The Nature Trail on the CCC Auburn Campus has been called “a small, natural oasis in an urban area.” It is a beloved and well used friend to many walkers, runners and nature lovers. It was recently announced that funding had been secured to make much needed improvements on the trail, and we would like to give you an update.
There is evidence that the land the trail is on was farmed in the 1950s when the campus was in its infancy. If you look closely, you may find the remains of barbed wire fencing and hedgerows dividing cow pastures and a variety of apple trees. The man-made ponds and trails were built in 1978. Through the years, improvements have been made and trails with stone dust surface were added. Large meadows of grass are mowed, adding to the tranquility of the setting. The late Ruth Sara Goldman was a regular fixture on the trail. In memory of her passing, her family members installed exercise equipment on the trail that was dedicated in her honor in 2009.
The trail is used by professors for education on natural resource management, ecology and botany. In addition, Professor Tom Casella, who manages the trail for the College, takes his students out on the trail for inspiration for their art. Associate Professor Paul Richardson engages students, faculty and staff every spring on bird identification tours.
However, over time, buckthorn and other invasive plants like Japanese Knotweed and honeysuckle have or will take over much of the area, leaving little room for the native flora to thrive. In response, Assistant Professor Sheila Myers has enlisted students in her biology classes to conduct service-learning projects to improve the trail ecosystem. They have discussed the problems of the buckthorn, challenges with the ponds, drainage and general trail maintenance issues caused by flooding and erosion. Based on their research, the student team estimated the cost of making improvements and renovations at $31,000. Myers has secured a $7,000 grant from the Dorr Foundation that will enable her to complete the first round of improvements being made. Several areas of the trail have been made significantly larger after great quantities of buckthorn were removed. Trees indigenous to the area have been purchased, including Red Maple, Poplar and Swamp White Oaks. On April 24, students and faculty began planting a total of 30 6-foot trees.
Renovations are a total team effort. The CCC Foundation administers all gifts collected. The students, our future alumni, along with interested and involved members of the CCC community have rolled up their sleeves, literally and figuratively, to keep our “natural oasis” a place to continue to enjoy for many more years.
To learn more about the Nature Trail project or to learn more about their research, visit: http://sheilamyers.weebly.com/nature-trail-project.html
One of the challenges the Nature Trail faces is buckthorn, a tree that is highly invasive. It crowds out native plants and out-competes them for nutrients, light and moisture. It degrades wildlife habitat and forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation.
With much assistance, large areas of buckthorn have been cut and the area replanted with native oak, maple and poplar trees (thirty in all). Students have helped by securing landscaping fabric over the cut ends. Hopefully, covering the cut ends will stop it from re-sprouting.
Buckthorn is a common problem in many areas. For information on buckthorn, click on this brochure link.
On January 30, CCC lost a long-time professor and friend with the sudden passing of Raymond F. Leszczynski. Many who knew Ray or took any of his geology classes knew of his love and passion for different kinds of rocks. It was infectious, and people would bring him unusual rocks they found – often because of their own, newly-found love of rocks.
Each year faculty and staff participate in an Assessment Day function; so when it was held in February, participants were encouraged to bring a special rock as a tribute to Ray. On May 1, the rocks found a home when they were brought to the Nature Trail. With help from Sheila Myers’ Conservation and Natural Resources class, the rocks were placed around newly planted trees and flowers. They will bring a smile to all who walk along the trail as they think of Ray.
Editor’s Note: William D. Stuart ’74 was originally run in the spring/summer 2012 edition of The Spartan.
William D. Stuart ’74
“Never give up on your dreams…”
Many of us have shared the sentiment Bill Stuart felt when he was fresh out of high school; “I was young, and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life or how I would ever achieve any level of success.” Fortunately the time he spent at ACC helped him to not only to “get a clue” but he came out “knowing what he wanted to do with his life!” Since then, Bill has accomplished a great many things. While Bill acknowledges that he had some great professors while attending ACC, one in particular made the real difference, Professor of Marketing Bill Lovell. Stuart admits that he even missed some ‘Happy Hours’ at Curley’s because he didn’t want to miss class; “this marketing thing really captured my interest.”
Following his graduation from ACC, Bill went to Albany State where he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing. Over the past 37 years, he rose to the level of Senior Vice President for two major US retailers before starting his own consulting company in 1995. He is the CEO of Stuart & Associates Inc., a leader in sales and leadership development for retailers and manufacturers. Since then William’s company has helped some of the largest corporations in the world (P&G, Microsoft, Hoover, Philips consumer electronics, Best Buy, etc.) develop and launch new products. He and his company have shown their clients how to drive revenues and bring more of the profit to the bottom line.
