Last week, the Chesapeake Bay Trust announced the recipients of its 2016 Annual Awards Program at a ceremony held in the Maryland General Assembly. During the event, more than 150 Chesapeake Bay supporters joined Maryland legislators to honor six exceptional teachers, students, and individuals for their outstanding contributions to environmental education, Bay restoration and volunteerism. Launched in 1998, the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Annual Awards Program recognizes awardees each year for a variety of environmental leadership roles and achievements.
“I am honored to recognize this year’s awardees for their tremendous work and accomplishments,” said Dr. Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “These talented individuals are working every day to make a difference in our communities and for our environment. The environmental leaders being honored tonight by the Chesapeake Bay Trust are to be commended for their exceptional contributions as we all work together to restore the rivers, streams, and other natural resources of our region.”
The Chesapeake Bay Trust’s 2016 Annual Award winners include:
2016 Educator of the Year: Beth Brownley
Kennard Elementary in Queen Anne’s County
Beth Brownley is a third grade teacher at Kennard Elementary where she initiated Queen Anne County’s first engineering program which provides environmental, computer and mechanical engineering opportunities for third through fifth graders. Brownley also coordinates her school’s Bay Days, and is working to become a master teacher through NASA. Each year the Trust’s Educator of the Year Award recognizes a Maryland educator who has shown an outstanding commitment to environmental education, and along with her award, Brownley will receive a $2,500 grant to be used for environmental projects and programs at her school.
2016 Student of the Year: Brieanna Smith
University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC), Baltimore County
The Trust’s $5,000 Student of the Year Scholarship, awarded to a Maryland high school or college student who participates in efforts to improve the local environment, was awarded to Brieanna Smith, a junior at UMBC where she is majoring in environmental science. Smith is an active volunteer with the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Blue Water Baltimore, and Phillips Wharf Environmental Center where she raises oysters, plants trees, and organizes trash cleanups, among other efforts. Smith is also launching her own Science Café to engage Baltimore youth in community action and the environmental projects and outreach efforts.
2016 Honorable Arthur Dorman Scholarship: Marco Salgado
Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County
The Trust’s $5,000 Arthur Dorman Scholarship is named in honor of the late Senator Arthur Dorman who played a large role in bringing Trust grant programs to a greater diversity of communities in Maryland. This scholarship is given annually to a student of color and this year’s award recipient, Marco Salgado, has led efforts to design and build a working hydroponics system at his school while also volunteering to manage his school’s greenhouse and serving as a senior mentor and tutor to fellow students.
2016 Ellen Fraites Wagner Award: Kincey Potter
Anne Arundel County
The Trust recognized Kincey Potter with this year’s Ellen Fraites Wagner Award. This award was created in 1998 to honor Ellen Fraites Wagner who was a tireless advocate for the Chesapeake Bay and the environment. Potter is the past board chair and a founder of the South River Federation, as well as the current co-chair of the Anne Arundel League of Conservation Voters and board member of the Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy. She has worked on countless restoration projects as well as served as an environmental advocate for local waters, especially the South River.
2016 Melanie Teems Award: GreenKids/Audubon Naturalist Society
The Trust named its Melanie Teems Award after its longest serving staff member to honor an exceptional program or project that is improving local waters and communities. This year’s winner is the GreenKids program administered by Audubon Naturalist Society which seeks to embed environmental stewardship and outdoor learning into school culture. To date, more than 30,000 Montgomery County students have participated in the program, which seeks to also reach underserved populations as well as educate teachers and administrators on the importance of incorporating environmental education into everyday school curriculum.
2016 Commercial Stewards Award: The Brick Companies
Anne Arundel County
The Trust’s Commercial Stewards Award is given to recognize an outstanding corporate or commercial entity that strives to make a difference in the community and for the Bay. The Brick Companies, a company that owns, develops and manages commercial, residential and recreational properties, was selected as this year’s recipient for their commitment to environmental sustainability. The company works to ensure projects are environmentally complaint: their golf course has won the “environmental leader in golf award,” their headquarters has one of the area’s first green roofs, their two marinas have been recognized as certified green marinas, and company leadership encourages employees to volunteer time while also matching personal donations to environmental causes.
For more information on the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Annual Awards Program, visit www.cbtrust.org.