Category Archives: Garden News

Community Garden Update and Invitations

Featuring our new Fence
Featuring our new Fence

Check out the new feature at the Community Garden! The black chain-link fence more clearly defines the growing area and is essential for providing a safe place for growing produce. The Sustainable Life Club is taking the lead in preparing the beds for the next planting season.

Join us on Saturday (10/8), 12:30 – 1:30. Come for 5 minutes or 25 minutes. Participate in planting seedlings to grow under a low tunnel yet this fall. No experience needed!

Also check out what else is “in season”.  Cover crops of oats and field peas are coming up in the first newly raked bed. Cover crops return nutrients to the soil and protect it from erosion. They boost the organic matter which increases the microbial community surrounding the roots. These plants will grow modestly in the fall and if the winter is not too harsh, out-compete the weeds in the spring. The oat plants have deep roots which help aerate and keep the soil loose. The pea plants will increase the nitrogen levels in the soil while climbing up the oat stalks. These plants will be pulled up and composted by mid-April making the bed available for your favorite produce crops.

Inside the fenced area, peppermint plants are perky, bright green and fragrant. I am confident you can ID this one! Pick a few leaves to put in your water bottle.

Please abide by these guidelines:

Close and latch the fence gate each time you pass through. Dogs must stay outside the fenced area.

Walk between the beds, not stepping in the planting rows, to avoid compacting the prepared soil.

Lastly, enjoy the Red Raspberries that remain ready for the picking. If you have not yet tasted these gems, hustle on over for a treat. Use your senses to find ones perfectly ripe for you!

Ort Report: Week 1

This past Thursday April 2nd, marks the first Ort Report of this trimester, after we weighed and recorded the baseline in February. Many students enthusiastically embraced the Ort report, and they proudly boasted their lack of food waste. Great job guys! This week however we weighed and recorded seven full five-gallon buckets of food waste, totaling about 102 pounds of waste total. This waste was about 25.5 pounds above our baseline. Some of the extra weight may be due to the large amount of inedible corn cobs that were left over from lunch, but we still have room for improvement.

Now that the first Ort Report of the trimester is complete, we hope that students will actively think about food waste on their mind as the weeks continue. We aim to beat our minimum waste from last year of 50 pounds. Let’s make this week’s Ort Report an anomaly and start a downward trend of food waste as the trimester continues.

Keep an eye open for the Ort report and help do your part to keep our world Green and Blue!

Ort Report: Baseline

March 26th, 2015


Now that the Green Cup Challenge is over, Williston’s Sustainable Life Club is starting the annual Ort Report on campus! This past Thursday, February 26, students were asked to place all of their food waste into five-gallon buckets in order for them to be weighed. With almost 6 full buckets containing items from napkins, food, and liquids, the average totaled to about 76.5 lbs! Compared to the baseline of last year, 98 lbs, this is a total 21.5 lbs lighter.

Throughout the weeks to come after Spring Break, we hope that students are more conscious about what they are wasting during their mealtimes. Hopefully, with Ort Reports being taken, we will see a downward trend this year! Last year’s minimum amount of waste was 50 lbs, we hope to beat that marking point during the spring of 2015 and continue reducing our food waste.

Keep an eye out for the Ort Report!

Diversity Workshop

Think Differently: Sharing Sustainable Perspectives

On February 20th, during the Diversity Symposium, the Sustainability Club ran a fun, interactive workshop for several students. The workshop included demonstrations about clean water, usable land top soil, over fishing and resources, and aquaculture.  Our main goal was to introduce and educate the students about sustainability and its environmental, cultural, and economic viewpoints through different activities. Some of the activities asked students for their input of what sustainability was and how they could make a difference. Some of the responses are below.

What does sustainability mean?

  1. “Sustainability is the action where something will never diminish and will always be available”
  2. “Sustainability means having enough resources and using them smartly so they will last”
  3. “Sustainability: keeping a healthy earth/ecosystem for all living things”
  4. “Sustainability is the efficient and responsible usage of our resources in a way that also preserves the beauty of Nature”
  5. “In my perspective sustainability means to protect the environment, decrease water consumption, and use more efficient energy”
  6. “To  keep the environment a nice place to live in”
  7. “The preservation and salvation of keeping the Earth green”
  8. “Sustainability means to have sustainable life such as enough resources to live”

How can we make an impact in our community?

  1. “By encouraging a sustainable approach to the campus ecosystem”
  2. “Make sure we recycle correctly”
  3. “Use less water, don’t litter, use less energy. Recycle.”
  4. “Could make rules so we don’t run out of stuff”
  5. “We could try to presrve animals and plants better. Not use pesticides. Limit the usage of non-renewable resources”
  6. “Spread awareness and reduce, reuse, recycle.”
  7. “We need to let everybody know the importance of being a sustainable society, and in need to spread out the idea of saving resources”
  8. “Educate people in our community about environmental impacts”

The responses were nice to use when addressing how sustainability has an important economic and cultural aspect besides the most popular environmental one. This was addressed in our case study of aquaculture from a small  farm. As the weeks continue, the club hopes to educate more students about their impact in the community and globally. Keep an eye out for the Ort Report that will be addressing Food waste in the weeks to come!

Green Cup Challenge: Dorm Listings

From January 15th to February 11th, the Williston Northampton School was a participant in the Green Cup Challenge. The Green Cup Challenge is a school to school competition to see which school could save the most energy during the four weeks, with the hope to instill sustainable habits in the students. At Williston, the Sustainable Life Club also narrows the competition to make it a dorm to dorm competition. Although Williston’s data will not be processed and posted until later this week, the final data for the dorm competitions are in!

The amount of energy used per week by dorm is compared with the amount of energy used from a baseline of three years during the month of January and February. Conant and Sawyer had switched their heating system last year, which helped  it use less electricity. Although, the amount of enthusiasm in the dorms, was supported with the data throughout the competition.

The school made a HUGE improvement from only four dorms in the first two weeks that were saving energy (Memorial Hall, Conant and Sawyer, Hathaway, and Logan) to seven dorms in the last week! Below are the top three dorms for each week.

Week 1  First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall     Third place: Logan

Week 2  First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall      Third place: Logan

Week 3   First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall     Third place: 194

Week 4   First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall      Third place: Reed

Dorm by dorm competition during the four weeks

Conant and Sawyer had held on strong for all four weeks as first place. They will continue to have possession of the Green Cup Flag until March break. Memorial Hall had earned second place, continually saving energy for all four weeks. Combining the amount of energy saved from Memorial Hall and Conant and Sawyer, a total of 3,480 lbs of carbon dioxide was saved throughout the competition. Logan and 194 continued to switch back and forth for third place throughout the competition, as well. Reed, or the day student’s building for the competition, gained an honorable mention from averaging 27 kwh saved to 147 kwh saved in the last week.

All of the dorms in the last week (excluding data that was transcribed incorrectly from Hathaway), the school had saved a total of 1,076 lbs of carbon dioxide.

Although we saw a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the dorms to save energy, the especially cold month may contribute to the loss of energy in certain dorms. With the new solar lamps distributed to each dorm, we hope that this enthusiasm is still harnessed after the Green Cup Challenge, and that students are inspired to help save energy outside of the competition as well.

The final results for Williston, in the school to school competition, will be released later this week, so keep an eye out!