8th Annual Green Summit educates community on environmental programs, initiatives
Anton Van De Motter
The Prince George’s County Department of the Environment held its 8th annual Green Summit at the Kentland Community Center in Landover on Oct. 22. The four-hour event featured presentations and workshops, a pet adoption area, a vegan food truck and several community organizations, including the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System and the Sierra Club.
According to DoE director Andrea Crooms, the event has evolved from a conference into a festival atmosphere, increasing accessibility and interaction with community members. This year, they increased the number of vendors and community groups.
“We’re trying to make ourselves more open and accessible,” said Crooms, “The phone lines are always available, our email boxes are always available, so that people can ask questions about the programs.”
The event is part of the DoE’s community outreach efforts to educate the community about existing programs and how residents can get involved. Other measures include presentations at different community events, improving communication strategies and providing resources in additional languages.
Inside the community center, presentations covered topics such as waste collection programs, nuisance flooding and information on joining the Climate Resident Advisory (CRA) Group.
Recycling initiatives have long been a focus of the summit and programs such as the Rain Check Rebate Program have seen growth in the past. This year, Crooms presented the rollout of a county-wide food scrap composting program.
Six hundred registered attendees traveled outside between booths, where they could earn prizes through trivia games, enjoy music, sign up for a library card and learn about various government and non-profit programs.
Echoes of Nature, participating in the event for the first time, provided the opportunity to interact with and learn about several animals, including Blizzard, a red-tailed hawk.
Neighborhood Sun helped educate people on community solar, a state program that operates solar farms to provide clean energy. According to strategic partnership manager Bonnie Greer, the program is accessible to residents in any living facility with an energy bill.
The Prince George’s County Office of Community Relations encouraged residents to download its new PGC311 app and handed out reusable car trash bags and COVID tests.
Other programs included the Mid-Atlantic Electric School Bus Project, the PGCPS Climate Change Action Plan and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Crooms said the department hopes to hold more of these events and resident advisory groups to constantly improve their programs to meet people’s needs.
“We are here to listen as much as we speak, and we want to understand feedback on our programs,” said Crooms. “What works in people’s lives? What doesn’t work? What do they want to see more of? Where do they need help in understanding what’s going on?”