MDE, Md. Petroleum Council and DNR Present 38th Annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment

Media Contact:
Jay Apperson

MDE, Md. Petroleum Council and DNR Present 38th Annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment

Tawes and Coulter Awards recognize outstanding environmental achievements of individuals, groups and government employees  

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 14, 2015) – The Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Petroleum Council and Department of Natural Resources today presented the 38th annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment to Fountaindale Elementary School in Washington County and John Long of Baltimore County. Greg Sonberg, an employee of Maryland Department of the Environment’s Land Management Administration and Anne Arundel County resident was honored with the 10th annual James B. Coulter Award.

More Information:
The awards are co-sponsored by MDE, the Maryland Petroleum Council and DNR to recognize youth, adults, and private and public organizations involved in the restoration and protection of Maryland’s natural resources. The Tawes award, given to both adult and youth awardees, is named in honor of J. Millard Tawes, governor of Maryland from 1959 to 1967 and first secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The James B. Coulter Award, named after Maryland’s second DNR Secretary, acknowledges environmental contributions by a government employee.

Winner Information:

Fountaindale Elementary School, Hagerstown, MD:  Tawes Youth Award Winner

Fountaindale Elementary School has put enormous effort and work into building an innovative on-campus environmental studies area. They have expanded their wetland area, helped stabilize the Hamilton Run (a tributary of Antietam Creek) and offer a free summer STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Education) camp for students.

John Long:  Tawes Adult Award

John Long began cleaning up Bread and Cheese Creek in 2009 with 40 friends and family.  His enthusiasm and leadership have helped the group grow and extend its reach, partnering with local groups to clean area parks, streams, neighborhoods, historical monuments and public lands in Baltimore County. He coordinates over 12 cleanups annually with an average of 100 volunteers per event.

Gregory Sonberg, Maryland Department of the Environment – Coulter Award

Gregory Sonberg has spent nearly 40 years working for the State of Maryland to protect and restore the quality of our state’s natural resources and has dedicated himself to serving Maryland’s businesses and citizens. He began his work at the Department of Natural Resources in 1976 and is now the division chief within the Oil Control Program at the Maryland Department of the Environment.  Over his career  he has been a key advisor for many aspects of the Maryland’s oil industry and has worked tirelessly to keep it one of the best and safest in the nation.


“Our award winners are being honored for the time and care they have put into protecting Maryland’s environment. Through their actions, they not only help preserve the air, water and land that we share, but also make their communities and Maryland a better place to live.”
— Ben Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

“The Maryland Petroleum Council has enjoyed working with MDE and DNR for 38 years acknowledging Maryland citizens for their environmental stewardship.  All of today’s recipients deserve recognition for their outstanding contributions to protecting Maryland’s natural resources.”
–Drew Cobbs, Executive Director, Maryland Petroleum Council


View images from today’s event on MDE’s Flickr page.

Additional Information:

J. Millard Tawes
James B. Coulter
Past Tawes Award Winners

MDE Mission:

Our mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water and land resources, while fostering smart growth, a thriving and sustainable economy and healthy communities.