Your Stories

New Kid On The Block

New Kid On The Block

Hello!

My name is Jonathan Shay and I am one of the newest interns here at the Department of Environmental Protection for Montgomery County! I am a rising senior at the University of Maryland, pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in Ecological Technology Design.

A little about myself: I am from the Rockville area (Churchill High School alumni), I have one dog named Brodie, and I love to cook – mostly for the eating part afterwards. In my free time, I love to play basketball and soccer, ride my skateboard, go on hikes, visit museums in DC, and go on road trips with my friends. I spent my last 11 summers as a camper, then a counselor, then a unit leader at Camp Airy in Thurmont, MD. It is a strange feeling to be back at home for the summer for the first time in so long, but I look forward to making the most of it!

Being a local makes this internship especially cool since I feel like I can have an influence in my own stomping grounds. It’s interesting to go on a site visit to a building I have seen hundreds of times before and learn about the sustainable infrastructure practices in place.

   

Work Experience

When I am not interning here at DEP, I work one day a week at an energy efficiency consulting firm in DC and once a week at an Anaerobic Digester Lab at the University of Maryland. I feel very fortunate to have several opportunities to work in the different realms of sustainability and to learn more about the field.

Anaerobic Digesters (ADs) are a way of turning manure and farm animal waste into natural gas (energy) by simply letting microbes break down the waste in a controlled environment. The microbes process the waste, and then release methane – a potent greenhouse gas if not harnessed properly.To learn more about ADs, click here —-> https://enst.umd.edu/areas-interest/anaerobic-digestion

This niche field is what helped me get an internship here at DEP. My experience with poop led me to work on my current project of Pet Waste Management. Over the summer, I will be working with our watershed outreach team to analyze how effective pet waste stations are in neighborhoods. I have not one, but two shitty jobs!

     

Why Here?

I have felt strongly about sustainability ever since elementary school. Going on hikes with my family, swimming in the ocean, and helping my dad tend to our fish tank as a kid instilled a strong connection to the environment in me. If anything, that sense of environmental stewardship has only grown stronger with time.

I could easily nerd out over environmental science and legislation for hours given that it’s such a trans-disciplinary and dynamic field. There are constantly new developments in sustainability, ranging from improvements in technology to new policy changes. Part of the reason for this nonstop flow of news is that sustainability relates to almost everything we do.

Recently, I have been trying to take more responsibility for my actions to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. It is amazing how large an impact one can have on their carbon footprint by making a few conscious decisions. This can be bringing your bags to the grocery store, composting your food waste (there are free compost bins available through Montgomery County!), choosing not to use plastic straws, and reducing your meat consumption. In my mind I view it like a game, seeing how I can have the smallest carbon footprint possible, sort of like golf!

By Jon Shay. If you have questions, email me at Jonathan.Shay@montgomerycountymd.gov

The celebrated musical frog of Washington, DC

The celebrated musical frog of Washington, DC
Have you ever found an animal in danger or in a strange place, and weren’t sure what to do? Jessica Jones, Outreach and Education Manager of the Department of Environmental Protection, recently had a unique wildlife encounter that made her question whether she did the right thing. Thankfully, she happens to work with experts who know a thing or two about wildlife.

On Sunday, May 20, my husband and I were in DC to see the 2pm showing of Waitress at the National Theatre. We had just gotten off the Circulator bus at Franklin Square (with 20 minutes to spare before the start time) when Ankit spotted something moving on the sidewalk.

He asked me to look down and confirm whether his eyes were deceiving him. It took me a second to get out of my headspace of powering through the 4 block walk to the theater, but then I saw it. Hopping next to the curb at the bus stop was a tiny frog.

I bent down and put my cell phone out to the frog, who hopped right on. Our beautiful new friend, who I named Franklin, was a gray treefrog.

 

How in the world did you get here?

If you’re not familiar, Franklin Square is in downtown DC, located at 13th and I Streets NW, 4 blocks from the White House and surrounded by high traffic roads. It is no where near Rock Creek Park where the trees and standing water puddles would serve as perfect habitat for Franklin.

We came to two conclusions – he was left in the park after being an abandoned pet or he traveled a long treacherous journey in search of a mate and found the fountain in the middle of the Square. Either way, he was moments from being squished by a foot or a bus.

 

 

What do we do now?

