Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School Not So Basics by MCR Christine Werk

Writing supplies at the Reuse Centre
It is time to drag our children off of the playgrounds and send them back to school. While going back to school “in style” is important, so is staying green at school. One easy green option is reusing old school supplies and/or purchasing a portion of school supplies from the Reuse Centre. The Reuse Centre has a wide selection of binders and pencil cases and an impressive range of crafting supplies that can be used throughout the school year. While researching for this blog, I ran into a teacher who informed me that it may be very difficult to get children to shop for second-hand supplies. Fair enough. May I suggest turning back-to-school into two lessons: budgeting and the environment?

Michael Recycle exploring the Reuse Centre
Step 1: Figure out what the cheapest most boring selection of school supplies would cost. Share this information with the child.

Step 2: Have the child look through the home to see if they have some of the supplies already.

Step 3: Go to the reuse centre and fill in any additional supplies that are available there. Try not to get distracted by all of the trophies.

Step 4: Finally, let your child use the money they saved for upgrading the remaining school options from the boring ones to the cool ones. Perhaps this means that by finding good binders at the Reuse Centre, he/she gets the Spiderman backpack instead of the generic blue one. Little Samuel or Felicia may even be able to pick up some stickers to refurbish their binders.

When getting ready for back-to-school, consider trying this out. There are lots of ways we can teach our children to keep the environment healthy while they learn about the world and how to be a part of it.
Binders, notebooks, and pencil cases at the Reuse Centre

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Public Art Rollin' into Back Alleys Near You

Waste Management Services is constructing a new building called Kennendale Waste Operations East to house single-family collection vehicles and staff. This means that thanks to The City's Percent for Art Policy there will be some colourful collection trucks in our fleet of vehicles. The policy states that 1% of the capital budget for new buildings will be dedicated to public art work.

Waste Management Services' new operations building at the Northeast Kennendale public art project includes 2 components:
  • 6 newly wrapped trucks will be introduced to the streets of Edmonton over the next few months.
  • 6 permanent panels will be installed on the new building. 

The first of 6 trucks which are wrapped with art selected by the Edmonton Art Council.  

The Edmonton Arts Council has selected three Alberta artists for the initiative:

Karen Campos was born in El Salvador and currently resides in Edmonton, where she attended MacEwan University as an Illustration Major in Design Studies. She has exhibited works at the ARTery, Exposure Festival, and was one of three artists who participated in the downtown Colour Alley Project.

Jeff Chan currently lives in Lethbridge, and is completing an Education Program at the University of Lethbridge. He received his bachelor of fine arts in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2011. He has participated in art shows in both Calgary and Lethbridge; recently he completed a performance piece entitled “Free Wishes” in San Francisco.

David Goulden received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of British Columbia and then went on to complete his Masters of Architecture from the University of Calgary. David’s artistic career has spanned the last 12 years. He is an artist, creative director, art director, and a designer. His work has been published and shown internationally including Canadian Architect, AZURE, and Applied Arts magazines. He is the founder of id8 design group. David currently lives in Calgary.

Garbage and art often find themselves hand in hand. Here are some other Edmonton based projects you may find interesting:

City Hall, Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health, Catholic Social Services, Homeward Trust and Arts on the Ave came together as The 82 Street Team to create The Eyes on the Alley Project. Photos were placed on dumpsters on alley east of 82 Street between 121 and 122 Ave. 

Edmonton on the Edge has wrapped seven dumpsters in the Alley of Light. To check them out, stroll in the alley just north of Jasper between Enterprise Square (103 St) and Beaver HIlls Park (105 St). Photographs were all created by painting with light. 

Brandon Blommaert's work was selected for the Ambleside Ecostation in 2009. The artwork consists of five images of typical Alberta landscapes: the Rocky Mountains, Boreal Forest, Parkland, the Badlands and urban sprawl.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Walk in the Park by Kit Nash

I am lucky enough to live near one of Edmonton’s amazing community gardens. The Peace Garden Park is located on 120th Street and 103rd Avenue in Oliver. It is an oasis of green in a neighbourhood of high-density living.

I wandered over to talk to some gardeners about the garden and about the compost facilities. As you can see from the picture, the compost bin is near overflowing. It’s great that it’s getting used, but some gardeners, like Clayton and his dog Yakul, don’t know much about it.

Getting information out to gardeners is one of the challenges of any community project. Here, however, there are other challenges. Any compost bin needs to balance the greens with some browns. One of the gardeners, Sandra Anderson (and her dog, Susie) said that this compost bin was mostly greens due to all the weeding. So the compost does smell a little. Also, the water supply at the garden is intermittent. Unfortunately, the pump is currently broken. Gardeners make other arrangements to keep the compost at optimum moisture.

Overall though, the garden looks great, and it’s wonderful to see composting at Peace Garden Park. Compost happens! And the garden loves it!

If you helped with composting at a community garden, how did you solve challenges? What helps to communicate with gardeners?

Kit Nash graduated from the Master Composter Recycler Program in 2011.