Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Photo Friday | The Life of Disposable

I talk a lot about our disposable mindset and the importance of choosing reusable products, but this photo from The Story of Stuff sums it up well.

Image: The Story of Stuff

Does this change your perspective?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Shaving, Without the Waste or Chemicals

When you think of a hippie treehugger, you probably imagine someone who doesn't consider shaving a priority. While that image is sometimes true, you don't have to give up shaving to be eco-friendly. However, conventional shaving is far from being natural or sustainable.

What's Usually Involved

  • Non-recyclable, sometimes aerosol, cans
  • Parabens and other harmful chemicals
  • Disposable razor blades, sometimes the razors altogether (and then they come packaged in non-recyclable plastic!)

Photo: Dr. Greene

Toxic Ingredients

Most shaving supplies have toxic ingredients. According to the Environmental Working Group, no shave cream is completely free of health or ecological concerns. Even in the cleaner brands, issues still arose from the use of ingredients such as sodium borate (organic toxicity, including reproductive organs), tocopherols (potentially carcinogenic) or fragrances (linked to everything from immunity and allergies to organic toxicity and ecotoxicology).

Browse through the shaving category to see how your favorite brand performs.

I've used Aveeno for awhile, and while it seems like it would be a more natural choice, it still has chemicals that I would prefer not to interact with, such as parabens and isobutane, and has an overall moderate risk score of 4. Sooo, it's time for me to make the switch to something better for good!

Waste

Disposable razors seem to work great in a pinch, but honestly, do they even do their job that well? Because of the inexpensive price, the blades are never very sharp, and they are only designed to last for a few uses. They're also made of cheap plastic that may not be recyclable, especially if the blade is attached.

Regular razor blades last longer than disposable, but still don't have a long shelf life. Plus, they're stupid expensive. I can't stand paying so much for a few razors that last about a month each.

One of the easiest ways to green your shaving routine is to swear off disposable razors. Save the needless waste and get a better shave from a real razor (especially an old-school razor that can last many years.)

Preserve produces razors made of recycled plastic (yogurt cups, according to their website), and are #5 recyclable! Their replacement blades are actually VERY price comparable to conventional blades.

Image: Preserve

Natural Alternatives

Refinery 29 shares their picks for more natural, easier-to-recycle, and more fun than the conventional brands. From oil to cream in a toothpaste-like package, the alternatives will help get the job done without all the chemicals.

Photo: Dr. Bronner's

And The Honest Company has an all-natural oil in a recyclable package.

Men's Journal shares their brand picks, which includes Dr. Bronner's.

But, if you balk at the idea of spending more than $4 for shave gel, consider skipping it altogether. It won't be as bad as commercials make it seem. When I ran out of shaving cream not long ago, it took me a couple of weeks before I bought more, because I realized it wasn't a dire emergency. I could still shave, and it wasn't much worse than if I had used shaving cream.

  • Use your regular bar of soap or shower gel, and apply lotion after your shower.
  • Sustainable Baby Steps recommends coconut oil or aloe vera.
  • For men, go retro with soap, a brush and a safety razor.

Homemade Solutions

Check out bloggers who have made and tested their own shave creams:

More Resources


Or, just skip shaving every so often. It's almost pants and tights weather in Louisiana. No one has to know.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Taking Care of Those Political Campaign Signs

Ah, election season. A time when you can't escape the finger-pointing commercials, onslaught of direct mail (that goes directly into my recycling bin) and the landscape of endless political road signs. Neighborhood yards show off the choices for each contest, and public areas along major streets are more crowded with signs than there were people at the Hanson concerts I went to last week (and yes, they were crowded!)

With elections this past Saturday, and runoffs happening on November 21, some signs will start to be taken down now, and the rest in one (long) month. But what should we do with all those signs??

Most yard signs are made with Coroplast, a recyclable corrugated plastic, and the stands are made of metal. Because of election season, there are more yard signs printed than usual, but the sign issue is one that remains all year long. Any of these tips can work for any sign. While the signs are recyclable, check with your city's service to see if they accept signs. Lafayette's recycling provider does not accept the signs.

  • Take the metal stands to a scrap recycling facility.
  • See if the candidate is looking to take any signs back and drop them off at their campaign headquarters.
  • Save the signs to reuse! 
    • They can be used as drop cloths for spray painting smaller crafts.
    • Spray paint the signs themselves and use them as the basis for decorating your own yard signs. Get all Pinteresty and make some Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas decorations.
    • Spray them with chalkboard paint and make them functional!

