Automated Rainwater Harvesting & Irrigation Project is A GO!…pending rain

Senior Engineering Design team –Trujill Sandman, Refreeno Harvey, Paloma Juarros, Emily Dellenbach and Ryan Walker—supported by Dr. Christie Chatterley have successfully designed, constructed and installed our very own, one-of-a-kind Automated Rainwater Irrigation System, or ARIS. This system, which captures rainwater from the roof of our student-designed and built building, uses programmed sensors in the soil to deliver water to one of the EC’s campus garden beds when it becomes to dry. The new system provides us with a much-needed supply of back-up water when the irrigation breaks…in addition, it has been designed to provide us with the needed water to grow food for an extra month and a half each year! This means that we can provide more student-grown food to campus diners, thereby addressing – in a small way—an existing gap in campus food security. Now all that we need is rain….

Swing by the EC garden at any point to check out the Automated Rainwater Irrigation System and learn more about our Campus Garden Grown program!

EC Impacts: Personal Growth, Professionalism and Connection

By Charlie Shew, Energy Impact Team Coordinator

As a senior preparing to graduate this April, I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on my days spent at Fort Lewis College and how my involvement with the school has prepared me for my next steps after college. Working at the Environmental Center has been my most professionally, personally and socially fulfilling experience at FLC. I’ve had the opportunity to be a Real Food Challenge team member and coordinator as well as this year’s Energy Impact team coordinator.

I have gained so many professional skills while working with the EC in various capacities. It’s no coincidence that I’ve been fortunate enough to bookend my college career as student coordinator at the EC. My professional skills gained include creating project management documents, leading meetings, developing educational materials, tabling, canvasing, taking meeting minutes, working in a diverse office space, and much, much more.

It is an honor to be a ‘leader amongst leaders’ because these folks push me to stay educated and savvy regarding the work we are doing. Personally, the EC showed me the caliber of community needed to effectively work on today’s environmental and social needs. To continue this work, I want to impress on anyone who knows about this unique and superb community called the EC that it’s up to us to keep it that way.

For those reading this that are already involved, please, continue to embrace its resources, and don’t let up — the benefits of this place will continue to help you grow. For those not yet involved, you have a community waiting for you that will support you and challenge you in whatever you choose to pursue, and the EC will give you the tools necessary to make the impact you want.

Socially, I can’t thank the EC enough for the connections this place opened up for me. My first experience with the EC encapsulates the potential networking benefits this place can bring to anyone who walks through its doors or comes across its work.

When I first arrived in Durango, the EC gave me the opportunity to assume the role of FLC representative and campaign mascot, or ‘Bag Monster’, for the Durango bag tax campaign in 2013. The relationships I developed with city officials and active Durango citizens are entirely accredited to this opportunity the EC provided.

I have since become a familiar face recognized by many in the Durango community which is largely due to my continued involvement in the work the EC does. I could not have asked for a better introduction to a new community, both on and off campus.

The skills I gained, the work I did, and the people I connected with each positively impacted me and contributed to many of the values I hold today. The EC helped prepare me to successfully create the change I want to see in the world. I feel confident in bringing my
experience working at the EC as a value-add to my post-college work and communities.

Podcast: Mother Earth Greek Tragedy, by Zack Bauer–EC Campus Sustainability Student Team

Check out Zach’s awesome podcast here!

Radio to earth….

One night in the dark dwellings of my cold dorm room, I felt an overwhelming desire to help the environment. I had just listened to Neil Young’s new song “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?”, which reminded me of everything that needs healing on our planet and how humans have the ability to fix them. This gave me so much adrenaline and passion for helping our planet that I constantly started asking myself, “how can I stand up and make a change?” This is when I realized I can turn my radio class final project into a way to help the environment. I hope to inspire people with my radio project the same way Neil Young’s song motivated me to create change.

