Durham Seeks 2016 Golden Leaf Awards Nominations

Golden Leaf Awards

Golden Lead Award Recipients at the 2010 Golden Leaf Award Reception

DURHAM, N.C. – Beginning February 14, nominations can be submitted to recognize Durham properties that illustrate the best visual or environmental contributions to the community.

The Durham City-County Appearance Commission, Keep Durham Beautiful, and the Durham City-County Environmental Affairs Board are seeking 2016 Golden Leaf Awards nominations, which recognize new developments, buildings, and landscaping in Durham County that provide positive attributes to the built environment.

Nomination categories include Neighborhood Garden & Landscape; Hearth & Home; Adaptive Reuse–Old Building New Design; Small Development (under 12,000 sq. ft.); Large Development (over 12000 sq. ft.); Keep Durham Beautiful; and Sustainable Design.

Homeowners, building owners, architects, landscape architects, developers, realtors, and anyone involved in design, planning, and construction are encouraged to enter projects completed within the last five years. Residents who think there are certain Durham properties that have outstanding curb appeal are also invited to nominate those properties.

Visit the Golden Leaf Awards website to review complete descriptions of the categories, submission criteria, and nomination forms. Submissions can be made beginning Sunday, February 14, 2016, and are due by Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Winners in all categories will be honored with a Golden Leaf award at this year’s awards reception and ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Durham County Government Administrative Complex Commissioners’ Chambers, 200 E. Main Street, Durham. For more information, contact Planning Supervisor Aaron Cain with the Durham City-County Planning Department at (919) 560-4137, ext. 28226 or by email.

About the Durham City-County Appearance Commission

The Durham City-County Appearance Commission is made up of 15 members, seven appointed by the City Council and eight appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Its mission is to cultivate excellence in design, preservation and stewardship of the natural and built environment; to communicate the economic, social, and aesthetic value of good design and planning; and to celebrate exemplary design within the community.

About Keep Durham Beautiful

Keep Durham Beautiful is a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with the City of Durham General Services Department and Durham County to encourage residents, businesses, and community organizations to protect the environment and enhance the appearance of Durham through cleanup events, beautification projects, waste reduction, and educational activities. To learn more, visit the website, like on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Instagram.

About the Durham City-County Environmental Affairs Board 

The City of Durham and Durham County jointly established the Environmental Affairs Board (EAB) in 1991, in recognition of the importance of local cooperation on environmental issues. The EAB is an advisory board of appointed volunteer citizens to provide the City and County with expert and comprehensive advice on various environmental matters. It is also a mechanism for facilitating communication between the public and local government leaders. The EAB considers topics such as watershed protection, natural resource protection, air quality, environmental impacts of industrial development, environmental education, green building design, energy conservation, and global climate change.

Can I recycle this? Your Recycling FAQs answered

Recycling Tour - January 2016

Durham residents joined Keep Durham Beautiful and the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department on a guided tour of the Sonoco Recycling plant in Raleigh.

Last month, Keep Durham Beautiful and the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department partnered together to offer a free bus tour of the Sonoco recycling facility in Raleigh, NC.

The tour featured a trip to the City of Durham’s new transfer station, where our solid waste and recycling is consolidated into larger trucks then hauled either to the landfill or recycling plant, respectively. Following the life of our recycling from curbside to market, the tour made its way to the Sonoco Recycling Plant where our single stream recycling in Durham is sent after it is collected.  Sonoco is a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that sorts and prepares recyclable materials to sell to manufacturing end-users. The manufacturing end-users turn our paper, plastics, and metals into new products, keeping these materials out of the landfill.

Interested residents took a guided tour through the state-of-the art facility and saw how a combination of manual and mechanical sorting allowed Sonoco to separate and bale the various materials (aluminum, steel, cardboard, mixed paper, and different types of plastics) with impressive accuracy. Afterwards, everyone was welcomed to ask both City of Durham Solid Waste Management and Sonoco representatives their burning recycling and waste reduction questions. Here are some of the answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions related to recycling in Durham:

Recycling FAQ’s:

Recycling Tour - MRF

Sonoco Recycling is a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that sorts and prepares recyclable materials to sell to manufacturer end-users. Durham’s single-stream recyclables go to this recycling plant in Raleigh after collection.

