By Barbara Wetzel
Boonsboro, Md. (May 7, 2011) - If ever there were a near-perfect spring-time community event, then the 2011 Boonsboro Green Fest could serve as the No. 1 template.
Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but the gods were surely looking after every aspect of the third annual festival at the neatly manicured Shafer Park in the heart of this small Western Maryland town of 3,300.
Sponsored by the 11-member Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, the festival was organized and presented by the 16-member Green Fest Committee, and featured 113 eco-friendly vendors and was additionally supported by 46 sponsoring partners, who donated needed funds and in-kind services.
The event drew 2,200 visitors, according to a unique counting method employed by organizers. Volunteers attempted to place a small, oval "I love Green Fest" lapel sticker on each park visitor and then counted those remaining in the batch to determine the final attendance figure. Up until today's event there had been no viable way to check attendance, as people arrived at different times and from different park approaches throughout the day.
Park busy all day
The Kids Zone pavilion had a steady stream of youngsters taking part in several fun activities, including a mosaic using bottle caps, seed planting, puppet shows, a scavenger hunt and music by the Boonsboro Middle School woodwind ensemble.
Hundreds of rain barrels and compost bins were purchased at a truckload sale; several thousand articles changed hands at the Clothing Swap & Sale and the Sports Equipment Swap; musical instruments were collected for the local band program; hundreds of sneakers, two dozen bicycles, loads of medical equipment and computers were collected in the Recycling Zone; and, for the first time, animals up for adoption were displayed by the county Humane Society.
Spectators packed the Community Center to the rafters to hear a talk on stink bugs, one of five presentations held during the day. After each program, donated door prizes, ranging from a night at the upscale Inn BoonsBoro to gift certificates for items donated by vendors, were given out to winners following each speaker.
New green banners on lamp posts
The Green Fest Committee introduced a new sponsorship program, featuring banners for the street lamp posts. Nine lamp posts from North Main Street and along Shafer Park Drive to the park were adorned with the green banners, which were purchased by four different sponsors: AC&T, the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, Donna Brightman and Cronise Corporation General Contractors.
Hopefully, each year more banners will be purchased by sponsors, so eventually all of the 30-plus lamp posts in town will be decorated with green during the week leading up to the Green Fest. The banners will be used until they literally wear out from the effects of the weather, so sponsors can buy a banner once and see it used for as many as six or seven years.
Other major sponsors were Antietam Cable Television, Bellwether Printing (printer), Cochran Auctioneers & Associates (poster printing), DM Designs, LLC (graphic designer), Home Energy Team, M&T Bank, Michele R. Shaffer, CPA (brochure printing), Susquehanna Bank, and Turn the Page Bookstore (paper shredding service).
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring federal, state, county and local officials, along with Green Fest Committee members, was emceed by Herald-Mail columnist and author Tim Rowland and capped off by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin's cutting of the ribbon (a strip of the lapel stickers).
Participating in the ceremony were Julianna Albowicz, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski's representative; Robin Summerfield, Sen. Cardin's representative; State Sen. Chris Shank (District 2); State Del. Neil Parrott (2-B); Christopher Uhl, Gov. Martin O'Malley's, regional coordinator; Dick Keesecker, manager of Susquehanna Bank's Boonsboro branch, a Green Fest sponsor; Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Center.
Representing Washington County government were Treasurer Todd Hershey; Sheriff Doug Mullendore; Register of Wills Jason Malott; Commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham, Jeff Cline and Bill McKinley; and Julie Pippel, director of the Division of Environmental Management.
From the county school system were Boonsboro Middle School Principal Paul Engle and Board of Education Member Donna Brightman, who also was a sponsor.
The Town of Boonsboro was represented by Council Members, Janeen Solberg and Barbara Wetzel, who also serve on the Green Fest Committee as Co-Chairs and on the Recycling Task Force, and Kevin Chambers; Town Manager Debra Smith; Town Police Chief Jeff Hewett. Three other Council Members - Cindy Kauffman and Howard Long - along with Mayor Skip Kauffman, were unable to participate in the opening ceremony due to a prior commitment, but did attend the festival later in the day.
