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Earth Day highlights Rock Creek's sustainability
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College is honoring Earth Day with a daylong celebration of sustainability at its greenest campus.
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 25, at the Rock Creek Campus, 17705 N.W. Springville Road. The event will include biology instructors giving an invasive plant removal workshop at 9 a.m. in the Environmental Studies Center and wildflower walks starting at 10:30 a.m. In addition, there will be tours of the Rock Creek sustainability system, including its vermi-composting bin (red worms), a food preservation workshop (followed by other workshops) at 11 a.m. in the TLC; and an all day farmers market. The PCC Rock Creek Earth Day also will feature children’s activities, music and an acrobatic dance troupe. This event is free and open to the public.
The Rock Creek Campus, named “Recycler of the Year” by the Association of Oregon Recyclers in 2008, is known for its vermi-composting system, which has brought students and community members together to integrate recycling into the curriculum of several academic programs. Its Loop Program consists of students growing cafeteria food in the community garden, thanks to the vermi-composting of cafeteria food scraps, which eventually become nutrient-rich worm castings that enrich garden’s soil. This practice creates a closed-loop system – the heart of sustainable practice. Thanks to students’ hard work, vegetables grown from the community garden are harvested for the cafeteria and the Oregon Food Bank.
The campus also uses compostable silverware, flatware made of corn products, and plans are in place to begin composting post-consumer foods, plates and utensils by Earth Day. Rock Creek boasts two straw bale houses, an earthen oven, and one building whose water is heated entirely by solar power.
For more information on Rock Creek’s Earth Day, call (503) 614-7261.