Archive for the ‘Second Nature Team’ Category

Second Nature re-launched its website this week with an updated look and new capabilities. These include blog hosting, so from here on out we will be posting our regular blog content there.

If you’re a WordPress subscriber, please click on over to continue your subscription. If you’ve subscribed to our blog via email, look for a notification in the next few days that you’ve been subscribed to the new site (and click the confirmation link to activate your subscription).

Thank you for following us these past 3+ years of blogging on WordPress.com — we look forward to your continued readership and engagement over at our new spot!

-The Second Nature Team

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by Rima Mulla, Communications Manager, Second Nature

Found, in the Second Nature archives, evidence that our organizational website once reflected the critical and pivotal nature of our work:

Vice President Gore on the 1998 Second Nature Website
Vice President Al Gore loved it…in 1998.

Vote daily for Second Nature in the Carrots for a Cause contest.
Multiply your vote by recruiting colleagues and friends to support us.

We really need to bring our website up to 2012 standards. Thank you!

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By Van Du, Program Associate

Ouack, Pack, and Quack show their supports for Second Nature Carrot For A Cause, so should you!

Okay, so it’s not “Make Way for Ducklings and Carrots” in Mr. Robert McCloskey’s story, but Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack, are up to something lately!

Now that they have mastered swimming and diving lessons, Quack, the youngest duckling, informs me that they currently have an even bigger mission to accomplish: HELPING SECOND NATURE WIN A WEBSITE MAKEOVER OPPORTUNITY!  Why, you might ask? Because once upon a time, the ducklings woud like to learn more about Second Nature’s Affiliate Membership program, but could not locate the information and got rather discouraged with the current SN website layout, which was designed sometime in the 20th century.  Hrm.  Something’s gotta change…And so, since July 23rd, they have marched to the Boston Public Library everyday and casted their votes for Second Naturein the Carrots For A Cause  contest—a website redesign competition for Massachusetts non-profit organizations, hosted by Boston-based website design firm, Jackrabbit Design.

With only 15 more days to go, the ducklings are committed to voting daily for Second Nature through August 12th .  They believe that everyday is a new day and every vote counts.  That’s right.

Eight votes from the duckings give us a great start everyday, but we need all your help as well! So, please vote daily, vote often, and spread the word to anyone you think would like to support Second Nature’s mission!  A new website for Second Nature would go a long way in helping us support and accelerate all of our efforts in creating a sustainable society.

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by Rima Mulla, Communications Manager, Second Nature

If I had a wishlist of things I’d like to accomplish in my role at Second Nature, an update of the organization’s website would be # 1 on that list. The ACUPCC’s website is in pretty good shape — always room for improvement, of course, but the mission of the initiative is clear and resources for signatories are well-organized and accessible. We even do a pretty good job of keeping information up-to-date on Campus Green Builder, a web portal aimed at under-resourced schools for which the initial funding ended over a year ago.

But when it comes to Second Nature’s website, it’s a classic case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes.

Vote for Second Nature - Carrots for a CauseThat’s why we entered this year’s Carrots for a Cause website redesign contest by local Boston design firm, Jackrabbit. (Voting has begun and continues through August 12. Votes may be cast once a day, every day!)

If you’re reading this post, then you probably already know about Second Nature’s role as the lead supporting organization behind the ACUPCC. We tend to expend the majority of our resources on activities that directly impact the 650+ institutions in the ACUPCC network: implementation support; management of the reporting system; outreach and recruitment; production of publications; conducting webinars; hosting the annual Summit and Regional Symposiums to name just a few of those activities.

But Second Nature has a rich, 20-year history that extends well beyond our support for the ACUPCC. Key players in the Education for Sustainability field recognize our work as an innovative and critical driving force for sustainability. But you’d never know that from our website!

So please help us by voting daily, bookmarking the voting page and, just as importantly, spreading the word to anyone you think would like to support Second Nature’s mission.

PS: We even made a fun video we hope will help us win.

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Last Friday, I had the opportunity to participate on a panel at the 2nd Annual Slow Living Summit in Brattleboro, VT.

‘Slow Living’ as described by the organizers; “…is shorthand for taking a more reflective approach to living and work; an approach that is mindful of  impacts on the environment, on Earth, and on communities; and that incorporates resilience —  our ability to “bounce back” from the consequences of climate change, resource depletion and other changes and stresses...“Slow” encodes the transformative change from faster and cheaper to slower and better—where quality, community and the future matter.”