Can I recycle phone books?

Yes. You can recycle your old (or new, but unwanted) phone books in the recycling bin. Want to opt-out of receiving phone books at altogether? Visit: https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/

Can I recycle pizza boxes? What if they have some residual grease?

Yes. Pizza boxes are recyclable, even with some grease, but remove all trash and as much food residue as possible.

What should I do with plastic bags?

Plastic bags are not accepted in our single-steam recycling bins. They actually will shut down the machines at the MRF. You can recycle plastic bags and other film plastics (such as case wrap, produce bags, food storage bags, newspaper bags, and bubble wrap) at most local grocery stores. To find the nearest drop off location for film plastics, visit: http://bit.ly/1plMotU

How do I recycle my electronic waste?

Electronic waste can be taken to the quarterly E-Waste and Recycling Events hosted by the City of Durham. Don’t want to wait until the next event? Residents are invited to drop off e-waste at the City Transfer Station or County Convenience Sites. Triangle Ecycling and Kramden Institute will also accept computer equipment at no charge.

What should I do with confidential papers?

Confidential papers should be shredded and placed in a clear bag before recycling. You can shred and recycle confidential papers at the quarterly E-Waste and Paper Shredding Event. City residents can also bring up to 4 boxes of paper to shred to the transfer station (2115 E. Club Blvd) on Wednesdays by appointment (919-560-4505).

Which number plastics can be recycled?

You can recycle all plastics in your single-stream recycling bin except #6 (polystyrene) which is Styrofoam and plastic bags and other film plastics (see above question about recycling plastic bags).

To learn more about what is recyclable in Durham, please refer to the City and County’s websites:

Want to join us for the next recycling plant tour?

Keep Durham Beautiful and the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department will be offering periodic tours to the recycling plant in Raleigh. If you are interested in joining us, please sign up for the monthly Keep Durham Beautiful newsletter featuring volunteer opportunities, bulb and tree seedling giveaways, community grant opportunities, recent KDB news, and information on events such as the recycling tour. You can register for our newsletter here: http://bit.ly/1Q0TfHs or email info@keepdurhambeautiful.org.

Erin Victor is an AmeriCorps Project GEOS Service Member working on environmental outreach and volunteer coordination with Keep Durham Beautiful.

Durham Hosts Tree Care 101 Workshop

What: Tree Care 101 Workshop

Who: Trees Across Durham

When: Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Northgate Park 300 W. Club Blvd. Durham, N.C. 27704

Fast Facts

  •  Trees Across Durham is hosting a free tree care workshop to provide volunteers with handson experience while planting and tending to the trees along the Ellerbe Creek Stream Restoration Project, which runs through Northgate Park.
  •  Participants will learn about tree planting, pruning, and other tree care topics. They will also discover the critical role played by trees and forests for stream health and water quality. Tools and gloves for the workshop will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own if possible. Participants should also dress appropriately for the weather and bring water to drink.
  •  Workshop partners include Keep Durham Beautiful, City of Durham General Services Department Urban Forestry Division, Durham City-County Sustainability Office, City of Durham Public Works Department Stormwater & GIS Services Division, and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Mitigation Services.
  •  For additional information or to register for this workshop, visit the Registration Web page or call (919) 560-7993.
  • Additional tree planting volunteer events are being held throughout January and February 2016. Information on all upcoming events is available on Greener Durham’s website.
  • Trees Across Durham is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree caretakers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community.

Share! Register now for free #Durham Tree Care 101 Workshop on Jan. 23 http://tinyurl.com/TADevent

Durham Hosts E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event Jan 16

Share!  #Durham hosts free E-Waste Recycling, Paper Shredding & Tree Disposal Event Jan. 16 http://bit.ly/1QFkpXj

Live Christmas Trees Will Be Accepted at Free and Convenient Event; Open to All Durham Residents and Businesses

DURHAM, N.C. – Durham residents and businesses looking for an easy and free way to recycle electronic waste, shred confidential documents, and dispose of live Christmas trees should attend the City of Durham E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event next month.