However many signs you have left over after the polls are closed, be responsible and skip tossing them in the trash!

If you're a candidate, rally a few volunteers to take a couple hours and drive around picking up your campaign signs, then recycle them. It shows that you care about your community enough to stop contributing to the visual litter, and that you practice recycling as a priority.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Scoop on the 2015 Solar Decathlon

"What is a Solar Decathlon?" you might be wondering.

Organized and run by the U.S. Department of Energy, the biennial Solar Decathlon is an educational competition where teams from colleges across the country design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner is determined by the home that best combines affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002, and starting in 2005, it has been held every two years.

In 2009, a team from UL Lafayette's architecture program designed and built the Acadiana culture-inspired BeauSoleil home as their entry in the Solar Decathlon. They were awarded with the Market Viability and People's Choice honors for their 800 square-foot, solar-powered, passive energy home. Before they embarked on the road trip to the competition, the team held a bon voyage party, where I was able to see the home up close. (Let's take a trip waaaay back into Eco Cajun archives!)



On Earth Day 2012, we visited the home again, where it now sits near Fletcher Hall on UL's campus. To this day, it still looks great in its spot, with a view of campus and Girard Park. And, fun fact, Gretchen, UL's director of sustainability, was a member of the team who built BeauSoleil house over six years ago!

The 2015 Solar Decathlon was held over the past two weeks in Irvine, California. Seventeen teams designed and built their idea of the perfect sustainable home for the competition, from:
  • Cal Poly
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Clemson University
  • Crowder College and Drury University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • New York City College of Technology
  • SUNY Alfred College of Technology
  • New Jersey Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida, University of Singapore and Santa Fe College
  • UT Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen
  • University at Buffalo, SUNY
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College
  • Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University
  • West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
  • Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana
  • Yale University 
 
Get a look at each team's house on the Solar Decathlon website, from home renderings to gorgeous photos to all the details on just how the homes are sustainable, or view photos of each team's home, along with the competition itself, over at the official Solar Decathlon Flickr page.

Every detail is carefully planned when teams are designing and building their homes. From window placement to rainwater collection systems, strategic solar panel placement, types of materials used inside, and to overall home layout, every little thing counts in judging, to see if the home meets the contest criteria.

It's enough of a challenge to design and build an affordable home that achieves the environmental standards, but this year's winning home did all of it creatively, plus it tackled one more issue: hurricane resilience.


The New Jersey Stevens Institute of Technology created the SURE (SUstainable REsilience) House as a response to damage done by Superstorm Sandy a few years ago. A well-planned layout, passive house standards, two kinds of solar panels, and smart technology are evident, but you may as well just watch the walkthrough video to see why this home is incredible.


I mean...I'd live in it in a heartbeat.

Every feature has a reason for being part of the house and the placement of everything is strategic. When the power cuts off, the home can still run, and it can even provide assistance for neighbors. This home literally has USB ports built into the exterior in order to charge electronics during a power outage. For you and your neighbors.

The solar panels that double as storm shutters ALSO function as shade for the deck.









Vox has a detailed write-up on the home, its features and its weatherproofing.

What's your favorite part of the SURE House?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Unfiltered

If you get the chance to speak your mind to a group of people, including local election candidates, you take it (even if you are more nervous than you should be). With early elections over and local/state elections coming up this weekend, The Daily Advertiser organized an event allowing 13 young community individuals to speak their minds for a few minutes on what's important to them.

Held at the Feed N Seed, a gorgeous Southern-vintage bar, the event had a great turnout and music from two local bands.

We got up and shared our thoughts, ranging from downtown development to the importance of voting, education, bikeability and beautification, with a very engaged crowd. I enjoyed hearing the perspectives and issues Gus, Erick, Tony, Luke, Sabra, Butch, Scott, Kate, Kris, Jason, Britlyn and Cedryl have in regards to Lafayette and our collective future.

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/10/21/advertiser-hosts-unfiltered-event-feed-seed/73813014/  

I spoke about the importance of beautification and litter in Lafayette, on both a personal and collective level. As individuals, it's important to take enough pride in where we live to not litter it, and as a city, it's important to provide services that allow for public recycling.

Here's the (more eloquent) gist of my speech from last night:
As a board member for Keep Lafayette Beautiful, volunteer with Project Front Yard and the blogger behind Eco Cajun, I’m a dedicated advocate for the environment and sustainability. Community beautification is not an issue of looks, but one that leads toward a change in thinking.

