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Archives for December 1, 2015

Babies welcomed to the world in holiday style – Tribune

More than a dozen students from Lenape Technical School’s Life Skills program are making sure babies born in Armstrong County this month are in the Christmas spirit.

This marks the first time the program’s students made ACMH Hospital’s obstetrics unit about two dozen stockings and Santa caps for babies born in December, said Tonilynne Stirling, president of the ACMH Auxiliary.

“When a newborn baby is ready to go home, the nurses will be able to bring the child to its parents wearing the cap, nestled in the stocking,� Stirling said. “Taking a new baby home is special to begin with, but having a holiday keepsake to mark the occasion is also a nice way to celebrate the holidays.�

The Life Skills program, which is designed for students with intellectual disabilities, has been working with the hospital’s auxiliary on several projects, ranging from preparing monthly newsletters for shipping, to making about 150 candy cane ornaments to hand out to patients around Christmas, said teacher Mari Zilla.

But making the stockings and caps has easily been a student favorite, Zilla said.

“It’s taken about two weeks of work to make the caps and stockings, but they absolutely loved every second of it,â€� Zilla said. “Our students are fascinated by the babies and are excited to get to see the babies in the stockings and caps.â€�

The project is just one of many involving students from Lenape Technical School volunteering at the East Franklin hospital, Stirling said.

Students from Lenape Technical School’s Natural Resources program has been helping with landscaping and maintaining gardens, trees and plants around the hospital grounds, while students from the Sports Medicine program have been helping with a variety of medical-related tasks throughout the facility, Stirling said.

Patients have also been receiving books at the hospital, which have been organized and distributed by students in the school’s Book Club and Honors English class, she added.

“We have a very good partnership with Lenape Technical School,â€� Stirling said. “It’s nice to see the students feel good about giving back to the community and volunteering their time at the hospital.â€�

Zilla said the Life Skills program aims to teach students job skills, to help them secure gainful employment once they graduate from high school. She also aims to teach her students about the benefits of helping others.

“These types of projects teach them the joy of giving, versus just receiving,� Zilla said. “Anytime we can connect our students with their community, it not only shows them how good it can feel to help others, but also connects them with potential employers.�

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

Article source: http://triblive.com/news/armstrong/9540008-74/students-babies-hospital

Master Gardener Gene Lichliter lives gardens

Why is a garden important to a home and the homeowner? Any Master Gardener will tell you the garden is the heart and soul of a home. It’s the exterior room that frames the house.

Hot Springs Village resident Gene Lichliter gives gardens. He gives his time, energy and talent to design and construct landscaping for Garland County Habitat for Humanity homes, and recently finished working on his hundredth home. In fact, he has already started work on the next one.

The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Lichliter says he has been volunteering for Habitat for about 15 years. During that time, he has been on their board of directors, designed, planned and planted gardens, laid sod and taught first-time homeowners how to care for their yards. In all that time, he has missed only two dedications.

For each house, Lichliter goes to the homesite, takes careful measurements, orders sod and sketches a landscape design. He researches plant characteristics and tries to make the design simple for the new homeowners.

Then, he makes a trip to Little Rock to pick out the plants, a 100-mile round trip. The planting is done in two stages. The first crew comes in to build the beds using landscape timbers, compost and soil. The second crew comes in before the dedication to plant. Most of the volunteers are Master Gardeners.

“I’m not a professional, it’s just a hobby,” says Lichliter. But as a member of the Men’s Village Garden Club, Garland County Master Gardeners, Hosta Society and Daylily Society, his hobby has produced projects like the waterfall at Granada Golf course, which he designed.

If you have admired the landscape of the Coronado Community Center terrace patio, or strolled through the Veterans Memorial at the Ponce de Leon Center, you have also seen some of his work.

The complete list of projects, designs and gardens Lichliter has worked on in Hot Springs and in the Village is impressive. Any time you have seen those Men’s Village Garden Club signs in your favorite gardens around the Village, you have most likely seen some of Lichliter’s work.

