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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Baltimore: revitalization in-process

The Lambda Alpha International Baltimore Chapter hosted the Spring 2018 Land Economics Weekend (LEW) attracting a global contingency eager to learn about Baltimore's history, challenges, and accomplishments. With limited time, the LEW tours and presentations focused on neighborhood revitalization, Inner Harbor industrial | commercial development, and community-based initiatives.

Lambda Alpha International (LAI) is an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. LAI provides a forum for the study and advancement of land economics where the "winnowing and sifting" of ideas takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

LAI operates through a network of chapters. LAI chapters provide a variety of programs and forums for its members to share information critical to understanding important land-use issues. The IMPACT Blog article, Lambda Alpha International Atlanta Chapter: growing membership, influence and impact, introduces LAI along with its designated purposes.

Twice per year chapters sponsor "Weekend Experiences" giving members an opportunity to meet and learn about land economic issues in cities throughout the world. Open to LAI members and their guests, the LEWs address wider international, national and regional issues and include project tours within the host city.

Under Armour Inner Harbor facility
In late April the Baltimore Chapter welcomed over 100 LAI members and guests from around the globe to their grand city for the 2018 Spring LEW. The day prior to LEW festivities is slated for global LAI business meetings, including the Executive Committee, Land Economic Foundation (LEF) Board, President's Roundtable, and the Board of Governance meetings. Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder Holly Elmore represented the Atlanta Chapter in pre-LEW business meetings and enjoyed the LEW festivities.

During the business meetings, the Spring 2019 Puerto Rico LEW was officially approved. As there is no Puerto Rico chapter, LAI Global Executive Vice-President Cassandra Francis is the LEW Chair; Holly volunteered to serve on the LEW committee and will oversee the LEW sustainability commitment. Could the Puerto Rico LEW be plastic-free??!!!!!

After the business meetings, Holly met with the LEF Board to preview a potential LAI Atlanta Chapter Finding the Flint project for a grant application. The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, The Flint River: a river ready to regenerate, gives an overview of the Flint River headwaters current scenario. A local Atlanta team is in place and project development is underway for an anticipated early 2019 launch.

Founded in 1965, LEF is a not-for-profit charitable foundation organized to administer an investment fund which provides grants for research projects related to land economics. LEF commits capital (5% of assets) to a number of significant and worthwhile endeavors across the country on a matching basis with other non-profit entities. After the LEF Board of Directors' review, qualified applications are submitted to the LEF Board of Trustees for approval.

Inner Harbor view
As the business day closes, the LEW opens with the President's Reception where attendees are treated to delicious cuisine, cocktails and a heartfelt welcome to the hosting city. The Baltimore LEW President's Reception was hosted at Top of the World, 27th Floor of the World Trade Center and opened the formal LEW festivities. With 365-degree glass windows, the Baltimore Inner Harbor views were spectacular.

On Day One LEW attendees gathered for breakfast while prominent Baltimore professionals educated on the city's history, current status and projects under development. Lunch was provided on a comprehensive cruise of the Baltimore Inner Harbor and beyond. Within the Inner Harbor, Baltimore retains its manufacturing roots with prominent facilities located harborside; Domino Sugar and Under Armour are two industry leaders with Inner Harbor facility locations.

Raymond Skinner
In the afternoon, LEW attendees toured East Baltimore via buses and witnessed the neighborhood redevelopment underway. East Baltimore is an area in transition with the community coming together to restore historic row houses into affordable homes for local citizens. At the Eager Park amphitheater stage, East Baltimore Development President & CEO Raymond Skinner educated on the comprehensive, aggressive plan to redevelop an 88-acre tract of land adjacent to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Displaced residents are well taken care of within the redevelopment, whether they choose to return to the neighborhood or not.

The full day ended with fun, educational dine-around dinners hosted by LAI Baltimore Chapter members. As an introduction to Baltimore neighborhoods and local cuisine, members hosted groups of 8 - 10 LEW attendees for a cocktail reception at their home. Dinner followed at a nearby restaurant.

Holly joined hosts Joanie & David Millane for a lovely evening in the Federal Hill neighborhood. After meeting at the Baltimore Visitor Center, the small group strolled past Baltimore's tallest building and into the eclectic neighborhood. Joanie & David arranged for a tour of a famed Otterbein "Dollar Home."

In the mid-1800's Otterbein was thriving and home to St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, the largest parish in Baltimore. By the 1970's the neighborhood was in shambles and the City intended to tear down the disheveled row houses for parking. Due to strong neighborhood advocacy, the City instead offered shabby yet salvageable homes for $1.00 along with responsibility for restoration. The Baltimore Sun 2014 article, Remembering the homesteaders of Otterbein, chronicles Otterbein's history and revitalization from author Jacques Kelly's perspective as a neighborhood advocacy journalist in the 1970's.

