Center for Sustainable Communities
October 23rd, 2017
Eyes on the sky as Luther students learn more about raptor banding and tracking. 
Luther College has partnered with the Raptor Resource Project to launch a trapping station project to collect data on migratory birds of prey and provide field-based research opportunities for students. The banding station, located on Hawk Hill on the northeast edge of the Luther campus, is large enough for classes to observe wild birds, band them and gather data before releasing them back into the wild. The need for a blind was recognized when a station at Effigy Mounds near Harpers Ferry, Iowa, was shut down. Emily Neal, Assistant Director of Luther's Center for Sustainable Communities immediately got to work on writing a grant proposal for Resource Enhancement and Protection/Conservation Education Program (REAP/CEP) through Iowa's Department of Natural Resources. This project gives students unprecedented direct access to migratory bird research. Emily Neal notes that "Science at Luther isn't just happening between four walls of a classroom, but also out in the field with birds overhead." 
Help Save Farm to School Month!
Luther's Center for Sustainable Communities is matching donations (up to $1000) to the The Iowa Food Hub, a local non-profit that delivers locally produced food to Northeast Iowa schools, restaurants and grocery stores. An accident damaged their truck at the busiest time of year for the delivery of local food. They need funds to to rent a truck short-term to get local, healthy food into the hands of Northeast Iowa students! To make a donation visit their Go Fund Me Page. Mention in the comment #Lutherloveslocal and your dollars will be matched by the Center for Sustainable Communities. Every little bit helps!
90% True Trash
Every year student zero waste educators complete waste audits on the dumpsters behind Valders and Sampson Hoffland laboratories. Students sort the contents of the dumpster into various piles to learn more about the waste stream and to determine what percentage (by weight) is "true trash." The "true trash" pile consists of items that currently would not have a home in any of our other recycling or composting waste streams on campus. 

Over the course of the 2015-16 academic year, waste infrastructure was revamped in Valders and Sampson-Hoffland. Four-stream bins were placed strategically in centralized locations throughout the buildings at the same time that classroom trash and recycling bins were removed. The goal was to provide comprehensive options for waste disposal at every turn and to increase our percentage of true trash going to the landfill. A baseline waste audit in Fall 2015 demonstrates that 56.3% of the contents of the dumpster were true trash," with the remainder consisting of materials that could have been recycled, composted or reused. 

In 2016-17 students conducted two audits  as a way to study the effectiveness of the new waste infrastructure. In both cases the dumpster was 80% true trash and 20% divertable material. 

A follow-up waste audit was conducted in Fall 2017 and student zero waste educators are pleased to report that 89.6% of the 
contents of the dumpster are now true trash! These audits demonstrate that, when combined with education, infrastructure is key to driving behavior change around something like waste. Keep up the great work, Luther! 
Energy and waste challenges 
You may have seen monthly challenge posters hanging across campus so we thought we'd take a minute to explain what they are! Each month our teams of student energy educators and waste educators develop a new challenge to encourage members of the campus community to be mindful of energy and waste behaviors and to challenge us all to develop new habits. The challenges for October are to dispose of wrappers in the landfill bin and to avoid phantom load by unplugging electronics when they are not being used. Have an idea for a challenge? Let us know and we'll try to include it at some point throughout the year.
John Norris to come to Luther as part of Decorah Power Learning Series
Decorah Power, a non-profit citizens group investigating the formation of a Decorah Municipal Electric Utility, invites you to learn about how local utilities provide new opportunities for Iowans. 

On Thursday, October 26th John Norris, former chair of the Iowa Utilities Board and former member of the Federal Energy Regulator will present at 7:30pm in Valders 362. John Norris is a partner and co-owner of the State Public Policy Group based in Des Moines, where he works with clients in the public, private and nonprofit sectors providing issue management, research, advocacy, stakeholder outreach and facilitation, and project management services.  

Norris has over three decades of political, policy and administrative experience at the highest levels of state and federal government including extensive experience on energy and agricultural issues. He was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 and again in 2012 to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In 1999, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack asked Norris to chair the Governor's Working Group on Electric Restructuring. The legislation resulting from his work made Iowa a national leader in wind generation.   

Norris has also served on the Iowa Utilities Board, co-chaired the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission/National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Smart Grid and Emerging Issues Collaboratives, served on the Board of Directors of the National Regulatory Research Institute, was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Iowa Power Fund and served on the Advisory Council of the Iowa Energy Center. Norris has spoken extensively on energy, agriculture and regulatory issues both domestically and internationally.  

This presentation is part of Decorah Power's Learning Series - a series of events to help the community better understand the opportunities and challenges that would be involved in a Decorah municipal utility.
More info about the learning series.

Sustainability Tip
Are you looking for a Halloween costume last- minute? Rather than paying extra for Amazon expedited shipping, head over to the local Goodwill or The Depot and pull together a costume with reused items! Get creative or take to the internet for some ideas, and see what you can find in other people's recycled clothes and props! 
Questions or comments?
The Center for Sustainable Communities is always looking for ways to improve our publications. If you have any questions, concerns, general comments, or story ideas for future newsletters, please email at any time. Thank you!
This newsletter is provided by the Center for Sustainable Communities, which coordinates all sustainability initiatives at Luther College.  The mission of the Center is to promote sustainability and be a catalyst for change on campus and in the region.  For more information on sustainability initiatives at Luther and the outreach work of the Center for Sustainable Communities, please visit:
Upcoming Events
Tuesday, October 24th 
Guest Lecture: Kip Anderson, "What the Health"
Filmmaker Kip Andersen will be speaking about topics related to his latest work, "What The Health." The film looks at the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and food industries. The talk is free but ticketed. 
Wednesday, October 25th
Wednesday, October 25th
Thursday, October 26th
"A Clean Slate: Municipal Electric Utilities in Iowa"
Saturday, October 28th
Luther Serves
Thursday, November 2nd 
"Local Priorities"
Thursday, November 6th 
"Energy Independence"
Student Spotlight
Piper Wood '21

Piper is a first-year Environmental Studies student from Des Moines, Iowa. She is currently working in the Luther Gardens. On her Luther visit, Piper learned that Luther had a garden that provided local produce for the cafeteria and immediately knew she wanted to get involved! Her admissions counselor directed her to the Center for Sustainable Communities, and the rest is history. Piper's favorite part about working in the gardens is to see the "Student Grown" signs in the cafeteria. She says that "It's great knowing that someone (possibility even me!) picked those vegetables, and knowing exactly where they came from." Piper is always excited to talk about sustainability, don't hesitate to stop her and strike up a conversation!
Department Chair of Agricultural Sciences - Austin Community College (ACC)
Austin Community College (ACC) is hiring a department chair for its new Agricultural Sciences Department. 
Executive Director, Food Systems Leadership Fellowship; Windward Fund
The Food Systems Leadership Fellowship is a project of the Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity that hosts education and grant-making projects that address sustainability issues from a range of perspectives. 
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