EcoMoms, EcoDads, EcoTeacher’s & EcoAll!

CorePower Yoga & EcoMom Alliance Evening

Sustain Yourself, Sustain Your Home, Sustain the Planet

Date: Saturday, 8/23
Location: CorePower Yoga Edina Yoga & Spa
Time: 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Cost: $10 minimum donation to the Chrysalis Foundation
A night of self-rejuvenation and inspiration to make change for a more sustainable planet! Enjoy free yoga, complimentary mini spa treatments, & EcoMom Edutainment. Mingle & shop fair trade with other like-minded Moms who care about the earth; OR, book yourself a spa treatment! Enjoy special discounts on yoga, spa packages, and retail this evening only.

Call Edina Yoga & Spa to register: 952.835.9642 – space is limited!


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Green Pilot Project Planning Meeting and Green Highlands Conversation Part II

Pilot Project Planning Meeting & Highlands Green Enthusiast Conversation Part II
Thursday, August 21, 2008

8:00 AM
Continental Breakfast
5813 West 61st Street
FREE sitter and activities for all ages provided
All our welcome to this working session with the pilot project team. We hope you will support and replicate the ideas in your sphere of influence, and volunteer your time and talents to the greening of Highlands.

Please pass this on to interested parties.

Contact me, if you would like to be on Core Pilot Project Team or on the Earth Day Event Planning Team. Julie
Don’t Do What I Say…Do What I Do.
Never has that phrase been more appropriate then when describing my journey to lower our family carbon footprint, with my own children participating (and monitoring) in the process.

Michael Anderson shared with me his desire to focus on SUSTAINABILITY next year and I believe as a collective community we can do our part to model this concept and get the ripple effect going.

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Back To School-Green Cleaning is a Must in Illinois Schools

In Champaign, a law has been passed requiring that schools use the most sensitive to human beings and the environment of a cleaning option, possible. Read the full article here.

In Minnesota, Healthy Legacy is one organization committed to ridding our schools and homes from harmful environmental toxins. They have great information and will come out and speak to PTA’s and any other groups for FREE.

Grist is an organization with the latest enviro news and this Back to School article is helpful for avoiding buying Back to School products that contain enviromental toxins, excess packaging and alternatives are suggested.

Also, Next Step, The Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network lists criteria for Minnesota healthy school program.

One of the criteria for a green school is that is offers local, organic foods to the lunch program menu. The Farm to School program is one way to incorporate that element into a school lunch.


The Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act:

— Requires qualified “green” products in six categories: bathroom cleaners; carpet cleaners; general purpose and hard floor surface cleaners; glass, window and mirror cleaners; hand cleaners and hand soaps; and paper products.

— Criteria for preferred products: minimal presence of harmful chemicals, biodegradable, low toxicity, low flammability, bio-based, designed for use in cold water.

— For more information, see or ing.htm.

— Those wanting to buy green household products can look for certifications such as Green Seal or EcoLogo, indicating the products meet certain guidelines. Some products bearing those certifications are available at retail, but many are available for industries or businesses only.

Source: Guidelines for the Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act, Illinois lieutenant governor’s office.

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How Low Can You Go? Waste & Toxicity Reduction Grant Award Pilot Project at Highlands

How the Pilot Project may affect your class, home or group and how you can get directly involved in the transformation?

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Rethink and ROT for a sustainable community at Highlands.
Recycle-In class rooms: paper, cans, bottles, 2nd Chance paper but a reduction message driving the recycling.  A Recycling Nook set up in the school (batteries, printer cartridges, and educational information wall mounted pamphlet space, for info on eco-practices like composting, packing a low-waste lunch and proper CFL and hazardous waste procedures).

Reduce-Paper and communications like the directory, carnival and strep notifications moved to on-line.  Kung Fu flyer in back packs with consent only. mail and junk mail reduction.  The average household gets 41 pounds of junk mail per week.  Further paper reduction. A  2nd Chance Paper Bin set up in rooms and offices.

Reuse-Rinse and reuse plastic baggies for class projects, look for an alternative to projects and order compost able corn-based cups, Eco-friendly class party packs in every class room to be managed by the room parent: 25 school lunch trays, 25 cloth napkins, 25 reusable flatware and kids encouraged to bring each day a reusable beverage container.  Discourage individual water bottles and make drinks from powder in a pitcher or kids can drink water from their water bottles.

The pilot projects theme is, How Low Can You Go? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, ReThink and ROT.  REUSE cloth shopping totes, cloth napkins, containers vs. plastic baggies, reusable beverage containers modeled and encouraged.  Model to students and other staff by bringing a Zero Waste Lunch to school, committing to reusable and always having shopping totes in the car.