“I have had a great life.” Bill shares. He and his wife have seen the world, something he never thought could have happened. He feels that it was all sparked by a marketing class he took 36 years ago from a guy who cared enough to give his students his best. “Thank you Professor Lovell.”
Bill currently lives in Franklin, TN with his wife. They have three sons; the His oldest is out on his own “making a name for himself,” and his twins are in college. They love to ski, cruise and travel the world. Stuart enjoys cycling, collectable street rods, and flying RC planes. He shares that his life has turned out so much better than he could have ever dreamed, and it all started at ACC. The advice he has to share is simple “Never give up on your dreams whatever they made be, no matter what others might think or say. Remember this: There is only one person who stands between you and success and that’s the person you look at in the mirror every morning!”
We are pleased to announce the names of the 2014 Alumni Award recipients: Richard J. Knaul ’63, Melanie Trexler ’75 and Terry M. Wilbur ’08, who you will hear more about in future publications. They will be honored at the annual awards brunch at Oak & Vine at the Springside Inn, as well as at Commencement on May 18. We thank them for their service to their alma mater as well as to their communities.
As always, we have had a great year of trip offerings including two sold out Gettysburg Battlefield weekend excursions and a day, as well as a weekend trip, to New York City. We appreciate the loyal following we have on these trips.
Some of the other activities the Association sponsored or participated in over the past academic year include the 11th Annual Antique Appraisal Fair in October; a pizza booth at the 40th annual Holiday Craft Show in December; and participation in the 11th Family Fun Day in February.
The Alumni Association is behind the scenes working on these and other projects throughout the year, and I would like to recognize them: President Ted Herrling ’72, Vice President Gerry Guiney ’82, Treasurer Fred Falsey ’76, and Secretary John Lamphere ’74. Members at large include: Lori Cochran ’05, Betty DeLuna ’93, Felicia Franceschelli ’11, Tony Gucciardi ‘61, JoAnn Harris ’95, Bill Jacobs ’73, John McLeod ’08, Amanda Reed ’06, Amanda Stankus ’03 and Terry Wilbur ’08. Ex officio members include Louise Wilson ’72, Director of Alumni Affairs, and Jeff Hoffman, Executive Director of the CCC Foundation.
There have been many people who have offered assistance to the Association as well as the Alumni office over the past academic year, and they should be recognized as well: Mary Wejko ’66, proofreader extraordinaire and assistant editor of The Spartan; Carol MacKenzie ’74, Kathy Colella ’72 and Jeff Hoffman from the Foundation office, who are invaluable to the Association; Graphic Designer Mary Merritt who puts my visions of The Spartan on paper; and former Foundation staff members Mary Kriever ’08, assistant editor of The Spartan and my right-hand gal, and Marty MacKay. And a thank you to the great staff, faculty, IT and maintenance gurus who keep us up and running each day!
A round of applause and a huge thank you for all they have done to make our Alumni Association 55 years strong. Let’s try for at least another 55!
On April 23, Cayuga CC’s Fulton Campus celebrated its 20th anniversary. The event’s organizing committee (featured in the February 2014 edition of Get Inspired) welcomed staff, faculty, special guests and dignitaries.
An introduction by Sue Witmer ’90, Fulton Campus Director of Operations and committee chair, began by reading a letter from Debbie Grimshaw, the campus’s first director. Though she was unable to attend personally due to her position of superintendent of the Canajoharie Central School District, she sent her best regards including a stroll down memory lane. Sue also recognized special guests in attendance, including Dr. Cathleen McColgin ’86, former Dean/Provost of the Fulton Campus; Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward; Oswego County Legislators Linda Lockwood, Frank Castiglia Jr., Morris Sorbello and Roy Reehil; CCC Trustee Joseph Runkle; Cayuga County Legislators Mike Didio and Keith Batman ’72, who was also the former interim director of the Fulton Center; and President Ted Herrling ’72 and Director of Alumni Affairs Louise Wilson ’72 representing the ACC/CCC Alumni Association.
Speakers included Dr. Gregory DeCinque, CCC Interim President; Honorable Michael Chapman, Chairman Cayuga County Legislature; Maggie Killoran, Associate Vice President/Dean Fulton Campus; and Terry Wilbur ’08, Majority Leader Oswego County Legislator and ACC/CCC Alumni Association board member.
