Conservation Montgomery
  Working together to enhance our quality of life 

Community News and Updates January 2011



MARCH 3rd  at 7 p.m.

"Planning the Urban Forest" 

with urban planner James Schwab, author of Planning the Urban Forest, as our guest speaker.Find Jim's bio here.

Schwab book Join us for this Conservation Montgomery event. Details on our website and in the February e-newsletter.






Ginny Barnes

Arlene Bruhn

Mark Buscaino

Diane Cameron

Jennifer Chambers

Evan Glass

David Hauck

Barbara Hoover

Caren Madsen

Mike Rubin

Helen Wood




JOIN US FOR THE JAN. 26th Conservation Montgomery Networking Night at the 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring.

Starting at 6 p.m.













































Dear Fellow Residents,

      We begin a new year with tragedy in Arizona and tight fiscal times.  Our hearts go out to the victims of the shooting spree in Tucson and their families. Here's to the hope that the new year and the future will be better. 


Council President Valerie Ervin

       In Montgomery County, Council President Valerie Ervin and our local legislators have a tough job with a $300 million shortfall in the budget. Council President Ervin has said, "We have some tough decisions to make...but we cannot just cut our way out of this."  She hopes to find solutions that involve setting  priorities and avoiding across-the-board cuts that have a detrimental impact on county services.  

       Because of the impact on our quality of life and the role that each of these items play in ongoing efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, Conservation Montgomery is interested to see the following items spared in another round of county budget cuts: 

  • Restoration of the budget for our county street tree program. (This was zeroed out in the last budget, accounting for 2 missed planting seasons for new street trees so that trees lost to damage, old age and disease could not be replaced.)
  • Preserving the budget for the Outdoor Education program and environmental programs in our county schools.Write the school board.
  • Funds to implement the Forest Conservation Law (FCL) and add legislation to protect trees and smaller tracts of forest not covered by the FCL. 
  • Preservation of funding for our valuable and beautiful county parks.

       There is a bit of good news at the state level:  Despite a tough budget year, Maryland surpassed its annual land conservation goal of 9,700 acres and protected 12,812 acres of green space in 2010.  The State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) protected the land through statewide Program Open Space acquisitions and the Conservation Reserve Resource Program. DNR has saved $8.5 million through voluntary discounts offered by willing landowners and federal or private funds leveraged through partnerships.  Hats off to decision makers at the state level for acknowledging the environment as a priority and finding ways to conserve open space.  
      Please join us this month for a networking event on January 26th at 6 p.m. at the 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring.  We hope our County Council and State legislators will join us to talk about some of the upcoming legislation that affects all of us in Montgomery County.  To RSVP click here.

     This month, we welcome an alliance with the venerable Montgomery County Civic Federation (MCCF), a countywide umbrella organization for civic associations which has been in existence since 1925. MCCF members and organizations are truly the founding fathers and mothers of our civic community. In large part, we have many of them to thank for protecting our neighborhoods and lifestyle in this terrific county.  The Green Commuter in Takoma Park has also joined us as a corporate member.  We look forward to working with you as well as our individual members and other civic umbrella organizations such as the Citizens' League of Montgomery County.

      Please contact us if you are interested in joining as an individual member, organization or corporate sponsor.  We'll see you at the 8407 Kitchen Bar on Jan. 26th. 

Until then,

Caren Madsen

and the Conservation Montgomery Board of Directors


Legislation and policy changes on the horizon
Montgomery County moco flag
  • Bill 60-10, introduced by Councilmember Elrich.  The bill will increase the penalty fee for violations of the county sediment control law to up to $1,000.  Council hearing is Jan. 18th at 1:30 p.m. at the Council Office Building.
  • Upcoming amendments to the County Forest Conservation Law (FCL). Concept chart for the DEP proposal. State of the urban forest and 11 points for improving the law here.
  • Zoning Rewrite Project.  Rewriting zoning codes will have a tremendous impact on the future of our county. It is essential that residents and business owners participate in the decision-making process. Learn more.
  • March 15:  County Executive's proposed budget goes to the County Council.

