2018 Environmental Awareness Award winners recognized at EAC meeting

2018 Environmental Awareness Award winners recognized at EAC meeting
Brian Shumaker, STEM coordinator for Carroll County Public Schools, was one of five recipients of the 2018 Environmental Awareness Awards on June 20, given biannually by the Board of County Commissioners and Environmental Advisory Council. (Carroll County Government)

The Environmental Advisory Council set aside the first portion of its Wednesday, June 20 meeting to recognize the five recipients of its 2018 Environmental Awareness Awards for a job well done.

On a biennial basis the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and EAC choose candidates from various categories — individual, institution, student, agriculture and business — who they feel make a difference in the community by instituting or forwarding positive environmental thought and action.


Winners this year are the following: Nancy Bittler, adult supervisor to the 4-H Green Outdoor Environmental Science Club, for the individual award; Bryan Shumaker, Carroll County Public Schools STEM coordinator, for the institution award; Stella Schoberg, an environmental leader at her elementary school, for the student award; Carolyn and Mike Krome of Persimmon Tree Farm, for the agriculture award; and Legacy Septic and Excavation LLC for the business award.

The individual award-winner, Bittler, “volunteered as the adult supervisor to the 4-H GOES Club that her daughter founded in 2015,” EAC Chair Frank Vleck said. “Despite the fact that her daughter went on to college the next year, Nancy stayed on as the supervisor where she educates 10- to 18-year-olds about the environment.

“The club hosted several expert speakers and she facilitated the kids’ participation in eight events in 2018,” he said.

Shumaker got his institution award because of his work incorporating environmental education into CCPS’ STEM programs — like goals from the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland’s Living Reef Action Campaign and Meaningful Watershed Education Experience, a requirement of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.

“In general environmental literacy and education goes hand-in-hand with STEM,” Shumaker said after the presentation. “There are many pillars — computer literacy, robotics, cybersecurity — but environmental literacy is impactful at a young age, especially.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to allow kids to be problem-solvers and realize they are making an impact,” he said.

The student award-winner, Schoberg was unable to attend the presentation, but Vleck spoke about her achievements anyway to recognize her contributions to the community.

“Stella has been a part of the Environmental Club at her elementary school for three years,” he said. “This year she took over as a student leader and helps direct other students on projects around the school.

“She has led students in litter cleanups and rain garden development,” said Vleck. “Stella is a role model, helping to teach the younger children, and is always full of enthusiasm.”

When Carolyn and Mike Krome were gifted their agriculture award, for their permanently preserved farm located in the heart of the Liberty Watershed, they extended an open invitation to everyone present and the general public to come see what they do at Persimmon Tree Farm.

“I just think there’s a lot more meaningful people around the county, so we are really proud to get this,” Carolyn Krome said after the presentation. “ We’d like to make the public aware they can come by any time.”

The Kromes board 20 to 25 horses on their 132-acre farm and have been working with the Carroll County Soil Conservation District since 1998 to identify and implement measures to protect the environment, Vleck said. They also were recently certified as Conservation Stewards by the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts — making them the first horse farm in Maryland to be certified in the program.

Business winners, George Schooley and Jenny Walsh of Legacy Septic and Excavation LLC won for their free Septic 101 classes that they host twice annually at various Carroll County libraries with activities for children if parents would like to bring them.

“Question and answer periods are offered at all classes,” said Vleck, “and no sales pitches are made.”


“It means a lot to us because we love educating the consumers,” said Schooley after the event. “An educated consumer is a smart consumer.”

Plus, he said, education today is more necessary than ever as antibacterial soaps and bleaches kill the bacteria in septic tanks and cause more problems than existed in the past.

“We want to sensibly extend the life of peoples’ septic systems,” Walsh said.

There is usually a tree-planting ceremony in April to honor winners of the Environmental Awareness Awards, Vleck said, but this year it had to be postponed to an undetermined date this fall.

The EAC chair invited all the award recipients to attend when the date is announced.

“It’s something we can do to let the lasting legacy of all award winners carry on in a place where they can be recognized in the future,” he said.