Recycling and trash may not be the most glamorous cause, but simple personal responsibility goes a long way toward beautifying communities, especially ours. Trash goes in cans, recycling goes in bins, and most of our litter goes into the Vermilion River. When you throw something out, there really is no "away". Somewhere down the road, our trash will affect our environment, and it’s up to us whether it’s positively or negatively.

Change always begins at a personal level, and personal accountability is extremely important. I want everyone to take pride in where they live, in their own “front yards”.

It’s not okay to have a trashed community or river. It’s not okay that our roads, ditches and parking lots become trash cans. Personal responsibility is saying, “I’m done with this coffee cup, now let me hold on to it until I find a trash can, so I can throw it where it belongs.” But then again, I’m me, so my idea of personal responsibility is saying, “Hi, can you pour my coffee into my reusable mug?”

My hope is that Lafayette can see expanded recycling service that allows for more public bins next to trash cans; ones that are available any time, not just for specific events. As a city, it's a big step toward beautification and cleanliness. And an RFP that looks at other provider options is a step in the right direction.

My ideal future Lafayette is a clean Lafayette. Beyond the looks, a clean Lafayette signifies a respectful, dedicated, proud group of residents.

Read about on the event in The Daily Advertiser's article!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Walking the Walk

After the Project Front Yard press conference and awards ceremony and the Keep Louisiana Beautiful annual conference, I've been feeling inspired to DO more. I love writing and researching for the blog, but I'm feeling compelled to be more active out and about. It's not just about talking the sustainable talk, but about walking the walk.

So...here we go!

What I've Made a Habit (/Obsession)

Picking up more litter I come across. 
This is probably my biggest focus in the fight against trash everywhere. I was shopping one afternoon, and in two stores, I came across drinks left on the shelf. I mean, seriously y'all. If you bring a drink with you, don't leave it on the shelf! 
 
On my afternoon walks, I pass a pond, and one day, I found styrofoam cups floating near the bank. Even in a skirt, I went over, pulled the cups out, and threw them away. It was nasty. 
 

It's just ridiculous how much trash is everywhere all the time. I've found pedicure spacers in the parking lot of a clothing store. Why!?! 

And I take it upon myself to pick up what I can, because it's not just a job for inmates or store employees. It shouldn't be their job to pick up and throw away what someone is too lazy to throw away themselves. I look at it as a way of advocating for people to take some responsibility, if they see a random person like me picking up trash and throwing it away...taking an extra 10 seconds out of her day.

Using cloth bags at any store, not just grocery stores. On that recent shopping trip, I made multiple stops, and had a cloth bag for each one. It was awesome to not come home with a wad of plastic bags! I've started to keep some of the packable shopping bags in my purse, so no matter where I am, or if I'm not in my own car, I've got something to use.

Bringing my own and recycling as much as possible. 
Last weekend at Festival Acadiens, I only used a trashcan for my food trays (couldn't avoid those, dangit.) My drink cups were all recycled, and I brought water in my insulated Kanteen. I kept my fork to reuse, and brought a cloth napkin.


And I never forget my trusty Downtown Alive reusable cup! (However, some of the beertenders still fill a disposable plastic cup and then pour it into my cup, so that's defeating the entire purpose.)


Avoiding styrofoam.
Especially after watching Bag It! and listening to Marcus Eriksen speak at the Keep Louisiana Beautiful conference, I made a goal to renew my vow to use styrofoam as little as possible. I refuse to use a styrofoam cup, and will pass on items if they are packaged with foam.

Maximizing my fuel efficiency.
I've adjusted to driving a hybrid, and I'm working on getting my average miles per gallon as high as I can. I had been averaging about 46-47 MPG on a tank, but more recently I've been pushing it to 48-50, and the highest average I hit (for a day) was 53 MPG!

Getting involved!
I'm pretty sure we look like a stock photo for having fun while recycling, but cleanups actually do make a fun time. I pitched in recently with ReCover Acadiana and Project Front Yard on their Embrace-a-Space program and helped pick up litter along a Lafayette street.

 
Coming up next week, Keep Lafayette Beautiful is participating in United Way's The Big Event, spearheading a team on a park beautification project. With thousands of student volunteers coming together on one day, there will be a huge impact on Lafayette, from trash cleanup to beautification to service.

What I Want to Improve

Being more vocal.
I've got a few ideas in the works for talking to businesses and companies about ways they can easily be more sustainable. I just need to finish them and make some connections!

Beyond that, I just want to keep advocating for reducing, reusing and recycling, on my own and in conjunction with other awesome organizations.

