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GOING GREEN | August 2011

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FROM THE EDITOR

Greening schools
Well, I knew it would happen. Summer, my seven-year-old daughter’s favorite time of the year, is coming to an end. Thoughts of going back-to-school weigh on both our minds. Traditionally, August is the month when you see all the lists of “what to” and “what not to” buy for school supplies. Been there, done that many times over. This year I found myself wondering about what might be happening in the schools themselves in “going green’ terms. So for this special “schools” issue of Going Green, we take a look at: How local independent and private schools are incorporating sustainability right into their curricula, campus activities and more. How a group of enterprising students and teachers are reinventing the school club concept to include e-clubs in the mix. How grant money has helped provide training and education opportunities in the renewable energy field for many dislocated, unemployed workers.

Raise your profile
Elevate your company’s profile within the Green Community. Send us a short article or a project outline for consideration in Going Green, explaining what you are doing to “green up” your lifestyle? Include your preferred contact phone number.

Send in your e-mail address
We’ll share information and resources to help readers of Going Green swap money-saving tips and information related to “green” issues and events. Send to keplinger@commercialappeal.com. You can also follow Going Green on Facebook and at twitter.com/GoGreenMemphis .

Editor: Kim Coleman, 529-5243, goinggreen@commercialappeal.com Community Editor: Emily Adams Keplinger, keplinger@commercialappeal.com

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Green schools issue ...
18 21 14
Sustainable lessons come to the classroom
Independent and private schools find integrating conservation into the curriculum a natural fit. There’s a new club on the block for students — the Environmental Club. Packing a lunch in the spirit of the bento box is the green way to go. Four year colleges aren't the only institutions that offer a green education.

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PRACTICALLY GREEN

EATING GREEN

SAYING GOODBYE

Weary of disposable diapers, transition to cloth poses many challenges. PAGE 10

Southern peas and beans are here, and you don’t want to miss out . PAGE 12

A memorial tribute to Mike Lenagar, cattle farmer and operator of Neola Farms. PAGE 8

On the cover: Illustration from istockphoto.com

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GOING GREEN | August 2011

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Micro Greens...

Safe crossing: Signals ease way for travelers
As the Shelby Farms Greenline increases in popularity, so does the standard of safety surrounding it. Concerns about pedestrians crossing busy intersections on the Greenline are being met with an answer from the City of Memphis Division of Engineering. A new type of traffic light, known as a pedestrian hybrid beacon, was installed at areas of the Greenline with heavy traffic. The pedestrian hybrid beacon operates like a conventional signal and is designed to stop traffic momentarily for pedestrians and cyclists.

Fly or Drive? Time to Calculate

The website BeFrugal.com features a Fly or Drive Calculator— a useful tool when deciding between rising gas prices or expensive plane tickets for travel. The Fly or Drive Calculator not only tallies up how much money you would spend on gas versus a flight, but it estimates the time of each method of transportation, CO2 impact and even factors small details like the price of parking a car at an airport and driving distance by miles. For more information, go to www.befrugal.com/tools/fly-or-drive-calculator.

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Green Snap...

Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal

Culinary oasis
A customer grabs a tomato at the South Memphis Farmers Market at the corner of South Parkway and Mississippi Boulevard. The site, donated by St. Andrew AME Church, served roughly 7,500 customers in it's first year. The market has also been awarded a 250,000 grant from the Plough Foundation to help renovate the existing building to provide additional services to the surrounding community.
Heading to an area farmers market this week? Harvesting something scrumptious from your garden? We’d like to know how you prepare your garden delights. Tell us what recipes make the most of the season’s bounty. We’ll print as many as we can, and also include the recipes in the Going Green e-magazine. Also, please take a picture of you with your garden goodies — either with the raw product or while you are cooking, or the finished, prepared dish. E-mail recipes and photos to Emily Adams Keplinger at keplinger@commercialappeal.com.

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The Green Page...
MLGW, libraries offer energy programs
Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and the Tennessee Valley Authority will be at various public library branches this month with the Get Energy Smart @ Your Library program. During the two-hour Get Energy Smart @ Your Library workshops, participants learn practical tips, get hands-on instructions and leave with $50 worth of gadgets and tools for do-it-yourself projects. Registration is required. For general information on either program, call (901) 4152700. Dates and locations: Aug. 9, 10:30 a.m., Cordova Branch, 8457 Trinity Road, (901) 7548443 Aug. 9, 3 p.m., Poplar White-Station Branch, 5094 Poplar, (901) 6821616 Aug. 16, 3 p.m., Cornelia Crenshaw Branch, 531 Vance, (901) 525-1643
Going Green Memphis is now on Facebook. Simply “LIKE” the page to receive regular news briefs and updates about green events and programs taking place in and around the Greater Memphis area.

Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal

The Shelby Farms bison herd mills about in the park. The herd has grown by leaps in the past few years with the help of donations.

Events
Full Moon Mixer
Aug. 12 at Shelby Farms Park Visitors Center, 6 to 9 p.m. Sponsored by Ghost River Beer, the fundraiser will benefit Shelby Farms Park and The Greenline. The event will include food, beverages and live music by The Near Reaches. Cost is free to members of Shelby Farms Park; $10 for nonmembers.

Gardening seminar
Aug. 13 the Millington Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. The August Gardening Seminar offered by the Millington City Beautiful Commission will be held at the Millington Farmers’ Market on Easley Street. Joellen Dimond, a local horticulturist and member of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council, will present a program on “Trees 101.” She will discuss tree care and give tips on proper mulching techniques. The event is open to the public.

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Going to bat for the LWCF
Thank you for your July 11 editorial advising your readers of the spending cuts that Congress is attempting to enact in the Land, Water and Conservation Funds (LWCF). Your editorial illustrated very well what these reductions in funds could mean to the state of Tennessee. It is also important for your readers to understand the following: LWCF is not paid for with taxpayer dollars. In 1965, Congress made a commitment to the American public that a small portion of revenue from off-shore oil and gas drilling would be earmarked for conservation. This is the only conservation offset for the American public. In FY 2010, the revenues from off-shore oil and gas drilling total $6 billion, yet this proposed bill would only allocate $60 million (1 percent) for conservation/outdoor recreation for the American public. If your readers want to support more land and water conservation efforts, they should contact their appropriate Congressional representative and voice their disapproval of the current proposed legislation.
Keith Cole, Executive director, The Wolf River Conservancy

FROM THE GOING GREEN BLOGGERS

Josephine Alexander:If you have driven by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the past year, you have probably seen the fenced lot across the street with brightly colored raised beds. These days, the beds are brimming with tomato plants, squash, cucumbers, peppers and more. The vegetables grown in the garden go straight to the kitchen, which serves patients, staff and visitors at St. Jude and can make a significant contribution to the bottom line.

Lisa Enderle: Farmers’ markets make my mouth water. I adore the vendors. I can’t resist the fragrant, ripe produce. I am a sucker for homemade jams. I am sometimes overwhelmed by what to do with all of it before it turns to mush in my crisper.Quick “recipes” that I use at home are great for sneaking in the good stuff for the stubborn little (or big!) ones, as well as using little produce odds ‘n ends in the fridge.

Going social
For daily updates related to ‘green’ issues, follow Going Green on Twitter at twitter.com/gogreen memphis and check us out on Facebook by searching “Going Green Memphis.” You can see the latest from bloggers Josephine Alexander and Lisa Enderle at commercialappeal.com /goinggreen.

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GOING GREEN | August 2011

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A memorial tribute

Saying goodbye to Michael “Mike” Lenagar of Neola Farms
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our friend Michael “Mike” Lenagar, cattle farmer and operator of Neola Farms, in Brighton, TN. Mike passed away on July 19 after a brief illness. He was 56. Neola Farms has been a large presence in the our “green scene” offering locally raised beef. They were one of the first vendors at the Memphis Farmers Market and have now a devoted following of people who know to find them on Saturdays at that market. Additionally, the exposure there helped Mike get his aged Black Angus beef into several area restaurants and hotels, because chefs were looking to increase the quality of their offerings by working with local foods. And Mike stood behind the quality of his products, putting his name and phone number on every package. With Mike’s passing, many people are questioning what will become of Neola Farms. It was heartening to hear, that through Charline Lenagar, Mike’s wife, and their two sons, Derek and Heath, Neola Farms will go on, continuing to provide their farm-fresh products to customers and restaurants alike. Neola Farms will continue to be a presence at the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturdays, as well as be available daily at Miss Cordelia’s in Harbor Town and the Trolley Stop Market, 704 Madison, in Midtown. Also,

Chris Desmond/The Commercial Appeal files

Mike Lenagar, owner of Neola Farms, helped jump start the farm to table movement in Memphis with his locally-raised beef. As one of the first vendors at the Memphis Farmers Market, his farm has developed a devoted following who look for their products every week.

