Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 17, 2000) – An Eastern Shore Elementary school and the founder of a Baltimore watershed association took top honors in the 24th annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment, presented today in the Blue Heron Center at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.

Vienna Elementary School and Lynn Kramer, founder of Baltimore City’s Herring Run Watershed Association, won in the youth and adult categories respectively.

The Tawes Award, a unique environmental recognition program, is sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment (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.

"While reviewing the entries for this year’s Tawes Award, I was struck by the continuing interest and work of so many people who are so committed to making sure that Maryland’s land, water and air are healthy. Your stewardship and contributions are valued," MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida told the awardees.

Through its 13-year old "Just Say No" to Drugs Club, Vienna Elementary School teaches students environmental education, stewardship of the land and Chesapeake Bay enhancement projects as alternatives to drug use. For example, students created a six-acre schoolyard ecology study area. The club also maintains a large composting area, has built bird nesting boxes and been recognized for their tree plating efforts. On hand to accept the award were teachers Debbie Humphreys and Phyllis Murphy.

The Runner-up in the youth category was the Harbour School in Annapolis, a designated Governor’s "Green School" awardee. Students of the non-public special education facility help clean Sandy Point State Park and Lake Claire in Anne Arundel County, monitor the school’s electric use, conservation of water and recycling.

Lynn Kramer, a resident of the Lauraville neighborhood of the city, has been a leading force in cleaning Baltimore’s most scenic bodies of water. Since 1992, she has championed land stewardship, stream cleanings, tree plantings and raising environmental awareness of school children as well as adults. She has been described as a "spark plug" for others to emulate in the drive to protect and restore our natural resources.

"This by far is the highest honor," Kramer said. "It makes me feel so great. Not only am I cleaning the environment, this has developed into an area where a community of people are living together in harmony with the environment and each other, working for the greater good. People are now thinking holistically about the stream and their connection to it, where before the association came along they may not have. I am proud to have helped that develop."

The Runner-up in the adult category was the conservation department of the Charles County Women’s Club, who opened their "Re-Use Barn" in 1997. The club’s "Re-Use Barn," located along Renner Road in Waldorf, is a drop-off point for all sorts of re-useable goods. The club then sells the re-useable items, like bikes, glassware, and furniture, which helps reduce the county’s waste stream and saves space in the local landfill. Funds generated from the sale of the items are returned to the community via club service projects and scholarships.

Tawes Award nominees were named for their community clean up, school ecology or beautification projects, recycling, pollution prevention, waste reduction, hazardous materials control or other innovative environmental ideas or work.

A panel of judges chooses Tawes Award winners and runners-up.

Last year’s winners included the Builders’ Club of North East Middle School and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance.

For more information on the Tawes Award for a clean Environment, please call (410) 269-1850 or MDE's Office of Communications at (410) 631-3012.