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Environmentalist of the Month-Tackles Invasives by Hand

  • Ken Bawer, Environmentalist of the Month Ken Bawer, Environmentalist of the Month Ken Bawer Environmentalist of the Month
  • Volunteers looking at invasive plants Volunteers looking at invasive plants Volunteers looking at invasive site
  • Weed cutting Weed cutting
  • Volunteers cutting invasive plants Volunteers cutting invasive plants Volunteers cutting invasives


Gaithersburg, Md

Sunday, February 17, 2013

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Concern for one’s environment moves people to take action in a variety of ways, and for Ken Bawer it is getting rid of invasive plants that otherwise would drown out native plants in Montgomery County Md. parks and trails.

Bawer is a certified Weed Warrior supervisor, a volunteer  position in Montgomery County’s Parks department.  A supervisor requires weed warrior certification and then commitment to leading volunteers at least twice a year to identify and cut invasive plants in Montgomery County’s parks. … Continue Reading

Cheryl Kollin, December’s Environmentalist of the Month

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Gaithersburg, Md

December 14, 2012

Cheryl Kollin was selected as the Green Gaithersburg.com December environmentalist of the month. Kollin came up with an innovative program called “Farm to Freezer”, a  way to reduce food waste by freezing excess fresh organic vegetables and having the veggies then incorporated into meals for the homeless in Bethesda, Md.

Kollin has partnered with Bethesda Cares, a non-profit that cooks and feeds the homeless every day. … Continue Reading

Environmentalist of the Month Improves Your Watershed and Water Quality

Jennie Howland with trash collected from Muddy Branch cleanup











Gaithersburg, MD

January 20, 2011

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Jennie Howland is improving the local environment she lives in.   Over the past year, Ms. Howland has helped set up and run the Muddy Branch Alliance, a new non-profit in Gaithersburg, Md. engaged in educating the public about water quality issues.  She serves on the Muddy Branch Alliance board of directors.  Ms. Howland is only 25 years old.  She is looking for a full time job in the environmental sector.

Ms. Howland grew up in Gaithersburg.  “ I always played outside, rode bikes, and explored the woods. I also attended outdoor summer camps. My parents always sent me outside once I finished my homework.“

Spending time outdoors, then a trip to the Chesapeake Bay in 4th grade that explained water pollution and quality, influenced Ms. Howland’s interest in science.  She studied a lot of Biology at Wootton High School, and then was accepted at Mount Holyoke College, a prestigious private liberal arts school, the first all women’s college in the U.S.   Ms. Howland studied Biology there, thinking she wanted to be a vet, but then decided to transfer to University of Maryland to study Environmental Sciences where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy.

“Environmental Sciences is the study of biodiversity and conservation biology. One scientifically measures the changes in plants and animals over time due to changes in the environment” said Ms. Howland.  “The ongoing debate is preservation versus conservation.  Because everything does change, do you try and conserve nature or slow down the outside environmental factors that create the change?”

These questions lead Ms. Howland to be interested in environmental policy.  Upon graduating from college, Ms. Howland interned for the Sierra Club’s Maryland chapter, a lobbying organization based throughout the United States.   There, she learned lobbying skills and helped plan different events.

Though Ms. Howland worked on the plastic bag bill, stopping hydrofracking, and other campaigns, Ms. Howland missed the hands on aspect of environmental work. This is what led her to helping establish a local watershed group, The Muddy Branch Alliance.

“ For me clean water is very important. I wanted to get involved in a local watershed and there wasn’t one directly in the area that I live. I went to the Clean Water Summit and met Paul Hlavinka who was also concerned about water quality issues in the area.”  Ms. Howland and Mr. Hlavinka soon decided, with others, to establish the Muddy Branch Alliance in the spring of 2010.

“ We want to bring attention to clean water, the Muddy Branch creek area.  The idea is that kids and people should enjoy clean water in the creeks.  Ms. Howland points out that all water run off from people’s lawns, from roads, all winds up in the creeks and then into the Potomac and becomes part of our drinking water. Water that has phosphates, fertilizers, pesticides, all runs into the local water sources.

Ms. Howland spends a lot of her free time setting up events, speakers and watershed cleanups along with writing grants for the Muddy Branch Alliance.  Currently, her paying job is at Starbucks. “ I am applying to jobs that are environmentally related and hoping that I can find a job in this field soon” said Ms. Howland.

When asked what Ms. Howland’s first environmental concern is, she said“ the biggest issue is where we get our energy. We are so dependent on fossil fuels and this source of energy will eventually run out. We need greater cleaner energy sources; there is not enough research or exploration. Fossil fuels are an unhealthy pollutant that contributes to water pollution. Pollution winds up in the water, it is all tied together.”

Environmentalist of the Month Tackles Water Quality in the DC Metro Area.


Lawrence Latour, December’s Environmentalist of the Month










December 4, 2011

Gaithersburg, MD

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin


22-year-old Lawrence LaTour of Gaithersburg, MD is a recent college grad whose education in environmental sciences has paid off. Lawrence has joined the ranks of the employed as an associate engineer for Hazen and Sawyer, an environmental engineering firm.