His fellow gardeners in the Men’s Village Garden Club call him the Energizer Bunny. They awarded him the Sam Norwood Award for outstanding service. Past president Richard Jeffers said, “He spends a lot of time making the community better. Our club has a lot of heroes. The guys that do this are very proud of what they do, and without any expectation of recognition.”

Lichliter, a past president of the Garland County Master Gardeners, received a special award at the Nov. 19 meeting for his work with Habitat.

Allen Bates, Garland County Horticulture Agent said, “Gene is the patriarch of our Master Gardeners group. He will be the one who does the landscaping for Habitat. When houses are dedicated, he puts out an all-call and 10 to 15 members of our group will show up to plant.”

The Garland County Master Gardeners are a totally volunteer group. Applications for Master Gardener training are available online at www.uaex.edu. The training begins in late January and involves one eight-hour day per week for five weeks. Registration deadline is Nov. 30.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.”

Lichliter’s home garden reflects his personality, knowledge and creativity. As he stands in his own glorious green habitat, it is clear he lives gardens.

For more information about the Men’s Village Garden Club, visit their website at http://mvgc.info/home.html.

To find more details about becoming a Master Gardener, visit the Garland County Extension website at www.uaex.edu.

For more information on how to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, email communityGCHFH@gmail.com or call 501-623-5600.

Article source: http://hsvvoice.com/community/master-gardener-gene-lichliter-lives-gardens.html

Elinor Teague on gardening: Some holiday plants can live on for years

There are several holiday plants that can be kept alive and reused as annual indoor decorations for years. Other traditional holiday plants can live for years in our gardens: some can be planted into containers and brought back inside the house at holiday time; others can become permanent additions to our landscaping.

Schlumbergera truncata or Christmas cacti are offered for sale during the holidays which is their natural bloom time. Schlumbergera bloom for two to three months in winter. During their bloom time, they should be kept in bright, indirect sunlight away from heat sources and watered when the top inch of soil is dry. After bloom, schlumbergera go into dormancy; they need cool temps, less water and no fertilizer until early fall, when they begin to grow new leaf segments and set flower buds. These are not desert cacti – they’re epiphytes that grow in the forest. Re-pot every couple of years using a water-retaining African violet planting mix.

Kalanchoe naturally bloom in spring and are forced into early bloom for the holidays. Deadhead the flower clusters after bloom and let the plants rest with little water and no fertilizer for a couple of months after flowering. Keep them cool and in not-so-bright indirect light. Water normally when growth restarts in summer. Feed monthly with a low number indoor plant food.

Hydrangeas and azaleas are sold in bloom in winter as houseplants. Both require cool conditions with lots of water. Most of our homes are kept too warm and dry for hydrangeas and azaleas to thrive for long. Try keeping the pots on the patio or front porch and displaying the plants inside for only a day or two. Keep the potting soil consistently moist. After flowering, plant hydrangeas and azaleas into the garden in a shady spot with well-draining, well-amended soil. The rootballs may be compacted; pull or cut the rootballs apart before planting. It may take a year for the plants to get back onto their normal spring or summer bloom schedule. Feed hydrangeas and azaleas monthly during the summer with a shade plant fertilizer.

Ivy, jasmine and boxwood topiaries are very popular indoor winter decorations. All will quickly dry out when kept inside for more than a few days. Household dust really affects ivies. Plan on keeping them outside as much as possible. When trimming ivy topiaries, don’t cut off long streamers. The ends of the streamers will produce several more stems and the topiaries will lose its shape. Instead, tuck the streamers back into the topiary form. Water and feed as you would any outdoor container plant during the rest of year.

Traditional live holiday trees (spruces, firs, most pines) grow in much cooler climates than ours and do not transplant well into our hot gardens. Italian stone pines and Japanese black pines are among the few live trees that can tolerate our climate. Plant them outdoors after the holidays, pulling apart compacted root balls. These trees will eventually grow quite tall and wide. Plant at least 12 feet away from structures.

Send Elinor Teague plant questions at etgrow@comcast.net or features@fresnobee.com (“plants” in the subject line).

Article source: http://www.fresnobee.com/living/article47235510.html

Hoosier Gardener: Tips for buying a live Christmas tree


The seasonal shopping season has begun, and if a Christmas tree is on your list, here are some things to keep in mind.

A live evergreen tree is sold in a container or as a balled-and-burlapped specimen. It is alive and attached to its roots. People like living Christmas trees because they can be transplanted to the landscape to memorialize the holiday.

If you plan to have a live tree, prepare the planting hole now before the ground freezes. Dig the hole and stow the soil in a wheelbarrow or tub in an unheated garage or other area where it will not freeze. To prevent people or pets from tripping or falling into the hole, fill it with bags of leaves or cover with a piece of wood.

Keep the tree outdoors until close to the holiday. Keep the container or balled-and-burlapped root ball moist. Move the live tree indoors and set in something that holds water. A plastic or metal tub works well for balled-and-burlapped, or a large saucer for a container tree. Only allow the tree to be indoors for a couple of days and move it outside and do not let the root ball dry out.

When ready to plant, remove the tree from the container or burlap and cage. Transplant in the hole, making sure the root flare, or where the trunk becomes a root, is at the soil surface. Back fill with the stowed soil. Water the new planting. If the hose is already put away, carry room temperature water in 5-gallon buckets to drench the soil.

Cover the planting area with chopped leaves or shredded bark mulch. Don’t allow the mulch to touch the trunk. Apply about 10-15 gallons a week, until the ground freezes.

Cut tree

Planted and grown as a crop, a cut tree is harvested from a farm. Farms have trees already cut or you can cut your own (indianachristmastree.com). Garden centers also have wide selections of cut trees. These are usually trucked in from Michigan or the Carolinas, where growing Christmas trees is a huge business.

Before putting it in its stand, cut another inch off the stump to ensure the tree will take up water. Keep the stand filled with water.

After the holiday, attach the tree to another tree or to a fence, where it can serve as a winter shelter for birds.

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp (hoosiergardener.com) is treasurer of Garden Writers Association and co-author of “The Indiana Gardener’s Guide.”

Write to her at P.O. Box 20310, Indianapolis, IN 46220-0310, or e-mail thehoosiergardener@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.indystar.com/story/life/home-garden/2015/11/30/hoosier-gardener-tips-buying-live-christmas-tree/76565980/

6 Tips for Winter Organic-Gardening Success

 

Depending on where you are in North America, by now winter is either gently nudging or banging loudly on your door. Fear not: There are steps that can be taken to achieve good garden growth through the winter months. For readers wishing to increase capacity during the frosty months, read on.

Natural Slugs-Be-Gone

With the cooler, wetter conditions late fall becomes slug season. In our downtown San Francisco garden, the slugs seem to first go for the broccolini. One way to dissuade them is by planting an “Onion Moat.” This perimeter is distasteful to slugs and snails and seems to slow down their slimy march into the leafy greens.

Another way to discourage pest is by spraying organic peppermint oil at dusk. I drop 10 drops into a 750 mL spray bottle. At dusk once per week, I spray the tops and bottoms of each leaf. This peppermint oil is unpleasant to slugs, while not leaving a foul taste in the produce. (Note: Only spray at dusk and not more than once per week.)

Mulch for Heat

Another way to buffer root temperature is with mulching. One trick I like is to stack hay bales vertically on the windy side of the garden to create a windbreak.  These bales can then, one at a time be laid out as mulch to insulate winter plants. As I mentioned in my previous post, Thinking Outside the Box, by building trellis’ to the north edge of growing areas, we increase vertical productivity. As an added bonus, each of these trellises also reduce the cold northern winds.