The event will be on Saturday, January 16, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the visitor side of the Durham County Memorial Stadium<http://dconc.gov/residents/county-stadium>, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Event staff will be on hand to unload old electronics, paper, and Christmas trees. Hard plastic toys as well as plastic and metal lawn furniture may also be dropped off for recycling.

The event, sponsored by the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department<http://durhamnc.gov/832/Solid-Waste-Management>, Sonoco Recycling<http://www.sonocorecycling.com/>, Shimar Recycling<http://www.shimar.com/>, Synergy Recycling<http://www.synergyrecycling.com/>, and Durham County Government<http://dconc.gov/>, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

  • *         Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.
  • *         Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.
  • *         Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.
  • *         Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines
  • *         Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks, and vacuum cleaners
  • *         Power tools, cordless tools, etc.
  • *         Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems
  • *         This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon.

Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. Requirements for shredding include:

  • *         Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted.
  • *         Only paper should be brought for shredding. CDs, DVDs, and other non-paper items will not be accepted.
  • *         All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper.
  • *         Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material).
  • *         Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility.

The Solid Waste Management Department<http://durhamnc.gov/832/Solid-Waste-Management> will collect live Christmas trees from all solid waste customers from December 28 until February 6. Trees should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on residents’ normal household garbage collection day. Residents are asked to leave the tree at the curb for one week before contacting Durham One Call<http://durhamnc.gov/1439/Durham-One-Call> at (919) 560-1200 to report a missed tree collection. Live Christmas trees can also be dropped off for disposal during this event. Requirements for live Christmas tree disposal include:

  • *         Trees taller than six feet should be cut in half.
  • *         Remove all decorations and hardware, including tinsel, lights, garland, ornaments, nails, and stands.
  • *         Do not place trees in bags.

Residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center<http://durhamnc.gov/878/Waste-Disposal-Recycling-Center>, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Live Christmas trees will also be accepted at the facility at no charge until February 6. Trees delivered after February 6 will be subject to the usual disposal fees. For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call<http://durhamnc.gov/1439/Durham-One-Call> at (919) 560-1200 or visit the City’s Solid Waste Management Department Web page<http://durhamnc.gov/832/Solid-Waste-Management>.

About the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department The Solid Waste Management Department<http://durhamnc.gov/832/Solid-Waste-Management> promotes and supports a high quality of life for the residents of Durham by providing comprehensive, responsive, environmentally-safe, efficient, and cost-effective solid waste collection, recycling, and disposal programs. Department services include roll-out cart collection, cart delivery and repair service, cardboard collection, yard waste collection, waste reduction and recycling, bulky item pick-up, and disposal services. The departmental supports the City’s Strategic Plan<http://durhamnc.gov/183/Strategic-Plan> by providing professional management that contributes to creating thriving, livable neighborhoods as well as an innovative and high-performing organization.

America Recycles Day

ARD_IR_Logo_Green_Nov.-15

Earlier this week we celebrated America Recycles Day (ARD), a national Keep America Beautiful initiative that seeks to raise awareness about recycling each November. Started in 1997, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. According to the EPA, the average individual produces 4.4 pounds of waste PER DAY [1]It is estimated that 75% of this waste is recyclable, however only 30% is currently being recycled [2]. Clearly, we have room to REDUCE our waste stream, REUSE materials we purchase, and increase the amount of materials we RECYCLE.

This year, the theme of America Recycles Day is “Bathroom, Bags & Gadgets.” In efforts to increase the national recycling rate (34.3%), ARD efforts this year are focusing on recycling common products that are often forgotten about – like shampoo containers, plastic bags, and personal electronic devices like phones and tablets. Now, it should be noted- not all of these items can go into your single stream curbside recycling bin that you have at home, school and work. Check out this Recycling Locator to identify where you can take some of those items you are not sure what to do with- such as plastic bags and other film plastics, electronic devices, and clothing. For more information about what you can put in your curbside recycling bins, here is a helpful guide put together by Durham County’s Solid Waste Management department