My project is a Greek Tragedy radio play about Mother Earth. The play begins telling about the big bang and birth of our universe, with everything in peace and harmony. A planet and star match (The Sun and Earth) then decide to make life together. The Children of Mother Earth have immense love for their Mother and Father at the beginning of the story, but eventually start to turn on their Mother. The story is a Greek Tragedy because, unfortunately, the ending is not happy. My intent is not to make people scared or depressed about our Earth’s current state of being, but to give people a warning of what’s to come if we continue to support environmentally threatening practices. One point I do not include in the production is that there is hope to save our planet. I hope that this radio drama will inspire you to seek out solutions to saving our planet and for making a change. If we all work together, we can take Earth off her current path and restore her back to her natural self. A great way to start is by getting involved with the Environmental Center and by learning how to live sustainably in our day to day lives. Thank you for listening!


Announcing the 2nd annual Ecofeminism panel in honor of Women’s History Month of March w/ keynote speaker, Dr. Marcy Jung

By Michaela Steiner

A student panel focusing on Ecofeminism and the future will explore connections between environmentalism and feminism in honor of Women’s History Month. The event will be held March 11, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the Vallecito Room on the Fort Lewis College campus, and free food is being provided by Food Not Bombs! and the Sociology Club.

Ecofeminist theories will be applied to current global tribulations to produce a dynamic, inspiring and engaging conversation. The event aims to bring awareness to connections between these two distinct movements, to bring about solutions for our current social and environmental crisis and to empower students to be leaders for an inherited future.

“I am so thrilled to have the honor of facilitating this event for another year,” said student organizer, Michaela Steiner. “This event is unique because it gives students the opportunity to educate the larger Durango and Fort Lewis community and brings a fresh perspective to many environmental and social problems we face today.”

This is Steiner’s second year organizing the event, and she hopes to have similar success as seen last year.  More than 90 students and community members attended the ecofeminism event last year and engaged in an interactive discussion with student panelists.

With a new set of panelists, Steiner is sure interesting topics will be brought up, focusing on a theme of globalization throughout the entire panel.

“I’m always excited to see where the conversation goes, as these panelists are future leaders who can and will provide society with some real insight into how to move forward in a most beneficial and equitable way,” Steiner said.

PowerShift 2011: Day Two

Taking the power back is the main emphasis for Power Shift 2011, and that’s what we learned how to do today. Beginning with a breakout session with the southwest region, the team got the chance to meet others in our surrounding area that want environmental change and justice just as much as we do.

After meeting others, we broke into groups and constructed new methods for making change once we get back to the Fort, so get prepared to see some changes on campus next semester. The afternoon was full of team building sessions and learning.

After lunch, each of us split off into different sessions ranging from women’s empowerment, going green and living bling, to weatherizing homes in Washington D.C. I can’t say what everyone did individually, but ask when we get back and we would love to tell you how great our day was!

Thanks for listening,

The EC Powershift Team

PowerShift 2011 Day One:

Day One

The sun is up and shining, the birds are chirping and spring has truly sprung in Fairfax, VA, where the five members of the EC are staying as they represent Fort Lewis at the biggest grassroots movement in history. Alex Pullen, David Haralson, Grace Martinez, Emily Griffin and Morgan Boaman took three planes to get across the country to learn how to save the world.

The opening events of Power shift began with keynote speakers Vice President Al Gore and Van Jones. These motivating speakers came out to encourage the youth of today to come together and shift the power. The goal of the 10,000 youth gathered on capital hill is to fight for sustainability across America. These students are from all over the country and will attend trainings, speakers and events for the next four days as they become the country’s next super power.

Leading up to the opening events the FLC students familiarized themselves with our nation’s capitol. They checked out some sites and shops as they walked from the Smithsonian to the Washington E. Conference building (which spans two blocks).  Stay tuned for updates from the team as they experience the time of their lives in Washington, DC.

Media and Communications Team Goes National

The Media and Communications team has been working hard on figuring out how to best serve our community, both on campus and off. The blog and radio show are our most prevalent sources of information, and we are working in a monthly newsletter that has great updates on what is going on internally in the EC, and it gives you a look at what we do on a daily basis, and trust us, there is a lot of responsibilities we have every single day! The most exciting event coming up in our team is sending Morgan Boaman, Grace Martinez, and Emily Griffin to Washington DC with other members of the Environmental Center to participate in a huge event called Powershift, where they will learn how to be proactive environmentalists. The team members will be blogging the whole time, so keep checking up on the blog to see what we are up to!