“Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet: discussion on “Kiss the Ground”

Fall Film & Forum Series panel discussion hosted by WCU Office of Sustainability and WC Green Team in Room 101, Business & Public Management Building, 50 Sharpless St, West Chester, PA 19383. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Sign up in advance at wcupa/sustainability to view the film online; the evening event will be panel discussions only. Come early for information tables, refreshments and a tour of the LEED-certified BPMG building at 6:30. Metered parking on Sharpless or Church St. 

Tuesday October 12 discussion theme “Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet: Act locally to improve the dirt in your own backyard and help avert climate crisis,” based on the film “Kiss the Ground.” Panelists:

Dr. Joan Welch (moderator), professor in the WCU Department of Geography and Planning, a leader in WCU’s campus gardens, and dedicated environmentalist.

Mike Dunn, contract arborist for West Chester Borough and Sustainable Landscapes Specialist

Nur Ritter, Stewardship Manager, Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies at West Chester University, botanist, biochar enthusiast, friend of fungi

From https://kissthegroundmovie.com/: “‘Kiss the Ground’ reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle. This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible  to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species’ future.”

Later in this series:
November 16 film- “Invisible Hand” (this forum will include interviews of 2021 Green Award winners)
December 7 film–“Thirsty for Justice”

Sites Posted on Chester County Clean Tour 2021

See the CCEA calendar for details of the tour, Oct. 2-3, and how to take it virtually.

Name of SiteName of SubmitterFeatures
Hillside Elementary School Green Roof
Berwyn, PA
Jennifer Cox/ Conestoga High School studentsSustainable Features: Green Roof Site Type School Organization: Hillside Elementary School, in the Tredyffrin-Eastown School District
West Chester University Geothermal Exchange System
West Chester, PA
Brad Flamm, Director, Office of Sustainability, WCU
Sustainable Features Geothermal Site Type University Organization: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Haaf Home Energy Tour
Kennett Square, PA
Bill Haaf
Sustainable Features Composting, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Heat Pump(s), Passive Solar, Other Other Sustainable Features: • Advanced lighting (LEDs), programmable thermostats, native plants/water-retentive plantings, spray PU foam insulation, strategies for energy efficiency in existing home. System Size (in kW): 6.7 Solar Site Type Home
Energy Efficiency Beats S&P
West Chester, PA
Bryan Hutchinson
Sustainable Features Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Heat Pump(s), Solar PV – Rooftop System Size (in kW): 7.14 Solar Site Type Home
Solar Stone Barn
Chadds Ford, PA
Richard Leff
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Electric Vehicle(s), Geothermal System Size (in kW): 10 Solar Site Type Home
Central Baptist Church, Wayne, Gets to Zero Net Emissions
Wayne, {A
Chuck Marshall
Sustainable Features Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Net zero, Solar PV – Rooftop Solar Site Type Religious Institution
Rooftop Made for Solar
Chester Springs, PA
Kathy McDevitt
Sustainable Features Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Solar PV – Rooftop System Size (in kW): 13.26 kW Solar Site Type Home
The McGowan Home
Coatesville, PA
Brian McGowan
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Solar Thermal, Wind Turbine(s) System Size (in kW): 3.96 kW Solar Site Type : Home
Stroud Water Research Center’s Moorhead Environmental Complex

Avondale, PA
Jessica Provinski, Stroud Development Department
Sustainable Features Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Grey Water System, Heat Pump(s), Integrated Systems System Size (in kW): 17.860 kW Solar Site Type Nonprofit Organization
Geothermal Township Building /West Bradford
Downingtown, PA
Cheryl Wanko

Sustainable Features Geothermal Solar Site Type Government Building Organization: West Bradford Township
Geothermal Home
West Bradford, PA
Cheryl Wanko
Sustainable Features Geothermal Site Type Home
Nature Farm Solar Home
Chester Springs, PA
Dave Weber
Sustainable Features Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Heat Pump(s), Passive Solar, Solar PV – Rooftop, Other Other Sustainable Features: Electric mower, on-demand electric hot water heater System Size (in kW): 10+ Solar Site Type Home
West Chester Borough Chestnut Street Garage Solar Canopy (drone video)
West Chester, PA
Jim Wylie,  the chair of the Southeastern PA Group, Sierra ClubSustainable Features Solar PV – Rooftop Other Sustainable Features: System Size (in kW): 79 Solar Site Type Government Building Organization: Solarize Greater West Chester
Strategies for a More Sustainable Home
Wayne, PA
Rutger Boerema
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Heat Pump(s) System Size (in kW): 8.16 Solar Site Type Home
Speksnijder Solar Site
West Chester, PA
Will ClaudioSustainable Features Battery Storage, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Net zero, Solar PV – Rooftop Solar Site Type Home

Curbside compost coming to you

Good sustainability news from West Chester Weekly News Roundup by hellowestchester , 9/17/21 (sign up there for weekly emails with the latest on West Chester)

Brace yourself. You ready? West Chester is moving forward with its long awaited community composting option.

