EcoCentro turns one year old on Earth Day

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Jess Mayes, psychology sophomore and EcoCentro volunteer, has Alan Montemayor, a member of The Sierra Club, which hosts meetings at EcoCentro, smell two-week-old compost to demonstrate it does not stink April 22. Mayes uses hot composting to keep refuse at 140 to 160 degrees and air injections to avoid flipping the compost, allowing everything to break down faster and the compost to be finished in a month.  Photo by Mandy Derfler

Jess Mayes, psychology sophomore and EcoCentro volunteer, has Alan Montemayor, a member of The Sierra Club, which hosts meetings at EcoCentro, smell two-week-old compost to demonstrate it does not stink April 22. Mayes uses hot composting to keep refuse at 140 to 160 degrees and air injections to avoid flipping the compost, allowing everything to break down faster and the compost to be finished in a month. Photo by Mandy Derfler

Lisa Cervantes, environmental science sophomore and president of Students for Environmental Awareness, reaches for a peach growing on a fruit tree grafted with two types of peaches, plums and nectarines. The tree was a surprise for EcoCentro's one-year anniversary April 22 and will be planted in an island in the parking lot. Also at the anniversary event are ESL adjunst Maureen Kenney and Graciela De Leon, landscape and horticultural science freshman.  Photo by Mandy Derfler

Lisa Cervantes, environmental science sophomore and president of Students for Environmental Awareness, reaches for a peach growing on a fruit tree grafted with two types of peaches, plums and nectarines. The tree was a surprise for EcoCentro’s one-year anniversary April 22 and will be planted in an island in the parking lot. Also at the anniversary event are ESL adjunst Maureen Kenney and Graciela De Leon, landscape and horticultural science freshman. Photo by Mandy Derfler

Worms thrive on molasses and soda

By Travis Doyle

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The William R. Sinkin EcoCentro celebrated its one-year anniversary on Earth Day April 22.

The building, which showcases environmental and sustainability projects, is named after the late William B. Sinkin, a solar activist and former student and supporter of this college.

On Earth Day, the center sold aqua frescas at Funfest in the mall at this college and had an anniversary ceremony at the center that drew about 20 people.

Lisa Cervantes, environmental science sophomore and president of Students for Environmental Awareness, said in an interview during the day’s activities that EcoCentro is a part of San Antonio’s sustainable future.

She said students should know they can go to the center to learn about urban sustainability. The center is 1802 N. Main Ave.

Project coordinator Leslie Kropf serves ESL adjunct Maureen Kenney "Happy Bearthday" cake for EcoCentro's one-year anniversary and Earth Day April 22. Kropf works with students and volunteers in the garden, which was the source of the flowers on the table.  Photo by Mandy Derfler

Project coordinator Leslie Kropf serves ESL adjunct Maureen Kenney “Happy Bearthday” cake for EcoCentro’s one-year anniversary and Earth Day April 22. Kropf works with students and volunteers in the garden, which was the source of the flowers on the table. Photo by Mandy Derfler

Cervantes said she originally started working with EcoCentro after a meeting with Steven Lewis, the director of the service, trade and industry center, across Main Avenue on the west side of EcoCentro.

“Last year in spring, I heard there would be a presentation introducing EcoCentro as a green building, a building assessment and certification program, and this is where I met Steven,” she said. “I was talking to him about how our student organization and EcoCentro are doing the same thing — trying to create environmental awareness on campus,” Cervantes said.

“A year has gone by and SEA is now more of a student component, and now we want to involve students even if they aren’t an environmental science major. There are so many elements, and so many different aspects students can tap into.”

Steven Lewis, continuing education program director, explains EcoCentro's rain water collection process April 22. Five smaller barrels hold 200 gallons each and are available for residential use. The larger well holds 2,700 gallons.  Photo by Mandy Derfler

Steven Lewis, continuing education program director, explains EcoCentro’s rain water collection process April 22. Five smaller barrels hold 200 gallons each and are available for residential use. The larger well holds 2,700 gallons. Photo by Mandy Derfler

Environmental science sophomore Brian Garner, member of SEA, said he believes EcoCentro is the perfect place to harbor SEA because the center is a crossroads of ideas.

The building has multiple aspects of sustainability such as a worm farm, a community garden, solid waste reduction, water conservation and renewable energy. The center hosts workshops to educate the community on these activities.

EcoCentro project coordinator Leslie Bacon-Knopf said the worm farm is taking off recently after introducing molasses and soda into their diet.

“The worms really respond to the sugar. They are reproducing and making castings — the waste. They are working through the compost so fast, Bacon-Knopf said.

“They are quite industrious, and they do a lot of good for the soil.”

The center started with 300 worms, but over the course of the year that number has by increased 900,000.

The center also brought together students and faculty from other facilities such as the University of Incarnate word, Trinity University, Palo Alto College and this college on April 17 with their EcoExchangeEdu, a sustainability showcase.

For more information, visit the EcoCentro page, www.facebook.com/EcoCentro1.

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