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  Featuring Our "Green" Friends at Midlands Tech

This page is our way of thanking those who "walk the walk" when it comes to sustainable practices. If you know someone who deserves recognition here as a "green" friend of the college, contact a member of the Green Team

Laura Thompson

The Lady and the
[Adopted] Tiger

Not only is Laura Thompson an avid recycler, she is a champion of animals. Although it may seem like a contradiction, Laura is the proud owner of four cats while supplying thirteen bird feeders in her yard with over 20 pounds of bird seed a week. She also feeds the squirrels in her yard with unshelled peanuts. Is she baiting the wildlife as potential prey for her cats? No! Since her cats stay in most of the time, the birds and squirrels provide visual entertainment for her feline friends.
     Laura’s memberships and donation list could fill a page; the partial list includes South Carolina Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Nature Conservancy, Defenders of the Wildlife, Primarily Primates, and the Goodall Foundation. Laura has also adopted a tiger who lives on a ranch in Tennessee.
     Keeping in the spirit of the "Green Theme," Laura assigned a writing project for her Psychology 201 students, in which they focused on Environmental Psychology–the mutual influences between people and environments.
     Laura not only attended Environmental Skit Night on November 14 with Department Chair Cindy Roof, she performed in and supplied costumes for one of the videos! Her students believe she may have a future career in show business, but for right now, Laura has decided to keep her day job.

MTC Staff and Students
Keep Rosewood Litter Free

At 7:55 a.m on Saturday, October 13, Student Activities Board leaders Thomasina Hughey and Vanessa Brown wondered if any students would come join them as they prepared to pick up garbage on the street adjacent to the Beltline Campus. Then Fabrice Ozele and Joy Joseph arrived. The group set off in orange vests with large orange bags and began a three hour cleaning venture as part of MTC’s commitment to the Keep America Beautiful project. Fabrice and Joy are both international students; Fabrice is from Cameroon, and Joy is from the Virgin Islands. Fabrice plans to continue his studies in the sciences when he leaves MTC; Joy plans to teach.
     Joy is a veteran at keeping America beautiful. While picking up litter last semester, Joy found a five dollar bill which a man had accidentally dropped from his car along with his litter. Joy ran up to the man and handed him the money. He wanted to give it back to her, but she refused. Although Joy is glad to help out with the Keep America Beautiful project, she is bothered by the amount of cigarette butts found in the street. Five large bags of trash were collected on October 13. There were 104 cigarette butts counted in just one bag. Joy feels that cigarettes are harmful to the environment in many ways: they damage the lungs of smokers, they pollute the air and affect those near the smokers and they create a nasty litter problem. Hughey, Brown and Ozele agree. They would all like to see MTC students give up this harmful habit.
     Fabrice and Joy are active members of the student advisory board.

MTC Speech Student Helps Keep America Beautiful

While most students treasure Saturday mornings as a time to catch up on sleep, Nikki Bass woke up early on Saturday, September 13, and drove from her home in Lexington to Forest Acres in Columbia to go out in a row boat and clean garbage out of a lake. September 13 was the designated day for the River Sweep event sponsored by Keep America Beautiful.
     Nikki joined speech teacher Helen Baldwin Kingkade for a three hour boat ride. Together they gathered two bags of trash—one filled with Styrofoam and the other filled with bottles and cans, which they washed and recycled. The most difficult part of the adventure, however, was teaching her teacher how to row a boat!
     Besides helping out with River Sweep, Nikki has coauthored a script with classmate Brian Wolfe which they will perform in MTC’s Environmental Skit Contest, on November 14, at 7 p.m. in the new Health Building Auditorium on the Airport Campus. Other performers include Amber Hernandez, Gia Hughes, Cullen Johnson, Malav Trivedi, Mike Patel, Michael Draper, Justin Lee, Omi Taylor, Dallas Sherman, Christina Williams, Eric Martin, Ricky Flynn, Michelle Pichardo and Natalie McCoy.

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Steve Valder, Midlands Tech,
and the Sierra Club

Retired Air Force Colonel, Steve Valder has been teaching BIO 205 and 206 at MTC for five years. His background in the armed services actually helps him with teaching the course; he supervised the field aspect of the environmental program for the entire Air Force! Steve is also grateful to Martha Leonard for recommending him for teaching the class. He especially enjoys the field trips in the course, which include visits to the Congaree Swamp, Paperstock Dealers, and a waste water treatment plant.
     Steve is membership chair and serves on the executive committee for the local Sierra Club group and he chairs the election committee for the Sierra Club on the state level. Besides his active support of the Sierra Club, Steve is an avid supporter of the arts. You may have seen him with his wife, Sue, on Friday nights at Trustus theatre where he volunteers as an house manager. Steve plans to attend the environmental skit night on November 14, so he can support his students (including Christina Williams who won rave reviews for her recent performance in THE LARAMIE PROJECT at Trustus.)