So now I have a frog on my phone, 15 minutes to curtain and no suitable habitat to bring him to. I was extremely conflicted – my experience working with animal education is that you should first leave wildlife alone, and then only engage to protect the wildlife from immediate danger (if you can safely do it).

But was this a confused pet or an amorous frog who wandered very far from safety?

Ankit asked me, “What do we do with Franklin?” and I replied, “I’m more concerned with the next 3 hours.” My husband looked at me for a second and then realized that I intended to take Franklin with us to the theater.

I conveniently had a tupperware of almonds to sneak into the theater in my purse. I dumped it out, poked holes in the lid with a key and placed Franklin inside.

And off we went to see Waitress.

 
Franklin the Frog

Our temporary home for Franklin was a small container with holes cut into the top.



 

Catch and Release

I really want to say that Franklin is the first amphibian to sit through a stage performance, but I could not confirm that online. During intermission, we debated keeping Franklin, but decided together that the best home for him was back in the wild.

After the show, we took a car to Rock Creek Park and released him in the woods along the path next to the Horse Center in Woodley Park.

The whole evening I debated whether we did the right thing – taking him with us, transplanting him – and decided to get the answer from our experts at DEP’s biological monitoring team.

   

Franklin’s Adventure to DC

Kenny Mack is a member of the Montgomery County, MD Department of Environmental Protection’s Biological Monitoring Team and an expert at County wildlife. Here is what he thinks happened to Franklin:

“This time of year gray treefrogs are really active and are actually pretty good travelers. You’ll often see them in backyards in suburban areas and are commonly seen on the sides of pools. They travel for mates, but also find themselves on the sides of vehicles. That might have been what happened to Franklin. He was on the side of a vehicle that was driven from his home to DC. He found his way to the Square because of the fountain in the middle.”

I asked Kenny, “Did we do the right thing taking him out of the Square and releasing him in Rock Creek Park?”

“You could have left him on the side of a tree in the Square and he might have been fine there. But Franklin is probably much happier in Rock Creek Park. Plus, he will have a much easier hibernation season then trying to hibernate in downtown DC.”

“What about us taking him to see Waitress?”

“Well, I don’t know if he appreciated the performance, but they are hearty amphibians. I am sure Franklin will have a good life in Rock Creek Park.”

Ankit and I hope so too!

-By Jessica Jones, animal lover who came this close to having a pet frog.

Want to help frogs like Franklin? Become a member of the County’s FrogWatch program. Let me know if you hear any frogs singing the chorus of Waitress.

Your Story: Homeowner navigates the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program

Your Story: Homeowner navigates the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program
Interested in lowering your home’s energy bill?  Take advantage of your utilities’ Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.  If you are new to this program, view our recent blog on the steps to apply. Read Julia Kalloz story below for an in-depth look at the program. 

 

The cover of your Energy Audit Report



Homeowner Julia Kalloz walked us through her experience with Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.

Julia lives in a Pepco service territory so she began the process by finding a contractor from the PEPCO website of specially trained, Building Performance Institute-certified contractors.

“You are able to see what certifications and experience they have and that was important to me,” Kalloz said. “It allowed me to vet several auditors and even find out what other people experienced.”

The audit cost $100 (a saving of $300) and, Kalloz said, it is easy to schedule. It took about an hour, but appointments can take a little more or less time, depending on the size of the house (most last between 2- 4 hours).

During the visit, simple and free incentives to help homeowners start saving energy immediately are provided.  The incentives include LED bulbs, water heater pipe wraps, showerheads and showerhead adapters, as well as faucet aerators and power strips.

The contractor also looked at ways to reduce air leakage from Kalloz’s home by evaluating her large appliances, conducting a blower door test to evaluate air loss and a combustion test to see how efficiently the heating system was operating.

Ten days later, Kalloz received a Prioritized List of Measurements – or a PLOM (a report detailing the improvements needed to cut home energy usage and what the potential savings could be) – that had been generated from the audit. Some of the contractor’s recommendations might not be in a homeowner’s budget, but the potential for long-term savings as well as the up to $7,500 PEPCO offers in rebates offer important incentives.

 

Getting Home Improvement Rebates

Estimated Annual Energy Savings



Once you decide which solutions are the most feasible for your home and your budget, the contractor will have you sign a proposal for the improvements and the PLOM before reserving the rebates on your behalf. Once the rebate reservation is approved, homeowners have 60 days to complete whichever improvements they choose.