The other Green Fest Committee members present for the ceremony were: Leslie and Sean Haardt, Harvey Hoch, Rosemary James, Amy Jones, Frances Lynch, Dan Murphy, Brigitte Schmidt, Laura Schnackenberg, Rick Schulman and Kathy Vesely, along with county liaisons, Recycling Coordinator Tony Drury and Cliff Engle, deputy director of the Division of Environmental Management.
A committee member unable to attend was new mother Sieg Gooding, who gave birth to baby girl Delaney, a future committee member, on Earth Day, April 22.
During the ceremoney, citations from Senators Cardin and Mikulski, and State Senator Shank were presented to the Green Fest committee members, who were all decked out in green T-shirts. Sen. Cardin was presented with a shirt after his short address.
Mother Nature makes a statement
Most of the day was sunny, with soft, cool breezes. But in early afternoon, Mother Nature made her presence known as the sky in the west suddenly darkened and the wind kicked up a few raindrops. She just wanted everybody to know who was still in charge. It was an apt reminder; given this is Mother's Day weekend.
The threat passed quickly and The Yardslippers, an acoustic four-member band from Frederick, began their lively two-hour, two-set program at the band stand.
Acknowledgements are in order
The Green Fest Committee would like to thank:
Town of Boonsboro
Collecting for swaps
starts before Green Fest
BOONSBORO (April 25, 2011) - Organizers of two swaps at the Green Fest put a lot of thought and time into preparations so articles will be available on the day of the event, Saturday, May 7.
Both the Clothing Swap & Sale and the Sports Equipment Swap have established drop-off times during the week prior to the 3rd Annual Boonsboro Green Fest.
“Swaps don’t just happen by themselves,” says Brigitte Schmidt, who has been involved with the St. James Catholic Church-sponsored Clothing Swap for the first three years. “We have so many articles of clothing that we must collect and sort them in advance of the Green Fest,” she said, adding that 4,000 pieces were swapped at last year’s event.
Clothing may be dropped off at the church, located at the corner of
Middle school students will have an opportunity to get involved at a Drop-off and Sorting Night, on Wednesday, May 4, from , while high school students will hold a similar event on Friday, May 6, from
Here’s how the swap works: Drop off clean, gently-used clothing of any size and earn a credit for each piece. Take the credit vouchers to the Green Fest swap in Pavilion #1 and choose an equal number of pieces. Clothing may also be swapped during the Green Fest, while those with nothing to swap may purchase clothing at yard-sale prices.
Leftover clothing will be donated to Washington County Children in Need, according to Schmidt, who also is a member of the Green Fest Committee.
Sports Equipment Swap
The Sport Equipment Swap will work the same way, according to Kristi Mannix, one of the organizers, who has children in all three of the Boonsboro's public schools - elementary, middle and high.
“This will be especially helpful for kids trying out a sport for the first time,” she said, explaining how parents may trade in unwanted sports equipment and receive “new” equipment for no cost. Parents and young athletes with nothing to swap may also purchase equipment at reasonable prices, just as in the clothing swap.
The equipment swap will occupy five spaces near Pavilion #1 - the location of the clothing swap - and will collect sports equipment of all kinds.
Helping Mannix with the swap are committee members Karen Long, Heidi Bodenheimer, Jen Bradshaw and Theresa Foster. They will be collecting equipment and sports clothing in advance at
Proceeds and excess equipment from the swap and sale will go back into the local sports community to benefit the youth, according to Mannix.
Band Equipment Collection
The Boonsboro Band Boosters will be collecting band instruments at their booth, along the walkway near Pavilion #1.
Bring your books to recycling
Booksavers, located in the Recycling Collection Zone, will be collecting books of all kinds for resale and recycling, while Girl Scout Troop 40219 will be holding a children’s book swap near the Kids Zone.
Ribbon Cutting kicks off festivities Sponsored by the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, the free Green Fest will feature 113 vendors stationed throughout the park. The opening ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at at the Band Stand and the festival will run from to Children’s activities will be held throughout the day in the Kids Zone, Pavilion #3, and an array of food concessions will serve everything from Greek food to ice cream to veggie wraps to falafels. Before parking for free in the lot behind Alex gas station, A special musical concert by The Yardslippers will be presented from at the Band Stand and speakers will make presentations in the Community Center, where door prizes will be awarded to attendees between speakers’ programs.
