Celebrating Carol Newill, A Project Clean Stream Champion
While Project Clean Stream (PCS) is rescheduled for the fall , that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating our past accomplishments and planning ahead for future events. We thought this would be the perfect time to recognize our incredible volunteers,especially those that lead Project Clean Stream events year after year. One name that kept appearing when going through our PCS events, was Carol Newill. Carol Newill is the cofounder of “Green Towson Alliance ” a five-year-old nonprofit focused on creating a healthier and cleaner Towson area in Maryland. Carol, with Green Towson Alliance, has hosted around 50 clean up events and engaged around 1,000 volunteers. Carol’s continuous support of Project Clean Stream, her amazing work engaging volunteers, and the incredible amount of trash picked up due to her, all contribute to why she is not just a PCS site captain, but a champion.
Carol is a retired Internal Medicine physician and epidemiologist, including both clinical care and research. Now, she is the co-founder of Green Towson Alliance which she started with a group of like-minded environmentalists. This year is their fifth year of planning clean ups through Project Clean Stream. In 2018 Carol organized 21 different cleanup sites and rallied 300 volunteers; together they picked up five tons of trash. In 2019 Carol’s number of clean up sites went down, but only because she was able to encourage others to lead their own clean up events.
Carol’s favorite part of PCS is interacting with the volunteers, “My favorite part is at the end of the morning seeing the group of volunteers who are all happy, dirty, sometimes wet, but they all have big bags of trash and a smile on their face.” Carol laughed when describing some of the goofy moments she’s had with some of her volunteers. She recalled a cleanup event where a Towson fraternity helped,and it took four strong young adults to drag out a fire hydrant found in the stream near Radebaugh Park. “But they love it, they enjoy taking pictures and laughing – the enthusiasm is marvelous!”
Carol also emphasized the importance of the diversity in her volunteers, “Our goal is to include people interested in environmental activism from all neighborhoods who consider Towson their ‘downtown.’ It’s a really broad geographic area with a wide range of socioeconomic statuses, ages, and races. Everyone is involved in these clean ups – which is filling one of our main goals.” Carol believes that it’s important to include a wide range of people in order for everyone to feel connected to their community and to our shared environment.
Carol’s commitment to her volunteers is amazing. She explained that she encourages everyone to join, “Even if someone isn’t physically able to pick up trash, they show up and hand out refreshments.” She believes that it’s important to bring community members together because, according to her, “We are trying to strengthen the fabric of our community by working together. I think there is a lot of desire from many people to help create a cleaner environment and conserve natural resources, and people appreciate the opportunity to have hands on projects to work together to achieve this.” Along with Towson residents, Green Towson Alliance has volunteers form Towson University, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, church youth groups, as well as county and state officials. “Our state delegate, Steve Lafferty has co-hosted some PCS events. David Marks, our county councilman for district five, comes out each year and brings cookies.”
Carol mentioned the phrase, “Think global, act local” a couple times throughout the interview. I asked her if she had any advice for people who are interested in leading a clean up event but just don’t know where to begin, and she said “My advice would be to really think local. What’s a stream near you that you really care about?”
This passion is how Carol got to where she is today with Green Towson Alliance, with the mission of making Towson area neighborhoods healthy and green by planting trees, cleaning up streams, and removing invasive species, as well as working with the county on zoning and development, and educating community members.
Thank you, Carol, for all your hard work and for being a true Project Clean Stream champion!