Berlin Is State’s 1st Sustainable Municipality

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BERLIN — Berlin’s growing environmental efforts have been honored with two significant awards including being named the first Sustainable Maryland Certified Municipality and receiving one of the first-ever Worcester Green Awards.

Grow Berlin Green team members Steve Farr, Dave Wilson, Jane Kreiter, Kate Patton, Kathy Phillips and Debbi Dean-Colley came before the Mayor and Council on Monday to present the town with the two environmental awards. Earlier this month, the town of Berlin became the first municipality in Maryland to be certified under the Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) program. Berlin attained certification by surpassing the program’s point requirement, fulfilling mandatory and priority actions and completing a rigorous application and review process.

In order to become Sustainable Maryland Certified, Berlin had to complete two mandatory actions related to the establishment of a local Green Team and two of six priority actions. In addition, Berlin had to accumulate at least 150 points by completing actions chosen from nine categories spanning a variety of resource management and economic development activities.

“In Berlin, our citizens share a common belief that in the 21st century, for any community to obtain sustainable success, environmental stewardship and economic opportunity must be two sides of the same coin,” said Mayor Gee Williams. “By actively working together with citizens, local environmental groups and the state, the town of Berlin seeks to be a leading community on the Eastern Shore in environmental responsibility.”

The program is open to all Maryland municipalities looking for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their assets and revitalize their communities to improve long-term quality of life. Maryland municipalities earn points towards sustainability certification by completing actions that incorporate best practices.

Berlin’s application for certification, which included extensive documentation for each action completed, was initially reviewed by SMC staff before being forwarded to industry experts for an external review.

“There was a lot of criteria required,” said Williams. “The documentation was unbelievable. When you claim to have done that stuff, you have to prove it. It was a very rigorous application process.”

On the heels of the SMC recognition, Berlin last week was honored with one of the first-ever Worcester Green awards, handed out during an Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Dinner. The intent of the program is to recognize extraordinary performance related to sustainable environmental practices.

The first-ever Worcester Green awards recognized winners in several categories and Grow Berlin Green was honored in the community organization category. In the business category, Ayers Creek Adventures and Steve Taylor were recognized. The lodging category award went to the Park Place Hotel and Carol and Hugo Cardenas. In the restaurant category, Berlin’s Baked Dessert Café and Gallery along with Ken and Robin Tomaselli were honored. In the teacher category, Pocomoke Middle School eighth-grade science teacher Karen McCabe was honored.

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