Ribbon Cutting kicks off festivities
Sponsored by the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, the free Green Fest will feature 113 vendors stationed throughout the park. The opening ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at at the Band Stand and the festival will run from to
Children’s activities will be held throughout the day in the Kids Zone, Pavilion #3, and an array of food concessions will serve everything from Greek food to ice cream to veggie wraps to falafels.
Before parking for free in the lot behind Alex gas station,
A special musical concert by The Yardslippers will be presented from at the Band Stand and speakers will make presentations in the Community Center, where door prizes will be awarded to attendees between speakers’ programs.
Variety of activities
set for youngsters
BOONSBORO (April 18, 2011) - There will be plenty of things for kids to do and see throughout the 3rd annual Boonsboro Green Fest slated for Saturday, May 7, from to at
The Kid Zone Committee has scheduled entertainment, crafts and other interactive projects for children of all ages. The committee is chaired by husband and wife team Sean and Leslie Haardt, who are also members of the Green Fest committee.
Seven puppet show performances will be presented by
Also from the middle school, the Woodwind Ensemble, under the direction of music teacher Amanda Kline, will offer two, 25-minute performances, at and
The Kid Zone pavilion near the band stand will be “fun headquarters” for youngsters who are interested in participating in a wide variety of crafts, including composing a mosaic with recycled bottle caps, writing a Mother’s Day greeting card by using parts of old cards, signing a Pledge to the Earth and going on a scavenger hunt in the park.
Boonsboro Elementary students will be displaying The Gnome Home Exhibition, which represents some of the best creations by pupils of enrichment teacher Ann Anders and third grade magnet instructor Kaitlin Gadway. Students will be on hand to talk about their works of art.
Something for the whole family
The Green Fest is the brainchild of and is sponsored by the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force.
It will feature at least 112 vendors, including collectors of a multitude of recyclable items, clothing and sports equipment swaps, eco-friendly product displays, exhibits of alternate energy systems, plants for the garden, gift items made from recycled and repurposed materials, and a truckload sale of rain barrels and compost bins.
Food concessions will be open throughout the day in the central pavilion and a water bottle filling station, compliments of Multipure Water Filtration Co., will be set up nearby for those with reusable bottles.
The Green Fest committee encourages citizens to use reusable bottles whenever possible, bans the use of Styrofoam products and encourages the use of biodegradable and compostable containers and utensils whenever possible.
Plans are in the works for a new park sound system which should enhance communications during events held at the park. The Boonsboro Mayor and Council on April 4 approved the purchase of the system, which includes an additional 10 speakers. The system should be in place for the Green Fest, according to town officials.
Still time to volunteer
"We can't have enough," says volunteer coordinator Kathy Vesely, who should know of which she speaks.
Kathy has gathered and orchestrated dozens of volunteers since the Green Fest's inception in 2009. She led 85 volunteers of all ages last year and is looking for even more to step forward on May 7, 2011.
Those wishing to participate may sign up online by clicking on the link at the top of this column. The deadline is Saturday, April 23. Students may earn up to 12 Student Service Learning hours if they chose to volunteer the entire day.
Kathy is the current chair of the Washington County Solid Waste Advisory Committee and also serves as corresponding secretary of the Green Fest Committee.
Sponsored by the
Boonsboro Recycling Task Force (email)
An official event of the
Town of Boonsboro
BOONSBORO, Md. (Jan. 20, 2011) - An expanded Boonsboro Green Fest committee is mapping out plans for the third edition of the highly successful spring festival, set for May 7, 2011.
They have a great deal upon which to build, as the festival the first two years has attracted thousands of area residents, seeking information, products and ways to "tread more softly on our green Earth" - the festival's slogan.
Vendors will display and sell earth-friendly products and services, vegetable and flower plants, rain barrels, compost kits, crafts made from recycled and repurposed materials, and alternative energy systems. There will be a multitude of recycling opportunities and a large clothing swap and sale. One pavilion will be devoted to an array of food items, while another pavilion will house the children's activities. There will be entertainment and speakers throughout the day.
The Green Fest is sponsored by the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force.
The event will again run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturday before Mother's Day in the original section of the town's beautiful Shafer Memorial Park. The hours were expanded after the inaugural festival in 2009 so residents with other activities would have time to attend more than one event that day.