The Summit program was broken into multiple tracks, covering a range of topics including community supported agriculture, media & journalism, sustainable investing & finance, community building, renewable energy, and education to name a few. For a detailed description of the program click here.

Our session was titled, EDUCATION: Sustainability in Higher Education: Leadership by Example? It was moderated by Jerelyn Wilson, Outreach Director at Building Green LLC, and included the following panelist:

  • David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies & Politics, Oberlin College
  • Philip Ackerman-Leist, Director, Farm & Food Project, Green Mountain College
  • Anim Steel, Director of National Programs, The Food Project

Each panelist gave a 10-minute presentation describing our organization, role, and the personal connection to the work that we do. I led off with an overview of Second Nature, the ACUPCC, and a high level assessment of the US college and university sustainability movement. For my personal connection, I gave an abbreviated version on what I shared last year in our Second Nature team series about why we do what we do.

David Orr provided his usual terrific commentary on the higher education sustainability movement, including some historical  context on how formal education contributes to perpetuating an unsustainable society. He also shared his background in the movement including starting the Meadowcreek Project, a 1600 acre wildlife preserve in Arkansas devoted to sustainable education and recreation. He concluded his presentation with his current focus on revitalizing downtown Oberlin, OH. Called The Oberlin Project, it aims is to build a resilient local economy by eliminating carbon emissions, restoring local agriculture, the food supply and forestry, and creating a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.

Philip Ackerman-Leist discussed Green Mountain College’s (GMC) efforts to support Vermont’s rich farming heritage. Current research being conducted at GMC includes the Long Term Ecological Assessment of Low Energy Farming Systems (LEAFS), the Sustainable Purchasing Initiative, the Viability of Flash-Freezing Technologies for enhancing local foods in the institutional and charitable food systems, and Integrating High Tunnel Crop Production & Renewable Energy Systems. GMC is a terrific example of institution’s positive community impact when it makes sustainability a strategic imperative.

Anim Steele, discussed his role in creating the Real Food Challenge and his support of students to have a dialogue with their institutions to commit and help create a healthy, fair, and green food system. The Real Food Challenge is working “to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—what we call “real food”—by 2020.” Anim shared that he sees a new generation of students that are comfortable with ‘peapods’ and ‘ipods’, and are integrating their world of technology with the need to move forward to the land.

After the presentations, we engaged in a lively discussion with the participants. We covered a range of topics from how we learn to what is community? I continue to be amazed at the level of work and sophistication that colleges and universities are undertaking to advance sustainability. I want to thank the Slow Living Summit for the opportunity to participate and to share the excellent work being done by colleges and universities to an audience beyond its borders!

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By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature
(Download the symposium agenda, or a PDF version of this summary here.)


The first American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Regional Collaborative Symposium – the 2012 Northeast Regional Symposium – took place at Bunker Hill Community College November 3-4, 2011. The Regional Symposiums focus on fostering collaboration among ACUPCC signatories facing similar challenges and opportunities in their geographic regions. This inaugural conference garnered participation from 36 universities in 19 states throughout the Northeast, achieving cross-institutional dialogue, knowledge exchange, and solutions to climate action planning, curriculum reform, and other key issues.

Jennifer Andrews Clean Air Cool PlanetPre-Conference Change Agent Forum

This pre-conference event offered new signatories and schools striving to be compliant with ACUPCC requirements and their pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions a series of “Climate Clinics” presented by representatives of colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and private consulting companies.

Symposium Sessions

Opening Speakers
Dr. Anthony Cortese, President of Second Nature, opened the Symposium evening of November 3 with David Hales, President Emeritus, College of the Atlantic and Chairman of the Second Nature Board of Directors, and Dianne Dumanoski, Environmental Journalist, with a discussion of the ever- increasing need for leadership in higher education to teach innovative, bold, and necessary climate and sustainability theory. The November 4 sessions were opened by Philip Giudice, the former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy.

World Café: Moving Beyond the Climate Action Plan
Participants delved into dynamic discussion and planning during the World Café, which allowed for reflections on the planning process, how to move the campus forward by assigning priorities, key stakeholders, and core values, and engaging with regional partnerships and initiatives. Facilitated by Bonny Bentzin of GreenerU, discussion reflected the need for institutionalizing engagement, the importance of connecting long-term climate planning to the needs of the local community and regional partners, and the potential for creating campus engagement with the Climate Action Plan as a living and strategic institutional document.


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