Trolley Stop will continue to host “Neola Burger Night” every Wednesday. Memorials may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Liberty Baptist Church Building Fund, 2097 Holly Grove Road, Covington, TN 38019.
Emily Adams Keplinger, keplinger@commercialappeal.com

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A celebration
Project Green Fork turns 3
Project Green Fork celebrated its third birthday on August 4. And there was plenty to celebrate for the organization that aims to contribute to sustainability in our community by helping local restaurants reduce their environmental impact. They also focus on strengthening homegrown restaurants. There are 34 certified restaurants — Grill 83 Downtown being the most recent to complete the process — and nine others working toward it. The average restaurant produces 1.5 lbs. of trash per meal, or about 25 tons of garbage a year. Typically, nearly 95 percent of this waste could be recycled or composted. So far, PGF-certified restaurants have recycled about 600,000 gallons of plastic, glass and aluminum; nearly 300 tons of cardboard and paper and 79,000 gallons of food waste. These numbers are increasing every day as new restaurants join. The organization held a birthday celebration at South of Beale restaurant, 361 S. Maint. The restaurant unveiled its new menu in conjunction with the party, and provided samples for guests. The celebration included a cocktail competition. Michael Hughes of Joe’s Wines and Liquor created two PGF specialty cocktails. Guests voted via text message for the cocktail they liked the most, and the winner will be featured on South of

In season this month
Lady peas Purple hull peas Speckled peas Crowder peas Tomatoes Squash Zucchini Eggplant Okra Beans Bell peppers Banana peppers

The Commercial Appeal files

A decal posted in the window of Tsunami certifies it as part of the Project Green Fork program.
Beale’s permanent cocktail menu. Certified restaurants give back by donating a portion of the proceeds from PGF menu items to the organization. The cocktail will join The Cosmic Coconut’s PGF celery, cucumber, bell pepper and spinach juice; Sekisui Midtown’s PGF sushi roll with tempura sweet potato, tempura asparagus, cucumber, avocado and scallions wrapped in a green soy paper and drizzled with sweet soy reduction; and Sweet Grass’ PGF specialty hand-crafted cocktail featuring St. Germain, Midori, cucumber vodka and ginger beer. To learn more about PGF, visit the organization’s new, improved website: projectgreenfork.org.
By Stacey Greenberg, Special to The Commercial Appeal

Hot peppers Sweet corn Onions Potatoes (new and sweet) Shiitake mushrooms Peaches Apples Figs Watermelon Honey dew melon Cantaloupe Blueberries Plums Muscadines

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Transition to cloth diapers fraught with hang-ups
My 4-month-old is watching me as I write this week’s column. On her adorable behind is my first foray into cloth diapers. I confess that I didn’t join the cloth diaper brigade for green aspirations alone. Or even primarily. After three other children, I am simple tired of buying disposable diapers. I’m also tired of flies DEANNA buzzing around the CASWELL trash can. I’m tired of Practically leaks. I’m tired of rashes. I’m tired of the Green late-night runs to the store for another 50-pack. But cloth diapering hasn’t been an easy transition for me. First, most cloth diapers aren’t cheap. But I’m cheap! After hours of futile Internet searching, a friend pointed me to eBay, where plenty of reasonably priced Babyland pocket diapers are available through a company called Papoose. They run about $4 a diaper and have adjustable snaps to fit newborns through toddlers. I’ve found that they work wonderfully. The next hurdle was mental. I’m used to throwing away dirty diapers , not storing them in pails and later washing them. So the idea of intentionally letting a child soil something cloth seemed insane. The unopened pack of diapers sat on my dresser for two weeks before I tried them. Even then, I kept her in my room at my side all day, poised to whip off her pants the second I suspected contact. It took about four really dirty diapers before it no longer fazed me. The next concern was choosing a washing detergent. I thought that the waterproof cloth would deteriorate if I used the wrong detergent. I researched for hours trying to choose the right brand. Everyone had a different opinion. “Only use brand X!” “No, brand X is horrid! Never use it!” My head was spinning. I couldn’t understand how there could be so much debate over whether a detergent degraded the waterproof lining. But silly me: As it turned out, all that debate had less to do with detergents keeping the integrity of the diaper and more to do with detergent chemicals irritating Baby’s skin. The combatants were concerned about the baby, not destroying the pricey diapers! No wonder they were so hostile. I settled on Ultra Purex Free and Clear. I’ve been very

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pleased with it and will buy it again. My last and most enduring difficulty with cloth diapers is social stigma. If a regular paper diaper has a blowout in public, people understand, but if it’s a cloth diaper, I feel like they’re judging me. I have a friend who took her child to the church nursery for months without a leak. But the one visit she used a cloth diaper, which Baby wore regularly at home without incident, there was an accident. On any other day, she would have shrugged it off. But she felt really embarrassed that there was an accident on the day she was being weird. She felt like the nursery workers held her and her aberrant diaper usage personally responsible. The social stigma may be only in my imagination, but it’s enough to make me put her in disposables before we go out anywhere others are apt to see her diaper. “She needs to be changed. I would do it, but I don’t know how to operate that ,” has been heard more

than once from my relatives. Perhaps “that” refers to the complicated maze of snaps, but I always hear it as “your hippie weirdo child-rearing choices.” So we always keep a stash of disposables around for extended public appearances. Regardless, I have found cloth diapers to be a positive experience and would recommend them to other mothers. I like green behaviors that quickly translate into savings, and cloth diapers have definitely earned their keep around here.
Deanna Caswell is a local writer who blogs at littlehouseinthesuburbs.com . Her first book, “First Ballet, “ was released last year by Hyperion. Caswell and her husband, Jeff, live in Collierville. She practices eco-friendly living while raising their four children, along with pygmy goats and chickens.

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Keep eye out for local varieties of peas, beans
Southern peas and beans are here, and you don’t want to miss out. These delicately flavored legumes come in a variety of colors and pair well with herbs to create countless summer salads. If you hail from somewhere beans on the table (“Mess” other than the South, there’s applies to greens and beans, and means “the quantity a good chance you’ve never needed to feed your family“). heard of a purple-hull pea. Black-eyed peas are ubiquiIf left to dry in the pod, tous, but try to find a lady they would resemble and pea anywhere else, and you’re cook the same as the dried going to be out of luck. beans you get at the grocery. MELISSA This is the season for fresh PETERSEN Fresh beans let you to skip the soaking and long cooking peas and beans. Technically, they are all beans, but naming Eating Local, times. These little summer Eating Green wonders have delicate flavor our food isn’t always logical. and texture, come in oodles Southern peas and beans are of colors, and pair so well with farmhere, and you don’t want to miss out fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. — think of how many meals just wouldn’t be right without a mess o’ Unlike string, green and pole

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beans, you do not eat the pod, but rather spend a sweltering afternoon shelling beans for your supper. Just kidding. While you can buy them unshelled, most markets sell them shelled, ready to steam, boil or bake. The beans are named based on the color of the seed, the pod and the seed eye. Purple-hull peas come in colored pods. “Cream” peas have no color. Pink-eyed and black-eyed peas have colored “eyes” on their seeds. “Crowder” (seeds are tightly packed in the pod) and “conch” (loosely spaced in pod) describe many varieties as well. Seedsavers.org boasts more than 1,000 varieties of beans and peas (not including 116 varieties of limas). Expand your palate with shelly beans, cranberry beans, butterbeans and hopefully the elusive yet coveted lady pea. Easy Way sells lady peas (there’s a waiting list). But keep your eye out for them at the farmers markets, and snap them up immediately. Beans are nutritious and inexpensive, but most of all, they are satisfying. Steam and chill peas for a summer salad. Blanch and freeze plenty to add to soups next winter. Use in place of kidney or pinto beans in your favorite recipe. Boil, drain and puree to create a local version of hummus dip (like they have at McEwen’s), or go traditional like they do at Alcenias.
Melissa Petersen is the editor of Edible Memphis, a magazine that celebrates the abundance of local food, season by season. It is available at various locations around town. Contact her at ediblememphis.com.

Purple Hull Pea Hummus
2 cups of shelled purple-hull peas, cooked and drained 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice 2 — 3 cloves garlic 3 tbsp. tahini (sesame paste) olive oil salt and pepper

Place all ingredients into food processor, adding olive oil, slowly process until smooth. Add a little water if consistency is too thick. Serve with pita chips or raw veggies. Option: Can be made with any beans — fava beans, edamame, pinto, black beans, lima beans, lady peas, cannelini beans, etc.

Summer Hoppin’ Lady Salad
2 cups shelled lady peas (or other fresh bean), cooked and drained, chilled 2 cups steamed rice, chilled 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 large tomato, diced 2 ribs celery, diced 2 green onions, finely sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only 3-4 tbsp. olive oil Juice from 1 lemon Salt and pepper 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large bowl combine peas, rice, pepper, tomato, celery and green onions. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, thyme, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir oil mixture into pea mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if a little more punch is needed. Garnish with crumbled bacon. Serve chilled.

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St. George’s Independent School weaves specific values into their curriculum such as environmental education. The school recycles paper and plastic and has installed a community garden on the campus.

Lessons in sustainability
Conservation part of curriculum at independent schools
By Suzanne Thompson
Special to Going Green

Many independent and private schools are teaching conservation as an integral part of the curriculum. “Independent schools can move more deeply into areas of character education, and weave more specific values into our learning environ-

ment. Because of this, stewardship of the environment is congruent with the missions and philosophies of many local independent schools,” said Bill Taylor, president of Memphis Area Independent Schools. Taylor is also school president at St. George’s Independent School. The middle and upper school in Collierville was built 10 years ago

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with sustainability in mind. “We planted hundreds of trees when we built the campus. The connecting boardwalk between the academic and athletic facilities runs through an old-growth forest and is raised so as to protect the wetlands underneath. Our Collierville campus is almost 250 acres (one of the largest independent schools in the Southeast) and borders the Wolf River. It provides a wonderful laboratory for hands-on, ‘green’ experiences,” explains Sarah Cowan, director of communications for St. George’s. David Sobel, a well-known environmental writer from New England, visited the campus about a year ago to help administrators make the best use of the land, she said. There are also several programs at the school including St. George’s Great Outdoors and the Institute for Citizenship, and several teachers and students have visited the Arctic for environmental education and advo-

cacy through Polar Bears International. The school recycles paper and plastic materials and with help from Grow Memphis, has installed a community garden on the campus. “I believe that St. George’s has been quite a leader in helping students understand their interrelated role in our environment. It all goes back to our mission of helping students learn how to make a meaningful difference in the world,” Cowan said. Other independent schools have begun gardening projects at their campuses to integrate sustainability into the students’ learning experience. “At the start of the 2007-2008 school year, Hutchison began a 2acre farm on our campus. It was created as an outdoor classroom for girls from Pre-K through 12th grade to learn about organic farming, environmental sustainability, and sciSt. George’s Independent School sits on almost 250 acres and borders the Wolf River. A connecting boardwalk between the academic and athletic facilities runs through an old-growth forest and is raised to protect the wetlands underneath.

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ence,” said Steve O’Dell, community relations coordinator for the Hutchison School. Since the project began, the farm has grown exponentially and flower, vegetable, herb and butterfly gardens have been installed, along with an orchard and apiary. In the 2011-2012 school year, a curriculum is being developed for sustainable agriculture specifically and Mary Phillips, former manager of Urban Farms, will head up the program, O’Dell said. In addition to making changes in the cafeteria, such as the elimination of paper plates, Hutchison started a recycling program and recycled about 2,500 pounds of material throughout the school year. At Briarcrest Christian School’s upper elementary school campus, located on Houston Levee Road, the recycling program with International Paper began last year, according to Dr. Barbara Harris, the school’s principal. “Each classroom has two collection boxes,” she said. One is for paper, the other for plastic bottles. The boxes are emptied during the week into a large cart and the contents are picked up by IP weekly. “We think it’s really important for our children to understand how recycling impacts our homes, the local community and our world. It also helps teach the students responsibility, accountability and leadership,” Harris said. Briarcrest Christian School’s East Memphis elementary school is gearing up to start a similar recycling program with IP, according to Dr. Bryan Williams, principal. “I’m excited about the International

Paper recycling program,” he said. When the Houston Levee campus opened many of the students who were attending classes at the original location on Briarcrest Road began attending classes at the new school, which opened up room for a garden. Space that was once occupied by playground equipment now contains a raised-bed garden — the center of which is an octagon with spokes made up of separate beds as a geometric representation, tying the garden to math. Students in grades K through 5 attend school at the original campus, where 14 different sections make up the student body. In the spring, a master gardener comes to the school and teaches each section individually about different aspects of gardening. The younger students are taught about which plants survive best in what light and the differences in planting vines as opposed to tomatoes. Last year, they gained some additional knowledge about gardening during the summer. “The kids learned an important lesson about drought,” Williams said. Much of the school’s garden withered, like so many others during the scorching temperatures late last summer. “It’s a constantly evolving lesson,” Williams said. Installing a garden is something that the Houston Levee campus is currently working on and when school starts, students will be able to begin learning about planting, Harris said. “We’re going to allow the children to do some planting and some harvesting and in conjunction with that garden this

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Hutchison began a 2-acre farm on campus in 2007 that was created as an outdoor classroom and has grown with the addition of flower, vegetable, herb and butterfly gardens, along with an orchard and apiary. year, part of our plan is to implement some composting and a rain barrel watering plan,” she said. Plans also call for centering the garden around a “butterfly garden,” in which pollinators drawing butterflies will be planted by the children. “We want it to be part of the science curriculum as well,” Harris said. At the east elementary campus, part of the extra playground space was used to create a water feature with benches providing a quiet outdoor learning area. The school officials are constantly examining ways in which they can expand the conservation curriculum. Leaders at Briarcrest believe teaching the Biblical dicta for protecting the world is key to the children’s education. “The way we look at it, it’s our responsibility as a Christian school to teach the children to be good stewards of God’s creation,” Williams said. Harris said at her campus, children learn simple passages from the Bible that instruct people to care for the Earth and she agreed that it is a duty of Christians to follow those mandates. “We want our students to know that from a Biblical perspective, it is our responsibility to keep our land unpolluted,” Harris said.

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The Green club

Mike Maple

Tien Dao started an environmental club at her alma matter Wooddale High School where students participated in an atrium makeover.

Students put their passion for the Earth into school activities

By Suzanne Thompson
Special to Going Green

When many of us were in high school, choices for clubs to join might have included Chess Club, Thespian Society, Beta Club, Bible Club or Debate Club. There’s a new club on the block — now students at some schools participate in Environmental Club. Tein Dao, who graduated from Wooddale High School last spring, was one of the 30 students who participated in its environmental club during the 2010-2011 school year. “At our meetings, we discussed about how we could

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motivate teachers and students to recycle papers, and upcoming events such as school cleanups, field trips, having guest speakers about conservation issues, and strategies,” she said. One of the projects the club worked on was an atrium makeover at Wooddale. “The members helped clean up the atrium, rebuilt the fish pond and planted flowers,” she said. Club members also help periodic cleanups around the school and its campus. The Wooddale Environmental Club had a recycling program which consisted mostly of paper and ink cartridges, but students in the club made the recycling containers and distributed them to the classrooms. “For the recycling program, I painted several recycling boxes, distributed them to teachers, and collected them every week,” she said. Douglass High School also has an extremely active environmental club, according to Heather Danielson, Memphis City Schools communications manager. “Douglass is the most environmentally conscious school we have in the district,” she said. Mera Baker, who taught Algebra 1 at Douglass, helped science teacher April Jones run the club. The Douglass Environmental Club undertook several projects which were

Kyle Kurlick/The Commercial Appeal files

Douglass High students work the grounds and pick up garbage at the first GreenUp Memphis festival in 2010. fun for the students and the teachers. “The students issued tickets to teachers who left their classroom lights on and they had to pay a $1 fine,” Baker said. She said the club had an impact on the school and in the community. “The level of awareness those kids were able to achieve, they really, really improved things,” Baker said. The club met every two weeks and held “green the wing,” where teams of club members took turns doing end-ofday sweeps of one wing of the school, checking to make sure lights were turned off and collecting recycling. Douglass Environmental Club members also planted a community garden, where they grew a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, greens, onions and

“The level of awareness those kids were able to achieve, they really, really improved things.”
MERA BAKER, DOUGLASS HIGH SCHOOL ALGEBRA TEACHER

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bell peppers. “Everything was organic. I got to take home a few tomatoes and they were so delicious,” she said. The club initiated a “Green the Block” program, in which they split up into teams and set out into the community, block by block, distributing energy kits with tips about how to save energy. Students also offered to replace residents’ existing light bulbs with energyefficient ones, the purchase of which was partially funded by fines collected when teachers paid their tickets. “The community members loved it,” Baker said. “Everyone was excited, and involved, and the kids really got into it.” She said the work of the club seemed to have a ripple effect which even reached her classroom. “We did energy audits and crunched the numbers. I think it was good that it had such a purpose.” In fact, the club was so popular that there were more students who wanted to be involved than there were spaces in the club. The club brought in speakers, including a presentation by the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating America’s high school students about the science behind the change in climate. “It was fantastic. I would recommend it for any school.” Dao, who earned a scholarship at Rhodes College, said she wants to keep participating in environmental protection activities on a collegiate level. “I will continue to be involved with conservation issues,” she said.

Green Team members Keeton Robinson (left) and Thomas Kardoush help collect recycling from classrooms.

St. Agnes -St. Dominic, IP partner for recycling
St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School won the first International Paper recycling competition this year, collecting more than 34,000 pounds of paper and cardboard. SAA-SDS was the first school in the area to partner with International Paper for its recycling program. International Paper provided the school with containers for all the classrooms and offices on campus. The school’s “Green Team,” comprised of SAA and SDS fourthgraders, collected recycling every Friday, and International Paper provided T-shirts for the Green Team to wear. Thanks to the ongoing efforts from everyone, the school was able to get rid of one Waste Management trash bin, saving the school money and helping the earth. Ginger Jordan, Special to My Life

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Bento Boxes are essentially a box divided into small sections for each part of a meal. Fill them with fruit kebobs using decorative swizzle sticks, cut sandwiches into tiny shapes, and include dips like hummus for veggies.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL

Bento Boxes

With the start of a new school year, parents everywhere are out buying shoes, backpacks, school supplies and the like. Many are also stocking up on juice boxes, singleserve packages of Cheetos, fruit cups, string cheese and those shameful Lunchables (have you read the nutrition label?). Like many of you, I pack a lunch for each of my children almost every day (I let them indulge in a cafeteria Pizza Day now and then). But packing five lunches a week gets old and I am often uninspired.

LISA ENDERLE Green Stuff I Love

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GOING GREEN | August 2011

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One of my top priorities when it comes to school lunches is that they are often 100 percent waste free. How do I do it and get to be a cool mom too? Bento Boxes. Certainly nothing new, Bento originates from a term meaning “convenience”. Bento Boxes are typically found throughout Asia in places like train stations and small grocery stores. It is essentially a box divided into small sections for each part of a meal. Colorful lunch boxes made of plastic or stainless steel can be purchased at a variety of online shops such as ebay and laptoplunches.com. I found a Ziplock version for a few dollars at Kroger. Any Tupperware will do if you arrange things bento-style by separating the foods using silicon muffin liners. Get creative. Make fruit kebobs using decorative swizzle sticks, paint pictures on bread using food color, cut sandwiches into tiny shapes, roll sticky rice balls into snowmen and include dips like hummus for veggies. Divide it all into cute little compartments. Toss a few nuts in one, some yogurt sprinkled with granola in another. Think you don’t have time? I am a mom-on-the-go and I appreciate every little convenience as much as the next parent. Yes, it’s easier to throw a Smucker’s Uncrustable, fruit roll-up, single-serve bag of chips, squeezable yogurt and juice box into a lunch bag. Lots of things that are easier are not necessarily better. Aside from being unhealthy, the “convenient” lunch mentioned above takes its toll on our environment with all those individual wrappers. An average public school kid generates 67 pounds of discarded school

A wrap with roast beef and cheese, olives, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce and edamame with ranch dressing make for a healthy lunch.

Fun ideas for a bento-style lunch include: a ham sandwich cut into a heart shape and painted with food colors, carrots, cheese cubes and grapes in silicone heart muffin liner. lunch packaging each year totaling something like 87,000 pounds of waste annually for the average-sized elementary school. If every American child attending a public elementary school packed a waste-free lunch, 1.2 billion pounds of lunch waste would be divert-

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ed from landfills each year. Convenience has its place but if each of us cuts corners every time without being mindful of the impact, aren’t we being irresponsible? When you can make the time this extra effort is worth it. Packing a lunch into reusable containers from items purchased bulk is the green way to go. Even if you do not have the time every morning to cut carrots into little flowers, you can cut back on waste. Buy juice in halfgallon containers and fill a screw-top reusable bottle. Forget the 100-calorie packs and get the big box of goldfish crackers. Pack it all into reusable containers, send a real spoon and cloth napkin. They might not make it home every time but the benefit outweighs the loss. Just make sure to keep it simple and pack foods your child will like.
Lisa Enderle is a mom of two, who is trying to make sense of the modern science as it relates to health, lifestyle and the environment. Since making the move Seattle in 2005 — where green is not a movement but just a way of life — she spends her time looking for ways that a family in the suburbs in the MidSouth can green it up.

Back to school on a budget
Here are some savings tips from consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch to help you through the back-to-school shopping season.

Take Inventory: Consider what you’ll actually need before hitting the stores. Has your child grown out of school clothes or will they do so by the time school starts? Can you reuse last year’s school supplies or will you need to replace some items? Set a Budget: Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases. That fancy-schmancy Transformers’ Trapper Keeper can push your budget over the edge. Use Coupons: There may be great deals, but coupons can make them even greater. Check out sites like CouponSherpa.com that offer a wide selection of online, printable and mobile coupons for back to school savings. Go Mobile: Tap into your mobile phone with apps like “RedLaser,” which allows you to scan bar codes and find any cheaper prices online or at other retailers. Check Social Media: Twitter and Facebook are great places to find deals offered to a brand’s social-media fan base. “Like” or “Follow” the merchant and keep an eye out for coupons and sales announcements. Buy in Bulk: Take advantage of bulk offers on pens, crayons, paper and other items your kids will burn through over the course of the year. You might team up with other parents for bigger bulk purchases that will bring prices down even lower. Spend More, Save More: Sometimes it costs money to save money. For example, Staples offers a 15-percent savings pass for $10, which you can use throughout the back-toschool season. Exchange: Gather your family and friends — along with their kid’s school wardrobes — for an exchange night of hand-me-downs that will save everyone money. Buy for Yourself: Back-to-school sales aren’t just for kids. You might stock up on office supplies, jeans and other items that traditionally go on sale during this season. And you can save more during Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday this weekend. Tennessee’s tax-free holiday ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Items eligible to be tax-free include: clothing less than $100; school supplies less than $100; computers $1,500 or less.

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GOING GREEN | August 2011

commercialappeal.com

Brandon Dill/Special to The Commercial Appeal

Seedco instructor Alicia Delbridge (center) helps Maurice Reed access information before an orientation class for workers seeking renewable energy certification at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Community colleges fill key role in training for green jobs
By Melody Gordon
Going Green

The Southern Energy Training Consortium (SETC) grant awarded to Southwest Tennessee Community College has introduced new engineering, architecture and technology classes to the existing curriculum. “All of our courses offer skills that can be applied to both green and traditional jobs. Through the grant, we

have added curriculum on solar/PV technology, wind turbine technology, biodiesel production, green manufacturing practices and LEED building practices,” said Cindy Fowinkle, the SETC program coordinator and assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Southwest. “Each area is important for filling green jobs,” she said. According to Recovery.gov, the official U.S. government website

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that tracks money and data related to the Recovery Act, $1,414,520 was awarded to help aid employers, labor organizations and regional leaders “prepare workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy fields.” So far the program has been a success at Southwest, said Fowinkle. Although the grant ends in January 2012 and the program is more than 50 percent complete, classes won’t stop. The grant has allowed Southwest to “enhance” and “modify” existing educational programs with the addition of green curricula, which “will be retained long after the end of the grant,” said Fowinkle. “We have exceeded our goals for recruiting participants and enrolling students in the grant modified courses,” she said. “Some of the first participants are completing training this semester and are starting to be placed in jobs.” Lisa Jones, academic coordinator for the SETC grant and associate professor in Electrical Engineering Technology, described a list of green-related skills that can be learned in some of the classes. “(Students can learn) how to do solar panels, how they work, what environment can you use them in, what kind of voltage would you get with them and how to design them,” said Jones. “They are learning about biodiesel, solar photovoltaics, Energy Star and energy consumption/conversation, LEED construction and green manufacturing.” An added bonus that came with the grant is the utilization of a job developer and employment specialist on staff. “By completing one of our technical certificates, they have skills that will help them with an entry level technician position. Some will choose a full-time job or an internship so that they can

Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appea files

A Southern Energy Training Consortium grant provides funding for training and certification in the growing renewable energy industry. work and continue pursuing an associate degree,” Fowinkle said. “The grant provides job-readiness workshops and assistance in preparing resumes and preparing for interviews. We have an employment specialist on contract to help match participants with jobs in the Memphis area,” Jones said. Southwest as a whole has become more environmentally responsible in recent years. According to statistics provided by Fowinkle, the school composts cafeteria waste, shredded paper and plant materials. During the 2009-2010 school year 19 tons of e-waste was recycled. Cleaning products used by the staff are green certified, as well. New participants are not being accepted into the SETC grant program, however new students can learn the same material because of alternative energy concepts that have been incorporated into the traditional curriculum. If you are interested in taking one of these classes, apply to Southwest online at Southwest.tn.edu/ApplyOnline.htm.