The Green Fest is an official event of the Town of Boonsboro.
The Green Fest Committee has been expanded from 11 to 16 members with Janeen Solberg and Barbara Wetzel serving as co-chairs. Both have served on the committee the first three years. They both also are members of the elected Boonsboro Town Council.
Other original members of the Green Fest committee, who are serving for the third year in a row, are Seig Gooding, Harvey Hoch, Rosemary James, Amy Jones, Brigitte Schmidt, Laura Schnackenberg, treasurer, and Kathy Vesely, corresponding secretary. Returning for the second year are Leslie and Sean Haardt. New to the committee this year are Anthony Drury, Cliff Engle, Frances Lynch, Dan Murphy and Rick Schulman.
Vendors can sign up online
Vendors are already inquiring about reserving spaces along the pathways and in the food pavilion. More than 100 vendors are expected again this year.
A convenient interactive Vendor Application is available on this website. Applicants will first be taken to the Vendor Standards & Practices page before they are able to fill out an application. Applicants should closely review the information, which includes the festival's mission statement: "to promote conservation, recycling and sustainable living within our community."
After an application is received, the committee will select vendors based on adherence to the mission statement, the availability of display space and the best mix of vendors for the festival.
Applications must be received by April 1. A nominal fee of $20 will be charged for each 10-foot-square space. Vendors applying early will receive priority placement in the park.
Volunteers: secret ingredient
Volunteers are the secret ingredient in the Green Fest recipe for success. They set up, tear down, run errands, announce events, hand out program brochures, man collection sites, help with children's activities, and direct traffic, among other important duties.
More than 85 volunteered last year. At least that many or more will be needed again this year from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Kathy Vesely, volunteer coordinator. Volunteers may work anywhere from two to 12 hours, in two-hour segments.
An interactive volunteer sign-up form is available on this website (form). Applications must be received by April 23 to qualify as a volunteer. Students may earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours at the festival.
Sponsors & door prizes welcome
As important as the volunteers are on "game day," sponsors are the glue holding the festival together from year to year. Without monetary and in-kind donations from community-minded businesses, individuals, organizations and, yes, vendors, the committee would not have the ability to produce a meaningful event.
Donations of any amount are welcome and appreciated, of course. This year categories of giving have been established. They are: Green Leaf ($300 and more), Gold Leaf ($200-299), Silver Leaf ($100-199), Bronze Leaf ($50-$99) and Green Fest Patron ($49 & under). An interactive sponsor form is available on this website.
Door prizes of all kinds are also welcome. They will be distributed in the Community Center during the speakers' programs. Only those attending one of the program will be eligible to win a prize. Fill out a sponsor form if you would like to donate a door prize.
(Scroll down for list of door prizes and letter to sponsors.)
Green Leaf ($300 & up)
TURN THE PAGE BOOKSTORE
MICHELE R. SHAFFER, CPA
River's Edge Landscapes
DM DESIGNS, LLC
ANTIETAM CABLE TELEVISION
Gold Leaf ($200 to $299)
HOME ENERGY TEAM
COCHRAN AUCTIONEERS & ASSOCIATES, Ltd.
Silver Leaf ($100 to $199)
MELANIE FILES - Master Gardener
GREENBRIER BAPTIST CHURCH
REMODEL USA, INC., Winchester, Va.
THE COMMON MARKET
MOUNTAIN SPIRIT YOGA
REESE'S HOME IMPROVEMENT, INC.
MIDDLETOWN VALLEY BANK
Bronze Leaf ($50 to $99)
Cedar Ridge Soaps
George E. Messner Nationwide Insurance (website)
Green Bamboo Quality Skin Care
Mountain View Solar & Wind, LLC
Black Eyed Susan Restaurant
Patron (up to $49)
Boonsboro Wellness Center
Black Eyed Susan Restaurant
Gifts Inn Boonsboro
Lydia, Oh, Lydia!
Washington County Soil Conservation District
Door Prizes & Donors
Throughout the day, prizes will be awarded in random drawings following each speaker's program at the Community Center, located in the north end of the park.
Dear Green Fest supporters,
Your generosity over the past years has been overwhelming, considering the troubled times many of our neighbors are experiencing.
We are committed to bring this free festival to the community so citizens can learn about the many opportunities available to save money, energy and our planet.
We cannot present a successful Green Fest without the help of like-minded people who are able to give something to the cause.
The festival operates entirely on donations and volunteers. Monetary donations are used for printing, advertising and production costs.
The first Green Fest, held in May 2009, was so well received it humbled us all. We had hit on something that the community embraced. After that, it was understood that, come the Saturday before Mother's Day, we would be greeting thousands of men, women and children in one of the nicest, most meaningful events presented in Shafer Park.
We did not do this alone. Our families stood behind us and worked beside us. More than 85 vendors showed up that first year and 100 last year. Scores of volunteers pitched in all day and people from the entire community devoted some of their weekend to attend "Boonsboro Green Fest".
One of the most encouraging things that has happened these last two years was the support that we received from our sponsors and door prize donors.
They wanted to be a part of the project and they gave what they could. Monetary donations ranged from $5 to $300, while donated prizes ranged from a modest shopping bag to a night at Inn BoonsBoro, Nora Roberts' upscale hotel in downtown Boonsboro.
If you are able to support the Green Fest by being a sponsor or donating a door prize, please step forward.
We will recognize you on this page and in our program brochure, which will be distributed the day of the festival.
Levels of giving are: Green Leaf ($300 & over), Gold Leaf ($200-$299), Silver Leaf ($100-$199), Bronze Leaf ($50-$99) and Green Fest Patron ($49 & under). Please click on "Sponsor Form" in column at right.
Your generosity will be appreciated by the entire community.
Thank you and best regards from a grateful...
The Boonsboro Green Fest 2011 Committee
Janeen Solberg, Co-Chair
Barbara Wetzel, Co-Chair
Laura Schnackenberg, Treasurer
Kathy Vesely, Corresponding Secretary
Anthony Drury, Washington County Liaison
Cliff Engle, Washington County Liaison
Conservation and Recycling
Boonsboro Recycling Task Force & BHS Environmental Club
Sierra Club, Catoctin Group
Washington County Soil Conservation District
Citizens for the Protection of
Citizens for the Preservation of Pleasant Valley
Antietam Creek Watershed
Creation Keeper, Ltd.
Home Energy Team
Munro Home Energy Audits
Girl Scout Troop 4006 - Crafts and baked goods
A Bunch of Old Girl Scouts - face
Hagerstown Regional Childbirth Resources
Girl Scouts Troop 40219 - Book Swap
BES Gnome Homes Display
Kids Zone Crafts & Pledge to the Earth
Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening
Cat’s Paw Organic Farm
Family Tree Re-Wholesale Nursery
Jubilee Organic Farm
Western Maryland Veggie Life Group
“The Tree Guy” - EG & Associates
Melanie Files, Master Gardener & Composter
Kelly Moore Sheds
Eco-Home and Lifestyle
ReStore, Habitat for Humanity of Washington County
Boonsboro Band Boosters - instrument collection
Authentic Sea Glass Jewelry
Carol’s Creations - soy candles
Recycled Wool by Beth Rockwell & Barb Twigg
Boonsboro Trunks by Jerry Landsman
Sweetfoot Studios - garden art
All Things New
Immaculate’s Gifts & Crafts
Josephine’s Recycled Goods
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church - green cleaning
Vintage Silver Ware
Love Child’s Imagination
Skyline Food Source
Shaklee, Larry Coren
Sports & Dance Equipment Swap
Weiss Bros. of
Humane Society of
SERRV - Fair Trade
Recycled Crochet byTeresa Everly
Heart J Creations - recycled glass/body care
Blacksmith Guild of
St. James Catholic Church Clothing Swap
Health and Wellness
Luna Bella Herbals
Melaleuca, Barbara Kemp
Isagenix, Phil Aversa
Cedar Ridge Soaps
Green Bamboo Quality Skin Care
Body Sense PT
Food & Refreshment
Recycling Collection Zone (Drive-Thru Drop Off Area)
BHS Environmental Club - ink cartridges & cell phones
Bikes for the World - bikes & sewing machines
Booksavers - book reuse & recycling
Cat’s Paw Organic Farm - plastic flower pots & nursery trays
Cork ReHarvest - wine corks
Horizon Goodwill - computer, monitors & other computer items for recycling
Lions Club - eyeglasses & cases
Nike - sneakers (all brands, any condition)
Conservit - Scrap metal recycling
Turn the Page Bookstore/Better Shredder - paper shredding from 10-2 (limit 4 boxes)
Washington County Recycling - rechargeable batteries & block styrofoam
Washington County Sheriff’s Dept. - prescription & over-the-counter medications from 10-2
Wheels for the World - wheelchairs, walkers, crutches & canes
Zhest Organic Drycleaners - wire clothes hangers
Vendors in order of registration
May 7, 2011
Door prizes awarded after each presentation.