Remington Neighborhood
Following the "Dollar Home" tour, Joanie and David welcomed the dine-around group into their renovated Harbor Walk 1980's townhome. Joanie's housemade Maryland crab dip was the star of the cocktail reception. The lovely evening ended at Sobo Cafe for a delicious dinner prepared with local ingredients. Holly and her companions opted to walk back to Pier 5, the LEW host hotel.

On Day Two the LEW attendees enjoyed an educational breakfast prior to boarding buses headed for Central Baltimore. At the MICA Graduate Center, a comprehensive panel shared their work and experience with revitalizing Central Baltimore neighborhoods. Lunch was enjoyed at the R House food hall, located in the heart of the revitalized Remington neighborhood. After lunch, Holly left the organized bus tour for her self-guided walking tour back to the hotel.

Following tradition, the Baltimore LEW ended with an excellent Awards Banquet. As the dinner closed the Baltimore Chapter President handed the LEW baton to the Orange County President in anticipation of the 2018 Fall Orange County LEW.

Renowned photographer Bob Madden was in-charge of a LEW pictorial recap. What an honor: Bob was a staff photographer for 15 years with National Geographic where he won many impressive awards.

"Hi Joan: "Past & Current LAI Presidents
Steven Gragg & Robert McBride
Augmenting Bob's official photos, Holly published the Ei FB album, 2018 Spring Baltimore LEW, with images from her LEW perspective. The album includes a "Hi Joan" section in honor of Founding Atlanta Chapter President Joan Herron, a well-loved icon in the LAI community. As her health prevents travel, Joan's dear friends enjoy posing for a series of "Hi Joan" photos.

Beyond attending semi-annual LEWs, Holly serves on the Atlanta Chapter Board as the Communications Chair. In addition, Holly is a member of the Global PR & Communication Executive Committee. With Ei's Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity focus, LAI is a valuable investment of Ei time and resources.

Via Holly's nomination, Ei Strategic Ally Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki and Sustainable Facilities Initiative Chair Tim Trefzer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority Director of Sustainability, were inducted into LAI membership in December 2017. Ei Advisor Wayne King, ERTH Products President & CEO, was inducted into LAI membership in December 2015.

Congratulations to Baltimore LEW Chair Susannah Bergmann for spearheading an amazing weekend. Thanks to the dedication of a strong committee, LEW attendees left Baltimore impressed with innovative neighborhood revitalization and inspired by the community involvement of industry leaders like Johns Hopkins Hospital and Under Armour.

... and the Fall 2018 Orange County LEW is a mere six month away!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Atlanta: the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world

On October 28, 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) announced the 3.9 million square feet conference center was awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The announcement thrust Atlanta into the national | global sustainability spotlight as home to the world's largest LEED-certified convention center AND the 14th largest LEED-certified building.

GWCCA Executive Team
with the LEED Silver  plaque
Recertifying two years early, on November 28, 2017, the GWCC was awarded LEED Gold certification, the second highest level in the rating system. In the recertification, the GWCC was thirteen points higher than the 2014 application and five points higher than the minimum requirement. The majority of the additional points related to the energy-saving performance contract referenced below.

Improving our performance from LEED Silver to Gold reflects our commitment to having better buildings, being better neighbors, and hosting better events,” said Tim Trefzer, LEED Accredited Professional and the GWCCA’s Director of Sustainability. “It’s a testament to our leadership’s vision to anchor the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.” 

LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design - is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices within the USGBC umbrella.To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different certification levels. For a pre-existing building, LEED certification is often a multi-year endeavor.

As an industry leader in sustainability, the GWCCA 220-acre downtown campus boasts an impressive list of accomplishments:
  • GWCCA diverted more than 14 million pounds of material from landfills since 2010. 
  • GWCC reduced water consumption by 41% since 2009 through the installation of new irrigation, restroom fixtures, and chillers. 
  • GWCC is approximately 28% more energy efficient than similar buildings. 
  • GWCCA uses janitorial paper and cleaning products that meet sustainability criteria, including recycled content materials and|or reduced harmful chemicals. (86% of the products meet the criteria) 
    New equipment in the
    energy-saving performance contract
  • GWCC’s 1,900-solar panel canopy located in the marshaling yard produces enough energy to power 89 Georgia homes annually. 
  • GWCCA employees donated 1730 lbs. of clothing, recycled 152 lbs. of batteries and electronics, and donated nearly 500 meals worth of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank during the 2016 holiday season.
  • GWCCA finished construction in April 2017 of a $28 million energy-saving performance contract that is expected to save at least 39% on utilities. The contract earned the majority of the additional thirteen LEED certification points in the 2017 recertification.
  • GWCCA-managed Savannah International Trade and Convention Center earned LEED Gold in July 2017, making it the first convention center in the State of Georgia to achieve Gold LEED status. 
Atlanta is home to one of the densest (if not the densest) district of LEED-certified event space in the world and is the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. 

