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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Arb Notes

    <nth of February, along with bringing fresh coats of snow, midterm break, and Valentine’s Day, also brings about Carleton’s Green Wars here on campus. While the month-long Green Wars encourages students to become more aware of their energy consumption and waste production and to incorporate sustainability into their lives, sustainability is a concept that reaches far beyond the confines of dorm walls. Here at Carleton, the Arboretum also takes measures to become more sustainable.

    One prominent example of this is what the Arb does with its woody debris, a form of waste that it creates ample amounts of every year. The Arb is an ever-changing environment, constantly being re-worked to more closely resemble what we estimate to be its original, pre-settlement state. Invasive plants (such as the infamous buckthorn) are removed and native plants are re-introduced, the removal of certain trees makes way for new plantings that bring needed balance.Thus, at the end of the day, the brush piles tend to pile up—fast. These piles were originally burned for ease, but recently new alternatives have been developed to utilize unwanted wood.

    A method used this year was a “cut your own” Christmas tree event over the break. White and scotch pines in line to be cut down to make way for a new planting were offered to members of the Carleton community for Christmas trees and wreath-making material. Though not a clearly more sustainable method, the “cut your own” event allowed these trees to be utilized and appreciated rather than to be thrown into a giant brush-pile.

    Highlighting the Arboretum’s push for sustainable woody debris removal is its partnership with the St. Paul Energy District’s Ever-Green Energy company. Ever-Green energy focuses on tapping into a little-used source—excess biomass—and turning it into useable energy, therefore cutting down on the use of less environmentally-friendly fossil fuels in favor of renewable fuels. This year, twelve semi loads of waste wood here hauled away by Ever-Green Energy from the Arb—now that’s a lot of fuel! Just think of what would happen if more people started using their woody debris as fuel instead of simply burning it—it’s a resource that opens up a lot of possibilities.

    Making the world we live in more sustainable can be accomplished by really thinking about not only how we use our resources, but what our resources are. As Green Wars continues this month, examine how you go about your day and think about changes you can make to direct Carleton towards “greener” pastures.

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