Latest News

Meet four more Green Queens

These women are working in the trenches of local government to help residents recycle, improve air quality and clean up the water flowing through the Midlands.

JESSICA ARTZ

Job: After researching the water-quality trends of Gills Creek for a master's degree, Artz was hired to lead the newly formed Gills Creek Watershed Association last year. The group organizes cleanup projects in the urban system of lakes and creeks in Richland County and is working to protect and restore the creek over the coming decade. Artz wants to see Gills Creek opened to more recreation.

What motivates her: "Besides my love of playing in the water, I think the health of a creek, river or lake is a reflection on the community. I want to live in a community that appreciates their impact and works to create a balance between growth and the environment."

How to reach her: (803) 727-8326 or jartz@environ.sc.edu

MARY PAT BALDAUF

Job: Baldauf is the city of Columbia's sustainability facilitator, the point person on efforts to reduce air pollution and address related environmental issues. She promotes energy efficiency in city government, works with church conservation groups and helps businesses figure out how to improve both the environment and their bottom line. She's had the job since 2008.

What motivates her: "If 200 years from now we look back and say, 'Gosh, what happened? People weren't recycling? People were driving cars like crazy? Weren't they thinking about how this would impact us?' - I want to be one of the people who was doing something."

How to reach her: (803) 545-2722 or mpbaldauf@columbiasc.net

MEGAN WEIDNER

Job: As recycling coordinator for Lexington County, she spends a lot of time talking to residents, business people and school children about the need to recycle. Since coming on board last year, she has started a series of collection events where residents can recycle metal-laden electronics and helped launch a program to encourage businesses to become more environmentally friendly.

What motivates her: "I just see the need to really protect our environment and save our resources for the next generation, and the next generation. Leave it better than we found it - which is kind of cliche, but I believe it."

How to reach her: (803) 785-3340 or mweidner@lex-co.com

SYNITHIA WILLIAMS

Job: Williams is Lexington County's environmental coordinator, a job that puts her in the thick of air-quality and storm-water issues. She took the job in 2006, working behind the scenes to address pollution in the fast-growing county. She helped guide adoption of new laws to prohibit open-air burning and development close to streams. In 2008, Williams was named the top air-quality professional in the state by DHEC.

What motivates her: "I have a direct impact on the quality of life in the county I live in. My son has struggled with breathing problems, and I have two nephews who suffer from asthma, so programs that improve air quality are beneficial to my boys."

How to reach her: (803) 785-8634 or swilliams@lex-co.com

- Dawn Hinshaw

  Comments