GWCCA
The list of downtown Atlanta LEED-certified facilities is impressive: GWCC (world’s largest LEED-certified convention center), Mercedes-Benz Stadium (first professional sports stadium in the world to achieve LEED-Platinum certification), Philips Arena (world’s first National Basketball Association/National Hockey League arena to get LEED certified), as well as the College Football Hall of Fame (LEED Silver), the World of Coca-Cola (LEED Gold), and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (LEED Silver).

Atlanta was a driving force in sustainability rising to a key component for large event site selection. As host to the 2013 NCAA® Men’s Final Four®, the second most popular sporting event across the globe, Atlanta set a high standard for sporting event sustainability practices. One of the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee (ALOC) stated goals was to make the 2013 Final Four the "greenest games ever." Tim took the helm for achieving the lofty goal.

SUCCESS: the comprehensive ALOC plan culminated in impressive green footprints before, during and after the games. The ZWA Blog article, Final Four green footprints continue after the games, gives an overview of event sustainability stats; the May 2013 Final Four Sustainability Report is the official in-depth report.

Post-event, Tim and an EPA colleague drafted the Final Four Sustainability RFP sustainability section. Thus, new industry standards were established!

GWCCA Senior Director of Client Services Erik Waldman, validates the role LEED certification plays in event location decision making:
“The meeting planners of today are much more conscious of the effects that their events have on communities than in the past. LEED certifications allow venues to highlight their performance and even benchmark it against competitors. With these two factors alone, Atlanta is easily recognized as one of the most sustainability-friendly sites for events, led by the Georgia World Congress Center and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
GWCCA
Environmental and community stewardship are strong drivers within the GWCCA culture. Management understands sustainability is a journey without a specified destination; continued improvement in facility practices are always available. As the anchor to Atlanta's convention, entertainment, and sports downtown sports district, the GWCCA takes their role as a major economic driver seriously.

Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Atlanta Stephanie Stuckey, confirms the GWCCA's leadership role:
The Georgia World Congress Center achieving LEED Gold certification is more than simply the culmination of implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment by the GWCCA towards making Atlanta a more resilient place to live, work and play. Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the major impact of the building industry in that effort, GWCCA is leading our city by example.” 
In 2019, the GWCCA hosts GreenBuild, the USGBC annual conference attracting an estimated 20,000 attendees from a wide spectrum of the sustainability community. It is a perfect occasion to celebrate Atlanta's status as the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Happy 8th Birthday, Ei!

On February 5, 2010, Elemental Impact (Ei) incorporated as a Georgia non-profit corporation and embarked on an incredible journey. Whew, the first eight years were action-packed while the Ei Team lived the tagline: Sustainability in ACTION!

Background:
Ei was formed as the home for the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ) launched in 2009 by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) within the Georgia Restaurant Association. Over the years, Ei's work evolved well beyond zero waste initiatives.

The following is a recap of Ei's evolution:
2012: Year of Accomplishments | Completions - in late 2012 the ZWZ were sold to the National Restaurant Association catapulting Ei into a major metamorphosis.The ZWA Blog article, The NRA Acquires ZWZ, announces the monumental acquisition.
2013: Year of Transitions | Introductions - in 2013 the three-platforms approach for Ei initiatives | pilots emerged from a metamorphosis stage. The IMPACT Blog, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, introduces three Ei platforms: Product Stewardship, Recycling Refinement (RR) and Water Use | Toxicity
2014: Year of Foundations | Evolutions - in 2014 the platforms were grounded with initiative launches and supporting taglines. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2014: A Year of Evolution, provides a summary of the platform foundations. 
2015: Year of ACTION - in 2015 Ei lived up to its tagline: Sustainability in ACTION! The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2015: A Year of ACTION, summarizes the empowering year.
2016: Year of Recognition - in 2016 Ei's important work was recognized in published industry case studies and Ei-hosted national conference panels. In addition, the Ei Blogs' readership significantly increased and Holly was recognized as a respected environmental journalist. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2016: A Year of RECOGNITION, gives an in-depth overview of accomplishments, completions, and recognition. 
2017: Year of Shifting Gears - in 2017 Ei announced Soil Health, regenerating the foundation of life, was a prime focus, replacing the prominent RR work. In addition, Ei Leadership experienced a changing of the guard and Ei welcomed new Strategic Allies.
The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and support the Pioneers; the Pioneers craft new standard operating practices within their operations that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the Team moves into a new industry frontier.

Since 2010 the Ei Team served as a leader in pioneering frontiers with a myriad of completed projects | programs. The Mission Accomplished page lists Ei endeavors considered complete via a sale, term expiration or simply mission accomplished!