Another way to buffer plants and create a living mulch is to intensively plant. Known as the French Bio-Intensive Method, this method was brought to the United States by luminary Alan Chadwick through the University of California-Santa Cruz garden program and further popularized by Chadwick disciple, John Jeavons. In his book, How to Grow More Vegetables, Jeavons outlines how to intensively plant a patch for succession harvest. 

By planting plants close together and radially harvesting single leaves each week with scissors, we can fit more plants into an area and create a contiguous canopy that shelters roots from the Sun and Wind. In this way we are mimicking a micro forest, where the falling of an old tree *(harvested veggie) makes a hole in the canopy for the next sprout to emerge. This takes advantage of solar gain in small spaces. 

Cover Crop with Edibles

Green mulching protects the soil line from winter conditions, while producing a cover crop that will be able to be hand-tilled into the soil come spring. I like to use a mix of Fava beans, Clover and Snow Peas to give a multi story nitrogen fixing cover crop. This mass will buffer the soil from the cold and reduce erosion caused by harsh winter storms, all while fixing Nitrogen into the soil. 

Plant the Margins with Snatch Crops!

Want to fit more harvest into your winter garden? Start with “snatch crops.” These are quick-growing plants that can fit into the margins of your main crops. I like to utilize radish, turnips and beets, as well as lettuce and arugula for this purpose, as they will happily grow in the understory and edges of my main garden spaces.

This equates to bonus harvests! When one begins to get large enough to disturb the larger vegetable above *(such as broccoli, collards or kale), it is time to harvest the understory snatch crop and reseed again.

Thermal Mass Kicks A$*

Greenhouse builders Penn and Cord Parmenter design thermal mass greenhouses that produce year-round tomatoes at 8,000-foot elevation in Colorado! How do they do it? The answer is in thermal mass. Thermal mass helps to slow the cooling of the soil temperatures at night by slow releasing trapped heat from the day.

To add thermal mass to protect more frost-sensitive plants, Cort and Penn have success by putting 1-gallon milk jugs full of water and basketball-sized boulders around plants. These options will both buffer night low temperatures and delay the day’s heat at night.

Winter Crops:

• Broccolini
• Green Onion
• Collard Greens
• Sweet Peas
• Snow peas
• Fava Beans

Winter companions?

• Try beets and garlic together
• Try parsley with carrots

Snatch Crops:

• Beets
• Turnips
• Radish
• Lettuce
• Arugula

Joshua Burman Thayer is a landscape designer and permaculture consultant with Native Sun Gardens. He is the Urban Agriculture Supervisor for Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in San Francisco, Calif. Find him at Native Sun Gardens and read his other MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.

Article source: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/winter-garden-tips-zbcz1511.aspx

RHS Garden Bridgewater designer appointed as RHS Garden Wisley gets makeover

“I have known the amazing site that is to become RHS Garden Bridgewater for some time and it is really remarkable,” said Tom Stuart-Smith.

“It is a great honour and a huge challenge to be able to contribute to this very exciting project.

“There is amazing potential here to make something innovative, relevant and distinctly different.”

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, added:  “I am delighted that these two hugely influential and innovative landscape architects will take forward such significant elements of our RHS Vision.

“With Tom and Christopher on board I am confident that these two gardens will be among the best and most popular in the UK.”

A new masterplan for RHS Garden Wisley was completed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley at the start of this year, with conceptual design work by Dan Pearson Studios.

Christopher Bradley-Hole will design the new visitor hub and welcome area, and further develop the horticultural master plan.

This will include turning the garden’s Hilltop area into a new horticultural science and educational centre.

“The new entrance and centre for science represent a new beginning for RHS Garden Wisley, and an opportunity to bring it into sharper focus,” said Christopher Bradley-Hole.

“For more than a century Wisley has epitomised gardening possibilities and drawn gardeners through its unique breadth of display.

