“Signs of Sustainability” 2009 Awards – Part IV

(view more articles in SOS Tompkins Weekly)

By Christina Orlandini and Marian Brown

This is the fourth of our series in which Sustainable Tompkins introduces you to the large number of “Signs of Sustainability” in the category of new sustainability programs or activities by existing businesses or organizations.

Sustainability Education

Students at Boynton Middle School participated in the “Trout in the Classroom” project and spent six months raising brown trout from eggs before releasing them into Fall Creek.  

The Cayuga Nature Center and Museum of the Earth compiled “The Field Guide to the Cayuga Lake Region” guidebook with photographs and descriptions of Ithaca’s natural areas.

The “All Things Equal” program on Cayuga Radio Group’s station WHCU 970AM incorporated a broader focus on community sustainability in its program.

Cornell Cinema presented “Earth Days,” an environmentally conscious film series held in conjunction with the Bioneers conference.

Louise McGarry, from the Cornell Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, organized the Sustainable Earth, Energy and Environmental Systems speaker series examining a sustainable society.

Students at DeWitt Middle School completed a vegetable-oil fueled “Veggie Go-Cart.” DeWitt students also built a robotic “scare-gull” for a project to repopulate North Atlantic puffins. 

Dryden Central Schools formed several “Green Teams” that have removed over 115,000 pounds of waste from the landfill.

Shawn Reeves from energyteachers.org offered the “Solar Cookers for Learning Physics” course to students in the Northern Lights Learning Center. Students learned the science of solar cooking and built their own solar cookers.  

The new program“Play with Your Food” at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center teaches pre-teens about gardening, composting and cooking.

Fifth-graders at Groton Elementary collected over 400 used shoes for soles4souls.

For Sustainability Week, the Museum of the Earth offered family-friendly activities, including craft projects with recycled materials.

The Cornell University chapter of Net Impact organized its largest national conference with more than 2,600 social leaders gathered to discuss sustainable global enterprise.

The Suburban Cortland-Ithaca Shopper reserved space for sustainability-themed articles, delivering such education to more than 20,000 households.

The Sciencenter held its “Garden of Gizmos: Physics in Bloom” event with 15 interactive activities. The Sciencenter also designed energy conservation activities and invited participants to turn off their power for an hour for “The 2009 Earth Hour Experiment”.

WSKG-FM‘s “Community Conversations” offered three programs involving sustainability themes, including composting and regional economic development through green collar jobs.

Sustainability Events

The Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes hosted a “Healthy Home” house party, offering information and demonstrations on safer children’s and personal care products.

CBORD’s Green Team conducted an Earth Day event for its employees, which kicked off its recycling and composting initiative.

Cornell Cooperative Extension and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority collaborated to offer a free Green Jobs Forum.

The annual Green Buildings Open House was bigger than ever – with 33 facilities open over two days. This year, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Ithaca Green Building Alliance added evening educational presentations. 

The Dryden Beautification Brigade offered the first annual Open Gates Garden and Art Tour, opening five historic gardens in Dryden, each featuring the work of a local artist.

BikeIthaca and BikeIt members led the mile-and-a-half long Tour de Solstice fun bike ride in December.

SewGreen hosted Ithaca’s first ReCraft Fair with crafts fashioned from earth-friendly materials.  SewGreen also hosted a Green Halloween Masquerade Ball to fundraise for SewGreen youth programs.

Silicon Solar held its GO Solar Open House in August, while its First Annual Winter Green Gift Festival and Holiday Party offered information on sustainable gift options. 

Tompkins Cortland Community College hosted “Cool It! Doing Your Part to Stop Climate Change,” in observance of the International Day of Climate Action and 350.org. 

The Tompkins County Public Library showcased green living expert Annie Bond’s presention, “Ten Chemicals to Keep Out of Your Home,” involving hidden pollutants in common products. 

In October, the Town of Ithaca organized the “A Day on the Farm” event, opening eight local farms to the public and holding activities at Tutelo Park. 

These entries are excerpted from the longer Signs of Sustainability 2009 citations. The complete list can be viewed at: www.sustainabletompkins.org

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