Sustainability Grant Recipients
We are pleased to announce the Sustainability Grant Recipients for Fall 2010. Our community looks forward to seeing these projects implemented We would also like to thank everyone for their applications and participation and we look forward to seeing the results.The next grant deadline is February 14, 2011.
Vermicomposting at the Bistro
Two years ago, the Sustainability Council approved and funded a rotating composter that would serve Cat Cavern, the UC and the Bistro. However, it was donated to Zena Farm at the end of the year, leaving the Bistro without a viable composting option. I am proposing to begin vermicomposting the Bistro’s food waste to fill this need. Vermicomposting is the process of composting food waste using red worms, which eat fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee and tea and leave behind nutrient-rich “castings” that form an ideal fertilizer for gardens. The Bistro will partner with Compost Club to regularly bring the finished compost to Zena Farm, helping to close the circle of food production and consumption by using food waste to fertilize future produce. When the worm bin is ready to accept food waste, we will host a campus-wide compost workshop that will explain the concept of vermicomposting and demonstrate how to do it at home. This project has three primary purposes: to compost a major portion of the Bistro’s daily food waste, to deepen the relationship between Zena Farm and the Bistro, and to act as a teaching tool for students interested in learning about vermicomposting.
Green Scenes and a Greener Darkroom
This grant has two parts. First, the funds will be used to modify current fixtures and install the necessary tools and equipment to make the Willamette student darkroom eco-friendly, and to open it to student use for the first time in ten years. When improper techniques and inadequate equipment are used to develop film and process prints, it can be very harmful to the environment. The Willamette Photo Club wants to join the University’s effort in respecting the environment by making changes to how the dark room handles water, electricity, chemistry, technique, and supplies. Second, the funds will be used to sponsor a photography contest that highlights some of Willamette’s green practices and the beautiful environment that we work to preserve. Photographs can be entered into either of the two following categories: Conservation in Action and Nature & Wildlife. The winning entries will also be printed on recycled photo paper and displayed somewhere on campus for everyone to get inspired from and enjoy. The Photo Club pledges to implement green practices in our developing and printing, and we hope to use this exhibition to share these techniques with others.
Sustainability Literature for Woodburn's French Prairie Middle School
Ashley Ross White
Sustainability in education is a subject not normally encountered until specialty classes at the university level. In the K-12 context, sustainability is rarely discussed. In fact, only one state in the U.S. (Vermont) has implemented mandatory K-12 learning standards relating to sustainability. As a result, exposure to sustainability education in grade school is often the consequence of individual initiative (on the part of the rare teacher, student, or parent), or localized (community or school district-wide) efforts. The lack of statewide implementation of K-12 sustainability education, coupled with limited resources and school budget deficits further restrict the opportunity for students and teachers to access age appropriate materials addressing sustainability. The general purpose of this grant would be to alleviate these constraints on sustainability education for one school (Woodburn’s French Prairie Middle School) by providing 27 books to the school’s library, and lesson materials for the school’s teachers to integrate sustainability concepts into the classroom. Because of the high number of Spanish speaking/ESOL students within this particular middle school, many of the books purchased will be in Spanish so as to accommodate the needs of the bilingual education program, while simultaneously providing sustainability education to students that would otherwise be inaccessible due to a language barrier.
Sustainable Agriculture Mural Barn Painting Competition
As we work to make Zena Farm more accessible to school age children, we are in need of visual aids to reinforce our message of sustainable farming. Principle within this message is the idea of the farm as an agro-ecosystem -- that is, a living system with all the hallmarks of a functioning ecosystem including beneficial plant-animal interactions, such as pollination, hedgerows to support native plants and animals, insectory plantings to encourage movement of beneficial insects across the landscape, refuges for predatory insects from which they will attack harmful prey (e.g. predaceous ground beetles eating cucumber beetles), nutrient cycling via compost, cover crops, and minimal tillage, and plant and animal populations living out their life cycles. To convey these themes in a captivating, yet educational, format, we imagine a mural painted on the side of our red barn that would serve as a starting point for field trips with school-aged children (and some of our general college classes). The mural would depict many of the topics listed above, in addition to others deemed appropriate to Zena Farm, and could serve as a pictorial list that would initiate a scavenger hunt for students. To design and paint the mural, we plan to initiate a competition across the campus that would state our goals as mentioned above and elicit mural designs from some of the talented artists on campus. The winner of the competition would be awarded $100. The competition would be open to Willamette. In the future, we hope to develop a children’s garden that would be replete with plants with special sensory properties (e.g. strong smells, downy leaves) and intellectual appeal (e.g. the pizza garden). Having the mural already in place as this garden develops, will allow us to accommodate school groups in a pilot program, using our kitchen garden and cultivated field.
Mobilizing Sustainability: Putting Wheels on the Clay Recycler
Luke Johnson and Professor Heidi Grew, Department of Art
In the ceramic studio a majority of the coursework revolves around the use of clay (three tons per year), and currently, about half of this clay is thrown away. Willamette has a clay mixer which could recycle a majority of this wasted clay, but to inadequate venting in its current location within the building, the clay mixer can no longer be used. We would like to use a sustainability mini-grant to custom build a heavy-duty cart for the clay mixer, which would allow student studio assistants to periodically move the clay mixer outside where we can recycle the clay safely, thus greatly reducing the economic and environmental footprint of the clay studio.