Environmental Education

Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens education programs

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Sustainability Blogs

In recent years, a list of "the R's of sustainability" has developed. Originally, the list consisted of: Reduce, Reuse, Recylce. More recently, terms such as "Respect", "Refuse", and "Restore" have also joined the conversation. Regardless of the alliteration, the concept remains the same: we can and should be much more intentional about how we live. Below is a simple annotated list to get you thinking.

Reduce waste

There's a ton of ways for you to reduce waste, save yourself some time and money, and be good to the globe at the same time. For the past 50 years, Americans have used convenience items and disposable goods at an ever increasing rate. In 1960, Americans generated 88.1 million tons of garbage each year. This equaled about 2.7 pounds per person per day. In 2000, Americans generated 229 million tons of garbage each year. This equals about 4.4 pounds per person per day. Recycling is an effective method to manage the waste that is already generated and to save money on disposal costs. More importantly, we must reduce waste generation in the first place by purchasing materials with less packaging and reusing materials as many times as possible while not buying unnecessary items. When you avoid making garbage in the first place, you don't have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later.

Reuse materials

The media have done a wonderful job of selling us on the attractiveness and benefits of buying "new", "improved", "special", etc. products. However, we already collectively own so much that we could all survive for quite a while on the existing products—if we just reused them a few times.


Recycling is an important way for individuals and businesses to reduce the waste they generate and reduce the negative impact of that waste. Because recycling is big business in Ohio, every time you recycle, it also supports the many companies and employees doing this important work. Recycling conserves our natural resources, saves landfill space, conserves energy, and reduces water pollution, air pollution and the green house gas emissions that cause global warming. Together, Reducing, Reusing, Recycling and buying Recycled products make up a comprehensive waste and resource reduction strategy that benefits our natural world and our economy.


Rethink when it comes to your garbage. Look for items with reduced packaging. Buy products made from recycled materials. Don't throw away what can be reused or recycled. Another option: Refuse. Opting out of mailing lists can help prevent piles of junk mail or catalogs at their sources.

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