“We’ve tried to do this a couple of different times,” said West Chester Sustainability Director William Williams at this month’s Borough Council working session.  “We’ve gotten grant funds. We’ve built these programs. The grant goes away. The program goes away.” Well, not this time.

After reviewing four different options from purely educational to 100% Borough-run, Will and West Chester’s Sustainability Advisory Committee think they have come up with a solution that just may stick. One that puts a little bit of the onus on each of the stakeholders – Borough, resident, private sector.

The plan? partner with a private curbside collection service, in this case, WasteWell.

How it works

All members of the program get a big 5-gallon bucket at sign up. You fill it with fruit, vegetable scraps, eggshells, cut flowers, shredded newspaper, etc. (don’t worry, they’ll give you a list). Then every two weeks you put it outside and WasteWell comes to collect it, but that’s not it…

“I almost forgot the best part,” Will said. Every sprint you can get 40lbs of a compost delivered for free. The service normally costs $18/mo but will be offered to Borough residents at $15/mo or a 17 percent discount. WasteWell is also offering to collect from one low-income resident for only $1/mo for every ten West Chester residents that sign up.  

The takeaway In terms of immediate savings, it won’t mean much for the Borough. Once they subsidize the savings, they are looking to net a whopping $3/year per participating customer. Should they hit their year-one goal, that would mean $300 in savings but this isn’t about the short game. It’s the long-term impact and the right thing to do environmentally, that make it compelling.

According to Will, the Chester County landfill currently has less than 15-year capacity. When it’s full we’ll have to start shipping our waste to distant locales at, of course, a cost. “We should do everything in our capacity to extend the capacity of the landfill,” said Will Williams and this would definitely be a step in the right direction. 
Soon West Chester alleys may be lined with grey WasteWell buckets.

Famed natural gardens expert Doug Tallamy to speak at WCU Sept. 13

Please let us know you are coming at Eventbrite.

Dr. Doug Tallamy will describe his plan for a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity through native plantings in your backyard. Dr. Tallamy, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, best-selling author, and an international expert on restoring health to the planet through plants, will visit West Chester University on Monday, September 13.

Prof. Tallamy will spend the day speaking to University classes and will offer a 5pm lecture to the community. Dr. Tallamy is the co-founder of Homegrown National Park, with the purpose to regenerate biodiversity, one person at a time, though a grassroots call-to-action that focuses on native plantings.

Please join West Chester Green Team and WCU Office of Sustainability, which are co-sponsoring Doug’s lecture, at 5:00pm in Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall at 700 S. High Street in West Chester Borough.

THIS EVENT IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUESTED

Download the below flyer here.

Little Library installed at the Melton Center

As part of the joint summer 2021 community garden program at the Melton Center, the West Chester Green Team agreed to install a Little Library. The books, which will initially be related to environment, sustainability and gardening, were gathered and placed on the shelves by retired Library Specialist Peggy Pillard. People are welcome to take those books for their own reading pleasure and, if they wish, to bring in others to share.

Photo thanks to Bob Eaves of Rotary

Many thanks also to the Rotary Club of Greater West Chester, whose members kindly assembled, stained and installed the shipped pieces of the Little Library; the attractive result, awaiting its complement of reading matter, is shown in the first photo; and now with books, in the second photo, showing the plaque recognizing WC Green Team as donor.

Green Team president Margaret Hudgings, who coordinated the initiative, explains: “The mission of our Little Library project at the Melton Center is to encourage, particularly among the young, the art of reading and knowledge about environment and the world.”

Photo by our books curator Peggy Pillard

We are grateful to all who ensured the success of this important project.

The Melton Center library box joins more than 100,000 worldwide (including 20 in the West Chester area) coordinated by the Little Free Library movement.

Mondays at Melton grand finale

Rani holds the globe in her hands

The 2021 Mondays at Melton summer environmental camp wrapped up on August 9 with “One Kiwi, Two Kiwis,” a story about her native New Zealand read by Rani Norley, wife of West Chester Borough mayor Jordan Norley.

Forty people of all ages joined the celebration and learned how New Zealanders, also known as Kiwis, greet each other, a bit about their history as a British Commonwealth nation, and an overview of their famous and unique animals.

