The 2019 Golden Pinecone Sustainability Awards is hosted by GREENevada and greenUP! and the awards celebration will take place on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Reno. The theme for the event is “The Art of Sustainability” recognizing that sustainability is more than a science. The décor is a play on Italian Masters and recycled art from local artists will be featured.
In 2019, GREENevada is recognizing 10 individuals and organizations for their achievements toward improving and sustaining the environment:
- Educator: Kristina Britt – Bordewich-Bray Elementary School
- Educational Program: Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation Student Stewards Program
- Youth Leadership: Alex Marsh, Reed High School
- Individual/Volunteer: Christi Cakiroglu, KTMB
- Nonprofit: Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful
- Nonprofit: The Greenhouse Project
- Government Agency: Diamond Peak Ski Resort
- Small Business: The Great Basin Community Food Co-Op (GBCFC)
- Medium to Large Business: Intuit
- Sustainability Milestone: City of Reno for the 2017 Sustainability Report
- Honorable Mention: RTC for their Lincoln Line zero emission transit route
Background on Individuals and Organizations Awarded
Educator: Kristina Britt – Bordewich-Bray Elementary School
Kristina Britt works at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School in Carson City as a Speech Pathologist, but her love for sustainability has driven her to start the school Green Team back in 2012. They have accomplished so much and the kids love it year after year. Kristina has spearheaded a number of projects throughout the years with the help of grants, local nurseries, DRI, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the school district’s Operations team. Projects include 3 raised garden beds, a Monarch butterfly habitat, an outdoor classroom area, recycling stations around the school, and so much more. Kristina also is a member of the district’s Sustainability Action Team. And she participates in a district wide culture and behavioral change program call PowerED sponsored by McKinstry. Staying after school and inspiring the students to be the change is not a chore for Kristina, she lives sustainability.
Educational Program: Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation Student Stewards Program
Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation’s Student Stewards Program impacts thousands of students’ lives in Washoe County every year through STEM-based lessons that incorporate authentic citizen science. This AmeriCorps-powered program encourages students’ educational aspirations while engaging students, their families, scientists, and volunteers in stewardship of our public lands. Students develop a sense of ownership over their public lands and strengthen our community by contributing to our body of scientific knowledge.
This outdoor science education program consists of in-class and in-park visits that provide students the opportunity to learn about their environment and collect real data for local and national research projects. By transforming parks and open spaces in northern Nevada into citizen science learning laboratories, students become young field scientists who collect, analyze, and report their findings. These lessons open students’ eyes to the value and opportunities that exist in STEM fields and prepare them for success in science careers.
Youth Leadership – Alex Marsh, Reed High School
Alex sees the world differently from most; on a visit to the hospital she noticed an issue. When disconnected, her IV fell to the floor causing contamination. This required a replacement the IV cord to prevent infection a common procedure at the hospital. Alex was disturbed by the idea of throwing away a piece of plastic that required tremendous energy to mine, manufacture, and transport. It drove her to design a little 3D printed clip that would keep an IV tube from falling to the floor. Then she applied for an internship at Renown hospital with the REACT committee and worked to reduce medical waste throughout the facility. Her goal was to work with the hospital to use technology and design to find creative solutions to medical packaging waste. In the future, she plans to use technology to solve some of our community and the world’s biggest environmental problems.
Individual/Volunteer: Christi Cakiroglu, KTMB
Hired as Executive Director in 2002, Christi leads her small staff to coordinate more than 100 volunteer cleanup and beautification events that engages approximately 5,000 volunteers, and educates more than 4,000 youth each year. Under her leadership, KTMB has undertaken several innovative initiatives including the Great Community Cleanup and Truckee River Cleanup Day which is a partnership of local and federal agencies that now engages close to 1,000 volunteers every spring and fall. Working with Lynda Nelson at Washoe County Parks in 2006, Christi developed and KTMB continues to lead the Illegal Dumping Task Force which pursues ways to prevent illegal dumping including educating residents and elected officials about the dangers and negative impacts of blight. Christi’s persistence and tenacity helped provide the spark needed to create what has evolved into the One Truckee River Partnership and Management Plan to guide local municipalities and agencies who want to protect the river.
Nonprofit Organization – Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful
Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to creating a cleaner, more beautiful region through active community involvement and education. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful was founded in 1989 and has worked for 30 years with businesses, municipalities, community groups and individuals to keep our open spaces, the Truckee River, business corridors, and neighborhoods beautiful and clean for all to enjoy. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful organizes hundreds of community beautification projects each year including flower and tree planting, is the voice for a clean and beautiful area by assisting local leaders with major issues like illegal dumping and trash along the river, holds large-scale cleanup events and recruits over 4,000 volunteers a year to help remove litter and invasive weeds, and educates the public about current issues and solutions, provides recycling resources and inspires children to become community stewards through its standards-aligned school programs.
