Havre de Grace and Aberdeen were two of 18 municipalities recently honored at the Sustainable Maryland awards ceremony on Oct. 11 at the Maryland Municipal League’s annual fall conference, according to the University of Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center.
“The Sustainable Maryland certification is an honor for the City of Havre de Grace, as our municipality makes a conscious effort to bring sustainability concerns into our policy and planning decisions,” the city’s mayor, Bill Martin, said of the award, according to a news release from Sustainable Maryland.
In order to achieve a Sustainable Maryland certification, municipalities must form a “Green Team,” made up of local citizens, community leaders and municipality staff members and officials. These teams must then complete sustainability-related actions of varying point levels – 150 points are needed for bronze, and 400 points are needed for silver.
Havre de Grace received a silver certification, and Aberdeen received a bronze. Havre de Grace was first certified in 2016 and was re-certified in 2019. This is Aberdeen’s first year receiving the certification.
“We are pleased to be awarding a record number of certifications this year,” said Mike Hunninghake, Director of the Sustainable Maryland program, in a news release. “These certifications show a commitment to sustainability by Maryland’s municipalities that is truly impressive in both depth and breadth. The commitments and associated actions are a critical investment for a future where local governments will increasingly be at the forefront in the fight against climate change.”
Havre de Grace has completed a variety of sustainable actions over the years to receive its certification including: creating the Todd Park Food Forest in 2016 to allow for people to plant and nurture trees and bushes with various fruit, nut and berry species; installing electric trolleys earlier this year as an additional form of municipal transportation; and being accepted to the Maryland Smart Energy Community through their proposal to convert all municipal lighting to LEDs over a course of five years.
Aberdeen’s sustainable actions included: hosting a bulk-item drop-off event this past June; officially celebrating Arbor Day for the first time this year after being recognized by the Tree City USA program last year; and implementing a program to educate residents on the importance of picking up their dog’s waste.
“The City of Aberdeen’s staff and elected officials have worked with residents, local businesses and state agencies to create a more viable city and achieve the Sustainable Maryland certification,” Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady said in the news release. “I am incredibly proud of our initiatives that bring us closer to achieving social, economic and environmental sustainability. The City of Aberdeen has a bright future grounded in the principles of sustainable development, commercial activity, and quality of life for our community.”