Go Green Pumpkin Carving

By EcoFellow Sonja Favaloro

Last weekend, CET’s six EcoFellows got together to celebrate the change of season by carving pumpkins. Two of the EcoFellows hosted the event in their backyard, providing pumpkins and tools to carve them. We had fun getting creative with our designs and using stencils to cut out spooky cats, ghosts and zpumpkinsombies, but the spookiest pumpkin of all was the RECYCLING PUMPKIN! One EcoFellow decorated hers with the triangular recycling arrows we all know and love.

And this wasn’t the only way we “went green” while carving pumpkins. We carefully divided our pumpkin innards by putting the seeds in a bowl to be roasted later and the rest of the pumpkin guts in a paper bag to be composted. Since our hosts did not have a compost system set up at home, another EcoFellow who did have a home compost system took the bags back with her.

The best part of the process, besides the satisfaction of seeing our pumpkins glowing eerily with tea-lights inside, was roasting all the pumpkin seeds! We cooked up four batches of seeds with different sweet and savory flavorings: cinnamon sugar, curry and cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and sea salt, and we have been snacking on them at work ever since.

So if you are planning to carve pumpkins this Halloween season, why not make a green-themed pumpkin and send us a picture? We are launching a Go Green Pumpkin Carving Contest and we want to see what you can come up with. Send a photo of your green-themed pumpkin to gogreen@cetonline.org for the chance to win one of CET’s Go Green raffle baskets. And don’t forget to compost those pumpkin guts!

Make the Switch Launches WMECO Green Power Option

On July 27, despite the threat of rain, people filled the lodge at Berkshire East to celebrate the fourth annual Berkshire East Wind Festival. This year’s event was especially important, as it also celebrated  the launch of green power programs in Western Mass Electric Company (WMECO) territory.

The Center for EcoTechnology’s long-time partner, Mass Energyoffers 100% local green power to customers who choose it on their power bills. After hearing from Mass Energy, CET, and Mothers Out Front (an organization of mothers, grandmothers and caregivers supporting green power), attendees toured Berkshire East’s 277-foot tall turbine to learn how it helps keep this family-run business thriving. The skies cleared as the green power supporters reached the summit and the site of one of the state’s most beautiful turbines.

turbineFrom Erin Taylor, Marketing Director at Mass Energy:

We like to bring people up close to wind turbines to debunk myths, such as that wind turbines are noisy and cause adverse health effects. In fact, most of our turbines are very close to schools and residences (and skiers) and have been received positively by their communities with very few complaints and zero proven health effects. Our attendees learn, by being up-close, that turbines are non-disruptive, beautiful, and beloved when properly sited.

National Grid customers can already sign up for local green power on their power bills! WMECO customers can add their names to a wait list.

Make the switch today, and help make Massachusetts a better place to live and work!


Volunteer for Easthampton “Women Build”

The expression “women build” is not one that often comes to mind in the construction industry, even in the 21st Century.   Yet the Florence based Habitat for Humanity has just broken ground for two solar-designed homes in Easthampton that are being built over the next 18 months. 

Led by a strong women leadership team, the Women Build project has a goal that 70% of the labor will be comprised of women under the direction of experienced site supervisors.  By proactively encouraging the involvement of women in the construction of homes, Habitat is able to help more families achieve homeownership while women from all walks of life develop practical, hands-on construction skills in a supportive environment.

The excitement or the Pioneer Valley Habitat project is permeating both the daily work and free time of some of CET’s employees.  Our Home Energy Rating staff has been advising the Habitat design team on building science matters and will be inspecting and testing the homes;  Peggy MacLeod, CET Green Building Sales Representative, serves on the Women Build Public Relations Team; and CET employees are busy organizing a volunteer build team to contribute a full day to the Easthampton project. 

Now that the Women Build construction has finally started, CET is using its social media tools to broadcast to both men and women this unique volunteer opportunity.   Whether or not you have any construction skills, you are invited to attend a Habitat workshop at Lowe’s Hadley store to learn basic construction skills and join a team of up to eight individual volunteers or an organized group of colleagues in a “build day”.  This is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn, practice, and apply construction skills while making a personal contribution to increase homeownership for deserving families.   

For more information about coming to an orientation, joining a volunteer team or forming your own team of friends or company employees, contact Megan at PV Habitat, (413-586-5430) / volunteer@pvhabitat.org.   

Women Build

Go for a Climate Ride and Support CET!

The Center for EcoTechnology is now a beneficiary of Climate Ride. You can choose to support us by participating in any of the Climate Rides or Climate Hike that are organized around the United States. Jenny Schwartz, the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington, just selected CET to be one of her fundraising beneficiaries for her New York City to Washington D.C. from September 20-24. Thanks Jenny!

While she enjoys her ride, Jenny is also fundraising for CET’s EcoFellowship and education programs. So, if you decide to do a ride, and select CET as climateridelogo.jpgyour beneficiary when you register, we will be the recipient of the funds you raise, which means our efforts will gain even more traction in the future.

Find out more about Climate Ride by visiting www.climateride.org. Registration for Climate Ride is $100 (which includes a jersey or hiking shirt and more), and then you raise at least $2800 to participate in an all-inclusive event. The rides are fully supported by a team of talented leaders, and Climate Ride will help you with fundraising and training. To top it all off, Climate Ride is one of the ‘greenest’ multi-day charity ride events in the world.


Meet Simone: Our New Community Outreach Specialist

Simone1As the Community Outreach Specialist Simone will conduct public outreach and education to achieve various program and mission impact goals. She will be charged with promoting and delivering residential educational presentations and informational tabling opportunities that inspire participants to take Go Green actions, specifically:

  • Inspire people to make behavior choices to take action in their homes/workplaces
  • Refer residents for energy efficiency programs
  • Educate audiences about green power and clean energy choices for residents

Simone will also supervise some of our amazing EcoFellows, supporting the development of their outreach skill set by providing them with opportunities to learn the role of community organizing.

In the coming months, Simone will be promoting our broadened partnership with Mass Energy, another non-profit organization, to promote the Green-Up renewable power option for WMECO customers. In July, for the first time, these customer’s will have the opportunity to choose two options: New England GreenStart and New England Wind, to match their homes electricity use with 100% renewable energy. No longer are these customers limited by poor siting or large start-up costs for solar PV or purchasing out-of-state renewable energy programs that don’t build energy resilience within Massachusetts.

Now, with the Green-Up option directly on the National Grid and WMECO electricity bill, residents and small businesses across Western Mass can support renewable energy sources in New England with renewable energy certificates from local renewable energy sources – low-impact hydro, solar, wind and cow power. Make the change today and help make a difference by choosing local renewable energy.

To contact Simone about possible Outreach & Education events and opportunities e-mail her at Simone.Cifuentes@CETOnline.org or 413.586.7350 ext. 289


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