 
Getting more produce bags.
As much as I use cloth bags at the grocery store, I always forget to bring my reusable produce bags. And when I do, I only bring the three I have, which never covers all the produce I pick up. So I ordered more this week!
 
Bringing my own to-go container to restaurants. I have still not gotten in the habit of doing this. Although we don't dine out often, and I don't usually have leftovers, I still want to at least have one in case. Or at least have one for my fiance to use.

I also want to get in the habit of bringing a more sustainable container to places that typically use disposable plates. I've got the drink container habit down, but not food.

Transitioning to more organic and natural beauty products and clothes. This will eventually be some feature posts, when I get to it. I have started researching and getting new chemical-free products, and it's almost been a success. (Two words: natural deodorant. One face: :( )


What sustainability habit do you want to improve on?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Green Travel | Disney World

With six trips in my travel log, it's safe to say Disney World is one of my favorite destinations. I would love to share about my most recent trip a few weeks ago, but, oh wait! My parents went on their own, without their sweet, loving daughter.

But at least they came home with presents, and in appropriate fashion, they were eco-friendly presents.

Disney can get a lot of flack for the resources they use (especially regarding the distances people travel to visit the parks), but the company and all the theme parks are working toward reducing their environmental impact, through diverting trash to recycling, conserving water and electricity, using biodiesel for their vehicles (hello, Disney World buses!), and carrying fair-trade, handmade merchandise throughout the parks.



In addition to being an environmentally friendly tourist, where can you find green in action at Disney World?

EPCOT


 
Living with the Land, also known as my mother's favorite ride, is an educational boat ride within the Land pavilion. The ride takes you through greenhouses, working hydroponic gardens and seafood tanks, and teaches about agriculture, food ecosystems and food production. The best part is that all the food grown in the gardens and greenhouses is sold at the Land's restaurants. Fresh as can be!


 



I don't think World Showcase's Bead Outpost was around when I last visited Disney World, coming up on five years ago. Nestled between Mexico and Germany, the African outpost has unique souvenirs, including my favorite of them all. I mean, what does Disney World have more of than park guidemaps? Bazillions of maps printed in about 15 languages equates to a LOT of trash. But, Disney has started to save the maps from the landfill, and sends them to artisans in Africa, who repurpose the maps into jewelry beads. That's right - MADE OF PAPER. You can get necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets or chokers, in a huge variety of colors. My parents picked out two necklaces for me, and my favorite part may almost be how the necklaces were packaged. In a guidemap envelope. So smart, so useful, and so easy. If you want a gift that's unique and green, visit the Bead Outpost.


 

In 2011, Innoventions had a VISION house on display, sponsored by Green Builder Media. I believe it has since been replaced with newer exhibits. Unfortunately, I think the company has since gone out of business, since their website doesn't exist anymore. I snapped a shot of these reminders in Innoventions on a previous vacation.



ANIMAL KINGDOM

Animal Kingdom is probably the most environmental spot overall in Disney World. The Conservation Fund raises money for "the study of wildlife; the protection of habitats; the development of community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems; and experiences that connect kids to nature through exploration and discovery." You can purchase pins and other merchandise in the park, with the proceeds going toward the fund.

In terms of fair-trade merch, Animal Kingdom offers Eco-Mochilas, traditional Colombian bags made with recycled plastic bags. And if you want really unique, pick up a notebook made of elephant poop paper!



 

Check out the detail in this weaving!


You can also find park t-shirts made with organic cotton and cute treehugger sayings.




 


 

RESORTS

Many hotels these days offer signs about reusing towels instead of replacing them daily, in order to conserve water. Disney resorts are no different.


Recycling bins can be found in resort rooms, along with energy efficient lighting and low-flow toilets. In fact, all Disney-owned and -operated resorts in Florida are designated as Green Lodging.

If you are staying at a resort for your visit, use as much alternative transportation as you can. Many places are within walking distance.

EVERYWHERE

Disney provides branded cloth bags for your shopping pleasure, and I still have a Christmas Mickey one from my last trip. Instead of playing a game of "how many identical plastic bags can you rack up on your trip", pick up a few cloth bags to reuse every day. Or bring your own instead of purchasing some there.

Conserve your use of the guide maps. Share one for each park with your group, and keep the ones you use in case you revisit a park. Since I last visited, I believe Disney World installed WiFi in all their parks, so you can make use of their official mobile app. This will help you cut down on paper, but don't forget to bring a portable charger for your phone! 

