SILVER SPRING, MD—The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Montgomery County Department of Parks honors Earth Day 2011 with millions in tax dollars saved and millions in value added by parks volunteers.
“This month, park visitors will notice new signs posted at certain park facilities about the savings we’ve achieved through our resource conservation program,” said Director of Parks Mary R. Bradford. “It’s by no coincidence these signs have been posted in time for Earth Day.”
The cost savings signs are featured at Brookside Gardens and Wheaton Ice Arena. Brookside Gardens has seen a reduction of $4,549 in energy costs since 2009. Wheaton Ice Arena has saved $62,669 in energy costs since 2009. Since the beginning of the program, initiated in July 2003 by the Montgomery County portion of M-NCPPC the estimated cumulative savings (July 2003 through June 2010) is $2,116,395 as a result of the resource conservation program.
“Overall, we’ve made reductions in electricity, natural gas, water and propane usage,” added Bradford. “Parks staff has particularly done well to drastically reduce our water consumption and those associated costs.”
Some of what’s been done includes: upgrades to lighting and temperature controls in park activity buildings and upgrades to lighting at Cabin John Ice Rink, Wheaton Ice Arena, Rockwood Manor, the Lodge at Little Seneca and the parking lot at Olney Manor Recreational Park. Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy will provide for additional LED light conversions for park facilities and street lights.
Programs and projects planned for Fiscal Year 2012 include additional lighting upgrades and a roof water collection and irrigation water pilot project at Cabin John Ice Rink, fleet/vehicle updates, including the use of hybrid vehicles, reducing domestic water use for irrigation and increasing the use of renewable energy. Brookside Gardens is the department’s green park pilot project.
Parks volunteers have also added millions in value to the parks system over the years. In Fiscal Year 2009, 76,300 hours of service were donated by 8,700 parks volunteers. The estimated value of this service is $1.5 million, equating to 37 work years. In Fiscal Year 2010, 82,422 hours were donated by volunteers serving the equivalent of 40 work years and providing over $1.7 million in value added service to parks.
“Parks volunteers are an invaluable component of our service delivery,” said Bradford. “We appreciate and thank them all for their service.”
On Saturday, April 9, at least 370 volunteers cleaned up streams in Montgomery County parks as part of the annual Anacostia Watershed Earth Day Cleanup. These parks volunteers removed approximately 470 bags of trash, 111 bags of recyclables and approximately 6,350 pounds of loose trash.
There are volunteer opportunities in parks across the county year-round. Look for opportunities to lend a hand at www.ParksVolunteers.org. And, for more on the Montgomery County Department of Parks, M-NCPPC, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks