December 2016: The fall was a time for review and reflection by the Environmental Committee. At the Annual Meeting in November, the Environmental Committee was given the opportunity to have a display at the meeting and also give a short presentation on our accomplishments to date and our plans for 2017.
The intent to establish an environmental committee was announced at last year’s annual meeting by Commodore Ersts who appointed Virginia Tippie to serve as the chair. The Committee formally met in the early spring of 2016 and established three working groups - 1. Clean Regattas & Clean Club, 2. Environmental Education & Awareness, and 3. Alternative Energy & Energy Efficiency.
Key accomplishments over the last year included:
- Clean Regattas: Working with Sailors for the Sea, EYC sponsored six gold-level Clean Regattas, one silver level Clean Regatta with AYC and our overall Racing Season was certified at the silver level (including the beer can series).
- Environmental Education: Through outreach efforts there was increased environmental awareness among club members, sailors and youth.
- Alternative Energy: The team’s working group surveyed the industry to identify alternative energy solutions and developed a solar proposal.
The Committee also presented our 2017 work plan to the membership. In addition to continuing our clean regatta efforts, educational outreach and energy analysis; specific key efforts in the upcoming year will include:
- Clean Club Initiative (e.g. EYC’s Chili Cook-off on 1/28/17 will be “green”)
- Environmental Lecture Series (e.g. Coral Reefs through a lens by Phil Renaud 1/18/17)
- Educational Display in EYC Clubhouse
- “Green Can” Environmental Award
- Town Hall Meeting on Solar Proposal
The Environmental Committee’s annual meeting presentation concluded with a thank-you to the general membership who has worked to make EYC environmentally sustainable in so many ways. Recognizing that it is individuals that make the difference, the Green Team also presented a Special Recognition Certificate to Tristan and Sheila Keen, J/30 North American Championship Regatta Managers, for their outstanding efforts to ensure a successful clean regatta.
(Left to right: Ursula Kuehn, Tristan Keen, Sheila Keen, Commodore Heather Ersts, Virginia Tippie)
November 2016: As the 2016 racing season draws to a close, EYC should be proud that we received six Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta gold-level certificates and one joint silver-level certificate with AYC.
Our overall racing season will be certified at the silver level. Congratulations to all!
September 1, 2016: The Green Team was busy this summer ensuring that all our sailing events were “Clean Regattas” and that EYC is a “Clean Club.” Thanks to the commitment of our EYC membership to do the right thing, EYC has held four “gold-level” Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas this summer: Leukemia Cup, Annapolis Bermuda Ocean Race, Boomerang Race and the CRAB Regatta. We will also join AYC to host a gold-level Labor Day Regatta. In fact, we are implementing best practices such as recycling and composting at all major club events. Recognizing that education is the key to achieving our goal of a cleaner bay, the Green Team has also been developing educational materials and encouraging EYC environmental stewardship efforts.
Green Can posters and Sailors for the Sea gold certificates
To increase awareness of EYC’s “green” efforts, a series of small posters and our “awards” will be posted in appropriate locations. The “Green Can” poster series will indicate ways that EYC is addressing key environmental concerns such as runoff reduction, sustainable energy and waste management. Our recent “Clean Regatta” certificates will also be displayed. EYC is truly a clean club and we should be proud of our accomplishments. We were the first yacht club to receive Clean Marina designation in Maryland and our new clubhouse with its pervious parking lot is equivalent to a LEEDS certified building.
Junior Sailing Program “Bay Week”
The Green Team met with the Junior Sailing Program early in the season to encourage inclusion of environmental components in their program. This year the program included environmental lessons in their ongoing activities including using refillable water bottles and our new water station. During Bay Week in August, the kids learned the ecology, history and culture of the area and the importance of a clean and healthy bay. For example, at the Annapolis Maritime Museum they learned about bay issues, dissected oysters and went crabbing; and at Bembe beach they had a scavenger hunt where they logged their findings and studied the beach’s ecology. They also learned what EYC is doing to be green and what they can do to save the bay.
EYCF Back Creek Conservancy Interns
The Eastport Yacht Club Foundation has always had an active educational program from the annual “Marine & Maritime Career Fair” to the “Sailing & Boating through STEM” program. This year as a result of student interest at the Career Fair, EYCF supported a Back Creek Conservancy summer internship program. The student projects included: water quality monitoring, a biological inventory, clean marina designation requirements, establishing no discharge zones and a photo essay on Back Creek. This project is a wonderful example of how EYC is reaching out to our community to encourage collaborative efforts to better understand and protect our local waters.
Upcoming Fall Events
October 1, 2016: As the fall season begins, the Environmental Committee or Green Team is evaluating our three ongoing initiatives: Clean Regattas/Clean Club, Environmental Education and Solar Energy. We are also exploring new opportunities and ways to enhance our efforts.
Clean Regattas/Clean Club: We are proud of our Sailors for the Sea 2016 “Clean Regatta” efforts. To date five regattas have been certified at the gold level and our joint AYC & EYC Labor Day regatta was certified at the silver level. Our effort to implement best practices at all our regattas has been a learning process for the team, the race committee and our club members but each event gets easier. The challenge is to get the club fully implementing best practices such as recycling, composting, using refillable water bottles, etc., all the time.
Environmental Education: Our Education Initiative has focused on signage and messaging through our “Green Can - Did you know?” posters/fliers. Recognizing that education is the key to achieving our goals, the team intends to sponsor several environmental/stewardship lectures this winter and encourage expansion of the “environmental component” of EYCF’s STEM Program and the Junior Sailing Program’s Bay Week next year.
Solar Energy: Over the past year, the solar workgroup evaluated the use of alternative energy sources such as solar to reduce our environmental footprint and reduce the club’s energy costs. A solar energy strategy was developed and discussions initiated with RER Energy Group, LLC, a company that specializes in helping non-profits move to solar. They would develop a solar farm offsite that would supply our energy needs at a reduced cost. For more information on the solar concept see the VFB June issue. There will also be a Town Hall meeting on the solar proposal this fall.
The Green Team wishes to thank the club officers, committee chairs and members for their efforts to make EYC a truly clean club that is committed to environmental sustainability and a healthy Chesapeake Bay.
Solar Energy & Energy Efficiency Initiative: The Solar Workgroup is working with RER Energy Group who is han-dling the permitting process and awaiting information on final connection charges from BGE for the project. A final decision on moving forward with the proposed RER Contract will be made by the EYC Board when all the information is in hand. For more information on the solar energy proposal, please read the VFB June 2016 “Around the Green Can” column.