Robinson.jpg (14894 bytes)Ellison Robinson and MTC's Ecology Course

Dr. Ellison Robinson gets the most out of a piece of paper. Whenever possible, she doesn’t use paper at all. When she does use paper for teaching, she prints on both sides. When she’s through with the semester, she takes any paper that has been used on only one side and brings it home for her children to draw on. After it's been on the refrigerator door for awhile, she uses any spare corners of the paper to make shopping lists. After that, the paper is recycled.
     Ellison has been teaching BIO 205 and BIO 206, MTC’s Ecology course, since 1993, when she also served on the original recycling committee. Dr. Tom Reeves designed the course, and Ellison’s been teaching it ever since. The repeated offering of the Ecology course at MTC is an excellent way of raising environmental awareness in a sustainable manner. Students respond well to the course and Ellison is often asked about other courses in the field, and about job openings in environmental studies. She’d love to hear about any career opportunities around the state so that she can share the information with her students.
     She’s proud of the textbook for the course, in part because it serves as an example of some of the principles taught in the course. It’s printed on recycled paper with soy ink. The book covers current issues including global warming, solar energy, and population growth. Ellison looks forward to the day when we use virtual books and don’t use paper at all.

dave.jpg (8063 bytes)Dave Hammond to Test Recycled Paper
in Campus Copy Machines

In the past, prohibitive pricing and problems with paper jams have caused bookstore manager Dave Hammond to think twice about ordering recycled paper for the college. But recent competitive pricing and new processing technology have given Dave new hope that recycled paper may work well for MTC copy machines. Dave has ordered a truckload of paper that will be tested on copy machines around campus as soon as the current supply of paper is used up.
     Dave has been supportive of environmental endeavors since the college’s first recycling efforts in the early 1990's. Inspired by original recycling team members like Stan Frick, Dave has made a conscientious effort to order recycled products at the bookstore. These include greeting cards (in an amazing variety of styles), Pendaflex file folders, Post-it products, Kraft envelopes, colored copier paper, cushioned mailers, and state contract pencils.
     Like any business, the bookstore responds to the law of supply and demand. So when you shop there, make sure you look for the recycled products and buy them. And thank Dave for being a friend to the environment!

borg1.jpg (15114 bytes)Karen.jpg (12999 bytes)Karen Borg in the
Pacific Northwest

What does "Punk Rock" have to do with saving the environment? Lots, if the punk rock happens to be part of an archaeological site monitored and preserved by USDA Forest Service volunteers. The rock in the photograph on the left is in the Tongass National Forest, a 17 million acre Pacific Northwest rainforest. The photo was taken by Karen Borg, MTC biology instructor and Passport in Time volunteer, while she helped monitor this and other archaeological sites on the Prince of Wales Island in Alaska.

The curious markings on the rocks appear to modern viewers to be human faces with punk hair styles, although an alternate theory suggests the "faces" may actually be an artist’s representation of bear paw prints. The rock artists lived between 9000 and 10,000 years ago. Because the rocks and other archaeological finds are on an island, Karen spent much of her time paddling along the coast in a sea kayak. She was struck by the rugged beauty of the island, and as a trained biologist, respects its biodiversity. Karen and her son helped protect the area by driving stakes in the ground to identify and delineate the archaeological sites.

The Prince of Wales Island is covered with old-growth forest, and areas with archaeological sites are protected from clear cutting. Although cutting forests for timbers is inevitable, cutting old-growth forests should be avoided. Old-growth forests are ecosystems containing trees that are at least two hundred and fifty years old. They are characterized by a mixture of old and new, living and dead trees that are constantly growing and evolving. They cannot be replicated.

When forest products are needed, the managed harvesting of second growth forests is the most environmentally sensible plan. We can reduce the amount of timber use by recycling and using recycled paper.