For Kalloz, improvements included air sealing and insulation in the attic and basement.

After the work was  done, part two of the audit – called a Test Out – is done to determine the final energy savings and rebate. When Kalloz’ auditor did hers, a post air sealing test was done which showed less air leakage from the home.

Next, the contractor submits the application to PEPCO within 30 days of the installation and the homeowner’s rebate check arrives six to eight weeks later.

“I recommend doing the things that are affordable first,” Kalloz, who was able to get about 50% of what she spent on improvements back via the rebates, said. “Do what makes financial sense for you. Even if they are not big dollar improvements, they still make a difference and they are important.”

Even after waiting a few months once her audit was done to begin the improvement process, she said the air sealing and installation installed made a drastic difference in the drafts – and her PEPCO bill went down, too.


Written by Kimberly Hodges and Felicia Hodges

DEP Stories: Even fish need help moving

DEP Stories: Even fish need help moving
One of the secondary benefits of stormwater ponds – after storing and cleaning stormwater runoff – is that the ponds create wildlife habitat. They serve as habitat for birds and insects and breeding grounds of amphibians. Many stormwater ponds in the County also have healthy fish communities. One of the stormwater ponds with fish is in the Plantations II community in Damascus.  This year, the Plantations II stormwater pond is being updated and improved.  The updates require the entire pond to be drained of its water before construction can begin. So you might ask, what happens to all of the fish that live there?  
Plantations Pond before being drained

Plantations Pond before being drained

Plantations Pond after being pumped

Plantations Pond after being pumped

Challenge Accepted

The fish have to be relocated to a new pond – which is easier said than done – especially when the pond is large and DEP staff are only equipped to electrofish small streams. Moving the fish would be a big test of DEP’s skills and ingenuity. But when it comes to our wildlife friends, DEP does not hide from a challenge!  
Eric and Ken electrofishing in a canoe

Eric and Ken electrofishing in a canoe

 

Making the Move

Before the fish relocation could begin, water had to be pumped out of the pond to create safer conditions for the biologists to work and to concentrate the fish to a smaller area.  A smaller area means that staff would have a better chance of catching all of the fish quickly, minimizing stress to the fish. The mud at the bottom of the pond and around the edges was so soft and deep that our staff weren’t able to stand and electrofish like they normally do.  In response, staff got creative and strapped an electrofisher into a canoe.  
Container full of Bluegill

Container full of Bluegill

 
Mark sorting the fish into more containers

Mark sorting the fish into more containers

    Working as a team, Eric electrofished the water and Ken caught the fish in a net. The fish were placed into many buckets with aerators and were ready to head to their new home! Over 500 fish (Bluegills and Large Mouth Bass) were caught and transferred to Theater Pond in Montgomery Village. For a task that initially seemed impossible, this fish relocation could not have gone smoother – for DEP and the fish.
Eric holding a Large Mouth Bass

Eric holding a Large Mouth Bass

 
By Samantha Duthe Samantha started as an intern with DEP’s summer biological monitoring program and now supports the Department full time, including outreach and education.  Samantha loves teaching others about County wildlife. 

Parklets and more: learning from the New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Parklets and more: learning from the New Partners for Smart Growth conference
At the beginning of February 2017, the Residential Energy Program Manager, Larissa Johnson, attended the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in St. Louis to share her experiences hosting outreach events in Montgomery County, like Energy Exploration, and to learn from others around the country. Let’s hear from Larissa about her experience at the conference.  

Energy Parklet

Prior to attending the event, I partnered with KaBOOM! to create a parklet at the Smart Growth Conference in St. Louis. Our parklet connects people to energy and movement. What is a parklet you ask? According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, “Parklets are parking space-sized areas used for recreational, community gathering, or beautification purposes that assist in bringing awareness to the quantity of community space that is devoted to parking rather than vibrant urban green space. These small urban parks are created by replacing a parking spot with a variety of elements (planters, trees, benches, children’s play areas, artwork, bicycle parking, and more!). Parklets evolved from an annual event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces. Following the success of the first 2005 intervention, PARK(ing) Day has grown into a global movement” Last year, DEP and other County agencies hosted Park(ing) spaces throughout the county. The specific parklet that I worked on was called Creating Energy and Excitement in PLAYces.