Why Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

  • To conserve natural resources. Did you know that recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees [3] and recycling one ton of plastic can save up to 2,000 gallons of gasoline? [4]
  • To save energy. Did you know that recycling aluminium requires 95% less energy that making it from scratch? The energy savings are  70% for plastics and 40% for paper. [5]
  • To save landfill space. Did you know that more than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in the landfill every year? That’s the equivalent of filling up two Empire State Buildings every three weeks. [6]
  • To create jobs. Did you know that for every job created by burning or burying waste, 25 recycling-based manufacturing jobs can be created from the same amount of waste? [7]
  • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Did you know that if the U.S. can raise its 34.5% recycling rate to 75%, it will be the CO2 equivalent of removing 50 million cars from the road? [6]

How you can get involved:

How do you Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle at your home, school, work, or organization? Let us know about your efforts to reduce waste and keep Durham clean and green. 


Sources:

  1. Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  2. 11 Facts About Recycling, dosomething.org 
  3. Recycling Fun Facts, The University of Michigan, Plant Operations
  4. Recycling Facts, MRC Polymers
  5. The price of virtue:How to get people recycling more – even if they do not particularly want toThe Economist June 7, 2007.
  6. Recycling Facts, Recycle Across America, 
  7. Recycling Works Fast Facts, Recycling Works 

Volunteers Needed for Historic Geer Cemetery Cleanup on Saturday October 17th

Keep Durham Beautiful teams with Friends of Geer Cemetery to lead volunteers in beautification project

What: Volunteer Cleanup at Historic Geer Cemetery – Volunteers will collect litter and tree debris, remove vines, and protect the grave markers.

When: Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Where: 800 Colonial Avenue, Durham, NC

Why: Geer Cemetery is a four-acre wooded Cemetery in East Durham and the resting place of many of the earliest generations of African Americans in Durham. No group claims ownership of the historic Durham cemetery which remains largely unmaintained and will benefit from the care that these volunteers will provide. Friends of Geer Cemetery formed in order to reveal its significant history and help advocate for this beautiful, rustic and historic public space in Durham. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th constitutional amendment abolishing slavery and an observance is planned later in the year at Geer Cemetery.

Who: The general public is invited to join Keep Durham Beautiful, Friends of Geer Cemetery, City of Durham General Services, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville student volunteers to help beautify the cemetery. Gloves, tools and water will be provided by Keep Durham Beautiful. The City of Durham Department of General Services will assist with debris removal.

Fast Facts:

  • Ron Bartholomew and Wayne Tabron of Durham Marble Works will present a short workshop at the cemetery on resetting and cleaning grave marker stones from 12:30-1:00 pm before the cleanup.
  • The Friends of Geer Cemetery plans to observe the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th constitutional amendment abolishing slavery on December 4, 5 and 6 with the following events in Durham:
    • December 4: Wreath-laying ceremony at Geer Cemetery
    • December 5: Libation ceremony at Stagville State Historic Site
    • December 6: Honorable Judge Allyson K. Duncan, U.S. Circuit Court Judge 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will be the Keynote Speaker at the Friends of Geer Cemetery commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution at White Rock Baptist Church.
  • Friends of Geer Cemetery is a volunteer group meeting monthly to advocate for Geer Cemetery. Its mission is to honor those who lie at rest in the Cemetery, and to preserve Geer Cemetery for posterity.
  • For more information about Saturday’s cleanup or other volunteer projects contact Keep Durham Beautiful at (919) 672-6682 or tania@keepdurhambeautiful.org.

About Keep Durham Beautiful Keep Durham Beautiful is a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with the City of Durham General Services Department and Durham County to encourage residents, businesses, and community organizations to protect the environment and enhance the appearance of Durham through cleanup events, beautification projects, waste reduction, and educational activities. To learn more, visit the website, like on Facebook, and follow on Instagram, flickr, and Twitter.

