2017 SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE GRANT WINNERS
- Art Department Sustainability Improvements, Chad Colby, Anthony Holmquist, and Andrea Martens, Art & Design Department.
- Project objective (April 2017): This project will allow the Art & Design Department to incorporate non-toxic methods for printmaking and painting, allowing students to learn about sustainable approaches to art.
- Progress report (October 2017): The Art & Design Department has a common goal of reducing its environmental impact while modeling lifelong health and safety best practices for students and faculty. The Sustainability Initiative Grant funding enabled several additions to the campus facilities and materials. The print shop in Art Hall has new faucets for screen printing and intaglio processes, aimed to conserve water. In addition, the print shop is stocked with more non-toxic inks and cleaning products for intaglio, monotype, and silk screen processes. The painting studio now has a brush washing unit that will reduce solvent waste by 75%.
- Leadership and Food Production, Beth LaShell and Elicia Whittlesey, The Old Fort.
- Project objective (April 2017): By putting an experienced young farmer in a position of leadership, this project supports the Old Fort's increasing capacity to produce food for the FLC dining hall and creates another step in the Old Fort's multifaceted farmer training program.
- Progress report (October 2017): SIG funds went toward hiring an FLC alumna as assistant garden manager. In addition to supporting a budding farmer to continue her career in sustainable agriculture, this staff position was crucial to supporting the Old Fort’s summer interns and growing lots of food. We not only grew more food than ever before, but we also created a tight, supportive team of interns, farmers-in-training, and Old Fort staff. We couldn’t have done it without our hard-working assistant manager and the SIG grant!
- FLC Campus Energy Consumption Dashboard, Marty Pool and Mackenzie Carter, The Environmental Center.
- Project objective (April 2017): This project will create a tool to easily inform campus members of their energy consumption and allow the College to track the impact of energy conservation efforts.
- Progress report (October 2017): Project planning/implementation has been slightly delayed due to staff turnover on campus. Work continues in the planning and decision making phase. We are currently working to redefine our implementation plan with the goal of purchasing requisite resources at the beginning of next semester.
- Food for Thought Campus Food Forest, Rachel Landis, The Environmental Center.
- Project objective (April 2017): This project will restore the vole-damaged campus orchard with a food forest that will provide students with applied agricultural training in orchard management, a unique classroom experience, and food production that supports FLC sustainability commitments.
- Progress report (October 2017): Thanks to the Sustainability Initiative Grant, the Food For Thought Campus Food Forest concept has become a reality! Beginning this past Spring 2017, five Environmental Center staff students met on a weekly basis with FLC and Environmental Center alum, Duke Jackson, to re-design the damaged portions of our existing orchard space and convert it to a water-saving, soil-building, community-creating student-feeding food forest. With the over-arching design for the space complete, Duke and our students have been working with classes and community volunteers on a weekly basis to install the ‘perimeter’ portion of the food forest. Together with the 2017 Summer Sociology Block, 35 members of the incoming class of 2021, and countless volunteers, our Environmental Center student staff have put in over 145 trees and planted up 30 species of plants in over 7000 square feet of space. This crew has also lasagna mulched over 1000 square feet of interior space in preparation for next season’s planting (many thanks to the City of Durango and Woodchuck Tree Service for the woodchips, 2nd Avenue Sports for the cardboard and Dr. Anna Hale for the manure).
2016 SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE GRANT WINNERS
Season Extension at the Old Fort, Beth LaShell and Elicia Whittlesey, The Old Fort.
The Project: We requested $2500 to support the construction of a second large high tunnel at the Old Fort. This high tunnel will enable year-round food production, specifically to be sold to Sodexo and served in the campus dining hall, and sold at the campus farm stand throughout the winter.
Project Update (fall 2016): We used $2000 of the grant to go toward trenching and installing water pipes to the new hoophouse location. The water is operational and ready to be connected to a drip irrigation system. The remaining $500 went toward materials necessary to construct the hoophouse. We had previously purchased the hoophouse itself, used, but some materials (boards, etc) were not reusable and the remaining SIG funds have gone toward these necessary supplies. In the spring, we will purchase and assemble the plastic covering and begin planting.
Though we have not yet grown crops in the new hoophouse, it has already had an educational component; our FLC interns (6 of them) were instrumental in laying the foundation over the summer, and learned many construction-related skills in doing so. In the fall, along with an FLC alumni, we have assembled the skeleton of the hoophouse; it is now almost ready for plastic. We’ve put in new, rich soil, some straw, and sown rye as a winter cover crop seed to improve soil health through the winter and early spring.