News from the Network
In this month's newsletter, we wanted to share a few notices from the SSDN network - and ask for your updates!
Congrats to Maggie Ullman and the City of Asheville for winning the 2013 Mayors' Climate Protection Awards. The award "recognizes mayors for innovative practices in their cities that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions." Read more about Asheville's honor here. And let the rest of the network know about your awards or accomplishments by posting details on the USDN site.
Laurel Creech and the City of Nashville have recently launched their NashVitality app for smart phones. The app is designed to be a "mobile guide to a healthy, active and green lifestyle" in the city with interactive maps for biking, hiking, walking and other activities. Have you developed an app for your locality? Know of any other good apps to share? Please share on the USDN site.
Peter Nierengarten was a recent guest on Fayetteville's Mayor's Corner discussing food insecurity and urban agriculture. You can view his full YouTube interview here. What resources have you used for urban agriculture in your city? What policies do you have in place to support these efforts? Please share on the USDN site.
Interview with: Lori Saal
This month, we interview Lori Saal, Sustainability Coordinator for Farragut, TN.
What are you working on right now that you are most excited about?
I just finished a month-long employee engagement event called Sustain-A-Roo. Sustain-A-Roo was a four-week program and each week employees took quizzes, participated in scavenger hunts, and submitted pictures of themselves doing sustainability-related tasks. There was an individual prize each week and at the end of four weeks one department was awarded a prize.
The image below was created for the Waste Reduction week. That week, the individual task involved finding a photo of Oscar the Grouch somewhere in the building. One of our staff used that as his inspiration for the photo, and with a little whimsy, shows that we are the source of waste and should be mindful of how we dispose of our waste by recycling and diverting waste from landfills.
Sustain-A-Roo was really successful at engaging employees. Overall, we had 72% participation - and one department had 100% participation. It really showed that our employees are engaged and interested in sustainability.
I got the idea from Douglas County, KS. I asked on the USDN website for suggestions about how other people had successfully engaged employees. I got a great template to use and tweaked it to work in my situation.
The next thing I'm excited about working on is creating a Sustainable Business directory for the Town of Farragut. I'm looking for businesses that have some sustainability components, including recycling programs, EnergyStar buildings, LEED certified buildings, or even those that collect rainwater. I'm planning to combine existing databases and conduct a survey of Town businesses to create the directory, which may be housed on our town's website.
What do you want to know from others in SSDN? What provocative questions do you have for your colleagues around the Southeast?
What has been your most successful community outreach event? Answer here.
Has anyone had success with starting recycling programs in schools? Answer here.
What incentives does your municipality offer to businesses to encourage sustainable practices? Answer here.
What led you to this work?
I have taken a very non-traditional path. I've been interested in environmental sciences since middle or high school. My educational background is in stormwater and water quality. I have a Bachelors in plant and soil sciences and a Masters in geology. After school, I worked as an environmental consultant conducting wetland delineations and sampling for sites contaminated with petroleum. I also worked as an academic researcher in soil biogeochemistry. After relocating to Knoxville from North Carolina, I took this position. Although it wasn't something I ever expected to get into, I'm learning as much as I can and liking the role more as I dive deeper into the profession.