The Town of Thurmont formed the Thurmont Green Team in May, 2015, and is working towards certification this spring as a Maryland Certified Sustainable Community. Sustainable Maryland is a voluntary certification program for municipalities in Maryland who want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life.
Residents from Thurmont and the surrounding communities comprise Thurmont’s Green Team, and it is these team members, chaired by Anita Philips, who attended training, implemented action items, measured progress, drafted a town ordinance, and are taking the required steps to achieve certification.
Some action items, such as establishing and promoting a local farmers market, energy audits, establishing and promoting a local business directory, a buy local campaign, and a yard waste program, had already been implemented before the Green Team was formed. The town earned points for conducting a municipal energy audit, measuring residential energy efficiency, converting street lights to LED lights, converting to paper biodegradable yard waste bags, hosting a buy local program and creating a local business directory.
Adding to that firm foundation, The Green Team has also completed additional action items in order to obtain points towards certification. New projects completed included the Pet Waste Program and Pet Waste Ordinance, and partnering with the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Sustainability Program.
One project of note is the Thurmont Community Gardens. Jim Humerick, Thurmont’s Chief Administrative Officer said, “This will be up and running in the spring and we’re really excited about it.” Registration began February 1 to lease 9’x11’ plots within the 30×100’ Community Garden area, located at Carroll Street Park, for $25.00 each. This is a great opportunity for all residents, but especially residents who live in apartments, townhouses and condos to enjoy gardening. For more information or to sign up, email Greg Daniels, Community Garden Coordinator at ThurmontCommunityGardens@gmail.com. Applications can also be picked up at the Thurmont Municipal Offices.
Hillary Rothrock, a new Green Team member, took part in Frederick County’s Neighborhood Green Program which allowed homeowners to apply for funding for green improvements on their personal property. Rain barrels, minimizing rainwater runoff, compost, and a biomex rain garden are just a few of the improvements supported under this program. She said, “I think educating people about how easy it is to apply to make improvements is important to future sustainability.”
The Green Team is partnering with Frederick County for Residential Energy Efficiency Action. At www.FrederickGreenChallenge.org, residents learn about fifty actions that they can take to save energy. Here residents can earn points to become Certified Power Savers. Thurmont’s goal was to have 20 percent of households certified as Power Savers—a goal that was met in 2013. Residents who participate are automatically placed in an online Thurmont Green Team. To date, forty-one households have participated in the Power Saver Challenge.
The Green Team has several other projects that promote sustainability. With them come some really interesting volunteer opportunities. If you would like to serve on The Green Team, email ThurmontGreenTeam@gmail.com or visit Thurmont Green Team on Facebook.
Green Team Chair, Anita Philips, urges each of us to, “Be a good ancestor now!”