was the setting Wednesday night for Bethesda Green’s second annual gala, an evening to bring together supporters of Bethesda Green and recognize the winners of Bethesda Magazine’s 2011 Green Champion awards.
Over 200 guests and honorees got a chance to eat, drink and mingle before heading into the theater for the awards ceremony hosted by Dave Feldman, executive director of and Steve Hull, Bethesda Magazine publisher. It was an evening of fun, surprises, and support for all things green – and a chance to hear from "green champions" whose time, talents and dedication are saving our planet and making Bethesda greener every day.
Bethesda Magazine features this year’s green champions in this month’s issue.
Local Green Entrepreneurs Enjoy the Evening Green-Style
Inside Round House Theatre, green entrepreneurs and supporters of Bethesda Green enjoyed local foods and beverages and talked with each other about being green in Bethesda.
Feldman sported a tuxedo and green bow tie, and spoke about the accomplishments of the past year.
“Bethesda Green just continues to grow and get better. We’ll be adding more ‘Greens’ – there’s a Poolesville Green, a Silver Spring Green, and a Wheaton Green. We’re talking to people in Annapolis. The model we’ve put together to grow sustainability is working.”
The crowd was comprised of a wide variety of businesspeople, artists, writers -- young and old – but all enthusiastic about being green and saving our planet.
“You have bankers and Birkenstocks at the same event. It’s a far cry from the environmental movement of the OPEC era,” said Rosalie Grazzini, a Bethesda Green board member.
Seth Goldman, Founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea and a director of Bethesda Green, expressed pride in the group's expansion over the past few years. “It expands on its own, and it’s growing organically – the way it should,” Goldman said.
Other guests included Cristina Bourelly of and Bethesda Green board chair Ilaya Hopkins.
Local Businesses Noted for Their Emphasis on Green
The ceremony was a chance to hear green champions talk about their passion for saving the planet. Seven honorees and runners up were recognized. This year, Bethesda Magazine received green champion nominations for over 80 individuals, businesses and organizations, Hull said.
Clean Currents, a green energy supplier serving businesses and residences in Washington, D.C. and Maryland and Congressional Bank, a community bank in the D.C. area, were honored as businesses who are working to save the environment.
“The green business community has done a great job to make green mainstream. We’ll use this award as inspiration to push for a greener, cleaner world for all of us,” said Gary Skulnik, president of Clean Currents.
Efforts to Preserve and Beautify Montgomery County Recognized
Rock Creek Conservancy and Brookside Gardens were both recognized as nonprofits whose work has both protected and enhanced our local environment in Montgomery County. Beth Mullin, executive director of Rock Creek Conservancy, encouraged everyone to spend time along Rock Creek. “People are passionate about Rock Creek. It’s our job to take that passion and turn it into action,” Mullin said.
Leslie McDermott, a Brookside Gardens spokeswoman, spoke about their work to save the planet while showcasing nature’s beauty. “At Brookside Gardens we’re acutely aware of our choices and their impact on the environment. When we get it right we create beauty. Because we are a public facility we have a responsibility to educate the public. We strive to limit the negative impacts on our environment.”
Schools Hailed for Embracing Green and Fighting for Greener Living
The and Young Activists Club were each recognized for their efforts to introduce green practices into the everyday life of their school.
Dr. Gerald Boarman, Bullis School head, talked about the importance of implementing green practices in schools for students.
A group of young students at Piney Branch Elementary School were also recognized for fighting to ban Styrofoam lunch trays from their school cafeteria, including raising $10,115 to purchase a dishwasher for their school’s kitchen.
They have not yet succeeded in their efforts, but their work has not gone unnoticed – the students and received a standing ovation from the audience.
A Local Green Hero Reminds Us That Success Comes from Inclusion
The final honoree of the evening was Mike Tidwell, founder of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and an individual who truly walks the walk for green living.
Tidwell inspires others to live greener lives, and during the ceremony talked about the importance of working with others to make changes. “I’m humbled by this award,” said Tidwell. “The reason I do this work is because it’s not just about me, it’s about all of us. If I was alone I could never fight these issues. It’s because all of you and all the new groups that are forming that I can do what I do.”
This year’s Green Champions are an inspiring group, filled with passion to save our planet and benefit the lives of others. Please read more about the 2011 Green Champions in this month’s Bethesda Magazine, and check out their websites.
If you attended this year’s Gala, we hope you enjoyed the evening and its surprises. If not, we know you’ll look forward to Bethesda Green's third annual gala or check out Bethesda Green’s events in the year to come!