For more information on the USDA Forest Service volunteer program, go to http//:www.passportintime.com

Gwen.jpg (23392 bytes)Copy Center Infested with Sharks

Sharks aren’t a problem for Gwen Creech, the Media Services Manager at Midlands Tech. They make her smile. Sharks are the symbol of the Great White paper company, one of several paper dealers that offer recycled content paper at a reasonable price. Gwen likes using recycled paper in the Copy Center for several reasons. First, her efforts are endorsed by the state. It's the law that at least 25 per cent of the total dollars spent by each state agency annually should be for recycled products. These products should contain the highest amont of post-consumer material and should be recyclable. Second, Gwen believes it’s the right thing to do.

Recently, some faculty members have asked about paper used in copying machines around campus. Paper for copiers is ordered by the MTC bookstore, and because it is ordered in higher volume than paper ordered for the copy center, vendors and paper are usually selected based on competitive prices. Gwen also explained that certain copiers on campus are temperamental; they don’t work well with recycled paper which is processed differently and has a slightly different texture than regular paper. But there’s good news ahead. Bookstore manager Dave Hammond is willing to give recycle paper a second chance. For more about the bookstore, please read the article about Dave.

If you have tests or handouts to be copied, don’t forget you can e-mail them to the copy center as an attachment.

StanFrick2.jpg (11586 bytes)A Special Tribute to Stan Frick

Hayes Crawley Distinguished Lecturer Stan Frick has another distinguishing characteristic besides his ability to teach: Stan is a committed environmentalist. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk–or rather, he rides the ride. Since 1974, when Stan first started working at Midlands Technical College, he’s ridden his bicycle to school. He also rides it to the store, the library – and around about town. Stan owns a car–but consolidates trips. If you see him drive to work, it’s either because of inclement weather or because he has a number of errands to do before or after work.

Besides conserving fuel, Stan composts at home. He and his family have always recycled kitchen scraps in a compost bin behind their vegetable garden. He uses grass clippings from his own yard and his neighbors’ to fill the compost bins. Rewards for his efforts include delicious home grown tomatoes, squash, beans, peppers and peas.

Stan practices another form of recycling – he reuses and recycles clothes. Most of his clothes come from The Clothing Exchange. "Other people’s trash becomes my treasure," Stan explains.

Like many MTC employees, Stan recycles paper in his office. He also tries to reduce his use of paper items. His coffee pot, for example, doesn’t use paper filters. Years ago, at in service, Stan told a story about using recycled toilet paper, and almost caused a work study student to go into apoplexy. She gasped and hyperventilated until she finally grasped that when Stan said he used recycled toilet paper, he meant toilet paper that is made from recycled paper–not toilet paper that is reused!

Stan hopes to inspire a whole new generation to take care of the environment. His COL 105 class will help launch the recycling campaign on the Beltline Campus. Stan was part of the original recycling team at MTC. He is certainly a distinguished green friend at the college.

Elena1.tif (131186 bytes)Green Team Member,
Elena Martinez-Vidal

Being raised by a parent from Europe meant that I was exposed early on to certain ideas. For example, if you were not in the room, the light was off. Or, my Spanish grandmother always carried bags to put her purchases in rather than gather lots of plastic or paper bags. All of our successive family cars were bought due to their high mileage per gallon capability rather than styling or cost. In the winter, our thermostat never went above 68 degrees, and in the summer, we used fans or opened windows. Of course, this was Pennsylvania, but I continue to be careful. In SC, my air conditioning is not run below 80 degrees.
     Even with this background, I did not become involved in recycling until a student speech I heard in 1989 as a Graduate student teacher at USC. The speech was so compelling that I began to recycle and believe me, it was not easy then. I used to drive all over Columbia, and even outside of Columbia for a while, in order to find recycling places. It really has become so much easier.
     Working on this grant has made me even more aware of the necessity of education about environmental issues. Finding web sites about environmental issues has broadened my outlook and made me even more determined about recycling as well as other problems.
     "Attemptare" is my personal motto about recycling. At least I can try. While not a fanatic, I recycle newspapers and magazines, tin, plastic, and glass at home as well as at work. I recycle paper by taking it to the DHEC bins behind the building on Bull Street. At work, I have a giant bin in my office to recycle paper (see picture). I also often have a collection of plastic and glass bottles by the window waiting for me to recycle them. As of this summer semester, I have put some small bins in the classroom so my students can recycle.
     I feel that if the Green Team can make people aware of recycling, composting, and other issues, then we have accomplished a great deal. And hopefully, we will be able to get recycling back on its feet at MTC.


Copyright 2001 Midlands Technical College
The MTC Green Site is designed and maintained by Travis Gordon, English Department

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