“Energy is something that we use and create daily. When we take the opportunity to exert energy at public spaces like bus stops, health clinics, sidewalks, and streetscapes, we are able to transform places of potential frustration into moments of joy. While interacting in this PLAYce, ask yourself “How complete are our public spaces if we don’t use them to their full potential?” and “Is there a way to capture the energy we exude to power the things we need like cell phones and tablets?”

Breakout Sessions: What I Learned

Along with hosting a parklet for the length of the conference, I had the opportunity to network with many amazing people (including Hootie the Owl), hear amazing Keynote speakers and attended a bunch of sessions. There were two sessions, in particular, that will help inform the work I am doing in Montgomery County.

Embedding Arts into Community Development

After attending the session “Embedding Arts into Community Development” and working with KaBOOM! to create the parklet, I am even more convinced that creative placemaking is something that will resonate with County residents. There is one organization, ArtPlace America, who have been making transformative change around community development for over ten years. They even have a project in Takoma Park! We are excited at the potential of creating projects that combine art, design, energy, and fun to help promote the energy conservation, efficiency, and renewables so be on the lookout for that!

Marketing and Design in Government

The other session that made an impact was “Marketing and Design in Government.” As a County employee, I am here for residents and this session reinforced that message and gave concrete examples from Los Angeles of how government employees are often seen as a barrier and that the only way you can get around that is make the experience personal. That is the reason why all of the outreach events that we do are interactive, engaging and always performed with a smile. Conferences like this allow us to hear about new practices, research based studies, and network with people from the country doing similar projects and I was grateful to participate.

Behind the scenes of a Quick Home Energy Check-up

Behind the scenes of a Quick Home Energy Check-up
Are you looking for quick, easy, no-cost ways to save energy in your home? A Quick Home Energy Check-up (QHEC) is your answer. Cabin John resident, Jamie Pierce, made her QHEC appointment last October. Follow along as we take you on this behind-the-scenes look at what you can expect through the QHEC.

Step 1. Make an appointment.

Jamie called her utility supplier Pepco to schedule her QHEC and you can do the same thing. Contact your electricity provider, be it Pepco, BG&E, or Potomac Edison, either by phone or online.

Step 2: What to expect when they arrive.

A trained energy contractor will arrive at your door at the initially agreed-upon time.  The process takes about an hour. As seen in the video, there is a quick look through the home, during which time an auditor will address any issues the home might have with energy.

Step 3: What do you get?

During her audit, Pierce received two showerheads, 10 light fixtures, and a power strip with more efficient versions. She said she expects the savings to begin accumulating soon. Take a look to find out other key items you receive during the QHEC:
               Lighting Upgrades

The contractor walks through your house to identify potential lighting upgrade opportunities, replacing incandescent bulbs with higher-efficiency versions. “They look at ways in which you can institute things like energy-saving lighting,” Pierce said.

 
Water Usage

Contractors can do a number of installations that can help the homeowner save water. Here, the contractor walks through your house and replaces, as needed, showerheads with lower-flow versions. If you have a handheld shower attachment in your bathroom, the auditor can install a version that uses, on average, one gallon of water less per minute.

Another option is the shower starter, which the contractor installs between the pipe and the showerhead. Particularly helpful in cases where it takes a long time for showers to heat up, shower starters delay the flow of water until it has reached the desired temperature.

Faucet aerators also help save water at the sink. Each aerator easily screws into the existing sink fixture.“I know the flow of water is better,” Pierce said. “I do feel I’ve reduced my water usage…I feel good about it and about my new energy and water footprint.

 
Smart Powerstrips

Smart powerstrips are used primarily with television and related equipment. Smart powerstrips can sense when you turn off your television and cuts of the current to the other devices that are connected to the strip, such as the cable box, DVD player, video game systems, and similar items. Even when these devices are off, they can still use some electricity.

   

Step 4. How much does it cost?

If you pay an electric bill in Montgomery County, you do not need to pay any extra to schedule a QHEC, because the cost of the check-up is already included in your electric bill. All items installed during the QHEC also are provided at no additional cost.  

Step 5. See the Savings

Contractors provide customers with a detailed report that offers ideas for larger projects and more opportunities for deeper savings. This includes home-improvement projects and various energy-savings programs for which a homeowner may be eligible. Each potential program or project is listed in an easily accessible format, including easy-to-understand estimates of initial costs, efforts required, and savings.           This blog post was written by Scott Harris, in collaboration with DEP Staff. Scott is a freelance writer who lives in Montgomery County and covers the environment and other topics.

