Sustainability Achievement Award Recipient – 2015
Awardee: Julie Blaha
With Cornell since: 2009
Employed where: Greenhouses, Tower Road Complex
How he advances sustainability: Julie has been a driving force in the Tower Road recycling efforts for many years. She spearheaded organizing and setting up two expanded recycling stations in her work area, and regularly sorts and empties recycling bins. Julie has worked on making the recycling signage easier to understand, and makes an effort to introduce new facility users to the recycling stations and Cornell’s R5 recycling program. During her years working on a farm, Julie became very resourceful and creative in reusing and repurposing objects, reducing the need for purchasing new items.
In close collaboration with her peers, Julie worked actively to merge the greenhouse agroforestry plant collection with the conservatory plant collection. This thoughtful consolidation of challenging plant material provided an opportunity to maximize the shared value of this tremendous teaching and outreach resource. This concerted effort also allowed us to decommission the dilapidated agroforestry greenhouse. No longer having to heat this one greenhouse saves CALS around $32,000/year in heating costs alone. Thank you Julie!
Sustainability Achievement Award Recipient – Fall 2014
Awardees: Marc Daly and Bob Wilson
With Cornell since: Marc Daly — 2001, Bob Wilson — 2002
Employed where: Growth Chambers
How they advance sustainability: Marc and Bob are two of the inventors, chief developers and engineers, of the Cornell AES plant growth chamber prototype. From drafting the first design, to tightening the last screw – Marc and Bob took leadership roles throughout the entire project. Their ingenuity and dedication created a plant growth chamber that saves an astonishing 85% of electricity compared to a conventional chamber of the same size. Carbon emissions are also drastically reduced. The streamlined design decreases maintenance and creates a versatile and reliable chamber with a superb growing environment for research projects. By replicating their proven design to replace aging inefficient and maintenance-intensive chambers, there is an enormous potential to reduce energy and repair costs related to plant growth chambers across Cornell and beyond.
Sustainability Achievement Award Recipient – Spring 2014
Awardee: Rick Randolph
With Cornell since: 2008
Employed where: Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm
How he advances sustainability: Rick is instrumental in improving sustainability at the Thompson Research Farm. When making decisions, he constantly considers the social, environmental and economic impacts of his choices. He stands out as a very good steward of scarce resources, and often finds ways to do things better and cheaper. He is known by his colleagues for being resourceful and making extremely smart purchases. Whenever he is not busy in the fields, you can find Rick in the shop, meticulously tending to the equipment. He makes sure that all machines are optimally maintained, enhancing their performance and extending their life. When it comes time to trade-in or sell equipment, Rick’s attention to detail in prepping the equipment maximizes its resale value. Rick has also been instrumental in installing a mile-long, 8-foot-tall deer fence around the farm’s organic research projects.
Sustainability Achievement Award Recipients – Fall 2013
Awardees: Farm Services Team: Bill Huizinga, Kyle Cornell, Gus Vergason, Bob Mix and Rich Russell (from left to right, and front to back)
With Cornell since:
Bill Huizinga — 1998
Gus Vergason — 2003
Kyle Cornell — 2007
Rich Russell — 1993
Bob Mix — 2009
Employed where: Farm Services
How they advance sustainability: Farm Services operates the University compost facility, reducing Cornell’s solid waste stream by half. The Farm Services’ crew goes out of their way to collect and process over 6,500 tons a year of compostable waste from numerous locations across campus: dining halls and eateries, greenhouses, animal facilities, Plantations and special events. At the award-winning 4-acre compost facility, Farm Services’ separates organic waste into windrows, turns and monitors each windrow frequently, and delivers mature nutrient-rich compost that our farm-based research projects rely on each growing season.
Farm Services doesn’t just collect compostables, but also educates students, faculty and staff about composting, and works hard to accommodate their unique requests. Dozens of campus and community-based groups visit the facility every year, and the Farm Services’ crew teaches them about the composting process and related benefits. This year, Farm Services added two new windrows, dedicated to producing custom mulch for Cornell Plantations, and will expand to three mulch windrows in 2014.
The volume of organic material Farm Services handles is staggering. And, running the compost facility is only one of many essential responsibilities that the Farm Services’ team is engaged in. We thank Bill, Gus, Kyle, Rich and Bob for their contributions to reduce Cornell’s waste and carbon footprint, and for their ongoing efforts to keep our farms, fields and natural areas thriving!
Sustainability Achievement Award Recipient – Spring 2013
Awardee: Gregory Inzinna
With Cornell since: 2004
Employed where: Greenhouses, Cauldwell Road Complex
How he advances sustainability: Greg’s commitment to sustainability is apparent in whatever he does. When he heard that some sprayer motors were in need of repair at the Seeley Mudd greenhouses, he made time to go over there and fix them. Together with Scott Anthony, Greg has been working hard on establishing biocontrol colonies in order for the greenhouse staff to be able to reduce pesticide use while reducing the cost of importing beneficial organisms. Greg is always conscientious about the environmental impact of his actions. Instead of driving by himself, he tries to arrange carpools whenever possible.
Sustainability Achievement Award Recipient – Fall 2012
Awardee: Wayne Lindsay
With Cornell since: 2001
Employed where: Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center
How he advances sustainability: Wayne is fearless in tackling new challenges and has taken a genuine and active interest in reducing energy usage at the Long Island facility, from looking at insulation of heat pipes to lighting retrofits. This past winter he worked with his supervisor, Mark Sisson, and coworker, Rod Zeltmann, to increase shared coordination of greenhouse space by researchers. These efforts allowed for a substantial number of greenhouse chambers to be shuttered during the winter months. The natural gas and electricity savings from these actions exceeded $3,000. Wayne also uses his exceptional talents as machinist, welder and mechanic to keep tools and machinery in working order, allowing the Center to maintain older pieces of equipment with very little down time.
Sustainability Achievement Award Recipient – Spring 2012
Awardee: Jean Koski
With Cornell since: 2003
Employed where: Greenhouses, Caldwell Road Complex
How he advances sustainability: Jean has been instrumental in implementing the recycling of agricultural plastics – greenhouse covers, soil and vermiculite bags and an array of pots – throughout the greenhouses. She has engaged folks within Cornell AES, numerous research programs, the recycling agricultural plastics program, and Cornell recycling. Because of her efforts and enthusiasm, and the cooperative participation and committed actions of many greenhouse users, growers and supervisors, the capture rate of these plastics is steadily increasing. Jean is always willing to help people and explain the details of how each item should be recycled.