2014 | News

Environmental Advocates Honored at Bethesda Green Awards Gala

Annual event highlights Montgomery County residents making a difference for the environment

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Students from Wood Acres Elementary School receive an award at the Bethesda Green Champions Awards Gala Thursday night.

Andrew Metcalf

The students of Wood Acres Elementary School stood out at last night’s Bethesda Green Champions Awards Gala. Their camouflage T-shirts and newspaper hats were just a bit different from the suits and cocktail dresses worn by the adults who gathered at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club.

But they fit right in as Bethesda Magazine Green Champion Award winners. There a total of five recipients of the Green Awards sponsored by the magazine and Bethesda Green, a local nonprofit and incubator that promotes sustainable living.

Wood Acres was recognized for an initiative begun three years ago by parents and students to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. The initiative led students to create a YouTube video about climate change and a “Trashless Tuesday” contest in which grades compete to produce the least amount of lunchroom trash each week.

Other honorees included the Town of Poolesville, which opened a 6-acre solar array to power its government buildings. Wendy Howard, a Wheaton resident, received an award for her work as the executive director of GreenWheaton, a nonprofit that promotes environmental sustainability to businesses and the greater community in Wheaton.

The staff of Glenstone was awarded for making the private Potomac museum more environmentally friendly by eliminating the use of chemicals on its grounds, promoting sustainable farming and conducting an expansive recycling effort.

Alan Pultyniewicz, recycling coordinator for Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services, received an award for his work toward the county’s goal of recycling 70 percent of collected trash by 2020. He has been working on the county’s recycling program since 2000.

Thursday night’s event was also a goodbye of sorts to Bethesda Green’s former executive director Dave Feldman. Feldman, who started the nonprofit in 2007, with help from Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman and Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal, is moving on to start The Livability Project.

But it was also a chance to welcome the new Bethesda Green executive director, Veronique Marier, who comes to the nonprofit after serving in the District’s Energy Administration.

Marier told those who attended that it’s her goal “to continue to lead in local environmental solutions to make Bethesda a better place for the future.”

Wendy Howard of GreenWheaton receives an award from Bethesda Magazine publisher Steve Hull and new Bethesda Green Executive Director Veronique Marier.



Correction: The last name of the recycling coordinator for the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection was incorrect in the original version of this story. It has been corrected.