to promote conservation,
recycling, sustainable living
Established in 2009 to promote conservation, recycling and sustainable living within our community, the Green Fest promises to again this year feature a variety of vendors, exhibitors and crafters who will share their eco-friendly products, offer demonstrations and provide an array of recycling opportunities.
The spring festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Saturday, May 7, 2011, rain or shine. Admission is FREE.
Who will be there?
Everything from solar energy systems to composting to fair trade products to heirloom tomato plants to special children's activities to recycling opportunities to clothing and children's book swaps will be featured throughout the park. A variety of food concessions are also planned for the main pavilion. Vendors wishing to participate, can apply on line by clicking here or under the logo at the top of this page. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2011.
Last year, 85 volunteers helped in every area of the park, helping vendors with setup, passing out programs, collecting recyclables in the Recycling Zone, helping in the Kid Zone with the children's activities and directing traffic. Please sign up to help by April 23, 2011. Volunteer Form
The committee is also accepting monetary and in-kind contributions donations to help defray expenses. Five levels of giving have been established. They are Green Leaf ($300 & over), Gold Leaf ($200-299), Silver Leaf ($100-199), Bronze Leaf ($50-99) and Green Fest Patron ($49 & under).
If you are able to help out in any way, please make checks payable to "Boonsboro Green Fest" and mail to: Boonsboro Green Fest, PO Box 64, Boonsboro, MD 21713-0064. If you have questions or would like to make a comment, please email the committee.
Green Fest organizers
Working with Green Fest 2011 new Co-Chairs Janeen Solberg and Barbara Wetzel are returning committee members: Sieg Gooding, Sean and Leslie Haardt, Harvey Hoch, Rosemary James, Amy Jones, Brigitte Schmidt, Laura Schnackenberg, Rick Schulman, Kathy Vesely, along with new recruits, Frances Lynch, Dan Murphy, Anthony Drury and Cliff Engle.
Ms. Solberg also is the founding chair of the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, which sponsors the Green Fest, and serves on the Boonsboro Town Council with Ms. Wetzel; Ms. James is the current chair of the Recycling Task Force; Ms. Vesely serves as chair of the Washington County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and Ms. Schnackenberg is a member of the town's Park Board, which oversees the operation of the expanding Shafer Park, location of the annual festival.
Mr. Hoch is the retired Washington County recycling coordinator, while Mr. Drury is the current recycling coordinator. Mr. Engle is the director of landfill operations for the county.
TASK FORCE WINS STATE AWARD - The Boonsboro Recycling Task Force was presented with the Maryland Recycling Network's 2009 "Outstanding Environmental and Community Leadership Award" on June 26, 2009, at the University of Maryland, College Park. Members of the Task Force were honored during the 5th Joint Conference of the Network and the SWANA Mid-Atlantic Chapter. Present for the award ceremony were (back, from left) Harvey Hoch, Washington County Recycling Coordinator who nominated the Task Force, and founding members Janeen Solberg, chair, Laura Schnackenberg and Barbara Wetzel; and (front, left) Rosemary James and Kathy Vesely. Unable to attend were founding members Amy Jones, Jenny Sarnecki and Brigitte Schmidt.
History of Green Fest's sponsor:
Boonsboro Recycling Task Force
The Boonsboro Recycling Task Force (BRTF) was created in August 2007 to promote recycling and conservation efforts within the Boonsboro community through service and education.
The initial impetus which put the 10-member Task Force into motion was the loss of the residents’ only means to recycle - a dumpster provided through a Washington County program. The town government had been forced to discontinue hosting the bin because the remote site was being used as a dumping ground for much more than recyclables.
