By: Serenata Wright
When given time and support, most things could be possible. Things like staying sane, learning, and saving is possible. The chickens were bought during a very hard time. The Coronavirus has destroyed a lot, but not HOPE. Hope was found in these chickens, whether it was to keep each other sane, allow learning for the baby, allowing access for me to establish a sure thing. Cultivating and raising chickens will provide happiness, eggs, and potential money saving or acquiring action. With these egg-producers, money does not need to be spent on eggs. With these animals, they will become pets and loved. With these new things, a baby will learn about animals closely. My baby sister will be raised as a self-sustaining person. I am leading the way of green development, within my whole family as well. And in this situation, me and my family will learn to be self-sufficient, remain sane, save money, and be happy.
Tips on Raising Chickens!! by Kate Glenn
WHERE TO GET THEM: If you buy chicks online, THEY COME IN THE MAIL! Don’t worry, they are safe, mostly…. and they throw in a few extra birds just in case. You can also purchase chicks or slightly older pullets at your local tractor supply. Some people even hatch their own in a incubator (borrow from a friend or purchase online). I also like to talk to my local farmer friends and they will often gift me a few old layers- they don’t lay every day so the farmer is happy to give them away. If you are not looking for large numbers of eggs daily (couple for breakfast) than this might be a good option for you.
Check out Murray McMurray Hatchery Click Here
WHAT KIND SHOULD YOU GET: There are many breeds of chicken- Bard Rocks, Americanas, Australorp, Rhode Island Reds are just a few of the breeds known for being good egg layers. It’s worth doing a little research. Also ask your local farmer if they have any heritage or special breeds they would be wiling to share with you. I’m a fan of Rhode Island Reds, they are good egg layers and I’ve used them for meat birds as well. Although a variety of different breeds in your flock is also fun.
CARE FOR YOUR BIRDS: Chicks need a nice box (old plastic tub w/lid with holes is great). They will need some wood shavings, water, feed bowl, and heat lamp. Your local supply store should have everything you need. Although you don’ t need fancy supplies. See what you have around the house that you can use, before buying anything. When birds get bigger (and they will) they will need to be outside. Fresh waster and food every day- also make sure you lock them in your coop at night, and let them out in the morning.
THE COOP: You can buy a coop or build a coop, but you will need something warm (insulated), dry, and secure! Your chickens need a safe try place to roost at night where they can be protected from predators. Research some chicken coop plans online, find a used one on craigslsits for facebook marketpace, also consider buying new. A coop should last you a lifetime. I purchased my coop used from Jim Tucker and it’s got these great egg boxes with a door that mean I have easy access to eggs without disturbing the chickens. Clean out your coop- the poop is great fertilizer for your garden(it’s like gold).
FEED: Chickens eat food scraps, all sorts of food scraps including egg shells! Get your neighbors to give you their food scraps in exchange for eggs. Buying grain is also necessary to supplement your food scraps. Bulk is much cheaper if you can find it nearby. Any feed store in your area will carry chicken feed. Make sure you store your feed in a place where mice can’t get to it. I store my feed in a big metal trash can with secure lid.
LOVE YOUR CHICKENS!
Watching chickens is great entertainment for the whole family!
By Sean Jackson,Sustainable Transportation Fellow
In the Adirondacks one of the largest contributors of carbon emissions is transportation. That being said, the future of transportation is looking up and green. With more and more electric vehicle and plug-in electric hybrid models becoming available every quarter, the necessary infrastructure (charging stations) to charge them has been following. I’m proud to say that over Spring Break, Paul Smith’s College and Apex Solar completed the installation of 5 electric vehicle charging stations with the ability to accommodate up to 10 vehicles at a time. This $90K project was supported entirely by grant funding from NYSERDA’s (New York State Research Energy and Development Authority) Paul Smith’s College Installs 5 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Charge NY Grant and National Grid’s Electric Vehicle SE Charging Station programs. What this means is that the project was completed at no cost to the college.
Supported by ChargePoint software, our Phase 2 chargers (pretty fast!)are located across three different locations both on campus and at the VIC. Each station has 2 charging ports on either side to accommodate charging of up to 2 vehicles at a time. The most visible station is located in the commuter lot, out in front of Currier Hall with a total of two ports. The other on campus stations (2 more) are located behind our facilities buildings in parking lot 1. The remaining 2 stations live at the VIC to serve visitors to the VIC.
These new additions to our campus infrastructure are great- but what next? Coming in the Fall of 2020 the Center for Sustainability will be hosting an event to showcase our new charging stations to work with owners of electric vehicles, local car dealers, and energy providers to address the benefits of electric vehicles and hybrids in the North Country. Another key component of this event is to connect the North Country’s electric vehicle initiatives and give potential EV customers a chance to get behind the wheel! These are efforts to connect the charging network laterally with the help of organizations like the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and the Green Energy Consumer Alliance (GECA).
We may be in uncertain times, but we must stay encouraged. State leaders are pushing to make New York a front runner in the transition towards a sustainable energy system and economy- and many corporations are listening. These ambitious goals are supported by legislation such as New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act as well as commitment of companies like GM announcing things like 400+ mile electric vehicle ranges and the release of 20 new electric models by 2023. Change is coming to transportation and Paul Smith’s is going to be ready to welcome these exciting developments when they arrive.
Written by: Hannah Rion
Center for Sustainability Education and Outreach Assistant
What is the Sustainability Grant?
The Sustainability Grant program has been running here at Paul Smith’s College since the Fall of 2013. Funds from the program are derived from a $30 fee that all students pay during the Spring semester. This allows there to be roughly $25,000 available annually for students, faculty, and staff to apply for. These funds are then used to support sustainable initiatives on campus and throughout the college community.
The program gives proposers options of applying for either an under $500 or over $500 grant. The under $500 grants are accepted on a rolling basis and are judged based upon a funding rubric by the Smitty Sustainability Committee. This committee is comprised of students who feel passionate about sustainability and enjoy enacting positive forms of change on campus. The over $500 grants are first reviewed by the committee, in accordance to the rubric. After this, the proposals are voted upon by the entire student body, once during each semester of the school year. If more than half of the students vote to pass the proposal(s), the grant has passed and funds are distributed.
Throughout the program’s seven years of existence, more than $150,000 has been awarded to support projects focused on sustainability. These projects have ranged from installing LED light posts all across campus, to even starting the Beekeeping Club. If you have an idea you are excited about and would like to bring it to fruition, please reach out to the Center for Sustainability at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently accepting under $500 submissions up until April 20th. We encourage you to take a look at past grants, which can be found by visiting the Center for Sustainability’s website at www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability.
Over $500 Grant Awards
Coastal Climate Stories Documentary – $2,876
Sean Jackson, Paul Smith’s College Climate Fellow, had the chance to travel throughout coastal communities along the East Coast of the United States during the Summer of 2019. During his time doing this, Sean collected numerous interviews from individuals willing to share their own experiences with the effects of climate change. After conducting several interviews, he felt as though there was a disconnect between his interview transcripts and the emotional stories he was hearing. This disconnect led him to transforming the project into a documentary. Sean further believed that collecting these stories in a documentary form would create a much more relatable medium for audiences.
Sean will be using the funds he received from the Sustainability Grant to further build off of his fellowship by completing the film in its entirety and submitting the film in hopes of entry into fourteen film festivals throughout the United States. The Center for Sustainability is excited that Sean has dedicated so much time to spreading awareness of the true stories many people in the United States are facing due to the effects of the climate crisis. We look forward to the final release of the film and wish him luck in his entries into the film festivals.
Lower Textbook Costs Initiative – $6,000
The Joan Weill Adirondack Library is initiating an Open Educational Resources (OER) pilot project to help make textbook costs for students more sustainable. The program is designed to incentivize and support faculty to redesign, plan, and teach courses using free or low cost OER materials and eTextbooks in order to lower the overall cost of PSC student’s education. The startling costs of textbooks can prove to be extremely difficult for many students to pay for. This initiative will assist those students by lowering the overall cost of their textbooks for select courses. In some cases, this project may lead to courses offering free textbooks to students.
The awarded funds will be directly allocated to departments and is to be used as seed money for numerous faculty members to redesign their courses around OER. This money will then incentivize faculty to take time and adjust their course to align better with OER textbooks, rather than the current text they use. The library chose to take this project on because they see the value in the college offering more hybrid class models, as well as offering affordable materials for students. It is with great anticipation that we work with both the library and faculty to see this initiative come to fruition.
Under $500 Grant Awards
The High Art and Subtle Science of Scrounging Book Purchase – $500
Nancy Dow and Bruce Kilgore, adjunct professors at Paul Smith’s College, teach one of the most beloved courses the college has to offer. Conservation Design: Green Construction (SUS 310) exposes students to topics such as cordwood construction, various renewable energy sources, affordable living, and much more. The course also hosts numerous guest speakers that discuss their experiences in “green” living. One speaker that paid a visit to the class during the Fall 2019 semester was James Juczak, self-proclaimed “scrounger”. Similar to how Mr. Juczak shared his expertise with students, he also wrote a book showcasing self-reliance, food growing and preservation techniques, as well as mortgage-free or alternative construction. His book, titled “The High Art and Subtle Science of Scrounging”, takes a unique perspective on day-to-day living. In order to provide the twenty-six students of the class with this text, Nancy submitted a Sustainability Grant. Once awarded, these funds supported the purchase of the book for students and provided them with literature to practice in their own life. We were extremely happy to support this project that directly benefits students.
On-Campus Housing Composting Initiative – $485
Charlie Ritter, along with several other students saw a disconnect between the college’s commitment to sustainable practices and how food waste is managed in the dorms. In order to solve this issue, the students developed the idea of providing residents with the opportunity to compost their food scraps in their living quarters. The project idea was developed for a class project in Politics of the Environment and quickly gained backing by both Greta Hovland, Director of Dining Services, and Lou Kaminski, Director of Residence Life and Housing. These collaborations have allowed the project to continue to progress onto the next step of implementation. The program will be implemented throughout the Spring 2020 semester with buckets being distributed to dorm buildings within the coming weeks.
The food waste in both the dining hall and Cantwell labs is already diverted to Moonstone Farm, a small farm located on the outskirts of Saranac Lake. This established partnership fit perfectly for implementing this widespread composting initiative. The students saw importance in making this program an opt-in model to avoid contamination or misuse of the buckets. Educating students on the college’s current practices, as well as the overall benefits of composting is a critical part of this program. Each bucket will be accompanied with a guide distinguishing what can and cannot be placed in the bucket. Furthermore, the students hope to work with the Smitty Sustainability Committee to host outreach events that will continue to educate students. The Center for Sustainability anticipates this to be a longstanding initiative on campus and looks forward to the continued development of the program and partnerships.
Paul Smith’s College has earned a STARS Bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for its sustainability achievements. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
The STARS program, which has more than 800 participants in 30 countries, is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting information related to a college’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
Kate Glenn, sustainability coordinator and lecturer at Paul Smith’s, said that the college performed especially well in curriculum, which tracks sustainability-specific courses such as Sustainable Food Systems, Alternative Energy, and Sustainable Development. Glenn also noted that every department on campus offers courses that have sustainability-related objectives.
“Another area we excelled in was campus engagement,” added Glenn, “including campus outreach, sustainability student employment opportunities, and campus programming that includes guest speakers and trips.”
The college’s Sustainability Grant Program, which provides funds for faculty, staff and students, also plays a role though backing a wide variety of projects. Meanwhile, energy initiatives announced earlier this year include the installation of a wood pellet boiler that has offset 28,000 gallons of oil annually and a partnership with Northern Power & Light and the Northern Forest Center’s Feel Good Heat Initiative, which focuses on locally-sourced wood fuel. Paul Smith’s also signed on with Northern Power & Light, a Saranac Lake-based company with a hydroelectric facility in nearby St. Regis Falls.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Paul Smith’s College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Bronze rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
Glenn said a goal for next year is STARS Silver. Planned efforts include expanding sustainability efforts in the areas of energy, food and dining, grounds, and transportation. Two students will also work as Sustainability Fellows, an employment opportunity geared toward furthering the college’s sustainability goals.
“Paul Smith’s College is committed to being a model for sustainability in our region,” Glenn said. “In addition to lowering our carbon footprint, we want to strive to practice sustainability across all aspects of our institution.”
About Paul Smith’s College
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. We are the only four-year institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit www.paulsmiths.edu.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.
For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.
Getting proactive about fighting climate change Symposium looks at national, community and individual levels
SARANAC LAKE — Around 100 turned out for a climate change symposium at the First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake, where the issue was discussed at the national, community and individual levels.
Titled “Climate Action: What are we doing about climate change?,” the symposium was organized by Adirondack Voters for Change, and co-sponsored by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Paul Smith’s College, First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake and TriLakes350.org.
“I wanted to focus on the action part,” said event organizer Ellen Beberman, committee chair of Adirondack Voters for Change. “For anything to change, it has to go from top to bottom. The whole society has to change. .. so the focuses went national, state, local, individual.
First to present was Richard Brandt, a research meteorologist from the University of Washington and current manager of SUNY Albany’s Whiteface Mountain Field Station, monitoring air quality.
“We just recently have developed a collaboration with Rochester and Harvard and SUNY Plattsburgh, and have a remarkable instrument that’s measuring the CO2 every few seconds, as well as the methane,” Brandt said, of the field station.
He said they’ve recorded a CO2 level increase from 350 to 420 ppm in recent history, and have been detecting increases in methane as well, from fracking in Pennsylvania. These greenhouse gas buildups cause hotter temperatures, faster ice melt in the world’s polar regions and rising sea levels.
“I wish I could tell more positive stories, but this is the story of climate,” Brandt said. “From the science perspective, what I’m trying to say is time is of the essence.
Next, Paul Smith’s College professor Joe Henderson, Ph.D., presented on the social dynamics of climate change, and the Green New Deal.
“Younger Americans are more worried than older Americans, which makes sense, given that they are the ones that are going to suffer the most from this,” Henderson said.
There is good news: the American people are very slowly moving toward acceptance, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
“Gradually, people are accepting it in the United States,” Henderson said. “Doubt around the science has been diminished.”
Henderson said Millennials are most likely to identify climate change as a problem — even Millennial Republicans.
“There’s a generational thing,” Henderson said. “We are the only advanced country in the world that has one political party that denies the science of climate change.”
Cathy Brown, a volunteer with the North Country chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, presented on the Carbon Dividend Act. It’s a bipartisan piece of legislation that would add a carbon tax onto industries that use fossil fuels, to drive the market toward renewable energy sources.
“At this late stage, I don’t think any one bill is going to be enough. We’re going to need a number of tools and I think this is a really important one,” Brown said.
At the community level, municipalities have the option of working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to be designated Clean Energy Communities.
Kate Glenn, sustainability coordinator at Paul Smith’s College, laid out the basics of the program — with the state offering incentives, like matching grant funding, for communities that work to reduce their carbon footprint.
“It’s a toolkit that the state was able to create,” said Patrick Murphy, village trustee and member of the village Climate Smart Committee. “We can pick and choose exactly what’s going to work best for Saranac Lake.”
Next, Emmet Smith, co-founder of Northern Power and Light, explained the benefits of supporting local renewable power generators.
“My thesis here to today is talk about electricity choices,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of opportunities for people in the North Country to be able to choose a renewable electricity supply. And it’s one of the simpler things we can all do to mitigate our carbon footprint.”
Typically, when a customer pays the utility for their electricity, they might be paying 15 cents per kilowatt hour.
“Your local powerplant gets 1.5 cents,” Smith said. “You can’t build a new solar array on 1.5 cents, even with state subsidies.”
But through community distributed generation, a new power supply option by the state, a customer can buy a share in a local renewable generator in return for a credit on their utility bill.
“It actually results in a much higher rate for electricity going to the generator,”Smith said.
This means a community can preserve existing assets, like old hydro-electric generators, localize the value of electricity and localize the ownership of renewable generators.
“By localizing the value, ultimately that economic power gives you the ability to localize control,” he said.
Betsy Brooks, head of technical services and automation with the Clinton, Essex and Franklin Library system presented on the “Drawdown” project, which compiled 100 strategies for reversing global warming. Strategies range from city planning, to the individual behaviors to reduce human impact on the environment.
Top solutions included practicing a plant-rich diet, reducing food waste, preserving tropical forests and building offshore wind turbines and rooftop solar panels.
The Rev. Joann White, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake, presented on faith and climate change. She recounted being in theological seminary, and asking a professor what God created the earth from. White said the professor replied that God used his own self, and therefore, all of creation is sacred. She outlined some of the efforts her congregation has undertaken, from hikes to renovating the building to be more energy efficient.
Beberman said the symposium was not a one time thing, and that Adirondack Voters for Change plans to organize more climate-related community events, like a panel discussion with North Country politicians.