Gorge Owned (GO!) has announced the recipients April 27 of the 2019 Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Champion Awards at the Oregon e-Bikes Earth Week Celebration.
Pamela Springer, of White Salmon, through her connection with Columbia Gorge Women’s Action Network’s Ban the Bag Committee, spearheaded a reuse and recycle art education program with White Salmon Schools.
Springer worked with local businesses to acquire old windsurf and kite sails and then coordinated a group of volunteers to go into the schools and help students turn the sails into reusable grocery bags. Many students learned a new skill — sewing — while learning about the environmental issues with single-use plastic bags. Springer also coordinated with Jeff O’Neal of Harvest Market, who agreed to sell the bags and give all proceeds back to reuse and recycle education in White Salmon area schools.
The Renewal Workshop, based in Cascade Locks, is creating a circular economy in the apparel and textile industry by renewing products that would otherwise be deemed as “trash.” The Renewal Project is putting local sewers to work repairing slightly damaged apparel and renewing them into new products. In addition to taking apparel out of the waste stream, The Renewal Workshop itself is a zero-waste business.
The company uses state-of-the-art cleaning technology that uses recirculating carbon dioxide rather than water for cleaning products, and they also create something usable out of all of the items brand partners send them. Plus, in just under a few years, they have created 25 new jobs.
Streets Alive Hood River started out as a wildly ambitious event and has since evolved into an advisory group providing recommendations to the City of Hood River around active transportation solutions that make our streets safer for pedestrians and people on bikes.
Last September, Streets Alive, powered by a team of volunteers, closed streets to automobile traffic so children, young and old, could freely walk, bike, play or share food, music and art with their neighbors. They were committed to making their website and educational materials available in both English and Spanish and included stops at numerous locally owned businesses, many of which were minority-owned.
Adam Smith and his sixth grade Science Enrichment class at the Hood River Middle School were recognized for their powerful “Voices from the Land” stop-motion animation film about the Eagle Creek fire.
With help from Arts in Education in the Gorge, the students created an engaging place-based study of the Eagle Creek fire. Using relatable language and playful illustrations, the film educates people about the impacts of wildfires, the rejuvenation process, and the importance of being good stewards of the places we love and the places that have been sacred to Native Americans for generations.
These annual awards presented by Gorge Owned around Earth Day are named after Tod J. LeFevre, a longtime resident of Hood River and a true champion of sustainability, said a GO! press release.
LeFevre passed away March 7, 2011, when his long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis ended before donor lungs could be found. Among many other things, LeFevre was a civil engineer, green building advocate, a mountaineer, skier, adventurer, innovator and teacher. He launched a solar engineering and installation firm, Common Energy, which is now owned by his wife Marti and Scott Sorensen. Tod and Marti have two children, Cassell and Sutton Bell. This award honors Tod and his humble determination to collaboratively tackle environmental problems, through his business and through community service.
About Gorge Owned
Gorge Owned is a member-supported 501c3 community-building organization committed to social, economic, and environmental resilience in the Columbia River Gorge.
Programs include the Sense of Place Lecture Series, GO! Local, Sustainable Impact Series and more. For more information, visit GorgeOwned.org
“Through community conversations, powerful lectures, and a passion for strengthening local communities, we help people deepen their connections to our landscape and to one another,” said a press release.
“Gorge Owned seeks to nurture and promote the area’s local, sustainable business community, educate residents about personal impact, and foster meaningful connections between people and place.”