Soil Health
In 2017 Ei shifted gears within the spiral of humanity's environmental impact. Ei evolved from a focus on RR and food waste collection for compost to Soil Health, regenerating the foundation of life.

GWCCA Team on
Hickory Grove Farm Tour
Initial work relates to the education of depleted soils' direct relationship with out-of-balance carbon cycles, contaminated waterways, excessive water usage, erosion control, stormwater management, and production of nutritious food. In addition, Ei addresses the microplastic pollution within the soils, similar to the plastic smog prolific in the oceans. The inaugural Soil Health focus areas are:

Ei served on The Compost Story Launch Team for the impressive May 2017 release in conjunction with the International Compost Awareness Week. As The Soil Story sequel, The Compost Story explains compost's role in soil regeneration and balancing the carbon cycles.

Ei-hosted panel during
Q&A session
In the November 2017 released Kiss the Ground (KTG), how the food you eat can reverse climate change, heal your body and ultimately save the world book by Josh Tickell, the well-searched chapters dive deep into the destruction of the Earth's soils. The ZWA Blog article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, was inspired by KTG; the article explains trigger points for the mass desertification and ocean acidification underway across the globe, culminating in a pending oxygen deficiency and food crisis.

At the January 2018 U.S. Composting Council (USCC) Conference in Atlanta, Ei Founder Holly Elmore moderated the popular Ei-hosted panel, Compost's Empowering Role in Sustainable Soils, to a near room capacity audience. Per the program, the following is the panel description:
Soil is the foundation of life. Healthy, vibrant soil eco-systems are the building blocks for healthy communities with effective stormwater management programs, solid erosion control systems, and nutritious urban food production. … and compost feeds the soil eco-systems!
Industry experts shared about compost’s empowering role in carbon sequestration/climate change, soil management systems grounded in solid economics, and green urban infrastructure.
The ZWA Blog article, GAME WON: 2018 compost conference a record-breaking success, features the Ei-hosted panel. PPT presentations are available for download on the Ei-Hosted Conference Panels page.

Simultaneous with the Soil Health platform announcement, the RR platform was moved to Mission Accomplished. RR, zero waste, and other related expertise are available via Holly's private consulting practice at www.hollyelmore.com.

Changing of the Guard
SFCI Chair
In August 2017, Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Director of Sustainability Tim Trefzer joined the Ei Leadership Team as the new Sustainable Food Court Initiative (SFCI) Chair.
Past SFCI Chair Doug Kunnemann
& current Chair Tim Trefzer

Founding SFCI Co-Chairs Scott Seydel and Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks lead the SFCI through grand successes within the RR and Post-Consumer Food Waste focus areas. With Ei's shift to a Soil Health focus, Scott and Doug pass the SFCI leadership baton to Tim with strong accolades.

The ZWA Blog article, Changing of the Guard: Welcome Tim Trefzer to the Ei Leadership Team!, gives a brief SFCI history, chronicles Tim's impressive achievements, and includes Scott and Doug's accolades.

The SFCI evolved into the Sustainable Facilities Initiative (SFI) with a soon-to-be-announced leadership team. A formal SFI launch is slated for late spring 2018.

Strategic Allies
To support new directions in Soil Health endeavors, Ei welcomed Kiss the Ground, One More Generation and Park Pride to the Ei Strategic Ally Program. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei Welcomes New Strategic Allies, provides a brief synopsis of each non-profit and their strategic role related to Ei work.

Michel Halicki & Tim Trefzer
With impeccable timing, Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki and Tim were recognized for their outstanding environmental leadership at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce's E3 Awards. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei Leadership Recognized for Contributions to Atlanta's Economy & Environment, gives details on the impressive awards.

Respected Industry Resource
Urban Biocycles scoping paper
On March 28, 2017, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) issued the groundbreaking Urban Biocycles scoping paper as an introduction to a Circular Economy approach for urban nutrient cycles. The paper addresses the valuable nutrients within current organic waste streams and how urban environments disrupt nature's perfected nutrient cycles.

A combination of global, long-term, research-oriented planning coupled with immediate, action-oriented, grassroots efforts is a recipe for a Circular Economy to emerge. Ei is honored to support the global planning and grassroots efforts.

The Urban Biocycles paper credits Ei Advisory Council Member Brenda Platt with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Holly as Expert Input and Case Study Contributors.

The ZWA Blog article, A Circular Economy Approach to Urban Nutrient Cycles, introduces the important EMF scoping paper.

Southern Farm & Garden feature article
Holly provided the copy and photographs for a seven-page, multiple-article feature in the Southern Farm & Garden fall issue. An Icon in Sustainability and Hickory Grove Farm: Regenerative Agriculture Revives Soils & Local Ecosystems, gives an overview of Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) stellar sustainability commitment at the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability & Hospitality, The Commons (KSU’s Gold LEED certified dining hall), and Hickory Grove Farm. 

