builders, Jack L. Massie Contractor

Libbey Oliver — For again coordinating the Williamsburg Farmers Market every Saturday from May through October, plus a few more off-season

James City Service Authority — For offering rebate incentives for rainbarrels, cisterns, low water use fixtures, water smart landscaping, and Energy Star washers and to the hundreds of smart consumers who applied for them

Williamsburg Shopping Center’s Ace Hardware — For being the first Virginia store to carry 100 percent VOC-free paint (Mythic brand)

Great Wolf Lodge — For being part of he first hotel chain in the world to achieve national Green Seal Certification for their efforts in recycling and conservation

Williamsburg Land Conservancy — For obtaining a donation of 190 acres on Oak Landing Creek

Supervisor Jim Kennedy’s Green Building Design Roundtable — For promoting eco-friendly building practices

Another 50 acres Preserved from Development —Near St. George’s Hundred along Route 5, purchased by James County with greenspace funds

James City’s Stormwater Division volunteers in the Save Our Streams project — For adopting local streams and monitoring their water quality

Master Gardeners— For taking hours of training and sharing their expertise in countless hours of community service

Settlement at Powhatan Creek Homeowners — For their recent stream-restoration project

Two Rivers Yacht Club, Wormley Creek, Seaford Yacht Club, River’s Rest, Riverwalk Landing, and York River Yacht Haven — For adopting at least 80 percent of pollution prevention or reduction measures to become one of 62 certified “Clean Marinas” in Virginia

Williamsburg Botanical Garden Volunteers — For countless hours planting and maintaining Freedom Park’s garden

US Maritime Administration — For fewer ships in the James River “ghost fleet” that could threaten water quality if ships rupture. Only 25 now remain! Appreciation also to Congresswoman JoAnn Davis for championing this cause.

Charlie Dubay and his Jamestown High School Students — For plant identifications along Greensprings Trail

Freecycle Members — For keeping usable items out of our local landfills by freecycling them

Individual Residents and Businesses — For participation in curbside/drop-off recycling programs and numerous Earth Day events during the past week and

LOCAL GREEN LOSERS

Open Space in James City — After a potential $700,000 loss of land acquisition funds when proposed stormwater fees were rejected

Potomac and Chickahominy-Piney Point Aquifers — After timid conservation plans keep our water rates below others in our area. If water is cheap, where’s the incentive to conserve it?

Greenspace and Watersheds — As James City considers “shaping our shores” instead of preserving them as “living shorelines”

Farmlands —As Hill Pleasant Farms joins the growing list of “former farmlands” and locavores have less locally produced foods that haven’t been trucked hundreds or thousands of miles

Wetlands and RPAs — For losing a 200’ protection buffer after the James City Board of Supervisors reverted back to 100’

Chesapeake Bay Waters —That continue to endure poor water quality and minimal aquatic grasses and the watermen whose livelihood suffered last year (but crabs seem to be increasing in 2009)

Powhatan Creek Watershed — For being “built out” even before New Town is completed and enduring a sewage spill and “urban drainage” from increasing impervious surfaces

5 Million Year Old Fossil Bed — Lost on James River bluffs when wetlands boards approved grading the cliffs for 38 Kingsmill lots

Acres of Trees — Along Route 199 and Monticello Avenue that have been replaced by commercial growth and impervious parking lots

York County Residents —Who live near the fly ash landfill mound that York’s Board of Supervisors permitted to expand to a height of 75 feet, and who breathe the emissions from both the power plant and refinery

600 Queen’s Lake Homeowners — Who are still waiting for $19.5 million to replace septic tanks with sewers

York River shoreline protection project — Also waiting for $174,000 funding

Edgehill South, Brandywine, and Moore’s Creek — Still waiting for $4 million for drainage projects

York River Water Quality — Awaiting $2.2 million funding for York Point sewage project

Green Lawn Superfreaks — Who continue to ignore the advice of Virginia Tech’s Extension Service and fertilize their cool season grasses in spring, adding to nutrient runoff into local watersheds and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay

YOUR SUGGESTIONS WELCOME BELOW in COMMENTS.