ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 15, 2003) – A group of Eastern Shore students known as the “Monster Squad” and a local band of small town citizens shared top honors at the 27th annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment, presented recently in the Blue Heron Center at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. The Woodson Middle School in Somerset County and the Mt. Savage Historic Society and Beautification Committee won in the youth and adult categories respectively.
The Tawes Award is an environmental recognition program 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 (DNR). 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.
“Government can’t do it all,” said MDE Acting Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “The people who are here today are on the front lines of cleaning up Maryland. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work and set an example for all of us who want to see real accomplishments, like planting trees, removing debris and preventing erosion.”
Over 90, sixth grade students, known as the Monster Squad Team, at Woodson Middle School, worked together for a school beautification and public education project. The Monster Squad Team, led by Jessica Simone, Lisa Dize, Jean Adams and John Robertson, established a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the City of Crisfield’s Police Department and Public Works to clean debris from a quarter mile of tidal ditches surrounding their school, planted native trees along a tidal ditch’s edging to prevent erosion and participated in an environmental education program aboard The Lady Maryland. As part of a public awareness campaign, the Monster Squad’s posters were displayed in several Crisfield businesses.
The Mt. Savage Historic Society and Beautification Committee of Allegany County won in the adult category. They earned the award for their efforts in taking the initiative to solve an environmental problem and turn the project into a sustained community-wide effort to beautify and preserve their immediate environment.
In 1995, as a result of complaints of trash and debris in the scenic Jenning's Run trout stream area, the committee organized a one-day cleanup event involving students. Since the initial cleanup, Mt. Savage has organized and conducted annual stream and roadside cleanups events without municipal employee resources. The small, unincorporated community regularly brings together volunteers, organizations, students and businesses in cleanup, beautification and fundraising efforts. They have also expanded their cleanup efforts to include household trash pickup to minimize illegal dumping.
The Runner-up in the youth category was the Whittier Elementary School in Frederick County, led by first-grade teacher Deborah Thackston. The school’s 600 students motivated the community, involved neighboring schools and challenged business to pledge financial support to their recycling efforts that netted nearly 2,000 pounds of aluminum. Students donated the money generated by the recycling project to the Frederick County Earth & Space Science Lab Expansion Project. Their achievement was based on working together to help others and learning to be good citizens and stewards of the environment
The Runner-up in the adult category was Doug Hutzell of Washington County, who is employed by MDE. Hutzell was recognized for his years of preserving and protecting Maryland's waterways and the environment on his own time. In 1995, as the Conservation Representative for the Antietam Fly Anglers, Hutzell organized a clean up of Beaver Creek, a tributary of Antietam Creek in Washington County. Since the initial clean up, he has organized additional cleanups which reduced stream erosion, removed trash and log-jams from Beaver Creek. His most significant project is the rehabilitation of the Barr Meadow portion of Beaver Creek. Hutzell’s efforts on the Barr Meadow project are a model for other stream conservation groups.
A panel of judges chooses the Tawes Award winners and runners-up. Last year’s winners included Charles Carroll Helpers of the Environment and Caring Kids (C.H.E.C.K.) Club in Carroll County and William B. Moulden, an Anne Arundel County resident.
For more information on the Tawes Award for a clean Environment, please call (410) 269-1850 or MDE's Office of Communications at (410) 631-3003.