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Maryland gets its first 'Certified Sustainable' community: Berlin
Date:4/24/2012

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The first Maryland municipality to earn a "Certificate of Sustainability" under a new statewide environmental program is the Town of Berlin on the Eastern Shore.

The Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) program - managed by the University of Maryland's Environmental Finance Center - recognizes and assists communities working to protect their assets, as well as revitalize and improve their long-term quality of life.

"Berlin is a role model for what can be accomplished when communities and local governments team up to adopt sensible, sustainable practices," says Joanne Throwe, director of the University of Maryland's Environmental Finance Center. "The Town of Berlin has organized its many sustainability initiatives in a way that is likely to intensify their impact and build citizen awareness."

Twenty-two other communities around Maryland are following Berlin's lead and working toward their own certification - a process that involves setting goals and completing a series of actions in areas relating to water and air quality, waste management, energy efficiency, local economic development, planning and land use, and health and wellness.

To earn its certification, Berlin first established a citizen-government Green Team. This steering committee was charged with selecting a series of actions to perform from a menu of resource management and economic development activities. Each completed action earned points toward certification.

"SMC is a purely voluntary program," Throwe says. "We want communities to embrace actions important to them, and then help them achieve these actions in an efficient, goal-oriented way."

In Berlin's case, the community completed activities from the community action, community based food systems, energy, health and wellness, local economies, and natural resources categories.

After a rigorous application and review process by the SMC staff and external in
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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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