“Now is the chance to renew its context. Step by step through spatial clarity and crafting of detail we can slowly unfold a rich, enjoyable and engaging visitor experience.”

Article source: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/garden/623285/RHS-Garden-Bridgewater-designer-RHS-Garden-Wisley-makeover

Roots Manoeuvres with Georgina Chahed: Choosing a designer for your garden

People sometimes wonder about having their garden redesigned, but don’t know where to start.

Here are some things to think about before selecting a garden designer.

A professional designer will do a lot more than just measure up and produce drawings for a new garden.

They will select landscapers capable of carrying out the work at the most competitive price. They will source materials, monitor the build and move heaven and earth to find the right plants.

A designer may also provide a maintenance plan to ensure the garden stays looking its best. Crucially, a designer will also check to make sure every detail is perfect before the project is completed.

Clear communication between a client and designer is essential. Therefore, be prepared to ask lots of questions. If a designer hasn’t been personally recommended, obtaining references from previous clients is a good place to start.

One question people often ask is: “What training did you receive before embarking on your career in garden design?” Most garden designers have studied for at least a year or two, and having a background in gardening or landscaping can be another string to their bow.

Also, has the garden designer won any awards? Perhaps they’ve been awarded a Royal Horticultural Society medal for a show garden they’ve designed or have scooped the top prize in a competition.

As well as having to produce a horticultural display at a very high standard, accolades such as these help demonstrate a designer’s ability to design and project manage the build of a garden.

Rather than giving an off-the-peg solution, a good designer will deliver something that’s unique to their clients’ individual requirements and style.

With clear communication and by asking the right questions you’ll be able to find the right garden designer and make your dream garden a reality.

Georgina Chahed is a garden designer and the owner of Touch Landscapes. Visit touchlandscapes.com

Article source: http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/news/14111512.Roots_Manoeuvres_with_Georgina_Chahed__Choosing_a_designer_for_your_garden/

The best way to redesign your garden

Never faint-hearted, Woodhams
started his own garden design business and, in 1994, he opened a
flower shop which also created sets for weddings, parties and other
events. With hindsight he says this was “mad” – running two different
businesses together is demanding, to say the least. Looking back, he
says: “Gardens are more of a legacy, whereas parties and weddings are
just for 24 hours.”

From urban to rustic

For the past eight years, Woodhams has specialised in garden
design
. His book features many urban designs, rooftop terraces and
inner-city courtyards. The term “outside room” is commonplace now, but
his designs take this to a new level. Furniture, paving and surfaces
dominate the design. Plants, each carefully chosen and arranged, form
the icing on the cake. He is known for homing in on the details, for
example choosing every fabric – he uses a range of over 300 different
outdoor fabrics, including velvets and chenilles.

Lighting, water features and vases are all important, too, and for
these he frequently brings in specialists.

His town gardens are modern spaces designed to be lived in and used
heavily. His country gardens look very different – rustic and plant
filled, with his Wisley background coming to the fore.

Woodhams says this more rustic style is coming back into favour and
that the uber-modern look in gardens is definitely on the wane.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/tools-and-accessories/the-best-way-to-redesign-your-garden/

AVEW Holdings Inc. Secures Acquisition Funding

AVEW Holdings Inc. (OTC PINK: AVEW) today announced a contract for financial services between the Wall Street Venture Capital group of New York and AVEW Holdings Inc. The services contract encompasses acquisition financing in the form of debt financing, accounts receivable financing, purchase order financing, contract financing, equity financing and mezzanine financing.

Wall Street Venture Capital group, located at 30 Wall Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10005, provides asset based financing to high growth public and private companies. To be considered, AVEW was evaluated for prospective high-growth potential, positive cash flow history, intrinsic enterprise value, evidence of a strong model and growth plan.

Mr. Joseph McAndrew, CEO Wall Street Venture Capital, stated, “AVEW Holdings Inc. demonstrated a strong business platform, clear path to growth, strong management, and enterprise value. We were pleased meeting the directors and management group of AVEW at our offices in New York and have committed to move forward in funding their acquisition plans.”

