SDCI Winner of BGE Award!

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SDCI vice president Lynell Tobler is flanked by Alexander Nunez and Valencia McClure of BGE after SDCI was awarded a grant for our conservation efforts 
The BGE Green Grants program, now in its fifth year, awards grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for projects in conservation, education, energy efficiency and pollution prevention.  The application process is open to 501c3 nonprofit organizations located in BGE's central Maryland service area that are committed to making a positive environmental impact. The $4000 grant awarded to SDCI will make a huge difference in furthering our efforts to educate the public about this largest remaining serpentine barrens ecosystem on the east coast and to help conserve and restore our rare and endangered habitat for future generations.

SDCI board members Laura Van Scoyoc, President, Lynell Tobler, Vice President, and Hazel McWeeney, Treasurer, attended a reception for all the 2017 BGE Green Grant recipients on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. The reception took place at a historic stone house near Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, which was designed by George A. Frederick in 1872, the architect of Baltimore's City Hall. This lovely example of Gothic stone architecture, once home, in turns, to the superintendent of Druid Hill Park and the Director of the Maryland Zoo, was blighted by years of neglect and gutted by fire. Trees were growing inside the house when the mansion, crafted of Butler stone quarried in Baltimore County, was slated for demolition by Mayor Kurt Schmoke in 1995. Following community outcry, the building was purchased and carefully restored in 2014 by the Parks and People Foundation, which hosted the reception and offered tours of its LEED platinum-certified buildings adjacent to the historic home and a companion carriage house on the nine-acre campus.

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Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO of the Parks and People Foundation, gestures out the window of an 1872 stone mansion to other buildings on the 9-acre campus

While Laura, Lynell and Hazel nibbled on cheese cubes, fresh veggies, crab dip and other assorted hors d'oeuvres, they spent time getting to know other Green Grant recipients. Interestingly, most of the nonprofits present at the reception had, as a focus of the missions for which their grants were approved, the eradication of invasive plants at the top of their to-do lists. It goes to show how big a problem the incursion of non-native species has become in our area -- and everywhere.

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Alexander Núñez, vice president of regulatory and external affairs for BGE, describes the grant process for qualified nonprofits
Eventually, Lisa Schroeder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Parks and People Foundation, gave a short talk about the organization and restoration of the stone house, and then introduced Valencia McClure, BGE vice president of Governmental and External Affairs, and Alexander Núñez, BGE Senior Vice President of Regulatory and External Affairs, who played a short video highlighting three of the award winners.

It felt very good to be acknowledged for all our hard work to conserve the globally rare ecosystem that comprises the serpentine barrens in Owings Mills. The BGE Green Grants reception presented an ideal opportunity to get our message out to the public about how important it is to protect and enhance the wilderness characteristics and other valuable features of Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area.

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