Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 13, 2009) – Today the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Petroleum Council presented the 32nd annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment to Frederick County’s Green Valley Elementary School’s Earthology Club and the Dorchester County Resource Protection and Development Corporation. Dan Savino from Poolesville High School in Montgomery County was honored with the fourth annual James B. Coulter Award.

Recognizing environmental excellence, the annual Tawes Award is sponsored by MDE and the Maryland Petroleum Council (MPC) and given to individuals, civic groups, or non-profit organizations that demonstrate outstanding efforts to enhance Maryland’s environment, the award is named for Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes, the state’s first secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

This year also marks the fourth presentation of the James B. Coulter Award, which recognizes environmental contributions by a government employee and is named after Maryland’s second secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

"The contributions of these environmental stewards not only help preserve the air, water, and the land we share, but they also help to engage local citizens in the important mission of conservation," said Governor O'Malley. "We're proud to honor them with these awards, as they work to advance the important work they do in their communities."

“Today we are proud to honor the tremendous time and talents these environmental stewards generously give to protect 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 own communities and our environment with learning, teaching, and hands-on efforts to protect and restore the environment.”

Tawes Youth Award winner, the Green Valley Earthology Club from Green Valley Elementary School in Frederick County, first established a successful paper recycling program at the school and then brought recycling of aluminum cans and plastic bottles to large school events. The students created a native plant garden to attract butterflies with a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and are now determining how to stabilize a rapidly eroding hill. Through these activities, the students learn about setting goals, defining responsibilities, prioritizing and assigning tasks, taking action, and assessing accomplishments.

The Dorchester County Resource Protection and Development Corporation (SLEG) is the winner of the Tawes Adult Award. Incorporated in 1967, SLEG is leading the effort to address shoreline erosion in Dorchester County. As a result of their efforts Maryland created the State of Maryland Shore Erosion Task Force, which issued a report outlining steps to protect Maryland's shorelines. The creation of Dorchester County's Shoreline Erosion Structure Tax Credit, led by SLEG, provides homeowners with assistance to install approved mechanisms to control erosion. SLEG is also working with the County to ensure that low-lying roads are improved to withstand constant attacks from wind and wave action to facilitate movement on and off Dorchester County's islands.

Dan Savino, physics teacher for Poolesville High School’s Global Ecology Magnet Program, received the James B. Coulter Award. Mr. Savino’s field-based program incorporates environmental issues into science and social studies classes to create educational opportunities and develop an appreciation for the natural world. Mr. Savino uses the environment as a context for teaching physics, including using beaver lodges to teach engineering, using local creeks to teach fluid dynamics, and using canoes in the fast-moving Potomac River to teach bouyancy and maneuverability. Mr. Savino also uses the maple sugar production process to teach plant vascular structure and gas pressure laws. Mr. Savino sets a great example for his students by organizing a trash clean-up for the Town of Poolesville and biking to work.

In addition to today’s awards, Alex Cubbage and Jack Fitzgerald received special certificates for their commitment to promoting recycling at Cape St. Claire Elementary School in Annapolis.

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

Pictures are available at