Mr. Jose Chavez, AVEW CEO, commented, “We are extremely delighted with the WSVC Financial Services contact. This gives AVEW the ability to accelerate the AVEW business model and platform.”

AVEW Holdings Inc. has proposed several acquisition opportunities. WSVC has approved the acquisition of Austin, TX Countryside Nursery and Landscape. The acquisition had been under a definitive purchase agreement and is now weeks away to closing. Mr. Nico Eboma, WSVC VP analyst, has given AVEW the green light to submit additional packages on 10 targeted business acquisitions for 2016.

Mr. Jay Ling, President, stated, “AVEW attributes this contract to a close working relationship with Mr. Charlie Fuentes of the Monarch Group, who has introduced AVEW projects to the WSVC group”.

About AVEW Holdings Inc.
AVEW Holdings Inc. is a collection of companies in different disciplines operating under a public held AVEW Holdings Inc. This gives strength and integrity to each division to weather our recessions, downturns, etc. in the economy. The companies of AVEW combined have a wealth of knowledge and experience along with the opportunity to consult with one another to share ideas and get input from other divisions.

AVEW includes a full service pool, spa and landscape design and construction company. New Generation Pools is a custom pool design and construction company that has won national and regional pool construction and design awards. Fantastic Pool Services is a maintenance and pool repair company doing business in Central Texas. Pegasus Construction Company is a residential remodel and new Construction Company servicing Central Texas. Pegasus also designs and installs landscaping and outdoor living kitchens, fireplaces, cabanas, and decks. Kustom Fence and Construction Company is a custom fence designer and builder serving the Hill Country. Tarragon Homes and Milagro Homes are a full custom and production home building and development companies. AVEW Development Company (TBF) will be involved in commercial mixed-use development.

Safe Harbor Statement:
AVEW cautions that statements made in press releases constitute forward-looking statements, and makes no guarantees of future performances and actual results/developments may differ materially from projections in forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and opinions of management at the time statements are made.





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Article source: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/1232645.htm

Plan takes shape for MIT sustainability

A group of recommendations issued today sets MIT on a path to align its campus operations along a core set of sustainability principles, setting a strong foundation for rigorous and innovative Institute-wide goal setting, measurement and verification, and implementation of strategies moving forward.

These recommendations — titled “The Sustainability Working Group Recommendations: An integrative vision for our buildings, stormwater, landscape and labs” — follow a 10-month process guided by the MIT Office of Sustainability. These recommendations are aligned with and advance the recently released MIT Plan for Action on Climate Change, which calls for a series of actions that lead to a local response to climate mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency.

This initial report also sets in place a process to develop a comprehensive set of goals for reducing the use of energy and water on campus, which will be established by June 2016. With the release of these recommendations and a timetable for establishing concrete goals, says director of sustainability Julie Newman, “we now have a mechanism by which to transform MIT into a state-of-the-art sustainable campus over time.”

The process will be overseen by the Campus Sustainability Task Force, launched last March and charged with developing a vision and blueprint for a sustainable MIT. The task force also needs to consider how to develop criteria for assessing how well the Institute is doing in meeting those goals. The body meets twice a month, Newman says, to address questions as, “How can MIT be a game-changing force for campus sustainability for the 21st century?” The task force is co-chaired by Newman and Andrea Campbell, head of MIT’s Department of Political Science and the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science.

The new set of recommendations was produced by Sustainability Working Groups focused on four broad areas, which have been meeting over a 10-month period to hammer out this initial set of plans.

The first area is the design, construction, and renovation of buildings on the MIT campus. MIT is now committed to meeting or exceeding the newest version of the national LEED Gold (version 4) certification standard for new campus construction and major renovation. Recent examples of buildings that have achieved the LEED Gold (version 3) standard were Building E62 (MIT Sloan School of Management) and Building 76 (Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research). But the recommendations say that “MIT’s ambitious capital renewal plan and an institutional commitment to sustainability necessitate an even more strategic, innovative, and consistent approach to integrating sustainable, high-performance practices across all building types.”

