Learn from business professionals and other experts about how to green your business. It does not have to be expensive and overwhelming. This networking event brought to you by the Regional Storm Water Collaborative (RSWC) will illustrate how helping the environment will help your business. Little changes can make a big difference and small investments can go a long way. By going green your business can develop a whole new clientele. Learn how you can cater to this growing market from speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities from experts within the Tri-State area.
Speakers are local leaders that have saved money, resources, and increased business by going green, including yours truly from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – the greenest zoo in America!
The RSWC created the savelocalwaters.org campaign to utilize mass media and shared resources in order to better raise awareness concerning environmental quality issues in the Ohio River Valley. By leveraging joint resources, the RSWC alliance is capable of reaching regional audiences with a consistent message in the most economical and efficient manner possible. Together we all work to keep our environment clean and safe! All contributions made to RSWC fund environmental education and advocacy.
The event takes place Wednesday, October 16 from 1pm-3pm. It will be at the Union Township Civic Center at 4350 Aicholtz Road, Cincinnati, OH 45245. Cost is free to members of the Regional Storm Water Collaborative, and $10 for non members. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!
October 15, 2013 4 Comments
Written by guest blogger, Dan Divelbiss, one of the masterminds behind the Zoo’s aquaponics system.
“Waste” does not exist in nature. All our furred, feathered, and finned friends don’t take a trash can out to the curb each week to watch their undesirables go “away”. Instead nature has a plan for every scrap and left-over. As we learn from nature, we too can begin to apply this concept to our lives. If you were recently walking past the Base Camp Café on your way to Africa, you may have noticed a greenhouse filled with water, fish, and plants. This is the Zoo’s newest effort synergize with nature’s design ethic: Aquaponics!
Simply stated, aquaponics is growing fish to eat (aquaculture) and vegetables (hydroponics) together, where wastes from the fish are food for the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish. In this controlled environment, yields are high and reliable. Aquaponics systems range from simple, tabletop systems consisting of little more than goldfish and a few sprigs of basil to elaborate, commercial scale systems which employ many people and produce tons of food annually. This particular aquaponics system in the Greenhouse was designed to show how folks can build their own family-scale, aquaponic garden from materials available at local hardware/landscaping stores.
This system consists of a fish tank, two grow beds for vegetables, a pump, an aerator, solids filter, and a biofilter. Water flows through the system continuously in a closed-loop allowing nutrients and water to be cycled and recycled. If this system were meant to accommodate a higher fish density (aka more “waste” producers in the same space), it would require a few more components. However, this system with a low fish population and extensive biofiltration doesn’t require them.
Fish are housed in a tank. Water from the fish tank is pumped through solids removal and into a biofilter, where the fish waste is converted by bacteria from ammonia (possibly toxic to fish) into nitrates (non-toxic to fish) that can be used by plants. The water flows downhill from the biofilter into growing trays. Plants grow in beds of gravel or expanded clay (which also acts as an additional biofilter), or they are floated on the water in a floating raft. After the water passes through a network of plant roots, it is returned, cleansed, to the fish tank. All through the process, air is pumped into the system to ensure plenty of oxygen for the fish, beneficial bacteria, and plants. Each day the fish are fed and their excrement supplies the nutrients necessary for plant growth.
The current plants growing in the aquaponics system include basil, cucumber, and tomato. Each day, our SSA chefs harvest what they need for catering and restaurant meals, staying true to their commitment to providing our guests food that is as fresh and as local possible. For example, your caprese salad features basil grown in the Greenhouse, and picked just before it is tossed in your salad.
If you’d like to learn more about aquaponics, stop by the Zoo and check out this new exhibit next to the Base Camp Café. The Greenhouse was made possible by the Woodward Family Charitable Foundation.
Dan Divelbiss, MS is the managing member of Waterfields, LLC, an urban agriculture development company focusing on bringing commercial aquaponics to the urban core to create living wage jobs, revitalize communities, and sell to Cincinnati’s local food market. Learn more at www.waterfieldsllc.com
August 28, 2013 4 Comments
Written by guest blogger, Jessica Klosinski, Sustainability Intern and AIP Graduate Student
While most teens are spending their summer at the pool or playing video games, others are educating Zoo visitors on sustainable choices and going green. The group is called “Green Teens” and you can find them volunteering in the Zoo’s Go Green Garden where they have spent most of their summer. The Go Green Garden exhibit is located across from the Elephants, not far from the Vine Street Village.
The teens describe their typical day as greeting and helping guests, giving green tours, helping in the Base Camp Café, and interacting with children. “Interacting with kids is the best; they get really excited,” says Hannah Quillin, 15. The teens are stationed in the Zoo’s Go Green Garden, an area dedicated to educating guests about the zoo’s green initiatives and how they can make sustainable choices in their own lives. Olivia King, 16, one of the green teens, says that talking about water conservation is her favorite part of the zoo’s green story. King and friend Mattina Girardot, 16, say that there is so much to talk about regarding water, from pervious pavement found throughout the zoo to the water retention tanks in the new Africa exhibit. Nicole Armbruster, 14, says that she loves to tell guests that we are “the Greenest Zoo in America.”
Another place the teens are active is in the Base Camp Café, recently deemed the greenest restaurant in America. The teens help educate the guests as they sort their waste into compost, recycle, and landfill. These teens aren’t all talk either, they say that volunteering has helped them feel connected to conservation and incorporate sustainable living into their own lives. “I yell at people at home for leaving the lights on,” says King. Melissa Holland, 15, shared that volunteering at the zoo has helped her be more involved in programs she didn’t know about before like participating in the Adopt an Animal program. “I recently adopted a female rhino,” Holland says.
The teens joked, saying they would love to require conservation actions from the public. “I wish everyone had to compost and recycle,” says Quillin. Volunteering at the zoo has also helped to develop responsibility and people skills both valuable in their future career endeavors. Holland has even considered a career in environmental engineering and conservation. The teens say this opportunity has helped them to become more outgoing and to meet other like-minded teens that care about conservation. Representing the greenest zoo in America is a big responsibility but these teens have taken on the challenge. Come visit the teens in the Go Green Garden the next time you visit the zoo; they would love to help you learn how to GO GREEN!
August 16, 2013 1 Comment