Chris Bedford Arts Festival & Sustainability Awards Program
The 2012 Chris Bedford Arts Festival & Sustainability Awards Program came to fruition from the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition. The committee was seeking a way to honor those persons, companies and schools who were setting their best green foot forward. It did not take long to discover them as they were already making an impact in many of the ways that we live in Muskegon. The executive committee considered many nominations and have divided the Sustainability Champions into categories of Individual, Corporate, Non-Profit, Government, Educational and Special Recognition.
Sustainability Champion – Individual
When considering a person for this award they were noted for their impact to the community as an individual. These persons are using innovation and unique was to reach members of the community to make them think outside the box and work towards being more sustainable in the community.
Joel Darling, Darling Cetaceans
Joel Darling is the President and Co-Founder of DARLING CETACEANS – We would not be sitting here if it was not for the dedication and determination of Joel. In addition to his work with the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition, he oversees the work of DARLING CETACEANS in their education about marine mammals and environmental stewardship. Whale Guy makes the world of marine mammals and environmental stewardship come alive with hands on education.
Renae Hesselink, Nichols
Renae Hesselink is the Vice President of Sustainability at Nichols Paper & Supply – she oversees the sustainability efforts of Nichols, LEED-EB O & M Certification, and assists customers to implement their sustainability efforts; green cleaning and sustainable packaging programs. In addition she is a LEED Accredited Professional and works with the US Breen Building Council and TEDx Muskegon.
Lea Markowski, Catholic Charities of West Michigan
Lea Markowski is the administrative assistant at Catholic Charities of West Michigan – her willingness and passion has kept the Muskegon Area sustainability Coalition Recycling going throughout the years.
Leslee Rohs, County Of Muskegon
Leslee is the Sustainability Coordinator for Muskegon County – she has worked diligently to resource recovery and landfill diversion efforts, public outreach and education, grant writing and Department – wide project facilitation. She joined the Sustainability effort in Muskegon in Jan of 2011 and is currently the only Sustainability Coordinator at a county level in the state of Michigan.
Sustainability Champion – Corporate
When considering a corporation for this award, it was noted how the company was working to become a Sustainable Corporation for other members in the community to look up to. They are seen as leaders in innovation, fresh ideas, and other sustainable ideas.
Nichols Paper and Supply Company began their journey more than five years ago when they took notice of the green cleaning movement within their industry. They have implemented changes not just for their vendors but have changed their own business practices. They implement recycling in their building, reducing energy usage, outdoor light pollution, motion sensor light activation, Energy Star Electronics purchasing, speed limit cap on fleet vehicles and no idle policy to reduce fuel consumption.
Sustainability Champion – Non-Profit
When considering a non-profit for this award, they were looking for someone that was allowing the community to benefit as well as working to sustain the community in jobs, education or health.
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan – Goodwill has been going green for over 100 years. They have been reusing, repurposing, and recycling the things people no longer want. They have successful diverted 13 million pounds of waste from landfills, de-manufacture or refurbished 1 million pounds of computer equipment; reused or recycled over 76% of our donated goods, generating over $11.3 million in revenue or 74% of their annual budget. Clothing and hard goods not suitable for resale are sorted and sold to various recyclers or salvage brokers to for the greatest value. In addition, they are providing jobs, job training and working to promote the benefits of understand its not just junk.
Sustainability Champion – Governmental
When considering a government agency for this award, the committee was seeking an agency that was going beyond the confines of the red tape of a government. They found ways to turn the red tape to green tape to benefit the community in sustainable practices. These agencies are seeking to inspire other governmental groups to take notice of their practices and work to implement them.
County Of Muskegon – Sustainable Practices
Muskegon County has been working diligently to implement sustainable practices throughout their many locations around the county. They have taken the leadership initiative and hired a Sustainability Coordinator and are pursing the hiring of a Mobility Coordinator for Transportation to work on eliminating the barriers of movement around the county. Muskegon County uses compressed natural gas buses in their public transit program, recycling programs implemented in the County Courthouse, Festival Recycling, wind technology at the Waste water treatment plant, as well as a direct burn of methane gas at the landfill.
Sullivan Township/Muskegon Community College – Energy Star Program
Sustainability Champion – Education
When considering an educational institution for this award, the committee looked to the programs at a school and the leaders behind it. These innovations were designed to make students, faculty and staff look beyond the normal confines of a school building and seek out ways to education the future so that they can carry on the legacy of sustainability for future generations. They were looking for inspiration to nurture and support.
Muskegon Public Schools – Bunker Middle School
As you just recently watched in the movie, this garden is not just about the plants, but the students and the bonds that they will form. This garden was created thanks to the Big Red Education Fund and Principal Paul Kurdziel. The garden serves as a green space enhancing the courtyard’s appearance behind the Middle School. The garden serves as a chance for students to plant, observe and grow as a leader. In addition Bunker Middle School students will be part of the a five year monitoring program for the Grand Trunk site along Muskegon Lake Shoreline for restoration purposes.
Whitehall Public Schools – Whitehall Middle School
Under the leadership of Susan Tate, the Whitehall Middle School Environmental Club is working to make an impact on the future one classroom at a time. The club recently was presented with the White Pine Award from Sen. Goeff Hansen giving annually to a group that has contributed to helping Michigan’s environment and placed first in the nation Lexus Eco Challege. The club has implemented paper recycling in their school, a shoe drive to recycle shoes rather than through them away, reduced energy consumption in classrooms, increase recycling at Whitehall football games, encouraging the use of reusable, refillable water bottles, and plated trees around the school.
Sustainability Projects – Special Recognition
This award is to recognize a unique program in the area that would benefit the entire community of Muskegon.
County Of Muskegon Event Recycling
The Count of Muskegon Event Recycling has provided recycling bins to many festivals and events starting in the spring of 2011. The bins could be seen at festival including, Mayfest, Taste of Muskegon, Summer Celebration, Muskegon County Youth Fair,, Unity Christian Music Festival, United Way Day of Caring, and Sportsman for Youth. These bins prevented an estimated 235 cubic yards of cardboard, plastic bottles, cups and aluminum cans from entering the landfill and have allowed Muskegon County Festivals the opportunity to work towards being a greener festival. This program was not just a one year trial, this will continue on for this year and many more to come.