The group's first goal was to work with the town to reinstate the county's recycling bin program by finding a suitable location for the dumpster.
Recycling returned - On Dec. 22, 2007, some four months later, recycling was returned to Boonsboro, as the recycling dumpster began operations at its current site - in the Park-n-Ride at the intersection of Alt. Rt. 40 and Rt. 67 in the town’s south end. Two years later, in November 2009, a second dumpster was added by the county to help take care of the overflow at this very busy site.
A common site at the recycling area before the second dumpster was added. Recycling doubled in 2010, the first full year the site operated with two bins.
To help ensure that the site would not be overrun again with refuse, the members of the BRTF offered to regularly monitor the dumpster site. The group kept its promise and a member visited the site each day for more than two years, until February 2010, when the town government took over monitoring duties on weekdays, with the Task Force checking the site on weekends.
Recycling increases - In 2009, residents deposited in the recycling dumpsters an average of 18.5 tons of recyclables each month. During the same 12-month period, however, the town still sent more than 1,200 tons of household waste to the county landfill. That's equal to one full ton (2,000 pounds) of waste for every Boonsboro household being buried in the landfill during the year.
The recycling tonnage at the two dumpsters doubled in 2010, as the additional capacity encouraged more residents to use the facility on a regular basis, but the household waste going into the landfill remained the same - 1,200 tons for the town.
Curbside needed - The Task Force's second goal from the start has been to bring curbside recycling to the residents of Boonsboro. An estimated 3,200 people reside in Washington County's second largest municipality. Of the nine municipalities, only Hagerstown, the largest city, and Williamsport have curbside recycling programs. The only service to households outside of the county's municipalities is provided to individual households by private haulers.
The last Board of County Commissioners, whose terms expired in December 2010, participated in several discussions regarding proposed county-wide recycling programs, but no action was taken. The issue has been passed on to the new board, which includes three newcomers, Ruth Anne Callaham, Jeff Cline and Bill McKinley, and holdovers, Terry Baker, president, and John Barr, vice president.
Survey - In late 2007, a door-to-door survey (Click here to view the survey) was conducted by Task Force members to determine who and how residents were recycling at the time and how many would be interested in the town’s starting a curbside recycling program. Of the nearly 500 households surveyed, more than 86 percent were in favor of adding curbside services. The town, however, has not initiated a curbside program, as the Washington County government has been studying a county-wide program for the past year or so.
Other community programs
While the BRTF continues to push for more recycling services in the town and beyond, members have become involved in other educational and outreach programs to improve the community:
Green Fest - Planning began in early 2009 for the first annual Boonsboro Green Fest. The second Saturday in May was selected and members began to work on attracting exhibitors, sponsors and food vendors, and on promoting the event throughout the region. The event was so successful, with 84 vendors and thousands of attendees, that the committee immediately vowed to make it an annual affair.
Education - Environmental Clubs have been started at both Boonsboro High School (March 2008) and Middle School (September 2008), while plans are in the works to start a similar program in the Elementary School. The Middle School club has grown to more than 30 members during each the last two school years.
MAKE YOUR OWN - Janeen Solberg (right), immediate past chairperson of the Recycling Task Force, demonstrates to a church group in Boonsboro how to mix eco-friendly household cleaners. She is assisted by Task Force members Kathy Vesely (left) and Jenny Sarnecki.
Green Cleaning - A demonstration on how to make eco-friendly cleaning products has been presented by BRTF Chair Janeen Solberg to groups throughout the community. If your organization would like to learn how to help the environment and save money at the same time, send an email to the attention of Janeen.
Information - A recycling how-to information sheet (Click here to view the how-to sheet) was produced by the BRTF and distributed throughout the community and mailed with the residents’ town utility bills in 2008. A refrigerator magnet detailing what and where to recycle was also distributed to town residents.
Special events recycling - BRTF members collected recyclables during all of the major events held during 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the town's Shafer Park. Initially, the recycling containers were borrowed from a neighboring municipality for each event. The Task Force, however, felt that the town should have its own containers so they would be more accessible. The Mayor & Council agreed and the 15 new containers were debuted at the first annual Green Fest.
