Kicking Horse Job Corps goes
green on Earth Day
back: Kicking Horse Job Corps celebrated Earth Day with weeklong
activities, which included planting this flowering crab tree last
Thursday. Culinary Arts instructor Willie Caye offered thanks and
commended the center for giving back to Mother Earth, while Jeff
Clairmont's heavy equipment crew maneuvered the tree into place. Former
educator and Dixon Tribal Council Representative Terry Pitts also
offered words of encouragement to the center staff and students. (Kim
PABLO — The Kicking Horse Job Corps Center hosted
events for their National Office “Earth Day, Every Day” this past week
with several service projects and activities to commemorate the 40th
Earth Day anniversary.
During “Earth Day, Every Day,” students and staff
members participated in several activities that focused on green living
and improving the environment and launched a recycling contest at the
Job Corps Center student dormitory.
KHJC showcased career expertise and educated
information to students, staff and the community during a “Go Green
Fair” on Tuesday, April 20.
The center also had a tree-planting ceremony on
Earth Day, April 22. The entire student body was present for the
ceremony including CSKT Dixon Representative Terry Pitts to welcome the
“flowering crab” tree on campus that is to signify new beginnings,
according to Career Technical Training Director, Tom Patch. The actual
tree-planting was conducted by the center’s very own heavy equipment
The Job Corps “Earth Day Every Day” initiative is
funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and is held
by hundreds of center’s across the nation.
Through the funding, the center was able to
purchase three electric vehicles. Other energy efficient materials and
equipment included insulation, solar hot water panels for the cafeteria
and install on-demand hot water heaters for the dormitories and
installation of greenhouses and gardens with native plant species.
The center also purchased hundreds of coffee
travel mugs for all the students and staff in an effort to eliminate
Styrofoam on campus. According to a national study, Americans throw
away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year. “We got rid off all
our Styrofoam today,” said Shelly Fyant during the “Go Green Fair.”
The week-long event is designed to teach students
and staff members strategies to reduce their impact on the environment
at work and at home.
Forsch, founder of Eco-Logic Strategies and St. Ignatius resident,
encouraged KHJC students that they can make a difference in the
environment. Forsch was the driving force in changing mayonnaise jars
from glass to plastic in the late 1990's. (Lailani Upham photo)
During the “Go Green Fair” on
Tuesday, KHJC students enthusiastically received the presentation from
Cynthia Forsch, a local environmental consultant and founder of
Eco-Logic Strategies on one individual making a national change in the
environment. Forsch, a former Director of Environmental Affairs for
Albertsons, a national grocery chain, formed Eco-Logic Strategies in
2002 after working for the national grocery chain for over a decade.
Forsch assists companies with development of an environmental strategy
based on the principles of sustainability that includes sound economic
Forsch shared with the students that while working
with Albertson’s she asked the chain what the purpose was for using
glass jars instead of plastic for the mayonnaise. The stores reply was,
“It’s always been that way.” Forsch told the students, “It’s a red flag
when you get an answer like that.” Forsch challenged the store in a
positive way to change the jars. Her plea was that the jars would not
be prone to breakage and losing product and that the plastic containers
were cheaper to manufacture. Albertson’s became the first brand to
place plastic mayonnaise jars on the shelf and now almost all brands
and stores have plastic jars.
A modern glass bottle would take 4000 years or
more to decompose -- and even longer if it’s in the landfill, according
a national recycling study complied from the National Recycling
Coalition, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Earth911.org.
An impromptu question came from a student in the
bleacher’s asking Forsch, “ All that was done by you?” Forsch replied
humbly, “Yes.” Then urged the student body to speak up when they see
something that is not environmentally sound, “You can make a
difference,” she said. Her story earned an enthusiastic cheer from the
Forsch gave the student tidbits on recycling,
“Cardboard can be recycled. When you purchase something with a lot of
packaging have them open it at the store and keep the package.”
She urged the students to think about one thing,
to promise to oneself to look at buying habits and to recycle something
with a purchase. “Speak up when you see something that is not right,”
she said. Forsch went a step further to challenge the student to change
their environmental habits and asked who will make a commitment to
change some habits, a third of the hands were raised.
Throughout the fair students did a number of
presentations on recycling materials and garden composting. Composting
is essentially a way of speeding up the natural process of
decomposition by which organic materials are broken down and their
components return to the soil. The decaying process happens naturally
A student team talked about composting by using
left over vegetables as fertilizer for a garden and mentioning that
KHJC uses four to five gallons a week for that particular use in their
on-campus gardens. Composting can save money that would otherwise be
spent on soil conditioners and fertilizer.
Another team of students presented the need for
paper and plastic recycling. “What is does recycling mean?” one team
member asked the audience, and followed up with an answer on statistics
regarding the environment.
Approximately one billion trees worth of paper are
thrown away every year in the U.S.
According to a national survey on recycling,
Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Most of them are
thrown away. Also there are plastic bags and other plastic garbage
thrown into the ocean that kill as many a million sea creatures each
Job Corps is committed to ensuring that the
principles of Earth Day extend past this year’s Earth Day week-long
The KHJC staff is committed to teaching Job Corps
students to be better environmental stewards in their communities by
providing students with green job training opportunities in the years
To learn more about KHJC, call (406) 644-2217 or
visit online at www.kickinghorse.jobcorps.gov.