Zach Conde: A Look at the NEW EC Intern and His Projects

My name is Zach Conde and I am doing an internship at the Environmental Center. I have joined the Zero Waste team, and I am working on auditing the Sustainability Action Plan. I started my internship at the beginning of the semester and I have jumped into many great projects and I am already having a blast doing them.

First of all I would like to comment on what a great group of people that are involved in all aspects of the EC. They have welcomed me with open arms and have been awesome in helping me transition to a new work environment. From the time Rebecca Schild told me I could do my internship at the EC until now, everyone has been very friendly and nice. So a big thanks to all my coworkers!

The Zero Waste team that I have joined is a group with many great ideas and we have some really cool projects going on. Our “Conservation Campaign” has multiple themes which change every month.

We have started out with “reuse” for the month of February. For this we have focused on trying make the campus community aware of how many things can and should be reused instead of just being thrown away. For this you may have seen our “free Store” which has been in and around the student union building every Thursday. Here students can drop off items to the EC, and they are showcased and given away for free on Thursdays to anyone who wants them. We also had a reusable bag decoration table set up in the student union building on Thursday February 17th, where we had free reusable bags for students to decorate and use for many years to come. We also are hosting a “get crafty” competition which invites students to send a picture of themselves and their reused item via email to These pictures are due by Friday February 25th 2011, and we will be holding a table in or outside the student union building on Monday February 28th to have people vote for who they think has the most useful, most creative and most reused material. The winners will be awarded with gift certificates to local businesses. If you haven’t submitted anything yet, do so immediately because YOU could be a winner!

For the month of March we plan to have the theme of “recycle”. For this we will be focusing on making the campus community more aware of the impacts they can have on the planet by recycling or not. We will be having tables set up once a week with demonstrations on how to recycle properly. We will also be providing each residence hall with new recycle bins, and allow people from each hall decorate their bins as they see fit.

The month of April will be dedicated to “reduce”. Here we will be focusing on trying to make the campus community have a smaller impact on the environment by reducing the amount of consumption. We will be showing the movie “Tapped” to make people more aware of the impacts of bottled water. We will also be promoting reusable water bottles instead of single use plastic water bottles.

I am also working individually on auditing the Sustainability Action Plan. This is a Plan that has a goal to make Fort Lewis a more sustainable campus. It is a very comprehensive plan with many small goals within the big goals that have been set. Improving our sustainable performance, making the community more educated and engaged on becoming more sustainable, providing service, research and partnerships to the entire region, and getting coordination and support from the community are the main goals to the plan.

Stewardship is a goal within performance which strives to decrease and maximize our water use on campus, maximize our land use on campus, and make the surrounding environment as healthy as possible. Another goal within performance is consumption which strives to reduce our purchasing consumption, reduce our waste stream, and increase our recycling rates. The last big goal within performance is climate. This goal is to build more sustainable buildings, decrease our overall energy on campus, and reduce our impacts to the earth from transportation.

Education and Engagement is a big goal for the SAP. This goal specifically focuses on getting the community educated, trained and have there be a big public involvement with the goals for the plan. This goal is very important to the entire plan. We need the involvement of not only the Fort Lewis community, but also the entire community of La Plata County in order to gain the support we need to achieve all the goals.

All of these goals are imperative to the completion of the SAP. The plan is set to be complete by 2015 and was started in 2010. The reason for my auditing of the plan is to see that everything is being done that possibly can be done at this time. There are responsibilities that each department is involved with achieving these goals. Keeping each department on track is the focus of my audit and will provide future students with a stepping stone to use the next time the plan needs to be audited.

Working at the EC has been a great experience so far. The people that work there and the projects that we are taking on are awesome! Keep your ears and eyes open for these people and projects as the semester continues in order to recognize and get involved with the fun we are having!

Medicine for the Earth by Sandra Ingerman

Medicine for the Earth

This book is about “transforming personal and environmental toxins” through transmutation. For those interested in alternative methods of healing, I think it is a very interesting and beneficial book. It is easy to read, and includes a nice mix of exercises for the reader and stories from history and personal experiences. Sandra Ingerman is a shamanic teacher based out of Santa Fe, and Medicine for the Earth is a great book for anyone interested in learning more about shamanism or spiritual work. By the end of the book, Ingerman describes how a group she was a part of transformed polluted water into water that was safe to drink. For those concerned with the health of the earth and finding new ways to help heal it, this is definitely a recommended read.

~Kate Shavel

Zero Waste Team is Focusing on Reuse

 The Zero Waste Team is moving forward with the Conservation Campaign. Next week on Wednesday the Zero Waste Team will have a booth set up in the Student Union from 11:00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. where you can decorate you own reusable bag! They will also have other crafty items on display that they made from reusable materials. There will be lots of great ideas on how to reduce and reuse in your life!

The Leftovers Have a lot on Their Plate!

The combined efforts of the Education Outreach, Climate, and Business Teams have quite the array of things going on. To start they are looking towards the future and starting to plan an epic Earth Day celebration that will bring the Fort Lewis community together with games, a scavenger hunt, food and music. They are also planning “Lunch and Learn Sustainable Business Talks.” This month’s talk will take place on February 22 and be with Carvers Brewing Company. The results of the Green House Gas inventory are being processed and prepared for presentation to the campus. Last but certainly not least they are working all over campus to make it a greener place to be. They are raising awareness about recycling and turning out the lights as well as looking at bringing a micro-green program into the dorms.

What’s New with Media and Communications?

The Media and Communications Team has been working diligently on updating the blog, getting our radio show, Making Waves, going at a steady pace, and creating more media outlets to update the Fort Lewis and Durango community on what is going on in Durango, our region, and the world. Check out the daily news updates on the EC Blog to see what you may be missing through the other media outlets. Listen to our weekly radio show Making Waves and hear Devon Dey and Grace Martinez interview interesting people about intriguing issues and events going on around Durango and Fort Lewis College! Give us your feedback on how we are doing, or just on an article that arouses your interest at

What’s the Local Food Team Up To?

The local food team is hard at work planning a Food Retreat at for the end of Febuaray which will focus on the many different ways to be a local food advocate in Durango. The retreat will begin with a speaker and then contuinue through the weekend with speakers and workshops. The Local food team is also working with the sociology department’s “Grub Hub” (food bank) to try incorperating local produce and products.  The Local Food Team with be teaming up with Education Outreach to bring local food to students in the dorms.