Since then, they have been used to collect recyclable bottles and cans during all of the major events at the park, at the South Mountain Little League baseball fields on Monroe Road throughout the baseball season and at other special events. The Town buys the special collection bags and the Task Force members set up, monitor and collect the recyclables to be placed in the recycling dumpsters at the Park-n-Ride, next to Thompson Gas. More than 150 extra-large, see-through bags have been filled with recyclables that otherwise would have ended up in the county landfill.
TREASURES IN 'THEM THAR' LOCKERS - Task Force members Rosemary James (left) and Kathy Vesely sort the contents of the Boonsboro High School lockers during one of the locker clean-outs Kathy initiated at the high school. Hundreds of notebooks, paper, pencils, books and a myriad of other reusable materials have been saved from being dumped in the county landfill. The recovered supplies are then made available to students at no cost. The founder of the school's Environmental Club, Kathy is also the chair of the Washington County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, which reports to the County Commissioners. A group of students, earning their Student Service Learning (SSL) hours, collects recyclables each week from the classrooms. Without this program, there would be no organized recycling program in the high school. The Board of Education has provided recycling bins at each school in the county, but it takes a committed person, such as Kathy, to carry out a successful program.
Report - To let the community know about its goals and accomplishments, the BRTF produced a report (Click here to view the report) of its first year’s activities and made a presentation to the Boonsboro Mayor & Council in September 2008.
Since the Task Force's inception, two members have won seats on the Boonsboro Town Council. As a result, the Mayor and Council receive regular updates regarding the activities of both committees.
LANDFILL TOUR - The Task Force sponsored an eye-opening tour of the Washington County 40 West Landfill in the fall of 2008. Other tours are being planned. County Recycling Coordinator Harvey Hoch (left) led the tour. Harvey retired from his "day job" in early 2010, but he has remained an active member of both the BRTF and the Green Fest Committee.
Members reach out to help community - Members of the Task Force are very busy with families, work, and other civic, school and religious activities. And the enthusiasm to treat Mother Earth kindly carries over into the community. One of many examples occurred when member Brigitte Schmidt initiated a soccer equipment and clothing swap (see photo below) during the start of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) season in September 2009. More than 30 players were outfitted with gently used cleats and 20 players received soccer balls, while several others received shinguards, socks and shorts. Another swap is planned for the spring of 2010.
SOCCER SWAP - The BRTF and the local youth soccer organization teamed up to sponsor a soccer equipment and clothing swap during two Saturdays in September 2009. Showing off some of the gently used items are (from left) Brigitte Schmidt, a BRTF founding member and originator of the swap, Keith Juedemann, regional commissioner for AYSO, and Paul Kadin, assistant regional commissioner.
Expand - An important goal of the Task Force during its fourth year is to continue expanding its membership so current programs can be enhanced and new earth-friendly programs and projects can be initiated.
Now you've seen what we've been up to. If these sorts of activities sound interesting, we would love to have you join the Task Force. Email us and help make our community a better place for everyone.
Our regular meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Community Center in Boonsboro's Shafer Park and are open to the public. Please join us.
BRTF meeting topics varied - The Task Force has played host to a wide variety of resource people discussing many topics of interest to the community. Topics have included recycling, safe food preparation for large gatherings, advantages of purchasing produce from a certified organic farm and how to reduce your carbon footprint. In addition, members viewed the movie "Trashed" (http://trashedmovie.com/trailer.html) during movie night.
CHOOSE CLEAN, GREEN POWER - Members and guests of the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, including Chair Janeen Solberg (right), heard an informative presentation in 2010 about how to use wind-generated electricity in their homes. Amanda Duzak (left) of Clean Currents explained why and how residents can choose green power over electricity generated by coal and nuclear plants. BRTF members Sean Haardt (center) and his wife Leslie (not pictured) were the first Booonsboro family to make the switch to Clean Currents, a clean energy company based in Rockville, Md. "Signing up was easy," says Sean. Go to www.cleancurrents.com for more information. Be sure to type in "Boonsboro" when asked how you heard about the program when filling out the application to switch to Clean Currents. There is no cost to switch to wind power. Maryland residents have had the opportunity to switch power providers since legislation was approved by the General Assembly a decade ago.