The Ei-hosted Hickory Grove Farm tour for the GWCCA team, including Tim, GWCCA Grounds Maintenance Manager Steve Ware, and Levy Restaurants Executive Chef Matt Roach, is featured in an article sidenote along with a photo of Tim.

Ei Blogs
The Ei Blogs, The Impact Blog and Zero Waste in ACTION Blog, detail project status and tales from Ei's empowering journey. In July 2017, the ZWA Blog pageviews surpassed the coveted 350,000 views milestone – the article, Ei: Respected Journalism, chronicles the blogs’ evolution from a powerful industry voice and resource to respected journalism.

As of this article's publication, The IMPACT Blog's views were at 142,450 while the ZWA Blog boasted 371.250 views.

GaTech Facilities Sustainability Forum
On October 24, 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology (Ga Tech) hosted the first annual Facilities Sustainability Forum to an enthusiastic audience from the university and beyond.

At the invitation of Ga Tech Associate Director, Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling Cindy Jackson, Holly was the forum featured speaker. Within her opening remarks, Holly shared the long-term, powerful Ga Tech | Ei relationship dating back to the ZWZ's 2009 launch.

The ZWA Blog article, Collaboration + Culture = Sustainability Success, is a forum overview featuring the impressive Building Services, Office of Solid Waste & Recycling, and Landscape Services presentations. A comprehensive forum PPT presentation is available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

The Power of Connection
Ei plays a valuable industry role by introducing organizations and individuals who share synergies for powerful relationships and action. The year began with a series of Ei Farm Tours for SFI Chair Tim Trefzer, culminating in the Southern Farm & Garden article referred to above.

Lambda Alpha International (LAI)
At Holly's invitation, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) General Manager Scott Jenkins gave an empowering Sustainability: an economic driver presentation at the February 15, 2017, LAI Atlanta Chapter luncheon meeting.

Ei entourage @LAI meeting
A strong Ei entourage attended the LAI meeting to show their support for their close Ei friend: LAI member Wayne King (U.S. Composting Council | ERTHProducts), Boyd Leake (City of Atlanta, Office of Sustainability), Jim Harrell (Renaissance Technology) and Tim Trefzer (GWCCA).

The IMPACT Blog article, Sustainability: an economic driver, gives an overview of Scott's presentation. Scott's PPT presentation is available on the LAI page for download. 

LAI is a prominent, global land economics honorary. In December 2013, Holly was inducted into LAI and in early 2017 joined the Atlanta Chapter Board. SFI Chair Tim Trefzer and Ei Strategic Ally Michael Halicki accepted their 2017 LAI membership nominations on December 1, 2017.

U.S. Green Building Council Atlanta Visit
In late July 2017, Ei hosted U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Global Zero Waste Director Stephanie Barger on a whirlwind Atlanta zero waste-focused visit. For three days, Stephanie met with Atlanta's sustainability leadership to educate on the USGBC Zero Waste Certification and their commitment to building a Zero Waste Economy. 

The ZWA Blog article, Building a Zero Waste Economy, one city, one step at a time, gives the history of the strong relationship dating back to the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council timeframe along with details on the whirlwind visit.

Laura Turner Seydel | Kathy Kellogg Johnson 
On August 22, 2017, Laura Turner Seydel hosted a Sustainable Soils luncheon at the EcoManor, her LEED Certified home. An impressive cross-section of industry professionals representing the USDA Forest Service, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Composting Council, Turner Foundation, Captain Planet Foundation, Park Pride, Emory University, Ei, Growing a GreenerWorld, and Kellogg Garden Organics attended the empowering luncheon.

Kathy & Laura embrace before
the USCC plenary conversation
The luncheon was in honor of industry icon Kathy Kellogg Johnson's Atlanta visit. When Ei introduced Kathy and Laura in the spring, a lovely friendship blossomed.

At the 2018 USCC Conference closing plenary session, Kathy introduced her dear friend and joined Laura on stage for a conversation on an array of topics. In her opening remarks, Kathy graciously thanked Ei for the introduction to Laura. The profound conversation is one of three main features in the ZWA Blog article, GAME WON: 2018 compost conference a record-breaking success, chronicling the conference. 

Kiss the Ground
During pre-USCC conference activities, Ei hosted Kiss The Ground Co-Founder Finian Makepeace on a series of introductory meetings focussed on regenerative landscape & grounds maintenance. The busy day included meetings with Ga Tech, GWCCA, Southern Farm & Garden and the Atlanta Airport.

The Ei Connects page details an array of Ei introductions over the years. Photos from important meetings are included in the Ei FB album, Ei Connects.

