Taking Care of the Earth

As the world honors the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the environmentally conscious Lions of Bowie, Maryland, have their own big numbers to celebrate.

The Lions will hit the 500 mark on rain barrel sales this spring, having sold the recycled plastic 55-gallon barrels since starting the project in 2010. And on April 18, they will sponsor the 10th annual Bowie Green Expo – one town and one club’s way of showing people how important it is to be green, and how easy it can be to lead a greener life.

Bowie, Maryland Lions have made and sold 500 rain barrels since starting the earth-friendly project in 2010.

“We’re definitely a working club,” says 51-year Lion Karl Taschenberger who heads up the expo. “We like those kinds of projects.”

Taschenberger says the one-day Expo drew more than 600 people in 2019, and a bigger crowd is expected this year. Along with 50 vendors with environmentally friendly products, the expo will offer information on tree trimming, solar power, electric cars, and architectural recycling. A kid zone will teach youngsters about endangered species, hatching monarch butterflies, and pollinators. The city garden club will sell native plants, and the Maryland forestry division will offer 5-and-6-year-old native trees for adoption.

“It’s important for the environment, and it’s important that people know how to take care of the earth,” says Taschenberger. “People don’t know, and that’s why they’re coming to the Expo.”

The 35-member club has made its name in the making and selling of 40 to 50 US$75 rain barrels each spring and summer at the Bowie Farmers Market and special events. The plastic barrels were formerly used for food products.

Rain barrels help reduce water pollution by decreasing the amount of storm water runoff reaching our streams and rivers. They also lower water usage and help decrease water bills. It is estimated that an average rainfall of 1 inch within a 24-hour period can produce more than 700 gallons of water running off a typical house. The barrels capture that water from the roof and hold it for later use such as on lawns, gardens or indoor plants.

Berger says the city’s support is important in making Lion efforts succeed. “Without them we would not be able to do what we do.” He also knows that the city appreciates the help they receive from the Lions club.

Lions assists the city as Weed Warriors, working alongside members of the city’s Green Team to stop the assault on the forest by non-native invasive English Ivy vine. Volunteers meet in the fall and spring to remove English Ivy from trees.

Each year they also help the city with stream cleaning, removing trash from the Patuxent River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. For the first couple years they pulled tires, car batteries, shopping carts, and fencing from the water. “Now we don’t get nearly as much,” says Taschenberger. “That’s good.”