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Features (Green Living)

As the South Riverkeeper, I am ­helping to make the river healthy for my children and yours

Not too long ago, I was working in consumer-protection litigation. After law school, I took a job suing banks and shady lenders on behalf of consumers. That wasn’t where I really wanted to be.
    In law school at the University of Maryland, I had earned a certificate of concentration in environmental law. When I graduated in 2010, environmental law jobs weren’t as plentiful as I had hoped. So I sued banks instead.
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Having fun, making a difference and driving the pump-out boat
 

Almost a year ago, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper completed a living shoreline project at the end of the Camp Letts peninsula on the Rhode River. Over the past few decades, the land had been eroding from storms, boat wake and sea level rise. Hundred-year-old trees were toppling over a sandy bluff, and the silt made the water look like a soy latte.
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Churches on a mission to save the Bay

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.
–Hymn by Robert Lowry

 

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Roadside buffers trap pollution in their roots

It’s not too early for planting trees — especially when you’ve got the digging power of the Maryland State Highway Administration. They’re busy planting roadside buffers of 8,700 trees in Anne Arundel County. Deciduous and evergreen in mixed rows, those trees will improve the health of the Chesapeake watershed by capturing pollution-producing nitrogen and phosphorus in their root systems.
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Smithsonian Environmental Research ­Center in for the long haul

If you’ve ever planted a tree in your back yard, you’ve experienced the thrill of watching it grow from a ­knobby sapling into a towering oak or weeping willow. Multiply that by 20,000, and you’ll have some idea what Smithsonian ecologist John Parker is doing in his experimental forest in Edgewater.
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The Bay’s 19 riverkeepers are part of a worldwide force of 275

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

–Dr. Seuss: The Lorax


 

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Is there a smarter way to package our takeout?

Let’s talk lunch.     
    As a child, each day I carried to school a packed lunch in a metal Holly Hobbie lunch box, later replaced by Wonder Woman.
    As an adult, I sometimes remember to pack a lunch from home. But more often than not, lunch is carryout.
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Celebrated Chesapeake writer and advocate Tom Horton on the state of our beloved estuary

Excerpted from a talk at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s 50th anniversary lecture series (Editor’s note: Horton’s words have been rearranged in the shape of this story)

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Solar, wind and energy-efficient upgrades on the way

Sandy Point State Park is a fine place to soak up the sun. Soon those rays will be turning into energy.
    The Board of Public Works approved a $535,870 contract with Baltimore-based Bithenergy to evaluate, design and install park upgrades, reducing total energy consumption by an estimated 45 percent.
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Citizen scientists can reverse the decline

Too many species to count are losing their habitat as native plant communities disappear because of human land management changes and occupation by invasive species. Hundreds of native insects, including many solitary native bees and other critical pollinators, have already vanished.
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