The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County and the Commission on the Environment announced the winners of the 4th annual St Mary’s County Sustainability Awards.
The Sustainability Awards recognize outstanding students, restaurants, businesses, non-profits, and farms in St Mary’s County for their environmental stewardship, resource conservation, innovative best practices, and pollution prevention efforts. Selection of the Sustainability Award winners was based on outstanding demonstrated efforts to improve the environment and for initiatives and projects exceeding business norms and requirements. This year the commissioners honored The Southern Maryland Sierra Club and The Environmental Division of the Naval Air Station Patuxent River’s Department of Public Works.
The Southern Maryland Sierra Club has continued their 1,000 Trees initiative that began in 2018. In 2022, Club volunteers planted 162 native trees in local parks and sports complexes to rebuild the native tree canopy. Additionally, they planted 27 shrubs at Lexington Manor Passive Park in a 7,500 square foot Native Exhibition Garden, showcasing information on native plants and alternatives to invasive species. The Club also demonstrated a commitment to sustainable and healthy foods by completing build out of 36 gardens at eight locations. These pollinator-friendly gardens provide vegetables to local food pantries and opportunities to teach the benefits of sustainable, local gardening.
The Environmental Division of NAS Pax River’s Public Works Department completed a shoreline restoration project along their Fishing Point shoreline. This project stabilized 960 linear feet of shoreline from further erosion. Rather than merely restoring the shoreline, the Environmental Division worked to create a living shoreline that offers protection and provides habitat for several aquatic organisms using structural materials (rip rap, cobbles, etc.) and vegetative materials (grasses, shrubs, and wetland plugs). Additionally, low marsh, high density plantings of Spartina alterniflora will accelerate the establishment of the marsh vegetation. High marsh and coastal species were planted for further sediment stabilization, and to encourage establishment and future resilience of shoreline habitat.
For more information on the Commission on the Environment, please visit stmaryscountymd.gov/coe.