Schedule your QHEC today!

“Branching out” in Montgomery County: Meet Susan Kornacki, Outreach Specialist at DEP!

“Branching out” in Montgomery County: Meet Susan Kornacki, Outreach Specialist at DEP!

Hello! My name is Susan Kornacki, and I’m a new Montgomery County resident who just joined the team at the Department of Environmental Protection!

I’m really excited to work at an agency that exists to protect our environment, and I’m looking forward to getting to know Montgomery County! I am motivated by the belief that we all have a responsibility to take care of our world, because humans have had a tremendous impact on it. There’s a lot of work to do, and I am so grateful that this job will allow me to be a part of incredible green things happening in Maryland! At DEP I will be sharing stories and resources through our social media channels and our website. I will also help plan our annual GreenFest event, and organize tree education and outreach programs through our awesome tree planting program, Tree Montgomery. I’ll be traveling throughout the county to tell people about our exciting environmental programs, so you will probably see me at an event in your community at some point soon!   Here’s a bit about me: Where I come from: I grew up in a small town called Elma, south of Buffalo, New York. My favorite activity was climbing trees and playing in my treehouse, where my love of trees began! As you can see here, I’m still a big fan (the image at the top of the page is a giant tree in Van Cortlandt Park, which takes up over 1,000 acres in the Bronx – it is NYC’s third largest park!). In college I studied visual art and new media, and English literature. My plan was to be a journalist and an artist, and maybe an art therapist and an anthropologist too – but in college I realized that what I really wanted to do was change the world through sustainability and environmental programs. So I chased those dreams to New York City!  
Susan teaching a tree care workshop in the Bronx

Here I’m teaching a tree care workshop in the Bronx. It was my first and only experience teaching a clown.

Planting trees in the Big Apple: Through a national service program called AmeriCorps, I worked on the MillionTreesNYC campaign, a public private partnership between the New York City Parks Department and the New York Restoration Project. With the help of thousands of New Yorkers, we planted one million new trees in the city – to date, the nation’s most ambitious municipal tree planting program! My job was to organize tree planting programs and teach tree stewardship workshops, so New Yorkers could learn how to keep the trees alive, so they could thrive and provide health benefits in the community. As I watered, weeded and planted my way throughout the five boroughs, I got to know community organizers and activists all over the city who were working to make their neighborhoods safer and more beautiful. I learned that consensus always begins with listening, and that we can achieve incredible things if we all work together toward the same goal!  

Climbing a hillside in the Niagara River Gorge!

  Protecting Rivers in Buffalo, New York: After MillionTreesNYC I worked at Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, where I planned public forums, workshops and special events to create opportunities for people to get involved with watershed restoration. The Niagara River (pictured here) is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s national list of areas of concern, a term they use for highly impaired waterway. The river is not safe to swim in, due to stormwater run-off issues and historical pollution from industrial work along the water’s edge. Our work was to educate the community about these problems and to work with partners to address issues impacting water quality throughout the watershed.  

My grandmother, Joan Kornacki, and me, in her backyard in Cheektowaga, New York.

I am inspired by: Rachel Carson, author of the book “Silent Spring;” Jane Jacobs, an author and activist who believed in walkable safe cities; and Wangari Maathai, a tree planting leader and women’s rights activist in Kenya. But most of all I am inspired by my grandmother, Joan Kornacki (pictured here). An avid environmentalist, she regularly writes to her local paper about the importance of trees, and she taught me how to love and care for plants from the very start. Thank you for reading my story today. I look forward to getting to know my fellow Montgomery County residents as I “branch out” throughout the county! In the meantime, if you have ideas or suggestions for our social media platforms and outreach efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact me – feedback and ideas are always welcome! You can email me at susan.kornacki@montgomerycountymd.gov, or call me at 240-777-7796. And don’t forget to visit us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram (@mygreenmc)!

Rethink your yard

Rethink your yard
Have you thought about your yard lately? I mean REALLY thought about it? Are you getting all the environmental, social and aesthetic benefits that you could from the place you call home? Ideas about how to change the American Lawn are frequently discussed in the context of “messy or neat” but it’s worth digging deeper to figure out an approach that is more healthful for you, your family, and the other organisms we share this planet with. With careful planning, you can really “have it all” and in the process, improve your little slice of the planet. In my job, I am focused on stormwater runoff and promoting things like rain gardens and native plant (conservation) landscapes as ways individuals can do their part as they rethink their yard from a stock of grass and foundation plants into a more holistic environment for living. I recently talked about it with Kim Eierman on her ecobeneficial podcast. Through training a cadre of local professionals and providing incentives (locally funded!), the RainScapes program in Montgomery County, MD is helping individuals revamp their yards into spaces that capture and treat their stormwater, provide valuable habitat for local flora and fauna and look great too.  
Image of a rain garden.

