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Annapolis Awarded Sustainable Maryland Certification

Annapolis, MD (10-18-13) Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announced that the City of Annapolis has been awarded Sustainable Maryland Certification (SMC) status for its commitment to protecting our natural assets and revitalizing our community.

“It’s critical that we, as a city, remain devoted stewards of the environment for future generations,” Mayor Cohen said.  “This award reflects Annapolis' long-standing environmental ethos that starts with the City Council and is carried out every day by our  dedicated employees. I thank them all for their on-going efforts to showcase Annapolis as a sustainable community, which is part of our enduring appeal.”

The certification, now in its second year, is awarded by the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland. Four municipalities achieved the Sustainable Maryland Certified status this round, by meeting the rigorous requirements of the program. The newly certified communities include the City of Annapolis, the City of College Park, the City of Hyattsville, and the Town of Edmonston.  They join Bladensburg, Bowie, Frederick and Gaithersburg, which were certified earlier this year.  

The City of Annapolis received certification for demonstrating a commitment to local food production by partnering with a local non-profit, Fresh Farm Markets, to establish a downtown farmers market. They also partnered with another local non-profit, Grow Annapolis, to establish the City Dock Community Garden on its waterfront, and passed an innovative ordinance permitting the keeping of urban backyard chickens. Other initiatives in Annapolis included the creation of a Community Climate Action Plan, participation in the national Let’s Move! Cities Towns and Counties program, whose mission is addressing the childhood obesity epidemic, and the creation of a municipal stormwater utility fund, which provides for the design, construction and maintenance of public stormwater management systems.

Joanne Throwe, Director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland at College Park, congratulated the certified communities. “These communities are municipal leaders that are making important strides towards the long-term goal of a sustainable Maryland," she said. "Their efforts will serve as models for other Maryland communities seeking to ensure a more environmentally and economically resilient future for their residents.”

To achieve certification, municipalities are required to form a Green Team comprised of local residents, community leaders, municipal staff and officials; complete a variety sustainability-related Actions worth a total of at least 150 points (including two mandatory actions and two of six priority actions), and submit the appropriate documentation as evidence that the Sustainable Maryland Certified requirements have been satisfied.

All eight were honored at a Sustainable Maryland Certified Awards Ceremony at Maryland Municipal League Fall Conference, in Solomon’s Island, earlier this morning.  DNEP Director Maria Broadbent, Ward 3 Alderwoman Classie Hoyle and Ward 4 Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson accepted the award on behalf of the City.

“We are proud that Annapolis exceeded the total number of points needed for certification,” DNEP Director Maria Broadbent said. “We needed a total of 150 to certify and we had 325.”

“These awards are a testament to the passion and dedication of both volunteer residents and municipal staff and elected officials to go green, save tax dollars, and improve the quality of life in their communities” said Mike Hunninghake, Program Manager for Sustainable Maryland Certified.

Currently 30 of Maryland’s incorporated municipalities have registered with the program and are pursuing certification.

For more information about Sustainable Maryland Certified, go to  www.sustainablemaryland.com

Sustainable Maryland Certified is an initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland that is designed to support Maryland's 157 municipalities as they look for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities. Using best practices in resource areas like water, energy, planning, health, food, and economy, a municipality can earn points toward sustainability certification.

Sustainable Maryland Certified offers a customizable menu of concrete actions, allowing communities to select initiatives that best fit their specific needs. This free and voluntary program, with the support of the Maryland Municipal League, US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Town Creek Foundation, helps communities choose a direction for their greening efforts; complete their chosen actions with help from program tools, training, expert guidance, and other resources; and be recognized statewide for their accomplishments.