Press Release

Media Contacts

Julie Oberg

Robert Ballinger

MDE Oil Release Project Team, La Plata High School Junior, Frederick County Public Schools Laboratory Win Environmental Awards Ceremonies recognize volunteerism, talent and stewardship

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 21, 2007) – Top honors for the 30th annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment are shared by Jeffery A. Grills co-director of Frederick County Public School’s Earth and Space Science Laboratory, and Edward Sinnes, an active Boy Scout who participated in restoration and creation of natural habitats and environmental improvements at the Waldorf Izaak Walton League property. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Jacksonville Release Project Team was honored with the second annual James B. Coulter Award.

The Tawes Award is an environmental recognition program sponsored by MDE and the Maryland Petroleum Council (MPC) in the name of late Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes, who was also the state’s first secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. The award is open to any individual, civic, community, or non-profit entity that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to enhance Maryland’s environment over a period of time or with a single project.

This year marks the second presentation of the James B. Coulter Award to acknowledge environmental contributions by a government employee. Mr. Coulter served as Maryland’s second secretary of the Department of Natural Resources from 1971 to 1983.

“Sharing and giving of these citizens’ time and talents for environmental stewardship is something that Maryland treasures when protecting our State’s precious resources and the Chesapeake Bay,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “Their contributions give meaning to MDE’s work and advance their communities and our environment with learning, teaching, and hands-on efforts to join our mission in protecting and restoring the environment.”

The Tawes Youth Award winner, Edward Sinnes of Charles County, is a junior from La Plata High School. Mr. Sinnes is active in Boy Scouts and has nearly completed Eagle Scout requirements. He participated in the Izaak Walton League’s restoration and creation of natural habitats and environmental improvements at the Waldorf Izaak Walton League property. Mr. Sinnes is a three-year member of the La Plata High School Envirothon Team and his team has won the county competition in his first two years at the school. He is a student representative on the Southern Maryland Branch of Resources Conservation and Development Board. Mr. Sinnes’s science fair projects included family composting, chemical versus natural fertilizer, comparison of fertilizer components, and helping with the family organic garden

The Tawes Adult Award winner, Jeffery A. Grills is the co-director of Frederick County Public School’s Earth and Space Science Laboratory. Mr. Grills spent four years developing the South Frederick Arboretum and Educational Walkway Project with DNR. The Arboretum and Educational Walkway is a two-acre interpretive walkway with 200 native species trees and native rocks. The walkway is located at Lincoln Elementary School.

The James B. Coulter Award was presented to the MDE Jacksonville Release Project Team, which consists of two members: Ellen Jackson and Barbara Brown. They did geology work following the release of more than 26,000 gallons of gasoline at the Jacksonville Exxon in Baltimore County, in a sensitive groundwater use area. Ms. Jackson and Ms. Brown’s quick response and oversight were important to obtaining key evidence for enforcement actions and their expertise helped to control and to contain the release. After long evenings and weekend hours on this intensely scrutinized case, Ms. Jackson and Ms. Brown were able to reassure the public, protect private wells, oversee the installation of over 300 monitoring wells and ensure placement of a complex recovery system.

A panel of judges chooses the Tawes and Coulter award winners. For more information on the Tawes Award for a Clean Environment or the James B. Coulter Award, please call (410) 269-1850.