ANNAPOLIS — Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides announced that St. Mary’s Parish is the first church to be awarded the City of Annapolis’ Environmental Stewardship Certification.
“Not only is St. Mary’s committed to environmental education, Father Tizio and his team are role models for environmental best practices,” Mayor Pantelides said. “I applaud both the church and school staff for their ongoing efforts to protect the environment.”
The Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program is a part of the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs’ (DNEP) Sustainable Annapolis initiative. Launched in 2009, the Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program awards best practice certificates to homes, restaurants, lodging establishments, auto repair shops, schools, retail stores, places of worship & other institutions, and office buildings. For a full list, go to http://bit.ly/11slbfI.
St. Mary’s worked with the Spa Creek Conservancy and Carroll House and Gardens to retrofit the 2.1-acre parking lot behind St. Mary’s Church that drains polluting storm water to Spa Creek. Nine rain gardens were installed to allow much of the runoff to naturally infiltrate the soils. St. Mary’s students helped plant the gardens with water-absorbent native plants. The rain gardens and improved storm water management have greatly decrease nutrients, sediment, and toxic chemicals running into Spa Creek after each rainstorm. Rain barrels have been placed around drain spouts from school buildings to hold storm water from roofs and prevent pollution.
Working with BGE and the University of Maryland, a comprehensive energy audit of the parish facilities was conducted and meetings arranged with BGE energy conservation leaders to plan energy conservation measures that BGE helps fund. Highly efficient lighting systems have been installed in three of St. Mary’s buildings and records show that electric use has been cut by an average of 18 percent in these buildings. That is a total reduction of about 104,000 Kilowatt-hours a year, which translates into about $8,000 in annual savings.
The school is committed to environmental education through academic programs, club activities, and through volunteer learning opportunities, offering a range of courses and activities that encourages students to consider their place in the natural world. St. Mary’s Elementary was designated a Green School by the state of Maryland.
In order to be eligible for the two-year DNEP certification, the applicant must earn enough qualifying points from a comprehensive checklist of environmental best practices and pass a verification inspection. For more information, contact DNEP at 410-263-7946 or go to www.SustainableAnnapolis.com.