“Kiwi One and Kiwi Two”

Rani shared photos of the mountains and national parks of her beautiful native land and passed around a small globe, which she used to show where New Zealand is relative to the US and to illustrate why the northern and southern hemispheres have opposite seasons.

Eunice sings and plays

In addition, environmental educator and Melton Center staff member Eunice Alexander strummed her guitar and sang songs about spiders and snakes–and how good they are for the Earth. As a special treat of the evening, everyone enjoyed gelato generously donated by D’Ascenzo’s.

Sue and Michael scoop ice cream

Thanks also to Sue Patterson of the West Chester Co-op and Michael Hartman of Senator Carolyn Comitta’s office for serving ice cream.

Listening to Rani

You can see all of the activity reflected in the photos above and below expertly taken by Taka Nagai.

Earlier lessons at the camp featured growing and cooking with tomatoes, information on endangered animals, a story on city gardening, a Japanese tale of a magic peach, and an overall focus on good nutrition and the importance of eating healthy vegetables grown in your own garden.

Thanks to Senator Carolyn Comitta and her husband Tom for their generous financial contribution to Mondays at Melton, to Jessica Nagle for being a regular part of programs, to Reiko Yoshida and Taka Nagai, who came 3 times, took photos and provided Japanese cookies and candy for the peach evening, and especially to Jamie Comfort Atkins, director of the Melton Center’s New Directions program and overall coordinator of Mondays at Melton.

Mondays at Melton are an outgrowth of the West Chester Green Team and the Melton Center’s collaboration on their first annual community garden program. WCU Professor Ashlie Delshad advises the gardeners, who are enjoying a bountiful harvest.  Snacking on cherry tomatoes they pick themselves, the children learned when and how to harvest from their own gardens.

Mondays at Melton were sponsored by the Melton Center and the WC Green Team. For more information on Mondays at Melton and the WC Green Team’s related community gardening program, type “Melton” in the Search box in the right sidebar or contact Margaret Hudgings, mhudgings@gmail.com.

With plants in raised bed
Passing the book on NZ
Nice mask!
West Chester Mayor Norley and kids
What a beautiful cone!
Liz and Jamie hold the flag

PA has a long way to go in renewables

This image from “Inside Clean Energy: Three Charts that Show the Energy Transition in 50 States” by Inside Climate News reflects some good news: “The Energy Information Administration reported last week that, for the first time ever, the United States generated more electricity from renewable sources in 2020 than from coal.”

On the other hand, our own state, which has contributed far more than its fair share to fossil fuel extraction* and therefore to the current global climate crisis, has done far less than its fair share to ramp up renewable energy production, ranking 23rd among the 50 states plus DC (2020 figures). Note that Texas and California are so far ahead of the others that they are shown on a different scale at the bottom of the chart.

It’s clearly a matter of political will, not geography; otherwise, why would PA rank so far behind 7th-place Minnesota in both wind and solar energy? And if it weren’t political, why would Kentucky rank dead last, even after tiny DC?

*Although antecedents around the world go back thousands of years, the first modern oil well is considered to have been drilled in Titusville PA in 1859. Even today, among the states PA ranks 2nd in producing natural gas, 3rd in coal, and 18th in crude oil (2019 figures from EIA download).

Mondays at Melton, August 2: A Glimpse of Japan

by Cara Corridoni

With the Tokyo Olympics just underway, last week Melton Center students got a juicy glimpse into Japanese culture.

Reiko and Misaki reading Momo Taro-san

As part of their Mondays at Melton series, the West Chester Green Team partnered with the Japan Foundation to tell students the story of Momotaro, a child born from a giant peach. The only son of an elderly couple, Momotaro leaves as an adolescent to protect his village from a band of ogres. With the help of some friends he meets along the way, Momotaro is able to convince the ogres to repent of their misdeeds and returns to his homeland a hero. Momotaro is an oral story that may date back to the 14th century.

Boy eating peach at Momo story

The story helped to illustrate the importance of oral storytelling in the Japanese culture while celebrating peach season locally. After the reading, students enjoyed delicious peaches from Barnard’s Orchards, sampled some Japanese candy and got to try their hand at the Japanese art form of origami.

Special thanks to Japan Foundation volunteers Reiko Yoshida, her daughter Misaki and husband Taka Nagai (our stalwart photographer) for making the evening one that students won’t soon forget. 

Type “Melton” in the Search box in the right sidebar for earlier stories about Mondays at Melton.

Jessica Nagle shows how
Reiko instructs in origami