Celebrating a "green" life on Maryland's Upper Eastern Shore

Bringing Together the Best We Have to Offer

There's something about rural living that's connected - to the environment, to the community and to one another. And if we ever needed any evidence of that, the past few weeks ought to convince us.
It started when John Seidel, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College in Chestertown was our guest on Homegrown & Green on the Radio. To give you a little background, the Center was created in 1999 "to shed light on the reciprocal relationship between humankind and the natural world. . .Environment and culture are interconnected, and changes to one affect the other. Educating for a sustainable future calls for integrating many disciplines, fostering meaningful experiences in nature, and teaching peope how to manage their behavior to sustain healthy communities and ecosystems". That's a quote from their brochure, because I never would have been able to say it that well myself.
John talked with me about the early settlers of the Eastern Shore, and how their farming economies influenced many aspects of our current ecosystem, lifestyle and even government that is more heavily vested in counties than townships. But the thing that really got us going was some of the initiatives the Center is putting forward that are at the heart of what Homegrown & Green is all about.
First there's  georgegoesgreen.com - aimed to raise awareness of stewardship and sustainability on campus at Washington College through things like composting, recycling, eating locally grown foods - it's a fairly extensive (which you can see at georgegoesgreen.com). Turns out that George Washington, the College's founding benefactor, was "the first public figure to promote sustainable community practices".
But wait, there's more! This Fall the Center will launch Chesapeake Semester (chesapeake-semester.washcoll.edu) - an outdoor adventure set on the Chesapeake Bay, North America's largest estuary (and the third largest in the world!) - an experience that will help you "sense your place and change the way you see the world".
Or you could opt for the popular Summer Field School at the Washington College Public Archaeology Lab and research historic materials and process artifacts.
So it was no surprise to find John and Liz Seidel (who runs the Lab) at Chestertown's Earth Day Fair April 25. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Because before we went to the Earth Day Fair, we talked with John Hanley of Hanleyman Services, LLC on the radio.
And just so you know how small a town Chestertown really is, my husband and I made John's acquaintance last year just after he had undergone rotator cuff surgery, and just before my husband underwent his. So they've been trading rotator cuff progress for about a year now, and we were delighted to encounter John in his new line of work. He's so powerful, in fact, that his merely showing up at our house made the garage door start working again. I highly recommend him!
But what we learned about John then was that he had a new project flourescent bulb recycling. Turns out those long flourescent tubes release mercury into the atmosphere if they are just busted up and thrown away, and that is some very nasty stuff.
John has a program for recycling those bulbs that he has started commercially and is just now introducing household bulb recycling for those curly CFL compact flourescent bulbs.
And he's also on Mayor Margo Bailey's Green Committee, so part of what we talked about was Chestertown's Earth Day Fair which took place on Saturday, April 25 in downtown Chestertown in conjunction with the Humane Society of Kent County's Annual Mutt Strutt and ACATemy Awards.
It was a glorious day, with our terrific Saturday morning Farmer's Market in full swing, music, green crafters and vendors, and a special shredding demonstration by Bob from East Coast Storage.
Now that's not all there is to say about Bob because the connectedness just keeps on going.
Sunday, April 26 was Taste of the Town at Wilmer Park in Chestertown, and that's an event that we have been very involved with. And it was Bob and Inky at East Coast Storage who saved the day and made sure there were plenty of trash cans available - they delivered and picked up two truckloads of their 64 gallon shredding bins for us to use! That is service beyond what anyone could expect And a good time was had by all at Taste of the Town- that's another story.