"Montana's first people lived to conserve and sustain their lands for seven generations beyond their own. We are a middle generation faced with an unsustainable energy system and an unsustainable food system. Each and every one of the EcoStar recipients is working to challenge and change those systems. Let's join together to conserve and sustain for generations to come," Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer also acknowledged, "Sustainability gives businesses a competitive edge when it comes to operating business in ways that improve the community and connect with the consumer. The efforts required to be green, such as recycling and keeping things out of the land fill, also save money and help the bottom line."
The EcoStar awards program, now in its tenth year, recognizes Montana businesses and organizations that are helping create more environmentally and economically sustainable communities by surpassing state and federal requirements to reduce solid and hazardous waste generation. The award winners conserve valuable resources such as water, energy and clean air, and serve as role models for the state with their pollution prevention efforts. The program is funded in part by the EPA and headed by Montana State University Extension.
The EcoStar award winners represent 13 communities across Montana. The 29 winners are a diverse group, representing ranchers to retail stores, and schools to hospitals, including the youngest certified organic rancher, 18-year-old Nathaniel Powell-Palm from Bozeman. Powell-Palm is a senior at Bozeman High School and the owner of Cold Springs Ranch, a certified organic cattle operation providing the Gallatin Valley with high quality organic, grass-fed beef. Two-time winner Loveland Products, Inc, a liquid herbicide production plant in Billings, has surpassed traditional manufacturing standards. In 2009 they recycled more than 1.7 million pounds of production by-product liquids, almost 500,000 gallons of storm water, and eliminated 119,760 tons of landfill waste.
Other winners include Townsend School District and Garden City Harvest of Missoula. Townsend's school district received the award in part for funding and operating a recycling center for the community. Additionally, the school district installed a 22kw photovoltaic system and a biomass heating system that burns local wood pellets. Townsend also completed an extensive retrofitting of their lighting and HVAC systems and is installing a demonstration windmill in 2010. Their efforts are focused on reducing their carbon footprint and incorporating the work into their K-12 curriculum.
Garden City Harvest worked to build community through agriculture by growing food with and for low-income Missoulians and offering education and training in ecological agriculture. Garden City Harvest farms without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides; participates in city-wide composting efforts and grows more than 20 tons of produce each year, including more than 30,000 lbs/year for the Missoula Food Bank.
"It is important for us to recognize the EcoStar recipients for their efforts and provide well-deserved gratitude to Montanans who are leading their communities and working to preserve and protect our environmental resources," said Jenny Grossenbacher, Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Housing Coordinator for MSU Extension.
For more information on the EcoStar program contact Jenny Grossenbacher at (406) 994-4292, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://www.mtp2.org/ecostar.html.
Businesses recognized for 2009 EcoStar Awards by area (*past winners):
*Mackenzie River Pizza Co. - Billings, Bozeman, Belgrade, Butte, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, Whitefish, Kalispell
Pierce Flooring & Design - Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula
*Sage Spa Living - Billings, Bozeman & Whitefish
*Delaware North Co. Parks & Resorts at Yellowstone - Bozeman & Yellowstone National Park
Equus & Paws, LLC
*Green Directory Montana
*Loveland Products, Inc.
*MUS Eco Media & Education Project
*St. Vincent Healthcare
*Amaltheia Organic Dairy, LLC - Belgrade
*Blanchford Landscape Contractors - Bozeman
Bozeman Green Build - Bozeman
Cold Springs Ranch - Bozeman
*Get'n Green LLC - Bozeman
Greenspace Landscaping - Bozeman
*Oasis Environmental, Inc. - Livingston
Powderfin, LLC - Bozeman
*West Paw Design - Bozeman
Helena High School Green Team & Special Needs Dept. - Helena
*Maize Hutton/Mommytags.com - Helena
Unique Lighting & Home Décor - Butte
Townsend K-12 School District - Townsend
Kettle Care, Inc. - Whitefish
Garden City Harvest - Missoula
North Slope Sustainable Wood - Missoula
*Riverworks, Inc. - Missoula
*St. Patrick Hospital & Health Sciences Center - Missoula
The Art of Good Food, LLC - Huson
Three Bear Lodge & Restaurant - West Yellowstone
Jenny Grossenbacher, Prevention Pollution & Sustainable Housing Coordinator, MSU Extension Housing and Environmental Health, at (406) 994-4292 or email@example.com