State Legislation   md flag

  • State bag bill modeled on bag bill adopted in D.C. Find board member Jennifer Chambers' editorial here.
  • Clean energy bill to promote offshore wind energy in Maryland. Bill will require Maryland utilities to enter into long-term contracts for offshore wind power. Join the Chesapeake Climate Action Network at an event on the 1st day of the State Legislature.
  • Outdoor lighting bill to encourage use of energy efficient outdoor lighting
  • Legislation on bicycle and pedestrian safety
  • Transparency legislation to improve delivery of government information
  • Campaign finance reform bill
  • Legislation to take arsenic out of chicken feed
  • Expansion of stormwater legislation
  • Bill to expand green building to other types of buildings
  • Legislation to provide a dedicated funding source for cities and counties to use in reducing runoff to watersheds and for watershed restoration/protection.

Keep checking the Conservation Montgomery website or the Maryland Legislature or County Council websites.  We will post these bills as they are introduced.  Please also contact your County Councilmembers or State legislators for more information.

From the Rock Creek Sports Club

Winter Tips for Bike Commuters and Future Commuters


Bo Murphy, a member of RCSC and an outdoor cyclist, spins to stay in shape

         Winter months can be brutal for those who crave the outdoors and who are not fond of freezing temperatures and slippery road conditions.  Even the bravest and most avid cyclists will park their bikes until the spring thaw.

      But Brian "Tiny" Washington, a cycling coach at Rock Creek Sports Club (RCSC) in Silver Spring, urges cyclists and others to keep moving during the winter months to stay healthy and ready to return to two-wheel commuting when temperatures rise again. 
      Traffic congestion, climate change and taking better care of your health are all good reasons to commute by bicycle as much as possible.   By local jurisdiction, Washington, D.C. holds the best record for daily short-trip bicycle commuting with 49 percent of D.C. residents using two wheels instead of four each day.  Montgomery's share is 17 percent.    

     A significant number of RCSC members commute to the facility regularly by bike.  The club management responded to the growing number of neighborhood cyclists by installing a bike rack next to the door.  A bonus for the club is its prime location on Grubb Road in a small shopping center near both multi-family and single-family detached homes. Snowmageddon of 2010 had little impact on business at the shopping center where RCSC is located.  Clerks at the Silver Spring-Takoma Park Food Coop located there reported closing only one day during the back-to-back record snowstorms in the D.C. area.   The reason:  A number of employees of the shopping center could walk in from the surrounding neighborhood and customers did the same.    

     Stay warm and safe above all else.  If you want to switch to two wheels indoors instead of braving the cold, here's how to stay fit for commuting to work by bike again in the spring:

  • Winter months are a great time to focus on weight-bearing exercises, push-ups and exercises to build core body strength, says Washington of RCSC.  "A lot of people don't want to spend time doing this during prime outdoor cycling months," the instructor said.  "So hunker down with weights at the gym during the cold months and get your legs as strong as possible."
  • If you can afford the expense, find a good instructor or fitness coach who is an avid outdoor cyclist and understands the physical benefits of cycling.
  • Try "spinning" during the winter on your own, or enroll in spinning classes.  "Challenge yourself when you spin," says Washington.  "Build resistance, keep a steady pace and then increase your resistance over time.  Make sure you hill-climb and try to duplicate outdoor cycling when you spin." 
  • Work out with weights, weight-bearing exercises and spinning every other day during the winter.  Then when spring and summer return, switch back to your outdoor bike and go to the gym one or twice a week.  

     Washington is a former board member of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).  He believes in bike commuting so much that he teaches urban cycling classes and courses on safe riding with traffic to encourage others to become regular bike commuters. 

      In addition to working out the gym this winter, you can join others for an upcoming bike event to ask legislators to make Maryland communities safer for bike commuters:

For information on Montgomery County's revised policy on accepting used bike tires for recycling, click here.


Rock Creek Sports Club...a Community Gym.  Our website