Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Make a Difference Day, the SER Way

photo of budding plant by Nancy Zavada
How do participants from 56 different countries impact the community hosting the 5th World Conference on Ecological Restoration?  They do what they do best, volunteer to restore habitats in two local, renowned ecological restoration sites.

The knowledgeable and experienced "person-power" provided by conference attendees will make a significant difference to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

A sponsored event, by Weston Solutions, participants will be transported to one of two locations for a day of volunteering and a free lunch.

This legacy project is an excellent example of using the expertise and skills of the conference volunteers to make a difference in the local area.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Walking along a deserted beach last week, I happened upon this structure.  Rocks balanced delicately upon a piece of driftwood in a stream so as to not touch either tip of the wood in the water.  The artist long gone, just the rock scale was alone on the beach.  Funny, because during my walk that day I was thinking about balance and how important it is in my life.  Some days, "fighting the good fight" seems like it is going nowhere until I spend time in nature.  Nature reminds me of why I care so much about sustainability and brings me back into balance.

So many of the decisions meeting and event planners make every day require a fine balance of factors too, whether they be financial, environmental or social.  Green meeting practices offer even more complex decision making opportunities:
  • Local or organic?
  • Farmed or fresh?
  • Fair trade or shade grown?
  • Recyclable or biodegradable?
  • By train or by truck?
And the answers aren't always easy or the ones we think they should be. Many require a deeper understanding and weighing of factors based upon our event's stated goals.  All of this while balancing our precious time between researching some of these complex decisions and the pragmatic details of finalizing the agenda and printing name badges.

This simple, elegant beach sculpture reminds me, it is after all, a balancing act.  It may take a few different rocks before we make it work, we just need to keep trying.