Patricia McCurdy, retired Fulton English instructor and unofficial historian for the event, entertained the crowd of about 80 with 20 trivia questions. The assembled group tested their knowledge on the campus’s early beginnings, many of them surprising and humorous.
A luncheon and cake followed, offering long-time friends and colleagues a chance to reminisce and enjoy the camaraderie. A recap of Fulton’s 20 year history is being planned for the next edition of The Spartan.
largest police department
in the United States. For the third time in four years, they conducted a two-day examination for potential candidates on CCC’s Auburn Campus on April 26th and 27th in its efforts to look for the best possible officers. This examination is the only one of its kind in New York State, as CCC Criminal Justice Professor John Lamphere was able to negotiate and set this up for not only CCC students but for anyone wishing to become a Baltimore Police Officer. Baltimore Recruiter Greg Ostrander had contacted Professor Lamphere and told him that his agency had great interest in holding its examination at CCC, having looked at all the colleges with Criminal Justice Programs and selecting CCC for quality of program and location.
In the three years of examinations, over 700 people have taken the exam with nearly 100 having been hired or offered positions. The examination process consisted of a written exam on Saturday, followed by an agility test. Those passing were called back on Sunday for more intense physical examinations followed by an interview process. Those passing were then notified to report to Baltimore for further processing and testing and ultimately offered a position with the department. CCC has approximately two dozen students now either working or in the last phase of recruitment.
The Baltimore Police Dept. recruiters intend to return in 2015 with the statement that the only site to be offered examinations in New York State is Cayuga Community College.
Men’s Bowling Region III Runner-up; Alex DiGenaro and Mary Townley Earn All-Region
The Cayuga Spartan men’s bowling team moved their record to an impressive 46-10 on the season. This ranks them 58th in the country for men’s collegiate bowling in the USBC. They achieved these heights by their recent 2nd place finish in the NJCAA Region 3 team championships held at AMF Lanes in Utica. This is the best finish in the school’s short bowling history. Cayuga was led by standout Alex DiGenaro (Liverpool, NY) who shot 1577 for the all events total…which earned him a berth on the All-Region team…another first for the College.
Also receiving accolades was freshman Bernie Cecchini (Union Springs, NY) who continued his recent hot shooting firing a 835 four-game block earning him a 3rd place finish in the singles version of the very difficult 8-game format. Cecchini also just missed out on the All-Region team finishing 4 pins short.
The short-handed Spartan Women’s bowling team gave a good showing placing 4th at the Regionals. They were led by the stellar bowling of sophomore Mary Townley (Liverpool, NY)…who was placed on the women’s All-Region team. This final showing qualified Townley, Beth Piston (East Syracuse-Minoa, NY) and Deanne Connolly (Mynderse Academy, NY) for the USBC Singles sectionals in Allentown, PA against the top 300 women collegiate bowlers in the country. Both Spartan teams will be bowling in the NJCAA Nationals at Thruway Lanes in Buffalo on Feb 28th and March 1st. The Spartans are coached by Head Coach Steve Spinney and Assistant Coaches Christine Nichols and Nancy Spinney.
Men’s Basketball Earns Region III Play-off Berth
The men’s basketball team earned the #8 seed in the 2013-14 NJCAA Region III men’s basketball tournament this past season. The Spartans defeated Onondaga CC in the sub-regional round #8-#9 matchup in a thrilling 85-78 overtime win at Spartan Hall. All-Region forward Zaki Thomas (Paterson, NJ) led all scorers with 25 points. Sophomore guard Glenn Taggart (Fairport, NY) added 19 points. Freshman Michael Guity (Syracuse, NY) came off the bench to chip in with 18 points.
The Spartans moved on to the Elite 8 and faced host #1 SUNY Delhi…who they had defeated earlier in the season. The Spartans looked poised to pull off the upset leading much of the first half and only trailing at halftime by 2 points. Sophomore center Joe Goddette (New Rochelle, NY) led the way with 13 points. Glenn Taggart and DeVaughan John added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Spartans. The Broncos outscored the Spartans by 16 in the second half to distance themselves and advance 73-55.
The fifth annual Cause for Paws was held recently to benefit the SPCA. The benefit is held to raise money for the Finger Lakes SPCA’s operating expenses, costs for veterinary care, pet food and other miscellaneous expenses related to treating and caring for shelter pets.
