Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 17, 2006) –Two students from Severna Park High School, High School Leadership Institute, Barry Gabler of the Harford County, and the Maryland Cooperative Extension Howard County Master Gardeners - a group of 140 volunteers - shared top honors at the 29th annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment, and the first annual James B. Coulter Award presented today in the Blue Heron Center at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.

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. 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 first 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 citizen’s 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 Kendl P. Philbrick. “Their contributions give meaning to MDE’s work and advance their communities and our environment with learning, teaching, and hands-on efforts to join MDE’s mission in protecting and restoring the environment.”

Sara Flowe and Samantha Morrow, two Severna Park High School seniors and members of the High School Leadership Institute co-chaired the Senior Environmental Project were awarded in the youth category. By forming the Shipley’s Choice Elementary School environmental club, over 60 elementary school students, self-named “Nature Nuts,” participated in a variety of activities. They learned about soil, air and water pollution, energy needs, endangered species and their role in solving environmental problems.

The first adult winner, Barry Gabler, established two websites with his own resources, used by communities in Harford and Baltimore counties to track and share information regarding releases from underground storage tanks within their communities. His first website posts critical information to help the community of Fallston in sharing and tracking MtBE related contamination data. His second site allows Jacksonville residents to track status information of the more than 25,000-gallon release of gasoline into the subsurface of their community that uses groundwater as a drinking water source. As a volunteer effort, Mr. Gabler assisted MDE in posting critical information and establishing email groups to assist MDE in disbursing public health and safety information to these communities.

The Maryland Cooperative Extension Howard County Master Gardeners, a group of 140 volunteers trained to educate in horticultural, won the second adult category for the Tawes Award. The master gardeners provided more than 5,540 hours of service in presentations, control of non-native invasive plants, and conducting plant clinics. These volunteers also created the Schools and Stream program, now incorporated into the Howard County Public School System fifth grade curriculum. Part of this program involves the students in planting a riparian forest buffer and engaged over 2,700 fifth grade students in planting 1,300 trees along a stream. The master gardeners also provide on-site consultation to homeowners and associations to promote environmentally sound horticultural practices.

James B. Coulter Award winner, Herbert M. Sachs, is currently a special projects coordinator with MDE’s Water Supply Program helping Maryland meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. He has dedicated 40 years of service and expertise to water resources management. In the early 1960’s he convinced the General Assembly that a Department of Water Resources should be formed. In 1975, Sachs became the director of the Water Resources Administration within MDE that is now known as the Department of Natural Resources. He was instrumental in creating the Oil Control Program and his administration provided strict monitoring of: wetlands, waterway construction, surface and groundwater appropriation and industrial wastewater discharges as well as laboratory services, water quality assessment, hydrological services, coastal zone management and surface and deep mining.

A panel of judges chooses the Tawes and James B. 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.

For more information on the award winners, including photos visit: