This Spring Paul Smith’s College, under the direction of Sustainability Coordinator and Faculty member Kate Glenn, applied for and was awarded a $56,000 NYSERDA Grant. The REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance for Roadmaps Grant. NYSERDA provides financial support to REV Campus Challenge members , like Paul Smith’s College, to assist with hiring a third-party energy consultant to evaluate existing campus energy conditions and establish an action plan for addressing campus energy needs. This grant also comes with an additional $4,000 in bonus funding to support student Sustainability Fellowship positions, who will be working on STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Rating System) projects. The college contributed $27,000 to the project in cost share, which was funded with a Sustainability Grant though the Paul Smith’s College Center for Sustainability. The Sustainability grant proposal was written by students in SUS350 Alternative Energy class taught by Kate Glenn this spring semester.
Paul Smith’s College has a long history of supporting and promoting renewable energy on campus and in the surrounding region. The college is in the process of updating it’s Climate Action Plan in accordance with it’s goals for Carbon Neutrality, as part of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment. Paul Smith’s College will be working with L&S Energy Inc out of Saratoga over the next 8 months to complete a three phased project which will assist College in understanding it’s energy use, identify cost effective energy efficiency improvements, and integrate those improvements into the college’s overall sustainability and growth plans including our updated Climate Action Plan and g2g emissions reduction goals.
The result of this work will include a multi‐year plan for building efficiency and operations, in support of PSC’s Strategic Plan and Climate Action Plan. This plan will establish goals to:
- Set multi‐year targets
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Establish systems to benchmark and track energy use
- Improve energy efficiency
- Ensure energy efficiency gains are maintained over time
- Increase use of renewable energy
Phase one of the project is “Preliminary Analysis and Energy Benchmarking” , this includes Utility Analysis, Benchmarking, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Profile. Essentially L&S will be collecting and examining about 2 years of the colleges past energy bills (electricity and heating oil) and completing an updated greenhouse gas emissions report.
Phase two of the project includes completing a “Campus Energy Assessment” which includes an on campus energy audit of the colleges campus buildings. L&S Energy will conduct a walk-though survey of campus infrastructure, identify and analyze low cost/no cost energy efficiency measures, identify and analyze capital measures, as well as review mechanical and electrical designs of campus buildings, conditions and operations of campus systems and maintenance (O&M) practices.
The third phase of the project is to develop an Energy Master Plan for campus and update the colleges Climate Action Plan. Phase three consists of also identifying grants and funding opportunities to support the colleges energy goals, as well as developing a STARS (Sustainable Tracking and Rating System) standard operating procedure for STARS reporting.
Throughout this process, L&S Energy will be reporting out on their findings and working with our Smitty Sustainability Committee as well as students, faculty, and staff. The college is very excited about this process and is looking forward to reviewing and implementing the recommendations from L&S Energy as we updated our Climate Action Plan.
Coming soon to campus ! NO-Mow Pollinator Protection Zones. Paul Smith’s College is establishing No-Mow zones across campus this summer, the college will stop mowing certain sections of campus. The initiative not only provides expanded habitat for wildlife but also reduces green house gas emissions, saves money, and provides an opportunity for long-term restoration ecology studies. The initiative was started on a trail basis last summer and students have begun studies of vegetation and soils, and these will be expanded to various areas around campus today. The college will be partnering with ADK Action’s ADK Pollinator Project to put up signage signaling which areas of campus are No-Mow Pollinator Protection Zones. Check out our no-mow map and stay tuned for more information.
by Serenata Wright
Composting on Paul Smith’s campus in not a new venture. The school has been incorporating composting into their waste minimization program through the dining hall and culinary program. All food that isn’t used by the students and or staff is sent to Moonstone farm in Saranac Lake NY. Food waste is tracked and sent to the farm in order to yield a sustainable result. As once stated, “The food waste serves a variety of purposes on the farm, such as feeding chickens directly, feeding mealworms and black soldier flies which eventually feed the chickens, while the rest is “…composted to create organic matter for our greenhouses, hopyard, fruit trees/bushes, and vegetable fields.”(retrieved from https://www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability/2019/04/05/we-are-composting-food-waste-on-campus/).
This program is a collaboration between The Dining Hall, Center for Sustainability, The Culinary Department and Moonstone Farm! Diverting solid food waste produced on campus not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but it provides the college with a valuable connection and educational opportunity in the farming community. Moonstone farm is working consistently to improve soil health, creating compost from food waste from local residences in Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s College provides the farm with a great source of soil fertilizer.
Having a place to store and use food waste is problematic for the college, with the conflict of figuring out where to store it so it can be used properly. Paul Smith’s could compost and use their own food waste to use for gardening, but with the addition of moonstone farm, that food waste becomes a resource to support local agriculture. Moonstone could go out and buy a bag of fertilizer and feed for their farm from a store, but Moonstone chooses to connect Paul Smiths College and produce more food waste than they themselves can handle. Our campus produces food waste, but it really doesn’t stay waste because of sustainability within our community and the farming community. A strong connection between nature and what it produces is important to the people who live, work, and are theoretically, a part of a farm.
by Nicole Distasio, Sustainable Dining Fellow, Center for Sustainability
Meet your first farmers: Ashlee Kleinhammer and Steven Googin of North Country Creamery, a first generation dairy farm in the Adirondack North Country.
North Country Creamery is a 115-acre farm located in Keeseville, NY, 20 minutes south of Plattsburgh. They produce farmstead cheeses, creamline yogurt, and raw milk, all 100% grass-fed, non-GMO, NYS Grown and Certified, and Animal Welfare Approved dairy. Their Shorthorn and Jersey cows graze on pastures overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. They use no added colors or stabilizers and use organic, local, or fair-trade ingredients as often as possible.
The land itself was purchased by the Open Space Institute and the Klipper Family Fund so that an easement could be put on the property. This way, the land can never be broken up and sold off and will always stay farmland. The land was already used for dairy operations, so it was all set to get up and running, it just needed a farmer. So, the OSI leased the property to Ashlee and Steven, who, after four years, decided to purchase it. In an interview with Gina Agnano for Do North Magazine, Steven said, “The community engagement that comes with this kind of farming where we’re dealing directly with the consumer, especially in this day and age where folks want to be closer to their food source, we get to meet a lot of wonderful people.” Right now, the farm actually finds this easier than before.
Ashlee told me, “Business is actually busier than usual for this time of year, so we are pleasantly surprised by that.” The Creamery is following all CDC guidelines for COVID-19. They are practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and increasing sanitization. Employees must log every time they come in to work to confirm that they’ve washed their hands for 20 seconds.
During this situation with COVID-19, it’s even more important than ever to take care of yourself. For those of you still in the Adirondacks, North Country Creamery suggests stocking up on their probiotic-rich yogurt, nutrient-dense milk, and indulge yourself in some local cheeses found at the farm-owned Clovermead Café and Farmstore. We all need some nourishing food during these stressful times! Might as well make it local! Product can also be purchased at other retail locations found here. However, please note that raw milk can only be purchased on the farm due to NYS law.
Ashlee says, “Overall, I’d say we are so thankful to be farming and living rurally during these trying times—I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.”
North Country Creamery will have a representative available in the Student Center on October 19th during lunch. Please note that the date is subject to change. Lunch will feature mac and cheese using North Country Creamery farmstead cheese. We hope to see you there!