Durham Encourages Residents to Help Prevent Cankerworm Tree Damage

 

Trees Across Durham Offering Free Workshops and Tree-Banding Materials

Share! #Durham offers free workshops & tree-banding materials to help prevent cankerworm damage http://bit.ly/1N1pq8a

DURHAM, N.C. – Residents interesting in preventing the damaging effects of cankerworms on Durham’s trees should volunteer now to take action to protect their own trees and others in the community.

Trees Across Durham, a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community by planting and protecting trees, is offering free workshops and free tree-banding materials as part of the new “Band Together” Campaign to help residents tackle cankerworms, which have reached outbreak levels in Durham over the last few years.

According to Urban Forestry Manager Alex Johnson with the City of Durham General Services Department, cankerworms are more than just a nuisance. “Cankerworms deplete a tree’s ability to respond to stress by stripping them of their early spring leaves, which forces them to re-grow their canopies from stored reserves before they can begin to generate the nutrients they need to grow and defend themselves,” Johnson said. “Cankerworms are also a nuisance, descending from tree canopies onto cars, houses, lawns, sidewalks, and people. They are indiscriminate feeders upon all plants while they make their way from their hatching sites in the trees to the ground where they pupate.” 

One of the most effective ways to reduce cankerworm populations and save trees is through tree banding. The banding process includes wrapping trees with a sticky barrier, which blocks the flightless female moths from crawling to the tops of trees and laying eggs. This successful technique stops the cankerworms from reproducing which reduces their populations and their damaging effects when a majority of trees in an area are properly banded.

Workshops planned in the coming weeks will teach residents how to properly band their own trees, and volunteer days are set to target several neighborhoods for tree band installations. Residents are encouraged to register for the workshops and volunteer banding days to get updates on locations or rescheduling.

 Workshops:

Volunteer Banding Days:         

  • Thursday, October 15, 2 p.m. – Walltown, meet at the intersection of Green and Berkeley streets
  • Thursday, December 3, 1 p.m. – Old North Durham, meet at Bay-Hargrove Park, 208 Hargrove St.
  • Tuesday, December 8, 1 p.m. – Walltown, meet at the intersection of Green and Berkeley streets

Residents who plan to install tree bands on their own trees should do so by Halloween, and then apply the special glue by the first hard freeze (usually around Thanksgiving). Bands should be removed by May 1 to prevent rot during the hot, humid months.For the second year in a row, the Durham County Main Library, located at 300 N. Roxboro St., will have free tree-banding kits available for checkout by October 16 until the end of December. Kits include materials and tools to band approximately two medium-sized trees. Durham County received the National Association of Counties Achievement Award for offering this innovative banding kit check-out program last year.The “Band Together” Campaign is a partnership between Trees Across Durham, City of Durham, Durham County, Keep Durham Beautiful, and other community organizations to encourage residents to take steps now to reduce cankerworms. For more information about cankerworms, including a video which explains how to band a tree, as well as workshops and volunteer days, visit Trees Across Durham, email, or call (919) 560-7993.  

Durham Hosts E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event

Free and Convenient Event Open to All Durham Residents and Businesses

DURHAM, N.C. – Durham residents and businesses looking for an easy and free way to recycle electronic waste and shred confidential documents should attend the City of Durham’s E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event next month.

The event will be on Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the visitor side of the Durham County Memorial Stadium, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Event staff will be on hand to unload old electronics and paper. Hard plastic toys as well as plastic and metal lawn furniture may also be dropped off for recycling.

The event, sponsored by the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department, Sonoco Recycling, Shimar Recycling, Synergy Recycling, and Durham County Government, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

  • Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.
  • Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.
  • Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.
  • Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines
  • Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks, and vacuum cleaners
  • Power tools, cordless tools, etc.
  • Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems
  • This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon. Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. Requirements for shredding include:
  • Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted. 
  • Only paper should be brought for shredding. CDs, DVDs, and other non-paper items will not be accepted. 
  • All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper.
  • Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material).
  • Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility. 

Residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 or visit the City’s Solid Waste Management Department Web page

Growing Durham’s Future: Eastway Elementary Orchard Project

Angier Avenue Neighborhood Workday CrossFit Group

Volunteers from CrossFit Durham and Bull City Crossfit lend their strength and perseverance at the Keep Durham Beautiful gardening workday at Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm on Saturday, August 29. These CrossFit volunteers worked alongside community members clearing and mulching the blueberry patch and preparing a perennial bed at this unique ½ acre urban farm located in NE Central Durham. Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, the Eastway Elementary Orchard, and a new community garden space on Taylor Street coming this Fall, are all efforts to increase access to local, fresh food in this area of Durham.

With school back in full swing, parents across the city are busy packing lunches. The newest “hot item” for your child’s lunchbox: the paw paw. Haven’t heard of a paw paw? This native fruit looks like a green mango and tastes like a cross between a mango, cantaloupe, and banana.

You are unlikely to find paw paws in the produce aisle of your favorite grocery store. But luckily for all the parents packing lunches in the Bull City, if you keep a close eye out, you can find paw paw trees scattered throughout Durham. Come September, Northeast Central Durham will welcome Paw Paws, along with other native fruit trees, to the Eastway Elementary Orchard.

Eastway Elementary School, home of the Eastway Eagles, is committed to “Growing Durham’s Future.” This elementary school is working hard to grow Durham’s future, both literarily and figuratively, and will be planting an orchard with Keep Durham Beautiful as part of the Green Apple Day of Service on September 26, 2015.

The Green Apple Day of Service, through the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGCB), is an opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects. This year, Keep Durham Beautiful, the USGCB NC, and Building Managers and Managers Association (BOMA) Raleigh-Durham have partnered together to plant an orchard at the entranceway of Eastway Elementary School.

The project will convert the grassy area in front of the school into an orchard with native fruit trees and fruiting shrubs, perennial flowers, benches, and educational signs. The Eastway Orchard project provides opportunities for beautification, education, health, and community building in Northeast Central Durham, which is a target area for the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative. This area is characterized as a “food desert,” meaning there is a lack of access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Planting an orchard on the school grounds will provide the Eastway community increased food access, a dynamic outdoor learning environment, and a chance for children to connect to where food comes from.

Education & Advocacy Manager Sarah Montgomery at USGBC NC looks forward to a large group of volunteers from the school and surrounding community to participate in planting the edible school orchard for the students and families at Eastway. “There is nothing more exciting to me than to see students, teachers, administrators, and parents come together with their community members and work collaboratively on a project to improve their local school. Eastway Elementary’s Orchard project is an opportunity to showcase the community-based, community-driven, transformative work happening all across Durham,” Montgomery said.

To learn more about Green Schools at USGBC NC, visit the website: http://www.usgbcnc.org/


**Update 10/2**

Due to the weather, the Green Apple Day of Service Orchard Planting Workday has been rescheduled for Monday, October 12, 2015. Please check back or email for the latest information. 

Green Apple Day of Service | Monday, October 12, 2015

Eastway Elementary School, 610 N. Alston Ave., Durham, N.C. 27701

12-4pm (tentative time, please email for updates)

Join us as we plant a small orchard at the entrance of Eastway Elementary! For more information and to register, email erin@keepdurhambeautiful.org.


 

It’s All About the Energy

The following post was written by our guest blogger, Veronica Kim. Veronica is an upcoming senior at Durham Academy writing about her experiences as a volunteer with Keep Durham Beautiful throughout the summer. 

Annabella Gong, a senior at Durham Academy and leader of the school's Go Green Club

Annabella Gong, a senior at Durham Academy and leader of the school’s Go Green Club

Every Monday morning at Durham Academy, students have the opportunity to make announcements to their peers, whether it be about clubs, sports teams, or anything in between. This year, Annabella Gong, a spirited senior with short hair and a huge voice, took the podium. Gong, leader of the Go Green Club at DA, began the announcement that would eventually become a running joke among the student body: “Please recycle your water bottles, but first, please take your caps off the bottles! The caps are non-recyclable and need to be thrown in the trash.”

After that first announcement, it was gradually shortened to the following scene: Gong sprinting her way down the auditorium aisle to be the first at the podium, a ripple of laughter through the students and teachers as she grinned knowingly at them, and a quick Remember to take your caps off your water bottles before you recycle them! Thanks guys before going to sit back down.