2018: Year of Regeneration
With gears shifted and new leadership in-place, Ei soars into a Year of Regeneration!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ei Leadership Recognized for Contributions to Atlanta's Economy & Environment

Michael Halicki & Tim Trefzer at
the LAI Fall Meeting
At the October 4 Metro Atlanta Chamber 2017 E3 Awards, Ei Strategic Ally Park Pride and Sustainable Facilities Initiative Chair Tim Trefzer were recognized for their exceptional contributions to Atlanta's economy and the environment. 

According to the Chamber website:
The Atlanta E3 Awards recognizes companies, organizations, and individuals working to conserve metro Atlanta’s natural resources, develop clean technologies to enhance our economy and environment, support sustainable projects and initiatives, and collaborate on solutions through university connections, marketing, and education.
Elemental Impact (Ei) applauds Park Pride and Tim on their impressive recognition with their respective E3 Awards.

Trident Award
Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Sustainability Director Tim Trefzer was the E3 2017 Trident Award recipient. An award designated for an individual, versus an organization, the Trident Award recognizes visionary leaders advancing sustainability in Atlanta.

With his stellar sustainability track record, Tim is more than worthy of the prestigious award. Under Tim's leadership, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) - the fourth largest conference center in the nation - earned Silver LEED Silver certification in 2014; the GWCC is the world's largest LEED-certified conference center!

As host to the 2013 NCAA® Men’s Final Four®, the second most popular sporting event across the globe, Atlanta set a high standard for sporting event sustainability practices. One of the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee (ALOC) stated goals was to make the 2013 Final Four the "greenest games ever." Tim took the helm for achieving the lofty goal.


SUCCESS: the comprehensive ALOC plan culminated in impressive green footprints before, during and after the games. The ZWA Blog article, Final Four green footprints continue after the games, gives an overview of event sustainability stats; the May 2013 Final Four Sustainability Report is the official in-depth report.

Bill Strang presents Tim
 the E3 Trident Award
photo courtesy of the E3 Awards
Post-event, Tim and an EPA colleague drafted the Final Four Sustainability RFP sustainability section. Thus, new industry standards were established!

For the past two years, Tim consulted with the College Football Playoff and the Super Bowl leadership on establishing sustainability standards at their prestigious sporting events. In addition, Tim is the sustainability liaison for the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and the 2019 Super Bowl host committees. The events are hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, located on the GWCCA campus.


Validating Tim's significant contributions to sporting event sustainability, National Football League Director of Environmental Programs Jack Groh honored Tim, along with two other icons, in his 2017 Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award acceptance speech:
Tim & Jack at a Super Bowl Event
"There are too many people to thank everyone by name but I need to mention a few. I have been blessed to work with the “three musketeers” of sports sustainability for several years. David Crawford of the Vancouver Olympics, Nate Gassmann of PepsiCo, and Tim Trefzer of the World Congress Center in Atlanta. Three of the smartest and hardest working people in the sports sustainability movement.
My original partner, Ed Augustine, along with Scott Jenkins, David Crawford, and I represent the “old guard.” There are new folks like Erik Distler, Nate Gassmann, and Tim Trefzer who form a new generation of leaders to carry on the work and build the future of this movement."

In August 2017 Tim joined the Elemental Impact Leadership Team as the new Sustainable Facilities Chair (SFI). The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, Changing of the Guard: Welcome Tim Trefzer to the Ei Leadership Team!, includes an overview of Tim's professional achievements, along with accolades from the outgoing Co-Chairs; the Ei SFI - GWCCA page lists impressive sustainability accomplishments at the GWCCA campus under Tim's direction.

Community Strong Award
Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki accepted the E3 Community Strong award on behalf of the Proctor Creek North Avenue Study (PNA Study) The Community Strong Award recognizes a nonprofit or university program that promotes collaboration and community involvement in making metro Atlanta more sustainable.

Micahel accepts the E3 Community
Strong Award from Mark Berry
photo courtesy of the E3 Awards
Completed in 2010, the PNA Study is a forward-thinking visionary plan for Atlanta’s Westside that addresses a lack of greenspace and the need for stormwater solutions, both long-time challenges for the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods. The vision is a series of interconnected parks that address stormwater management and the value of neighborhood public parks.

In his acceptance talk, Michael emphasized the tremendous teamwork culminating in the plan's ongoing success with current accomplishments and future park development.