CCC’s Phi Beta Lambda Business Club and Events Planning class helped by generating over $5,000. CCC business instructor Amy Valente explained that participating students are able to get “hands-on experience on how to approach businesses for donations and how to market events.” Max Appleby, CCC Student Trustee, was the lead student organizer for the event and is also on the Finger Lakes SPCA board of directors.
Fall began with auditions for History 101 by James C. Ferguson, a selection of 15 short comic vignettes of different scenes throughout history. Thirteen student actors and six backstage crew brought to life satirical looks from the Oracle of Delphi to the Wright Brothers. This show brought recognition, as it received meritorious awards from the Theatre Association of NY State for the Ensemble acting to the Cast of Women of History and to Mathew Ryan Limerick for Costume and Make-up Design and Execution. Women of History also received an invitation to perform at the annual TANYS (Theatre Association of New York State) festival. They were chosen from among a field of over 50 productions under consideration.
Speaking of the TANYS festival, Harlequin was honored to be one of the co-hosts of the festival, as it moved back to Auburn for a two-year stay. This yearly competitive celebration of non-professional theatre was last at CCC in 2005. Almost 200 theatre aficionados got to see 9 different companies perform and listen to responses from 3 nationally known adjudicators. The Saturday night of the festival also witnessed the first major snowstorm of the season, so there was much slipping and sliding as the attendees made their way to Hilton Garden Inn for the Saturday banquet. To make the evening even more memorable, there was a fire in the bar so it was closed all night! Theatre people, being as resourceful as we are, pooled together what was in the rooms and brought the after party to the lobby! Harlequin also was honored by receiving “Best Overall Design” from the BMI Supply Design Exhibition for their Production Design entry of the spring 2013 production of Love in the Insecurity Zone.
Spring of 2014 brought auditions for the world premiere production of Fengar Gael’s The Draper’s Eye. A cast of eight supported by seven backstage crew worked hard to bring this new show to life. The playwright, upon watching the show on DVD wrote:
I just finished viewing the DVD and was delighted by your inspired direction and the charm of your marvelous actors, especially the lovely Kat Jordan as Penelope and Becky White as Portia, and Ashley Cornelius definitely had the right spirit for Georgette…. How brave you were to tackle a play that has never been produced and I hope the actors had fun despite the snowstorm. I’m so grateful to have this DVD and my Draper’s Eye tee shirt (a perfect fit) and post card and articles. If the play is ever actually produced by a professional theatre, I will have this wonderful show at hand to share with the director if he wishes to see how you and your students brought the words to vivid life!
With gratitude, admiration, and best wishes,
A TANYS adjudicator also saw great merit in the show and rewarded the company’s hard work with five merit awards: Excellence in Production Concept and Direction to Robert Frame, Excellence in Scenic Design to Robert John Andrusko, Meritorious Achievement in Lighting Design to Brad McLean, Meritorious Achievement in Sound Design to Stephen D.M. Hodge, and Meritorious Achievement in Ensemble Performance to the Cast!
He commented: Harlequin Productions of CCC has produced another success with the world premiere of Fengar Gael’s The Draper’s Eye. The cast, crew, and production team brought this romantic mystery to life with aplomb. Congratulations!
Not to rest on their laurels, two weeks later saw Harlequin again playing host to the Michael Harms Theatre festival. This festival brought seven high school theatre groups to the CCC campus to perform in the Bisgrove Theatre and attend multiple workshops taught by working professionals. Over 100 HS students participated in this fun-filled day as they shared their work and their energy with their peers.
As the academic year comes to a close, there is one more performance planned. The Eastern States Theatre Association has a bi-yearly festival of original works. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland each send up to four shows to compete in this two-fold celebration of the best from each state as well as original works. Harlequin submitted and was chosen to perform Lewis & Clark by James C. Ferguson; one of the vignettes from fall’s History 101. Mathew Ryan Limerick and Stephen D.M. Hodge will be representing Harlequin Productions as well as New York State when they perform on Saturday, May 3. Matthew will have just come from his being awarded the inaugural Thommie Walsh Memorial Scholarship at Michele Lee’s Friday, May 2 performance. This scholarship is given to a Cayuga student pursuing a career in theatre.
Finally, Harlequin Productions would like to say farewell to the students leaving CCC who have contributed their talents to Cayuga theatre. Best of luck in your future endeavors to: Matthew Ryan Limerick, Gillian Frame, Kat Jordan, Ian Moore, Amanda Bauso, Zachariah Phillips, Hailey Thompson, Taylor Sanchez and Ashley White. Keep in touch!
Editor’s Note: I received this information from Jacqueline Darquea, CCC Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Scholarship Coordination. If you have someone in your household who needs information on financial commitments for a college education, you may find this helpful.
When you compare Cayuga’s tuition and fees to national averages, the value of a Cayuga education is clear – our tuition and fees are among the lowest and most competitive in the nation. The majority of all full-time undergraduate students at Cayuga receive financial aid, and there are many Federal, State, and College financial aid programs to help students meet the costs of attending college.
Because it is important for students to clearly see the bottom line on college costs, we’re committed to transparency regarding the financial commitments of attending our college.
SUNY has created Smart Track, a collection of resources – including our Net Price Calculator – designed to help students and families understand college costs and develop a financial plan for the future. It’s just another reason why SUNY and Cayuga Community College is a smart investment and a sound economic decision.
For the third consecutive year, Cayuga’s 2013 nursing class achieved a 100 percent pass rate. The announcement was made by the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) in February. As Cayuga’s nursing graduates have consistently done, the 2013 class surpassed the state and national average pass rates by 22 points and 17 points, respectively. CCC’s five-year pass rate is a notable 98 percent.
“The performance of our graduates on the NCLEX is a tribute to the unwavering commitment to excellence that is embraced daily by the faculty and staff of Cayuga Community college,” said Professor and Director of Nursing Linda Alfieri, MS, RN. “As well, it gives clear and decisive evidence of the dedication and hard work put forth by all of our students as they work to prepare for a career or continued education in nursing.”
Another impressive statistic is the placement percentage for the 2013 graduates. Eighty-eight percent were hired for nursing positions and 12 percent were accepted into a four-year bachelor of science in nursing program for a final placement total of 100 percent.
Cayuga’s program currently enrolls 100 students, and we when they graduate, we will be proud to call them alumni.
Since its inception in 1982, the Cayuga Community College Foundation has consistently earned praise as one of the best in SUNY. Now, the CCC Foundation has taken its place among the best foundations in America, ranking #95 among the nation’s community colleges.
Dr. William R. Crowe, Director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Continuing Education, has completed extensive research on public two-year colleges and their supporting foundations. His work was based on the annual tax returns (IRS 990 filings) of each foundation, ranking them in an order based on total assets and funds raised. The data included filings from 2009-2012, making this the most comprehensive research project ever conducted in the arena of two-year college advancement.
“Dr. Crowe’s research continues the national recognition given to the CCC Foundation in recent years,” said Executive Director Jeff Hoffman. “Our Foundation has earned accolades from the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship for its support of Cayuga’s ‘E-ship Across the Curriculum’ model. In addition, our good friends Jack and Jerry Bisgrove were honored in Washington, DC by the Council for Resource Development (CRD) for their support of CCC. Their award was one of only ten given nationwide to community colleges.”
“This recognition of the Cayuga Community College Foundation is a testament to our donors,” said Board President Lloyd Hoskins. “The outstanding support we receive, both for annual giving and for capital campaigns, has helped us earn this recognition. We take our responsibility very seriously to raise significant support for the College, and to be diligent in our management of all funds entrusted to the care of the CCC Foundation.”
CCC has launched the new Cayuga Presidential Scholarships for fall 2014. Funded by the CCC Foundation, this will provide full scholarships (after Pell, TAP, and other CCC Foundation grants) to outstanding students from Cayuga and Oswego Counties. Students must graduate in the top 20 percent of their high school class based on academic performance. The CCC Foundation has allocated $300,000 to this program for the next two academic years.
Dr. Gregory DeCinque, Cayuga’s interim president, said that “While the scholarship rewards students for their strong academic performance, it also brings students to Cayuga who are often part of honors programs, student government and other leadership positions. These students serve to raise the academic bar for everyone and help improve persistence to graduation.” Foundation executive director Jeff Hoffman noted, “Cayuga Community College is consistently given high marks by our alumni; 90 percent of the most recent graduating class said Cayuga helped them reach their educational goals. This scholarship will attract the brightest students from local communities, who will become the next generation of outstanding Cayuga alumni.”
In recent years, terms like “going green” and “eco-friendly” have become buzz words on talk shows, commercials and product packaging. The term “eco-friendly” has been used for so many different products and practices, its meaning is in danger of being lost. By understanding the true meaning of eco-friendly, you can implement the practices that will lead to healthier living for the planet and its inhabitants, big and small.
Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.
Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Organic ingredients or materials are grown without toxic pesticides or herbicides. Products with “made from recycled materials” contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole.
You can develop eco-friendly habits to help you use less and make the most of what you have. Turn off lights in empty rooms and use a programmable thermostat so you’re only heating or cooling your home when it’s occupied. Businesses can also institute such practices, in addition to bigger initiatives, such as company-wide recycling programs to conserve natural resources and telecommuting for employees, which decreases air pollution and fuel consumption by eliminating daily travel to work.
Companies sometimes label their products “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” without them truly being so. Called “greenwashing,” marketing campaigns perpetuate this practice, aimed at helping companies increase their product sales by appealing to ecologically conscious buyers. To avoid purchasing “greenwashed” products, look for products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star program or an ecologically conscious consumer-advocacy group such as the Green Good Housekeeping Seal.
There are a number of ways people get involved on Earth Day, either by planting a tree, cleaning up litter or changing out harmful light bulbs in their home. No act is too small and they all count! Here are some ways you can get involved to celebrate Earth Day by making a difference.
Earth Day Activities You Can Do
There are a number of Earth Day events in your area that you can find by going to Earthday.org. You can also plan an event yourself if you have something in mind, or want to copy an event you see in another area.
- Calculate your carbon footprint: Want motivation for participating in Earth Day events? Why not see just how much carbon your lifestyle contributes to the planet with Nature.org’s carbon footprint calculator.
- Go global: Before you begin participating in local Earth Day activities, consider contributing to an international charity supporting environmentalism and clean water around the world. Organizations like charity:water help provide clean water for people in need around the globe. You can also support a charity that helps clean up the oceans, fights pollution or works to protect rain forests. Whichever you choose, it’s nice to know you’ve made an impact outside of your immediate neighborhood.
- Pick up litter: Many people get together in groups with friends and family to go out and pick up litter at a park or local beach, or even right on your own Main Street. It doesn’t require much planning, so you have a good chance of getting people to join in – and may find some people joining in as you go.
- Plant trees: If you want to get your hands in the earth, you can gather your friends and family to help plant a tree on your property, or see if you can get permission to plant a tree in your community, at a park or local school. Talk to your neighbors and see if they are willing to also plant a tree on their property, or help with your effort to plant trees on community property.
- Start recycling: Your Earth Day contribution could also be to start recycling in your home or switch to using renewable energy. You might not be able to install solar panels on your house or apartment, but you can switch out energy sucking appliances, and replace them with energy efficient models. Separate your trash into recyclable and non-recyclable items, and get in the habit of buying recycled materials.
- Begin composting: You may have heard of composting, which is nature’s way of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil, known as compost. Deciding to compost is a popular activity for Earth Day. Compost can be used in your garden as it is a very good source of nutrition for plants. Composting biodegrades your food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, wood and crop residue, making it into something very good for the environment – which is a win-win!
- Involve your office: Check with your employer to see if they would like to participate in the Earth Day activities. Maybe they don’t recycle printer toner, paper and aluminum cans- materials many businesses go through quickly. When businesses go green, in addition to helping the Earth, they can often times get tax deductions or other financial benefits, so see if your company is open to making an Earth Day commitment. This can save money for home businesses too!
- Clean a local water source: Cleaning up a local waterway like a river or stream to remove garbage and debris is also a great way to celebrate Earth Day. You can also commit to helping people in other parts of the world, like Africa, to help get access to clean water. Earth Day is also a day for education about the Earth and realizing how you can help other communities that may need the things you take for granted – like clean water to drink and bath in.
And while these actions are great for adults, do get your kids involved. They love to plant, dig, compost, recycle, and be a part of anything that seems fun that they see adults doing. It’s fun to get creative with kids and think of ways to do things differently to help the Earth.
The History Of Earth Day
Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson’s idea for Earth Day was to create an event for environmental activism and enlighten everyone on the idea of widespread support for environmental issues. Nelson’s plan was so successful that it inspired grassroots support for environmental legislation including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and the need to protect wilderness areas in the U.S. In fact, it was only three years later after Nelson’s Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970 that the Environmental Protection Agency was created.
Earthday.org has a campaign called One Billion Acts of Green, asking people, businesses and governments to record their acts of kindness toward the earth. No matter how you reduce carbon emissions – whether just in your home or in a big company, millions of acts have been recorded and they want to reach one billion.
Go online and you will be inspired by the myriad of ways people have gotten involved to save the Earth, and make sure you log onto Earthday.org and share your contributions!
Happy Earth Day! In honor of Mama Earth, ditch the idea of simply wearing green or decorating a cake that looks like a globe. The real change is gonna require you to get messy. Try these activities that will dirty your hands (and maybe more).
- Tear up your schoolyard and plant a garden. Growing vegetables and fruit locally will reduce the fuel used to ship produce from foreign countries.
- Take a walk on a nature trail and bring a younger sibling with you (or go with your BFF and their bro or sis if you’re an only child). According to a study from the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, one-third of children spend less than an hour being active outdoors.
- Get your hands in the dirt and plant a tree. Trees soak up the carbon dioxide that we humans love to emit.
- Get rid of weeds the old-fashioned way – with your hands. Weed-killing sprays release harmful chemicals into the ecosystem.
- Find a marker or pen and draw the recycling symbol plus a stat about the environment on your body. This “temporary tattoo” is sure to draw awareness around Earth Day.
- Host a scavenger hunt and clean up litter in a public space. Teams can compete to find the most litter, giving different point values to plastic, metal, and other items.
- Clean out the dusty attic and donate the items. Instead of throwing unwanted possessions away, donate your books, clothes, and electronics to help those in need.
- Invite friends to walk to school and take a route off of the sidewalk (if you’re able). Travel through the woods, field or some other unpaved place.
- Grab a hammer and build a bird house. Help preserve the bird population in your own backyard by hanging it on a nearby tree branch.
- Cut your shower time in half and encourage water conservation. If you’re feeling really adventurous skip the shower all together. Just make sure to remember the deodorant.
- Carpool. You get extra time with your friends and you’re helping the environment.
Combating a number of medical problems, including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and severe reactions to chemicals and artificial products, Kimberly Button decided to adopt eco-friendly living habits in 2001, which not only improved her health but also paid off financially. She started using natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, which meant no harmful chemicals and no fragrance residues. She also gave up sodas and prepared drinks and began drinking only water.
A lot has changed in the 12 years since Button, a freelance journalist based in an Orlando, Fla., and author of “The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home,” modified her lifestyle. Over the past decade, enhanced technology and growing consumer demand for natural products and organic foods have transformed the way many U.S. manufacturers do business. Even the razor business has gone green: Schick, for example, now sells a $10 “intuition naturals sensitive care razor,” with a shaving solid that’s made from natural Aloe and Vitamin E. The product’s packaging is manufactured with no artificial colors and is 100 percent recyclable.
As Richard Kujawski, managing editor of LivingGreenMag.com, puts it, “Living green has turned the corner from a fad or a vestige of the hippy days.”
Still, Brian Keane, author of “Green Is Good: Save Money, Make Money, and Help Your Community Profit From Clean Energy,” says some people worry about the costs associated with sustainable living. But he says many homeowners don’t realize how much energy and money they can save just by reducing “phantom load” – the energy an appliance or electronic device uses even when it’s turned off. According to Cornell University, leaving items such as televisions, cell phone chargers, microwaves and coffee makers plugged in year-round can add around $200 to your annual energy bill.
Aside from switching off appliances, there are plenty of green consumer behaviors that don’t require large financial sacrifices. Here are some easy, effective ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle without wrecking your budget:
Shop smart for fruits and veggies. Some foods are worth buying organic. Fruits and vegetables such as apples, grapes, potatoes, spinach and cucumbers are on the Environmental Working Group’s 2013 “dirty dozen” list – meaning, according to the environmental health research and advocacy organization, they’re high in pesticide residues. As such, buying those items organic may be better for your health. The EWG’s “clean fifteen” list contains produce that’s generally safe to purchase without shelling out extra for organic, including onions, mushrooms, pineapples, sweet potatoes and mangos.
Renée Loux, an eco-advisor for spas, restaurants and hotels and host of the television show “It’s Easy Being Green,” says more retail chains like Safeway are producing organic items in-house, offering an alternative to pricey organic brand names. (According to the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, organic fruits and vegetables can cost anywhere from 10 percent to 174 percent more than conventional produce.)
Grow your own food. If buying organic foods isn’t financially feasible, try out your green thumb. Growing your own produce can help cut costs, but setting up and maintaining a garden takes work. Be prepared to devote time to preparing the soil, irrigating and fertilizing your crops and dealing with pests. Such labor can prove costly for some if it eats up too much time.
