The City of Medford, Medford Energy Committee and Medford Chamber of Commerce join forces every year to give awards to residents, businesses and program that exemplify environmental stewardship. Rooted in a desire to recognize those who reduce their impact on the environment and particularly through green house gas reduction, this program scours the city each year to find people and organizations to recognize. Medford is excited to recognize the following people, businesses and programs with 2016 Green Awards.
2016 Medford, MA Green Award Recipients
#1) Jake Kostick: High School Composting Program
Jake was the president of Medford High School’s environmental club, Roots & Shoots. In his junior and senior years, he led the development of a cafeteria composting program at the high school. This program, which was implemented mostly with Jake’s hard work, was successfully initiated in April of 2016 and continues to this day. In the first several weeks of operation in the spring of 2016, it resulted in the composting of over 3,000 pounds of food, which was diverted from trash disposal.
#2) Donna Laskey: Hydroponics Project at the McGlynn School
The Medford Public School Department has embarked on educational programs to teach students about sustainable methods of farming to grow plants using hydroponics. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions with added waste from fish from the aquaponics program described separately today, in water, without soil. The hydroponics program was carried out at the fourth grade at the McGlynn School under the leadership of Donna Laskey and the oversight of Science Department Director Rocco Cieri. The fourth graders grew tomato plants, kale, and lettuce. Their project culminated with the harvesting and tasting of the lettuce, with school committee member, Kathy Kreatz, joining in the festivities. The program included important discussions about current and foreseeable situations which challenge traditional farming methods that could potentially threaten our food sources. Environmental benefits also include enlightening urban students with ideas of new and sustainable methods, with the intention of creating further interest in this field of study.
#3) Norman Rousseau: Aquaponics Project at the Vocational School
The Medford Vocational Technical School initiated an educational program to teach students about sustainable methods of farming to raise tilapia fish for human consumption using aquaponics.
Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purifies the water. The aquaponics program was carried out at the vocational school under the leadership of Norman Rousseau and the assistance of several school faculty, including Charles Saulnier, Sam Christy, Martin Amirault, C.J. Murphy, Robert Drobnek, and Dennis Moriarty. The Aquaponics students provided the fish to the culinary arts program, who prepared a delicious lunch for the President of Tufts University when he visited the high school this past spring. As in the case of the hydroponics program, the aquaponics program provided a curriculum enhancement that enlightened students to the importance of our declining natural resources with ideas of new and sustainable methods to create further interest in this field of study. This project was supported by a $1500 grant from the Medford Educational Foundation.
Other Vocational Programs that participated in the collaboration:
- Biotechnology and Environmental Science and Technology (Mr. Norman Rousseau, Mr. Charles Saulnier) (raising of Tilapia, water quality testing, maintaining of system)
- Robotics and Engineering: (Mr. Samuel Christy) Design, construction, and installation of hydroponics grow bed and grow lights
- Metal Fabrication (Mr. Martin Amirault) Construction of hydroponics grow bed support frame
- Auto Collision (Mr. RJ Searle) Painting grow bed support frame
- Culinary Arts (Mr. Robert Drobnek and Mr. Dennis Moriarty) Preparation of fish tacos from Tilapia
#4) Chicken & Rice Guys: Food Donation Program
Ever since opening their first brick and mortar restaurant in Boston in the Spring of 2015, Chicken & Rice Guys has developed a program where unsold prepared food is donated to the Boston Rescue Mission’s Kingston House. Since opening their Medford Square restaurant in February of 2016, they have expanded the program in order to move closer to their goal of achieving zero food waste. Every day, excess food cooked in Medford for the restaurant, catering orders, and their “Pop Up Cafes” in Boston and Cambridge is collected, cooled to the proper temperature, then refrigerated. The following morning, they transport this food to their Boston restaurant where it is combined with their daily surplus before being picked up by the Mission. In just the first seven months of 2016, this program has diverted nearly 2 tons of delicious food away from local landfills and towards needy and appreciative people.
#5) David Sayres and Jennifer Pectol: “Green” Home Renovation
Five years ago, David Sayres and Jennifer Pectol installed a 5 kW photovoltaic system that produces about 95% of their yearly electricity. They also have two solar hot-water panels that produce about 80% of their hot water. These two installations greatly reduce the amount of gas they use, which saves money and reduces their carbon footprint. When they recently renovated their home, they had spray foam insulation added to about half of the house, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the house and at the same time making the house more comfortable. During construction, they used environmentally friendly materials where possible, such as countertops made from wood fiber and resin from Richlite and linoleum flooring made from linseed oil in the kitchen.
They also replaced almost all of their lights with LEDs to reduce electricity usage and have a heat pump backed with a gas furnace for heating and cooling the house. Except for the coldest days and nights in winter, the heat pump is able to heat the whole house which, while still using some electricity, reduces the amount of fossil fuels they use as compared to the gas furnace. The new heat pump is also more efficient than the older central AC unit, so their energy usage in the summer has dropped considerably.
#6) Ivy Carnabucci: Fells Day at Medford High School
Ivy Carnabucci is the coordinator of Fells Day at Medford High School. This is an annual 1-day event that was created around getting all Medford High School students out into the Middlesex Fells and features environmental education and conservation services projects. For the past two years, Ivy has coordinated outside groups, including the Massachusetts Department of Recreation and Conservation, Tufts University, the Friends of the Fells, Ground Works, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Forest Service, and the City of Medford to provide educational stations and conservation services projects for 800 high school students. She has organized teacher-led groups of students to participate in the various activities and explore the newly created Mustang trail in the Fells. Originally created in conjunction with the Eagle Eye Institute, this year’s activity involved 750 students participating in activities such as canoeing, geocaching, guided nature walks, trail beautification, scavenger hunts, rock painting, and poetry reading outside.
#7) BJ’s Wholesale Club, Club #001 – Medford, MA: Environmental Initiatives
BJ’s Wholesale Club, located at 278 Middlesex Avenue in Medford, participates in several company-wide environmental initiatives. The BJ’s Feeding Communities Program is a collaboration with the Feeding America Network, and in Medford specifically, with the Greater Boston Food Bank. Agencies of the Greater Boston Food Bank visit the Club 2-3 times per week to pick up meats, seafood, produce, dairy and bakery products that are no longer suitable for retail sale. So far in 2016, the Medford Club has donated about 23,000 pounds of food, simultaneously taking this waste out of a landfill, and putting it to good use.
The Medford Club is responsible for recycling approximately 250 tons of cardboard, 10,000 pounds of plastic wrap, and considerable hazardous waste items such as batteries each year. BJ’s estimates that using LED lighting throughout the Club saves about 49,000 kWh of electricity annually. There is also a heat reclamation system that takes heat generated by refrigeration units throughout the building to pre-heat water that is also used within the building. BJ’s has dedicated signage throughout the Club to educate shoppers about the organic and natural products that are available. Seasonally, they also offer a ‘Farm to Club’ program to our Members who shop at the Medford Club, bringing in local produce from local farmers.