You can also find some recycled goods for souvenirs in shops throughout the parks. These notebooks are made with recycled paper.

Extra food from parks and resorts is donated to a local Second Harvest Food Bank.


The Walt Disney Company has an environmental policy in place, which can be read in full on their website. My favorite snippet from it says:
Dispose of waste conscientiously and creatively by making "reduce/reuse/recycle" the standard operating procedure.

This should definitely be the standard operating procedure everywhere!


More green Disney resources:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Recycling at Festivals Acadiens

Are you feeling Festival International withdrawals? Do you have a hankering to do the two-step? Is that crawfish boat calling your name?

Luckily for you, Festival Acadiens et Crèoles kicks off this week! This year's festival is a special one, as it marks the 250th anniversary of the Acadians (including a handful of my ancestors) coming to South Louisiana.

Festival Acadiens, held in Girard Park, has two music stages, arts and crafts vendors, and tons of delicious food, and the weather is usually amazing. There's even a sports tent for those who need to catch the games!

And this year, there will be recycling bins provided courtesy of the Bayou Vermilion District! BVD received a Healthy Communities Grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful, which they used to purchase 80 collapsible recycling bins. I spoke with Greg Guidroz, BVD Recreation and Education Coordinator, and he says the main objective of the grant is to establish a recycling bin loan program for local events, free of charge. (By the way, here's Greg receiving an award from Keep Louisiana Beautiful last week!)

http://www.bayouvermiliondistrict.org/ 

http://www.bayouvermiliondistrict.org

Members of UL’s Biology Society, UL’s Pre Professional Society, and a few dedicated volunteers from the late Dr. Griff Blakewood’s dismembered student environmental organization S.P.E.A.K. have volunteered to maintain and empty the bins over the course of Festivals weekend.

Greg also said how Dylan Deouren, president of the UL Biology Society, has been a tremendous source of hope and inspiration in rallying volunteers. His motivation and dedication is reassuring that festival recycling will remain a part of our annual celebrations.

So when you're out enjoying our Acadian culture this weekend, don't forget to toss your plastic bottles and cans into the bright blue recycling bins! Help Lafayette stay beautiful and clean by recycling and not littering!

Don't forget to be sustainable and go green beyond just recycling!

  • Ride your bike and skip the parking hassle. There's a bike corral in the corner of Girard Park, across from the UL pay lot. 
  • Skip the paper guide by using the handy Festivals PDF Guide.
  • Bring a cloth bag for all your shopping!
  • Carry a cloth napkin so you don't have to use a ton of paper ones, which can't be recycled.
  • Pack a reusable water bottle so you can stay hydrated (at least in between cups of beer).

If you have your own event and would like recycling bins, you can contact Greg at greg@bayouvermiliondistrict.org. BVD will provide the bins free of charge, but each group will be responsible for finding their own volunteers for maintenance and collection.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Keeping Louisiana Beautiful | Inspiration

That moment when you feel completely and utterly inspired to DO something, and you listen to a speech that connects two of your recent blog post topics, which makes you feel like


Keep Louisiana Beautiful held their annual conference this week in Lafayette, and I was able to attend the second morning thanks to the705. The first speaker of the morning was Marcus Eriksen, research director and cofounder of 5Gyres. What does the organization focus on? Plastic pollution in our oceans.



Last week, I wrote about the documentary Bag It!, and mentioned the segment on the remote Midway Atoll and the staggering numbers of dead animals found with plastic and trash in their stomachs. Marcus has traveled to the Midway Atoll and studied the contents of what these animals swallowed. He does extensive work on the effect of microbeads polluting our water and fish, a topic I wrote about earlier this week.

Neither of which I wrote knowing that I would be getting to hear Marcus speak in person a few days later! It was incredibly inspiring to listen to an expert on plastic pollution, and his presentation galvanizes me in a way to put my own effort into doing something. Beyond simply writing about the issues, I want to do more to influence others to reduce their dependence on plastics. Leading by example as I always try to do, it's extremely important to change the culture of disposable and single-use. (Part of the reason I'm a huge supporter of Klean Kanteen's #BringYourOwn campaign.)

A few statistics and facts dropped today:
  • We are seeing over 300 million metric tons of new plastic being produced.
  • Plastic microparticles can penetrate membranes in mussels and oysters, which means we can be eating them.
  • 663 marine species have been impacted by debris.
  • Trash from the Mississippi River enters the Gulf of Mexico and follows the current (gyre) to the North Atlantic.
  • There's 269,000 tons of trash in our oceans, equaling 5.25 TRILLION particles.
  • That's the equivalent of wrapping straws, end-to-end, around the planet 425 times.


