Education & Advocacy
The Association holds periodic forums to inform community
members on conservation practices. Backyard Conservation
Workshops were launched in April of 2006 with the Grow Oysters
at Home seminar held at the Parish Hall in St. Mary’s City. Oyster
grower Rich Pelz led an informative half-hour lecture followed by
a hands-on water side demonstration. Several members in attendance
signed up to purchase oyster seed and floats—growing apparatus,
an expense that is mostly deductible from Maryland income
In August 2006, County Environmental Planner Sue Veith led
the second Backyard Conservation Workshop—Bay-Wise Certification.
Attendees were informed of the program and how to qualify
for certification. Local Master Gardeners assist with this program
developed by the University of Maryland and the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources. The Gardeners are tasked with
reviewing sites for compliance with Bay-friendly landscaping and
homestead practices. Homeowners are scored on a point system in
order to qualify for certification.
In September, the Rain Barrel Workshop offered free rain barrels
to new members or any member who renewed their membership.
Twenty-six rain barrels were distributed. Association member
Christina Allen led the workshop informing participants of the
Bay-friendly assets of rain barrel usage as well as how to set up
the system at home. Additional benefits are that water collected
by the barrel can be used to water plants in place of aquifer water
(tap water), which should be reserved for potable usage.
Another active pursuit of the Association was to meet and form
partnerships with local land use professionals including planners,
builders, developers, realtors, and financial institutions. Formal
meetings and discussions took place with two developers leading
to suggestions as to how to make their projects more friendly to
the watershed. These meetings were very productive.
Association leaders also made presentations to other organizations
including the St. Mary’s County Planning Commission, the
Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the Community Development
Corporation, and the St. Mary’s County Commissioners.