Rain gardens help capture and filter rainfall runoff.

  Performance landscapes, whether you are “Planting in a Post-Wild World” or “Bringing Nature Home” are the key to all of this. Landscape architects, environmentally oriented Horticulturists and others designing gardens for life know this. We need more pros to spread the approach. Start at home. Dream big and start small. Rethink your yard and help others do that too.
By Ann English, RainScapes Program Manager, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection

The Power of Energy: The new Residential Energy Program Manager blows into the County with some bubbly ideas

The Power of Energy: The new Residential Energy Program Manager blows into the County with some bubbly ideas
Guess what’s new in Montgomery County? I am!! Not only is my position brand-new, but I am a new resident and very excited to be living in such an amazing county. As the new Residential Energy Program Manager I have been tasked with…well, anything energy!  But I don’t want to bore you with my job description so please feel free to contact me at larissa.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov if you have specific questions. This blog is an opportunity for me to let you know why ENERGY is so important to me and how I hope to make the county an even more amazing place!
Larissa Johnson, the new Residential Energy Program Manager

Larissa Johnson, the new Residential Energy Program Manager

 

Energy = Human Right

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with the democratic process. In fact, my first career goal was to be President of the United States! But because I fell asleep in all of my Political Science classes in college, I decided to go a different route, and received my B.A. in English and Sociology from Tufts University.
Larissa in Germany

In Germany, exploring their clean energy projects through POCACITO, June 2016

Although I didn’t go into politics, my soul is still fueled by the notion of equity, and to me, energy is a human right. We need it for transporting and cooking our food, heating and cooling our rooms, manufacturing, lighting, and entertainment (just to name a few things). Despite these necessities, our electricity bills are often a huge proportion of our total income. Some people actually have to choose among heating their homes, rent, and medicine. One of my hopes as the Residential Energy Program Manager is to make sure all residents know about the energy-saving programs the county offers because they can help us reduce our costs!

Energy = Food

Prior to moving to Maryland, I worked in California in the public health arena and what I learned was that the environment is at the center of literally everything we do in life. Without clean air to breathe – how do we stay healthy and combat preventative illnesses? Without clean water – how do we grow nutritious, locally produced food? And without green spaces – how do we learn to play and enjoy the outdoors?
Larissa dressed as an apple.

You are what you eat, quite literally!

This concept of interconnectivity became quite apparent to me so I went back to get my MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. Now I am ready to bring this notion of connected-ness to the county and start working with partners to connect all of our worlds.  

Energy = Electricity

Before coming to Montgomery County, I worked for a few different groups in Maryland. In fact,  I was working for the Maryland Climate Coalition when offshore wind energy legislation passed in the state, and I created characters called The EmPOWERS who were named by students. Characters like these are one way that I hope to help teach students of all ages (1-101) about our electricity choices in the county.  
Larissa dressed as Plantasia

With a 4th grade class in Baltimore, as my alter ego, Plantasia.

 

Energy = Movement

When you meet me you will most likely notice that I rarely sit still. I have been dancing my entire life, and I now use my energy and excitement to engage my community around energy topics.
Larissa Johnson as a toddler in a dance outfit.

I have been tapping away since I was a toddler

I’m even certified to teach Zumba to Aqua to Pilates to Body Pump, to…Jumping Fitness (yes, on the trampoline!!). I promise to bring kinetic energy to all the work I do throughout the county!  

Energy = Me 🙂

As you can see, I am pretty passionate about all things energy whether it’s radiant or chemical or electrical or potential, I love it in every form. My big vision for the county? Like the “farm to fork” concept, I would like to see the same thing happen to the energy sector or a “source to socket” movement, if you will (copyright pending), where we recognize the interconnected nature of all our energy sources from food to fuel to electricity. I look forward to working with and for the residents of Montgomery County and remember, I am only a phone call/email away! Larissa Johnson, Montgomery County’s Residential Energy Program Manager, can be reached at larissa.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-7711.