His interest in engineering, how things work, compounded with environmental studies that started at the Poolesville High School’s magnet ecology program influenced Lawrences’ future studies.

“I studied global ecology at Poolesville and there I really became aware about the environment. We also had field trips every couple of weeks. I learned how to identify 60 different native plants and different tree species,” said Lawrence.

Applying to colleges, Lawrence was interested in teaching and engineering. The University of Delaware’s engineering programs grabbed his attention though. He graduated this spring with a major in environmental studies and a minor in civil engineering.

Spending time outdoors since a child, Lawrence has used his love for nature combined with all he has learned about ecology to teach children every summer during college at the Naturalist Audobon Society in Bethesda, MD. He created classes for kids to teach them how to identify native plants while hiking and learning about nature.

Today, as an associate engineer, Lawrence is outside every day throughout the DC metro area working on replacing manholes and managing crews working on Hazen and Sawyer water quality issues.

When asked what environmental issue Lawrence considers to be the most important one for the future he talked about water quality.

“ It is my major concern because potable water is becoming increasingly scarce in 3rd world countries. The impact is being felt in the US, especially in the Midwest where legislation regulates water usage. Water is essential for survival and it will have a more immediate impact than other environmental problems like global warming or pollution, “ said Lawrence.

Environmentalist of the Month


Karen Rainbolt, Environmentalist of the Month, Great Seneca Park, MD

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Gaithersburg, MD

Gaithersburg is a city that takes climate change seriously, thanks in large part to resident Karen Rainbolt.

Rainbolt was moved to action in by reading about cities throughout the United States that were adopting climate change policies and enacting gas emission standards laid out by the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rainbolt emailed Mayor Sidney Katz in 2008, explaining that she thought it would be a great idea for the City of Gaithersburg to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protections agreement.

Mayor Katz responded to Rainbolt’s emails and after a few months the Mayor signed the agreement in an official press conference with Rainbolt, her family, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and the City Council.

“It seemed to make so much sense with what they were doing in Seattle. Why wouldn’t other areas do anything about this, whether or not climate change is man- made or not man-made, there is issue and it is affecting every one. Why wouldn’t you take the steps to mitigate what you can?” says Karen.

Though the United States has not signed this protocol as a country, 1,054 individual cities throughout the United States have signed. Montgomery County signatories include Gaithersburg, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Kensington, and Takoma Park.

Mayor Katz then asked Rainbolt to join the City of Gaithersburg Environmental Affairs Committee. Rainbolt is now chairperson of this committee.

Though Rainbolt had been conscious and concerned about how environmental impact on health and had always enjoyed spending time in nature, her work focused more on communications in general.

Then she decided to get an on-line Masters Degree in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College in Vermont. As a working mother of four children, the new online program provided her with the flexibility to finish her degree whenever she could.

Now Rainbolt not only helps the City of Gaithersburg decide what environmental issues should be addressed by the city, but she also has an advisory role in her job at the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA).

The PVA has taken on environmental stewardship as a voluntary program for members to adopt and expand environmentally friendly practices.

When not busy at work or serving on the Environmental Affairs Committee, Rainbolt and her family like to spend time visiting national parks and camping. Rainbolt’s family considers Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg a favorite for walks.

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Meatless Monday Recipes

Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan Croutons

19 Nov 2013

A good friend, Denise Clark, sent in this vegetarian seasonal recipe.   1 3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ cubes (5-6 cups) 2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 teaspoons of  kosher salt Pinch of freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon butter 1 large onion, diced 1 tablespoon …

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Meatless Monday Butternut Squash Ravioli

4 Nov 2013

From Chef John at allrecipes.com Ingredients  Original recipe makes 6 servings 1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pinch cayenne pepper 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese 1 egg yolk 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 (16 ounce) package round wonton wrappers 2 …

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Meatless Monday Proclaimed by Montgomery County Council

22 Jul 2013

July 22, 2013 Gaithersburg, Md By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin I was so pleased to find out that Montgomery County Council has officially endorsed Meatless Mondays, a nationwide effort to choose more plant-based foods. For more information about this news read Compassion Over Killing’s website.  Also, Naomi Bloch sent in a Meatless …

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Meatless Monday Recipe- Roasted Cauliflower

17 Jun 2013

  This recipe sounds delicious and I am going to try it tonight because I have a cauliflower sitting in my fridge and I need to cook it! Will let you know what it tastes like!- Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin Recipe is from BonApetit Ingredients Roasted Cauliflower 2 1/2 cups dry white …

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Meatless Mondays-Caramelized Onion Tart

20 May 2013

Here is a vegetarian recipe for an Onion tart. I just read up and now understand that a tart is made in ribbed dish, the bottom part of the pan can come out, and the tart can be all sorts of shapes vs. a quiche is in round pie dish… …

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