The PNA Study is unique in three distinctive areas:
  1. Community-driven, the PNA Study is multi-faceted; local challenges beyond park development including community revitalization, job creation, stormwater management, and public health are addressed.
  2. Local technical experts were generous with their contributions. Eberly & Associates provided hydrology expertise and Perkins + Will produced many of the maps included in the plan.
  3. A long-term endeavor, the PNA Study has a persistent impact over time. The projects completed in 2010 continue to provide community benefit while future projects build upon the collective impact.
The IMPACT Blog article, The Power of Parks, chronicles the history of parks, the intrinsic value parks bring to the community & the environment, and the Trust for Public Land's ParkScore ranking system. In addition, the article gives an overview of Park Pride's empowering contributions to Atlanta and Dekalb County parks and the communities as a whole.

Beyond their respective 2017 E3 Awards, Tim and Michael were nominated for membership in Lambda Alpha International, a prominent land economics honorary with local and global impact. The IMPACT Blog article, Lambda Alpha International Atlanta Chapter: growing membership, influence and impact, introduces LAI along with its history and designated purposes.

Tim and Michael join Ei Founder Holly Elmore and Ei Advisory Council Member Wayne King, Sr. with ERTHProducts as active LAI Atlanta Chapter members.

Congratulations to Tim Trefzer and Park Pride | Michael Halicki on the Metro Atlanta Chamber's recognition of your valuable contributions to Atlanta's environment and economy. Ei is honored to partner with you all on many of your important projects.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Power of Parks

Beginning in Britain around 1760 and ending between 1820 and 1840, the first Industrial Revolution was responsible for global shifts in population class structure, lifestyle, and urbanization. Factories located within cities required a strong workforce and rural residents responded with urban relocation. Public parks emerged as a way to enhance urban life with recreational outlets and natural beauty.

Victoria Park, London
photo courtesy of LondonTown.com
London's Victoria Park ignited the movement of communities investing in public parks. Feeling disconnected from nature, over 30,000 London residents petitioned Queen Victoria in 1840 to create a public park open to the entire population, regardless of class. Victoria Park was also known as the "People's Park" due to the number of political meetings hosted at the park,

In 1859 Central Park in New York City, co-designed by renowned landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, opened as America's first purpose-built park. Olmsted used the term "landscape architect" in the Central Park submission; it was the first time the now prominent profession was mentioned.

Parks are recognized as the lifeblood of a city's sense of community. Beyond their original recreational purposes, urban public parks are a valuable metropolitan asset and a strong indicator of a city's vitality.

The Value of Parks
Parks play a dynamic, valuable role in a city's infrastructure. Per the City Parks Alliance, leveraging the power of parks, urban public parks provide tremendous value to a city:

Restored wetlands @ Toronto's
Corktown Commons
photo courtesy LAI Toronto LEW
  • Economic value - Parks support public health, the economy, the environment, education, and community cohesion. Parks are critical to workforce development, particularly green career tracks. Parks make our cities sustainable, livable, and vibrant. In addition, parks produce measurable health, environmental, and community savings.
  • Public health value -  Parks help lower stress, improve physical and emotional health, reduce hyperactivity, and build stronger immune systems. With abundant foliage, public parks "clean" the air through the photosynthesis process within trees and other plants.
  • Environmental value - Parks with natural landscapes are vital to preserving regional ecosystems amid growing cities. By absorbing carbon dioxide and pollutants fueling climate change, parks and green infrastructure offset the warming effects on cities, making them cooler. Strategically planned urban green spaces transport and store stormwater runoff within the park or safely into waterways. Otherwise, the runoff could overpower sewer systems causing costly flood damage and environmental pollution.
  • Community value - Parks control urban sprawl and reduce crime, creating safer communities. Green revitalization in a distressed area is often a beacon of change for the entire community. New or refurbished signature parks in city centers or redeveloping communities can promote social health, generate jobs, and spur economic growth. 

Park Rankings
The Trust for Public Land issues the annual ParkScore based on a 100-points system with three categories: acreage, facilities & investment, and access. Within acreage, parks earn points based on median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Facilities and investment points are earned based on spending per resident and amenities. For access, points are based on the percentage of the population within a ten-minute walk (1/2 mile) of a public park.

Chicago's Lakefront Trail, an urban park
Only the top three ranked cities received a greater than 80 Parkscore: 1> Minneapolis (87.5), 2> St. Paul (82.5), and 3> San Francisco (80.0).

With 51 points, Atlanta ties with Dallas for #50 in the ParkScore 2017 rankings. Atlanta boasts 4,991 acres of parkland, serving 91 people per acre. With an average of 3.1 acres per park, Atlanta parkland is 6% of the city's total land. Annually, Atlanta spends $134.46 per resident on parks.

Park Pride
Grant Park, Atlanta
Summer Shade Festival
photo courtesy Michael Halicki
Founded in 1989, Park Pride is the only nonprofit organization working with communities all over Atlanta and Dekalb County to improve their parks. Under the helm of Executive Director Michael Halicki, Park Pride adopted a new strategic plan in 2016 focused on deepening impact in the communities and parks served. The 2016 Impact Report shares the strategic plan components and successes.