If you decide to grow your own produce, also keep in mind what fruits and vegetables are suitable for your climate. Button says growing cold-weather crops like broccoli in Florida, for example, isn’t good for water conservation, as they’ll require watering twice a day.
Farmers markets may be a reasonably priced option if you don’t want to get your hands dirty.
Don’t be wasteful when eating out. Going green doesn’t have to mean giving up meals at your favorite restaurants, but Button says there are several eco-friendly practices to follow when eating out. Bring Tupperware to take home leftovers, as Styrofoam boxes are difficult to recycle. Tell your server ahead of time if you’re not going to eat a side dish that comes with your meal, so the food doesn’t go to waste. And one of the easiest behaviors to change: If you’re going to leave the restaurant shortly, don’t let the server refill your water glass.
Replace old appliances. Lowering your utility bills also conserves energy, making it a win-win for your finances and the environment. In fact, a number of utility companies offer customers rebates for saving energy. When Diane MacEachern, author of “Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World,” bought an energy-efficient refrigerator, she received $100 from Pepco, and the utility company gave her $50 for recycling her old refrigerator.
EnergyStar.gov provides information on what appliances are the most energy-efficient.
Lease solar panels. While solar panels are the gold standard, most consumers simply can’t afford the technology. For a typical three-bedroom home, installing a medium-sized 4-kilowatt system can cost upwards of $25,000 to $30,000, based on 2012 data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
However, there are a number of national solar leasing companies such as SolarCity.com, Sungevity.com and SunRunHome.com. “A homeowner can get the benefit of solar panels and lower utility bills immediately without having to lay out all that capital,” Loux says. For the average three-bedroom home, leasing solar panels costs around $100 to $300 a month. (Many companies don’t charge a down payment.) According to SolarCity.com, for a typical three-bedroom home with a current electricity bill of $200 per month, installing a 4-kilowatt solar system will generate enough electricity to reduce the bill to an estimated $60 per month.
Patch minor damage. A poorly insulated home requires more air conditioning in the summer and, naturally, more heat in the winter. Loux says this can be a major problem in older homes that are less energy-efficient than homes built in the last 10 to 20 years.
Two of the biggest culprits are gaps and cracks, which expand over time. Low-cost calks, sealants and repairs can make your home more insulated and save you hundreds in utility costs each month.
Control your home’s temperature. Another way to reduce energy costs is by installing a programmable thermostat, which costs as low as $40. You can program the device so, say, the in-house temperature is higher when you’re at work, then cools down when you’re at home. Some devices let you set different temperatures for specific rooms.
Change the lights. Installing energy-efficient lighting like LED bulbs throughout your home is also a way to save money. “I have [energy-efficient] light bulbs in my house that I haven’t changed in 10 years,” MacEachern says. “It’s a no-brainer.” LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents and significantly longer than typical incandescents. They also only use 2 to 17 watts of electricity – a fraction of what incandescents or CFLs need – meaning with LEDs, you save money on both energy and replacement costs.
Pinpoint areas in your home for improvement. For specific tips on how to make your home more eco-friendly, consider getting an energy audit. You can pay an energy professional to inspect your home and identify ways to make the property more energy-efficient. (Some utility companies offer free home energy audits.)
Reuse materials. When doing home renovations, you can often recycle old materials. If you’re doing a kitchen remodel and replacing the cabinetry, for example, rather than disposing of the old cabinets, consider installing them in your garage for extra storage space. If you’re putting new tile in the laundry room, use the old tiles as a walkway outside.
Homeowners planning to renovate can visit their local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a nonprofit store and donation center that sells new and gently used building materials at a fraction of the retail price. You can find your nearest ReStore outlet at habitat.org/restores.
Burn less fuel. Driving a fuel-efficient car is the best way to save money on gas, but it’s also a quick way to drain your bank account. If you can’t afford a green vehicle, you can still make small lifestyle changes. “Fundamentally, the most eco-friendly car you can get is the one you have and to just drive it less,” Loux says.
If you’re running errands within a short vicinity, park your car at one place and walk to the nearby locations. Since heavier cars burn gas quicker, removing excess weight from your vehicle will reduce your visits to the pump. You can also improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires properly inflated, according to FuelEconomy.gov.
When renting a car, depending on how far you’re driving, it may be worth paying extra for a hybrid. Go to FuelEconomy.gov if you’re trying to determine the best fuel-efficient rental car on the lot.
The bottom line. By taking steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency, conserve gas and waste less food, you can do the environment – and your wallet – a favor.