Nonprofit Organization – The Greenhouse Project
The Greenhouse Project (TGP) is a nonprofit corporation with a mission of growing, giving and teaching for a healthier and greener community. The organization grows thousands of pounds of produce each year for the underserved in Carson City, and it provides garden-based learning opportunities for students and the community. At two micro-farm sites, one on the campus of Carson High School and the other at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, farm managers and staff utilize organic growing practices and strive for sustainability. A multitude of flowering plants are propagated throughout TGP gardens to encourage native pollinators and beneficial insects to balance garden pests. A solar array provides a percentage of the electrical needs at the high school site. In addition to the produce that is donated to area food banks, TGP supports Future Farmers of America (FFA) and provides fresh produce and herbs to the Carson High School culinary program.
Government Agency – Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Diamond Peak Ski Resort became first in the region and second in the nation to be recognized for sustainable operations in 2018 by completing a 2-year evaluation and certification process by the independent, third party service – STOKE (Sustainable Tourism Operator’s Kit for Evaluation). The ski area achieved an overall compliance score of 78% across 110 criteria in four categories of sustainability performance. Top initiatives for this community-owned ski area include: free town shuttles, electric vehicle charging stations, a children’s coloring book featuring plants and animals native to the resort, and millions of dollars of investment into local watershed restoration. Refillable water pouches, filling stations, and “Take Care” signage have aided a 34% reduction in water bottle sales. Diamond Peak’s average waste diversion rate of 36% combined with recycling ideas such as molding old maps into terrain features has avoided 446 metric tons of CO2 (2015-2017) equal to 1 million vehicle miles.
Small Business – Great Basin Community Food Coop. Reno, NV
The Great Basin Community Food Co-Op (GBCFC) has a long history in northern Nevada, opening their first store in 2005 and moving into their current location in 2012. Their new Foodshed Cafe, opening just a year ago in 2018 as Reno’s first cafe that features primarily organic and local goods. GBCFC operates as a cooperative business that prioritizes “organic, local, single source clean food that is produced in a fair way for all involved,” it has long been their goal to both educate the public about sustainable food production in the region and bring organic, local food into Reno’s food deserts. Adopting a larger view of the food system looking to impact all levels of food production and consumption has allowed them to become a business that, in their own words, models, practices, and promotes environmental stewardship. GBCFC’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan highlights their commitment to sustainability. Strengthening the local food system is a big part of what they do along with many others such as cutting food waste, landfill diversion, community outreach, staff education, and paying farmer and ranchers top dollar for their products.
Medium to Large Business – Intuit, Reno, Nevada
Intuit has taken the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle to the corporate level. For Reduce, Intuit has done an amazing job of reducing the waste on their campus. They eliminated single use plastic items in favor of actual plates, bowls and utensils, and they have incorporated a comprehensive recycling program.
While the rest of the community has a high contamination rate for recycling, Intuit uses shadow boxes above their trash and recycling bins to clearly and explicitly show users what type of material belongs in that bin. Intuit has kiosks in their facility to collect items like bikes, phones and glasses that can be donated and reused by charities like the Lions club.
Intuit also has several sustainability initiatives including electric charging stations for electric cars, and they have installed secure bike parking locations for their commuters who including incorporating a bike repair stations.
Sustainability Milestone – City of Reno for their 2017 Sustainability Report
Reno Resilience is the City of Reno’s sustainability and climate initiative launched in 2017 to engage regional partners, businesses and residents in efforts to create a more sustainable future and strengthen the community’s capacity to thrive. The city is proud to share its early achievements.
Reno became a Certified 3-STAR Community and published its’ first-of-its-kind Sustainability Report in 2018. STAR Communities is the nation’s leading framework and certification program that evaluates local sustainability against a comprehensive set of sustainability goals and measures that address environmental stewardship, economic prosperity and social equity.
The City also launched ReEnergize Reno, an ambitious program to improve the efficiency of commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings 20% by 2025. This program is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, designed to cut energy and water waste in large buildings. Reno is one of 45 pioneering cities hosting a community-wide challenge. For more information visit https://www.reno.gov/community/sustainability.
Honorable Mention – RTC for their Lincoln Line zero emission transit route
The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) recently finished constructing a $58 million, 3.1-mile, zero emission transit route that connects downtown Reno with downtown Sparks. Known as the Lincoln Line, named after the old Lincoln Highway, the Bus Rapid Transit (RAPID) route features four fully-electric, zero-emission, Proterra buses that travel along 4th Street/Prater Way between the RTC 4TH STREET STATION in downtown Reno and the RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA in Sparks. There are eight elevated BRT stations along the route. The Lincoln Line is a major sustainability milestone in that it will provide a zero-emission alternative transportation option for those travelling between Reno and Sparks.