Local organizations, such as the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (above), will host special events on Earth Day.
Local organizations, such as the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (above), will host special events on Earth Day.

Hundreds of miles from the hustle-and-bustle of Los Angeles and San Francisco, it’s no surprise that scenic San Luis Obispo provides residents with a variety of ways to help the outdoor environment.

SLO Green Build   

Lana Adams, executive director of San Luis Obispo Green Build, pretty much runs the show. She coordinates different groups of volunteers and the organization’s different programs.

“You name it, I do it,” she said.

SLO Green Build is a non-profit organization that educates and promotes sustainable building, focusing on issues such as construction and water and air quality.  The organization’s attention to these issues makes it “green.” Not only does SLO Green Build promote those concepts, it practices them in its building, Adams said. The floor is natural linoleum, and it uses recycled furniture and their landscape involves drought tolerate plants, she said.

This Earth Day, Adams said SLO Green Build will participate with the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens in supporting the Earth Day Alliance and other non-profits.

Students who wish to volunteer simply need to fill out an application. Adams said SLO Green Build conducts an orientation to see where the volunteer’s interests lie, whether with construction, water and energy issues or administration.

“We love Cal Poly volunteers,” Adams said.

Students who wish to apply should see the organization’s website for contact information.

ECOSLO

Kylee Singh, program coordinator for the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (ECOSLO), runs the programs involving county and city trail service, placing people who need community service with non-profits and more. ECOSLO does Coastal Clean Ups, ECO Summit, an environment-oriented conference and other educational events.

ECOSLO is a non-profit organization that’s been in operation since 1971. According to Singh, ECOSLO works to protect the environment and keep the community functioning sustainably. Singh said the organization is “green” because of its use of recycling and reuse within the office, also within its goals.

“ECOSLO reaches out to the community to educate about recycling, pesticide use, environmental issues and protecting and preserving open space,” Singh said.

This Earth Day, ECOSLO will be participating at EL Chorro Regional Park at the Get Down to Earth Event with the Earth Day Alliance. Singh said volunteers are a big part of the event.

ECOSLO also offers volunteer opportunities involving trail maintenance on Saturdays. Cal Poly students who wish to volunteer should visit the organization’s website. Emailing is the best form of communication, Singh said. Volunteers need to sign a liability waiver, which they can do the day they work, Singh said. ECOSLO also offers internship positions for spring and summer as well.

humanKind

Allison Cebulla is the store manager for humanKind, a non-profit Fair Trade retail store. Cebulla says the store is 100 percent Fair Trade certified, meaning it helps farmers and artisans to compete in the global market. Fair Trade focuses on fair price, fair labor conditions, environmental sustainability and more. Some of the items humanKind sells are handmade by people in developing countries, Cebulla said.

“How you spend your money impacts the world,” Cebulla said. “Fair Trade organizations support small businesses, not big corporations.”

HumanKind currently has three Cal Poly volunteers. Cebulla said volunteers can expect to work at least four hours a month at places such as farmers’ markets or doing event planning.

 San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden (SLOBG) focuses on plants from the Mediterranean region. Kristina Van Wert, director of volunteers at the Garden, said the organization’s mission is to help reconnect people with nature and the Earth.

For Earth Day, SLOBG will celebrate at El Chorro Regional Park, opposite of the Garden. Van Wert said they will offer different classes all day focusing on topics such as raising chickens and wildlife. There will be speakers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Garden will also have an Art Eco display until the end of May, Van Wert said. The display involves 75 pieces of art made from natural, recycled materials, she said.

To reach out to all ages, the Garden offers a children’s garden for its younger visitors.

“We’re reconnecting children with the Earth as well,” Van Wert said.

Van Wert said the Garden is “green” for many reasons, including its solar powered building and its work with the golf course, which has moved to zero waste.

Docents, volunteer tour guides, will also be on hand to answer questions. Cal Poly students who wish to volunteer can contact Van Wert.

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