The Conservation-Nature Committee at Whitney Center, a senior living community, is made up of seniors with a passion for conservation, recycling and sustainable living. On April 22, the committee hosted its annual Earth Day Spectacular to educate, involve, inform and inspire fellow residents, staff members, family and friends to become advocates for the plane.
The Conservation-Nature Committee is hard at work year-round offering advice, tips and education about environmental issues and sustainable living.
Co-chairs Malinda Hennen and Kristin Johnson, committee coordinator Howard Lawrence, and the committee members were very excited about this year’s Earth Day event and the booklet they created to share the importance of conservation, recycling and appropriate use of limited resources with all those who attended.
“We are trying to educate the residents here so they can educate their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren,” said Johnson.
“Three words: Awareness-Action-Participation,” said Lawrence.
Improving energy efficiency and developing long-term, sustainable energy management strategies for the campus are important to Whitney Center and its residents and the Conservation-Nature Committee works closely with staff to analyze and discuss practices to achieve greater energy efficiency in all areas.
“I’ve learned so much,” said Hennen. “I thought I knew a lot but there is so much more to know and it’s important to share the information with others. We’ve been overwhelmed with all the new information we’ve been able to find.”
The committee bases its work around the fact that scientific data indicates that humans are living beyond the carrying capacity of planet Earth and that this cannot continue indefinitely. The committee’s philosophy is to achieve sustainability.
According to Johnson, plastic is the greatest recycling issue facing the planet right now.
“I’m a birder, so I’m concerned about nature and the environment,” said Johnson. “As an individual I feel a responsibility to all species, not just humans.”
Hennen recalls how she became involved with conservation to preserve the natural environment for future generations.
“I remember going on family camping trips at a young age. We would camp out in very natural areas,” said Hennen. “I saw over time the changes in the places where we camped and I realized my daughter would not get to see the things I had seen and realized we needed to make a change.”
Lawrence stressed the importance of setting an example for others such as turning off the lights when leaving a room.
The Conservation-Nature Committee uses a subcommittee structure, incorporating Energy, Recycling, Programs and Communications, to achieve its goal of creating a sustainable, green environment at Whitney Center. Members educate residents and management by inviting speakers, publishing “Green Hints” in the weekly newsletter, maintaining a bulletin board and working with other Whitney Center committees.
“The earth is not here for us and we constantly need to be reminded of this,” said Johnson. “We need to be better caretakers, for all creatures, for now and the future.”
The Earth Day Spectacular featured a number of exhibits including LED light fixtures, indoor/outdoor composting equipment, environmental videos, and two electric cars.
The booklet the committee created, which will be handed out to each new resident in a welcome bag, includes important information about how to reduce resource use and plastic pollution, how to reuse household items, single stream recycling at Whitney Center, and a smart plastics guide.
The most important thing the Conservation-Nature Committee members want everyone to remember — “Earth Day is every day!”