Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Green Society: Active on campus & in the community

The Green Society, MWCC's enterprising sustainability club for students, has not only left an indelible mark on campus, but has gained a name for itself in the community as well. For the past few years, club members have volunteered at the annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange and at the Thanksgiving Harvest Festival at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.

On Saturday, Nov. 20, club members and their advisor, Professor Tom Montagno, will once again sponsor and oversee two of the popular "X-Games" at the harvest festival: the "Hay Bale Tossing"championship and the "World Wood Stacking Competition." Prizes go to the participants who can fling hay bales the farthest and stack a cord of wood faster and neater than others. The festival, now in its 8th year, promotes buying locally grown food and supports local farmers by providing an opportunity for people to purchase fresh produce, crafts and other goods in time for the holidays.

In October, club members again volunteered at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, dubbed "the festival that stinks." Their task - recycling and composting trash - may not sound glamorous, but the results certainly are remarkable. More than 10,000 people attended this year, yet once the volunteers were done sorting biodegradable utensils, bottles, food scraps and other recyclables from the refuse, the trash was condensed to just two bags!

This fall, club members have been busy maintaining two ongoing projects on campus: the organic Kitchen Garden alongside the greenhouse, and composting kitchen scraps to reduce the amount of garbage going into the trash stream. The club rebuilt the garden beds, planted garlic for use next year, and planted alfalfa to feed more nitrogen into the soil. In the spring, vegetables and herbs will be planted for use in meals prepared by The Green Street Cafe. And, once this winter's snow has come and gone, watch for the club's annual "bulb sale" (energy-efficient light bulbs, that is), as well as continued participation in the Community Garden on campus.

Pictured: Several members of The Green Society with Professor Tom Montagno at the Kitchen Garden.

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