Saturday Outreach in the Berkshires

By Jorge Guarin, Outreach and Education EcoFellow

Over 40 years ago CET was founded in Pittsfield, MA by a group of visionary individuals. Their mission was to help the Berkshires community take practical steps to address the energy crises of the 70’s. By focusing on energy conservation and renewable energy, CET minimized the detrimental impact those events had on the Berkshires community. After four decades, CET’s engagement with the Berkshires community has not only become more widespread to meet the needs of thousands, but it has also expanded to encompass food waste, materials management, and electric vehicles. The first Saturday of October was a prime example of the strong and everlasting relationship between CET and the Berkshires community.

Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival

The Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival was one of the four events CET was part of on Saturday October 7th. Avery, Willow, and Jorge, three of CET’s EcoFellows, interacted with dozens of people of all ages, providing them information on vermicomposting, renewable energy programs, and home energy assessments. The 83rd annual Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival was a great opportunity to connect with families, of the Berkshires community and beyond, that enjoyed amazing food and local craft vendors.

Drive Green and Clean

Outreach and Education Specialist, Ed Rutledge, represented CET at the Drive Green and Clean event in Lenox, MA. CET partnered with Mass Energy Consumer’s Alliance and the Mass Drive Clean program to promote the many generous incentives and rebates available for buyers or lessees of new electric vehicles. While celebrating the town of Lenox 250th Anniversary, the  Berkshire community was able to sign up to test drive a new Chevy Bolt, Volt or Nissan Leaf. They were also able talk to electric vehicle (EV) owners and dealers, talk about federal tax credits and dealer discounts through the Drive Green program and pick up info on state rebates and incentives through Mass Drive Clean. The combination of all of these incentives and the technological improvements in the EV industry has had in the recent years make today the best time to buy an EV!

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

CET helped the Berkshires community dispose of hazardous materials in two locations. Thomas J. Jakubasz, CETs Systems Administrator,  was running the mini site collection at Great Barrington where CET took over 100 gallons of used paint and motor oil while also giving advice on recycling and properly disposing of other household chemicals. In Pittsfield, Jamie Cahillane and Renee Stearns supported the local Household Hazardous Waste Collection where 260 Pittsfield and Dalton residents attended and more than 3 tons of hazardous waste were diverted. These kind of services reflect how CET addresses in innovative ways some of the needs the Berkshire community has. In Thomas’ words “Overall these events are generally seen as a welcome service to get rid of stuff that people have been holding onto for years sometimes as they don’t want to pollute the environment, but don’t know what to do with.”

Look for us at other events! If you are interested in a workshop or working with us on an outreach and education opportunity, contact Ed Rutledge at

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