One of my favorite statements Marcus made was when discussed how finding whole pieces of plastic in the ocean is very rare, thanks to photo-degradation, and you can't tell which company to blame, 

"except all of us."


Boom.

The next big topic of discussion was litter enforcement in the state of Louisiana. Captain James Gomillion with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries talked about how he enforces litter laws in Rapides and Avoyelles parishes (what up CENLA!)

Just so everyone has a friendly reminder, there IS a Louisiana litter hotline where you can report littering activity, and offenders will get cited and fined.






Add that number to ya phone.

And did you know LDWF has a tips app where you can report violations, whether it's littering or other kinds? I didn't! Download that.


Tom Ethans, of Take Pride Winnipeg, shared many of the organization's successful projects in cleanliness, beautification and education. I might have spent part of the time laughing inside about Tim Horton's jokes from How I Met Your Mother, but I promise I paid attention to the presentation. The city has been extremely successful over the past 20 years in cultivating a sense of pride among its residents and students.


As Tom made us recite, it's about:

"reduce, reuse, recycle, respect."


Can we turn the 3 Rs into 4 now? Respect for our home is the motivator that fuels us wanting to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Another of my favorite moments from the morning was one of the KLB directors talking about the need to go waste-free at the next conference. It was ironically hilarious to me that a conference full of civic-minded treehuggers had a collection of soft drink cans, water bottles and plastic plates.

As I sat next to Gretchen with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Office of Sustainability and Lisa with Lafayette Consolidated Government recycling, I laughed at how we all brought our own coffee mugs and water bottles. Next year, we will totally make sure there's no single-use plastic around!


Many thanks to Keep Louisiana Beautiful for putting on a great conference, even if I didn't attend both days, and to the705 for allowing me to represent!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 Project Front Yard Award Winners!

Last year, Project Front Yard kicked off its initiative with a ceremony to award six recipients who've played a part in beautifying and cleaning Lafayette. UL Lafayette President T. Joe Savoie, the Better Block Cameron organizers, Charlie and Jan Wyatt (heads of the Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association), the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, River Ranch Development and I were recognized for our contributions.

The awards were intended to be an annual event, and yesterday afternoon, the new rounds of winners were announced and recognized!


This year, the recipients were awarded in categories: Best in Education, Best in Cleanliness, Best in Beautification, and Best Overall Effort.

 

  • NeunerPate law firm received Best in Cleanliness for their beautification project of the Veterans Affairs Clinic and War Memorial on July 1.
  • Pastor Ken Lazard of Destiny of Faith Church was honored for Best in Beautification for his work in revitalizing the Truman area neighborhood, by engaging more than 100 volunteers over two weekends to spruce up a local cemetery, clean up trash and cut tall grass on otherwise blighted properties.
  • ReCover Acadiana, an initiative of The705, was awarded Best in Education for their partnership with Project Front Yard on the storm drain cleanliness awareness campaign, “Where the River Meets the Road.” The campaign includes dozens of decals placed near storm drains throughout the community, educating children and adults alike on the connection of storm drains to the local watershed.
  • ESA teacher Sandra Thompson received Best Overall Project Front Yard Effort. This award is given to a community partner who goes above and beyond. Ms. Thompson is a kindergarten teacher who encouraged one of her students, Amelie Gomez, to write a letter to Project Front Yard when she expressed a desire to get involved with community cleanliness. Along with the school’s administrative leadership and Project Front Yard, Amelie took the lead in creating a 20 minute documentary on how trash ends up in our local waterways and affects the local ecosystem. Ms. Thompson is also working to develop a curriculum for local educators’ use in the classroom in teaching children about the watershed and life cycles of litter in our rivers.

Mayor Joey Durel stresed the importance of the education component, saying during the presentation, "I've said before that Project Front Yard is not a litter effort; it is a cultural change initiative. And we can't have a cultural change initiative unless kids learn in school and pressure their parents to act."

As someone who learned about recycling and conservation as a child (more than 20 years ago), I wholeheartedly agree with the need to educate students, so they can grow up practicing and sharing their knowledge with others. I have yet to meet Amelie, but I already love her and her dedication to cleanliness and conservation, and I know that having more children like her will tremendously help our communities now, in 20 years, and even further into the future.

It's so exciting to see this year's crop of winners, learn how they've impacted our community, and help them continue their missions throughout this year. Congratulations, everyone!

More information at The Daily Advertiser.
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