The Power of Parks: Park Pride helps neighborhood groups make the best use of greenspaces that contribute to the overall health and well-being of Atlanta. Per the website:
Park Pride Philosophy: Park Pride believes in the Power of Parks. Great parks have the power to increase our quality of life and strengthen the fabric of our cities. They are places for members of the community to gather, play, relax, and lose themselves in nature, encouraging mental and physical health. Great parks promote community engagement, safety, and revitalization. They spur economic development and benefit tourism. Great parks make our citizens happy, our communities strong and our cities sustainable.
Park Pride Mission: To engage communities to activate the power of parks.
Park Pride Vision: We envision a nationally recognized network of locally inspired parks, greenspaces and trails that engages individuals, strengthens communities and transforms Atlanta.
Through the Friends of the Park program, Park Pride empowers local groups to build and maintain a strong network of neighborhood parks via a wide range of services and programs:

Friends of the Park meeting
at Standing Peachtree Park
photo courtesy of Park Pride
  • Park Visioning Program - professional assistance to communities for neighborhood parks master plan development.
  • Grant Programs - matching grant programs offer multiple options for communities to create and fund their ideal greenspace.
  • Fiscal Partners Program - easier access to funding for park projects.
  • Organized Volunteer Workdays - access to a team of volunteers to help with park projects.
  • Monthly Park Meetings - community gatherings designed around education, networking, and support related to improving parks and the park system.
  • Workshops - opportunity to attend workshops that serve the community and parks.
  • Park Tool Shed - free service that provides basic landscaping tools and equipment to more efficiently equip volunteers for park projects.
  • Park Play Library - rental recreational equipment packages for all kinds of activities.
In February 2017, Park Pride received a $60,000 Home Depot Foundation grant in partnership with the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) for the “Pollinators in Parks” pilot initiative; the pilot purpose is to increase the presence and impact of pollinator gardens in five Atlanta Parks. 

Winter Pollinator Garden Sign
ABG Pollinator Garden Coordinator Melina Lozano DurĂ¡n explains “Pollinator gardens are not only necessary to help natural ecosystems and their plant and animal communities to thrive within cities, but they also nurture our connection to nature.”

The five "Pollinators Parks" pilot locations are Blue Heron Nature Preserve (Buckhead), Four Corners Park (South Atlanta), Gilliam Park (East Atlanta), Grove Park (West Atlanta) and Welch Street Park (Southwest Atlanta). 

Lambda Alpha International Meeting
Michael accepted his nomination to Lambda Alpha International (LAI), a prominent land economics honorary, and joins Elemental Impact Founder Holly Elmore as an active Atlanta Chapter member. At Holly's invitation, Michael presented at the LAI Atlanta Chapter fall meeting in mid-October hosted by Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Michael introducing
Stephen in the background
In addition to a nice welcome to Atlanta's most visited park, Piedmont Park Conservancy President Mark Banta educated on the park's intriguing history.

As the meeting keynote speaker, Michael presented on Engaging Communities to Activate the Power of Parks. Instead of a formal PPT presentation, Michael used the 2016 Impact Report as his visual tool. The LAI Blog post, Fall LAI Atlanta Chapter Meeting, includes the meeting notes by LAI Board Secretary Bill de St. Aubin, Sizemoregroup CEO.

During his presentation, Michael invited Cox Conserves Hero Finalist Stephen Causby to speak on his impressive neighborhood park success. At the helm of a grassroots effort to transform a vacant neighborhood lot into the Mattie Freeland Park, Stephen oversaw the park development, managed cleanups, executed programming, wrote grants, and solicited community support. The park transformed the neighborhood into a community. Park Pride nominated Stephen for the Cox Conserves Hero awards.

The Ei FB album, Lambda Alpha International, is a pictorial recap of the fall meeting.

As Industrial Revolutions continue to evolve from water & steam (first) to electric power for mass production (second) to technology to automate manufacturing (third) to the current digital era, the Power of Parks gains strength and importance with each evolution. The Power of Parks is well beyond the immediate tangible benefits of recreation and within the intangible, yet measurable, benefits of economic, public health, environmental and community value.

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About Lambda Alpha International:
Lambda Alpha International (LAI) is an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. LAI provides a forum for the study and advancement of land economics where the "winnowing and sifting" of ideas takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

LAI operates through a network of chapters. LAI Chapters provide a variety of programs and forums for its members to share information critical to understanding important land-use issues. The IMPACT Blog article, Lambda Alpha International Atlanta Chapter: growing membership, influence and impact, introduces LAI along with its history and designated purposes.

In December 2013 Ei Founder Holly Elmore was inducted into membership and serves on the LAI Atlanta Chapter Board. In addition, Holly serves on the LAI Global Public Relations and Communications Committee.