Despite pandemic, Eco Centro continues its mission in sustainability

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Eco Centro gardens

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Three monarch butterflies pollinate Gregg’s Blue Mist flowers in a garden planted by Eco Centro east of Lot 19 Dec. 3. Rocky Garza Jr.

By Ramon J. Barrera III

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Sinkin Eco Centro is a training center for environmental practices everyone can use.

Completed in 2014, Eco Centro is east of the campus at 1802 N. Main Ave.

The building is equipped with a solar-photovoltaic system connected to 135 roof-mounted solar panels.

To promote using nature as a fuel source, there are four electric vehicle charging stations for the public.

The building has a large 2,700-gallon water catchment tank and five 40-gallon tanks for recycling water. Alongside the Eco Centro are large composting and gardening areas.

Volunteers from Eco Centro assist with the new Garcia Street Urban Farm, 218 Garcia Street.

The farm was opened in February with children’s events to inspire the next generation to be more eco-friendly gardeners.

Shifts of five volunteers help take care of the Garcia Street Farm. To register to volunteer, visit https://bit.ly/gsf-volunteer.

“We say our mission is to promote the progress and practice of sustainability,” said Dyhanna Rios, community relations coordinator of Eco Centro. “Another thing that we do as a community center is that we serve as a hub for a lot of different sustainability initiatives.”

The center works with about 80 organizations throughout the city to educate the community on homesteading, rainwater harvesting, sustainable gardening and landscaping.

Despite restrictions on gathering because of the pandemic, Rios said they have not let that stop them from communicating and educating.

“So now that that’s, of course, a lot of those meetings have moved to Zoom. So we just still do our best to promote and help people find their fit, if they’re trying to get involved,” she said.

Rios then talked about how the center offers internships and scholarships that are open to all majors.

There are no major restrictions because “it takes a village, as they say,” Rios said. “And our commitment to protecting our natural environment and teaching people about living sustainable lives, it depends on everyone.”

The center also gives away five free seed packets donated to Eco Centro so others can begin planting and growing herbs or vegetables. A request form must be filled out to receive the seeds.

Rios said the last batch of seeds were donated by a local organization.

“Children’s Hunger Fund had a surplus, and they called us and said, you know, is this something you would be interested in?” Rios said.

Thanks to the donation, Rios said they used a portion of the seeds to plant at the Garcia Street Urban Farm.

To stay up-to-date on Eco Centro events, volunteering options or virtual workshops, visit https://www.alamo.edu/sac/about-sac/college-offices/eco-centro/ or follow the center on Facebook.

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