Further cafeteria lunch waste reduction through meetings with Jay Willemssen from the district, Mary Lombardi at Sodexo, and Jennifer Livingston, our school representative on the Food Service Committee.  ReThink packaging and elimination of juice and other non-recyclables for a greener Sodexo food service.

ROT-Continue organics composting in cafeteria and individual buckets in office and rooms to be taken down by Green Ambassadors to the organics recycling in the cafeteria.  Education on backyard composting.  Vierkant curbside organics and yard waste garbage service for homes.   New compost ball and playground recess/fruit break compost/garden.  Vermiculture/worm bins in classes and the promotion of zero waste “nutrition breaks” tossed into compost.

And more….More education on bulk shopping and reusable containers for lunches.  Highlands school carnival greener.  Reusable bags as standard practice when shopping.  Take a “no plastics” pledge.  Politely decline plastic donations and take the item but ask the giver to take the plastic packaging away.  This is an uncomfortable thing for some but it is an opportunity to keep your space free from unwanted plastic waste and educate someone at the same time.  Question: Paper or Plastic?  Answer: Reusable cloth tote.

Toxicity reduction with the school-wide encouraged practice of making and using Alice’s Wonder Spray for your all purpose non-toxic cleaner.  Clean with reusable cloths.

TODAY Tuesday at 2:00 pm at Southview middle school in Edina for those individuals who want in on this project. We need dedicated people.

Funding for this project was provided by Hennepin County through Community POWER: Partners on Waste Education and Reduction. Holly Grimm and Mike Seaman of Continuous Progress, and Lori Racek and Dan Baier of the Discovery Program will be implementing a $8,500.00 grant pilot project at Highlands in the 2008-2009 school year.

The idea for the concept came at the same time the school cafeteria began organics recycling. A mom thought, “Well how can we support lowering waste contribution on the homefront?” Children that would normally bring their lunch to school will be outfitted with a complete zero waste lunch kit: A reusable Sigg water bottle, a Bento LapTop lunch box, a LL Bean insulated tote and a set of 5 Monday through Friday cloth napkins with different appliques, called Fabkins.

Other low waste practices will be taught and encouraged in the class room like zero waste celebrations and a plastics free environment. Bottled water is banned from the class and a reusable water bottle provided for each child.

The main focus of the project is looking for ways to lower toxicity and waste in the class environment and hopfully this will transfer those behaviors to the home life as well.

Green Gaurdian is a non-profit that educates on waste and toxicity reduction. They are managing the grant at Highlands. Green Gaurdian asks you to take a quick quiz to evaluate your enviro IQ? Do you have what it takes to save planet earth?

Rethink Recycling - Are you Green?  Take the Quiz.  Learn More.

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Summertime…and the livin’ is easy!

How can our family eat dinner outside and make it zero waste, and easy to do?

A Highlands parent recently shared with me about how great and simple it is to eat family dinners outside. She has set it up so that it is even easier to have dinner (before dusk and the mosquitos descend), by doing a little prep work ahead of time. She has a water cooler outside and always on tap, with a stack of reusable cups. She just leaves that outside most days and that limits the kids and company from coming in for the water breaks before heading back out to the fun. Then she serves dinner family style and has a stack of little plates that she calls dining “tapas style.”

At dinner time, they bring out just one large serving tray, this night it was salmon, brown rice and steamed broccoli, and a large serving spoon, little plates and forks and the beverage (water), is already out there. She commented that her kids liked serving themselves and with the smaller plates, everyone ate a healthy portion. They committed to cloth napkins which if not dirty, she reuses and line dries.

If she has Gary Vierkant for her garbage service, then she will just put her food scraps in their organics recycling or in containers for leftovers.

Voila! An easy and enjoyable zero waste outdoors, dining al fresco!

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EcoKids Backyard Playdate in a Tee Pee

Ever wondered what to do with those sticks, limbs, and tree trimmings? See what your kids can come up with. Tomorrow morning you are invited to play in a tee pee and maybe have your child’s picture in the Star Tribune paper. A photographer from the Trib will be taking pictures of kids in my backyard engaged in natural play.

Friday the 13th at 9:45 till whenever. for directions

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TONIGHT at 7PM Wine and Discussion of Richard Louv’s The Last Child in the Woods

Join Highlands Green Conversationalist and Mary Jane Smeltanka from the Star Tribune, Joni Bennett from the Edina City Council and other civic leaders as we discuss how to weave more natural experiences into our homes, schools, and community. You DO NOT have to have read the book. We will use the book as a great jumping off point for looking towards the future of Edina schools, parks, and spaces in a more local, green and sustainable way.

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