The Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) recognized Stratford Landing resident Elizabeth “Betsy” Martin as an environmental steward and litter prevention champion at the seventh annual Trash Summit in Silver Spring, Md., on Wednesday.
“Elizabeth has partnered with us during the Annual Potomac River
Watershed Cleanup for more than 10 years and last year she coordinated 10 sites along Little Hunting Creek,” said Lori Arguelles, AFF’s executive
director. “Martin has engaged her community and raised awareness, building local stewardship efforts surrounding the litter problem. Though her cleanup efforts are extraordinary in themselves, what makes her a true champion is her continued work outside of cleanups.”
Martin served on the advisory committee that prepared Fairfax County’s first watershed management plan, a plan to restore the Little Hunting Creek Watershed adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2005. She chairs the Environment and Recreation Committee of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizen Associations and in 2011 shepherded through the Council a Citizens’ Action Plan for Litter Prevention. She is also an appointed member of the Fairfax County Wetlands Board and a founder of the Friends of Little Hunting Creek. Martin is a former senior survey methodologist with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Crediting the perseverance of the many friends of Little Hunting Creek, Martin said, “Their continued participation is a triumph of hope over experience, since the trash just keeps on coming. I know I'm not
alone in wanting to get out of the business of picking up other people's trash.”
The multi-faceted Citizens’ Action Plan for Litter Prevention recommends recycling in public schools, adoption of a litter control ordinance, use of biodegradable packaging for take-out food, a beverage container deposit law and other policies. It can be found at www.mvcca.org under the
Environment and Recreation Committee.
AFF manages a five-pronged, initiative to eliminate trash from the Potomac River watershed by supporting policy, regulation, enforcement,
education and market-based approaches. The foundation involves over 110,000 volunteers and 425 partner organizations in an annual trash cleanup, including several cleanup sites in the Mount Vernon area. Among other changes, AFF advocates requiring retailers to charge fees for single-use plastic bags and the organization works to boost awareness of the legal consequences of littering and illegal dumping. AFF also works with schools to reduce waste.
In 2005, AFF established the goal of a trash-free Potomac River watershed by 2013. “Trash free means to have the institutions, infrastructure and policies in place to achieve a lasting reduction of litter,” according to AFF spokesperson Alena Rosen.The annual summit of people from elected bodies, government agencies, non-government organizations, businesses and other groups develops strategies for reducing trash in the Potomac River watershed.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.fergusonfoundation.org.