This little episode, although now outdated – since companies have begun to recycle water bottles with caps still intact – is just one example of Gong’s dedication to environmental conservation at DA.

Gong not only started this weekly tradition-of-sorts but fiercely upheld her passions for recycling elsewhere. Every Wednesday, a different DA advisory completes recycling, where the students collect the waste from each recycling bin on campus and consolidate it into three massive containers. It is a messy, unforgiving job that involves many soggy papers, half-empty soda cans, and, of course, the constant need to unscrew the caps from water bottles that have been discarded without regard for proper recycling protocol. However, every Wednesday without fail, Gong and her fellow Go Green Club leaders could be found working tirelessly alongside the advisory members, unscrewing lids, dumping out excess liquids, smiles on their faces.

When Gong was asked about what drove this indefatigable love for the environment, she responded: “I’ve always cared for the environment. I come from a family that is very environmentally conscious… my dad owns a garden, we compost… it’s just a personal interest of mine.” Environmental protection is a topic that has recently been brought to the forefront of public awareness through Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change. Gong shares her views as well; for her, it is not a very two-sided debate. “Sustainability is the one issue that holds no ambiguities… either you protect Mother Nature, or you unnecessarily suffocate your future,” she says.

In fact, Gong went beyond the recycling norm, expanding the Go Green Club at DA to include a new program called TerraCycle®. TerraCycle® is a nationwide initiative that collects hard-to-recycle materials, such as granola bar wrappers, chip bags, shoes, and plastic cups, and upcycles them to create an array of products (including backpacks, park benches, fences, etc). At the beginning of second semester, the Go Green Club gave a presentation on TerraCycle®, and Gong announced that a plethora of small boxes would be scattered around the campus so that students could easily and conveniently TerraCycle® their waste. Since the TerraCycle® program consists of many different categories (after all, sneakers cannot be easily upcycled alongside toothbrushes), DA would primarily be TerraCycling® granola bar wrappers and chip bags, two things that abound on a high school campus.

The TerraCycle® program exploded (for lack of a better term) at DA. Gong puts it this way: “We were just giving it a shot… at first people were like, ‘Oh, this is pretty cool,’ but then we really started to accumulate a ton of waste. By the end of five months we had over a thousand wrappers.” Not only were students actively involved in the TerraCycle® program, they were helpful and friendly towards members of the Go Green Club who were making it happen. “People… would always be happy and encouraging when they saw me,” recalls Gong.

Gong was honored at DA’s Magnificent Seven assembly in April, which celebrates seven outstanding individuals who have made a lasting impression on the DA community. She won the award for “caring for the environment and property” almost unanimously. When the Upper School director stood up to present the award, nearly everybody in the audience had already guessed its recipient.

Perhaps the reason that the Go Green Club flourished this year was due to Gong’s incredible, authentic love for the practices that she preached. “I’m a loud person, and I get really excited about things easily, and infusing that energy into Go Green Club helped elevate it to a more active, known component of campus life,” she says.

When asked about how other schools can work to implement more effective recycling programs, Gong said, “People are open to recycling, they just might hesitate in participating in these initiatives because they don’t entirely understand their value and purpose. It’s important to help them understand why you should recycle, and from there, people will do it.” She stresses that a successful recycling program cannot survive under the guidance of just a few people: “There’s more of an impact [in] having the entire school involved.”

But what is the most important part about leading such a prosperous recycling initiative? “You need someone who is very vocal… who is not afraid to embarrass themselves over something that he or she is very passionate about. I was just really passionate about recycling; people noticed, and then they got jazzed up to participate as well,” explains Gong. “Keep it fun and enjoyable… that is the most effective way to get the message across.”

Her closing statement, though, was a lot more personal. She acknowledged the recognition she received for her leadership in Go Green Club, but also admitted that it was unusual. “I’m very blessed to have been recognized,” she said. “Personal recognition helps encourage me to continue doing what I’m doing, but as long as the environment is making progress and people enjoy doing it, I am very happy.”

To learn more about the TerraCycle® program, visit: https://www.terracycle.com/en-US.