Implementing that, the recommendations say, should include prioritizing energy-efficiency strategies and carbon emissions reduction in both new and existing campus buildings, enabling MIT to achieve the goal of reducing emissions by at least 32 percent by 2030. Design strategies using full lifecycle analysis that place a market price on carbon to evaluate design and energy-efficiency measures are being implemented. The plan also calls for continuous optimization and enhancements through buildings’ lifetimes.

The second area is the management of storm water and campus landscaping. Recommendations include working to enhance the water quality of the Charles River, which is adjacent to the 168-acre campus; fostering the resiliency of both the land and water systems in the face of changing climate; and developing ways to have the built environment of the campus better mimic the natural hydrological cycle that helps to maintain healthy soil and water.

Management of materials and waste is the third area of the recommendations. These include supporting a lifecycle approach to the procurement of products and materials in order to maximize human and ecological health; minimizing waste and unnecessary consumption; and improving the recycling and reuse of materials to make sure that, whenever possible, all materials can be disassembled and repurposed after their initial uses.

Fourth, the recommendations address improvements to the many kinds of laboratory spaces on campus. The goals include optimizing the use of water, reducing waste, encouraging the use of less-hazardous materials, and adopting sustainable practices. While it is important to make laboratory spaces and practices as sustainable as possible, it’s essential to make sure that this does not in any way detract from the cutting-edge work of those labs, the report emphasizes.

Altogether, this new set of recommendations and processes “will put the MIT campus on a trajectory toward sustainability,” Campbell says. The idea, she says, is not just to follow known best practices, but given MIT’s stature as a nexus of innovation, “for MIT to become an exemplar for developing new and self-reinforcing processes” that can be followed by others, she says.

“We are taking concrete steps to approaching campus operations in new ways so that MIT can evolve as a model for a sustainable campus,” says Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz. “The Sustainability Working Group recommendations respond to MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change, which calls on our community to use the campus as a test bed for change.”

The working groups have also developed “a set of working principles and criteria for evaluating success,” Newman says, so that there are clear ways of measuring progress toward meeting the broad goals they have outlined. “We need a new set of metrics,” she says.

“Like the dual nature of [MIT’s motto] ‘mind and hand,’ an ecologically healthy campus landscape can enrich our MIT community through both beauty and service,” says Laura Tenny, a senior campus planner at MIT who served on two of the four working groups that prepared the recommendations. Such a landscape “can be planned, designed, and managed as a working system that provides ‘ecosystem services,’ where healthy soils act like a sponge to collect and filter rainwater before it reaches the Charles River; diverse plant communities provide habitat for birds and pollinators; and safe, attractive, accessible campus green spaces encourage people to get outdoors year-round to experience moments of nature in the city,” she says.

This is just the beginning of a long process, Newman and Campbell emphasize. This new report provides the recommendations of the first four working groups, Campbell explains, but there will be additional reports coming from other working groups, dealing with issues ranging from sustainability data analytics, to climate mitigation and vulnerability, to student sustainability leadership.

The Campus Sustainability Task Force, in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, will also be launching an “idea bank” in December to solicit input from all members of the MIT community. The hope is that many new initiatives will emerge from students and faculty, in some cases in the form of class projects. “Part of our hope is to harness the talent here from this population,” Campbell says.

It makes sense for MIT to be at the forefront of developing sustainable practices, Campbell says, both because of this community’s expertise and the long time horizons that an academic institution can provide for planning. “A university campus is an ideal environment in which to implement sustainability,” she says. “It’s really about creating a durable system where we’re always incorporating the best new ideas, because we know this whole field is going to be continually evolving.”

Article source: http://news.mit.edu/2015/sustainability-report-1130