In his recent lecture at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wendell Berry observed that, throughout our history, Americans have been divided into “boomers” and “stickers.” The noted author and conservationist was invoking in turn the distinctions originally made by his mentor and fellow author and conservationist Wallace Stegner. “Boomers” are those who “pillage and run and who want to make a killing.” They are “motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power.” “Stickers,” on the other hand, are “those who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” They are “motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.” The Potomac Subregion may appear to be worlds away from Berry's rural Kentucky farm or Stegner's Western wilderness, but their messages ring true here as well.
It is difficult to cobble together a sense and love of place in this highly mobile, ever expanding metropolitan area. Patterns of land development seem to ensure our greater alienation from each other and our natural surroundings. Few if any of us are living on farms such as Wendell Berry's that have been and will be owned by the same family for generations. Many of us moved here from somewhere else. Even our children who were born and raised here move on to other locales. Although many are hoping to “age in place,” many will eventually move away by choice or necessity. Even if we are not guilty of the worst of “boomer” behavior, it is difficult to be “stickers.” But that does not absolve us from the responsibility for doing what we can do here and now to preserve and protect the land under our stewardship – no matter how small or large – and the land over which we can collectively have influence.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association (WMCCA) can and must play a critical role in those efforts. Established in 1947, it provides continuity and an institutional framework through which the community members can pool their resources to address a wide variety of issues of concern. But it is only as effective as the its members, and the more “stickers” the better. One such extraordinary member is Lois Williams – Potomac resident for 45 years, WMCCA member for 35, and Board Member and Newsletter Editor for 16. Lois came to the WMCCA board after years as a Girl Scout Leader and PTA newsletter editor in Potomac. In this county of nearly a million people, Lois saw WMCCA as playing a major role in local issues and providing a voice for Potomac in the halls of government! Through WMCCA, Lois has lobbied for roadside stream identification signs to promote watershed awareness, and for many years she has helped WMCCA honor students who “go outdoors for science” for an environmental science project using data from a woods or stream site.
Glen Hill Sewer Study
The second meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the study is scheduled for Monday, May 7, 2012. The meeting will be held in the Department of Environmental Protection large conference room starting at 7:30 p.m. DEP’s offices are located at Suite 120, 255 Rockville Pike, Rockville. CAC meetings are open to the public, not just to the CAC members. WMCCA President Susanne Lee serves on the CAC and recently requested that DEP make available all public data collected to date regarding septic and water systems in the study area.
Most Incredible Statement of the Month from a Government Official: County Executive Isiah Leggett on the MSI lease for soccer fields on Brickyard Road: “It's not left up to the ultimate community that lives there to decide whether or not they want something in their community.”
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Susanne Lee Ph: 301 956-4535
Newsletter - Lois Williams
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.