17 grants, $50K fund eco-friendly Tacoma projects

The City of Tacoma’s Office of Sustainability has awarded more than $50,000 in grants to 17 schools and nonprofit organizations for projects that help the community reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The awards range from $800 to $5,000 and focus on projects related to food composting, school and community gardens, recycling, reducing energy consumption, efficient transportation and tree planting.

“These awards reflect the range of great work being done by our community to advance sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are some really excellent projects funded, and we hope that they will spur other ideas to help all of Tacoma learn how to protect our planet,” said Phil Coughlan, Co-Chair of the Sustainable Tacoma Commission.

These awards, evaluated and chosen by the Sustainable Tacoma Commission, are the first sustainability grants awarded by the city. The grant program was established to encourage schools and nonprofit organizations to develop creative and educational ways to help Tacoma reach its Climate Action Plan goals. The Commission evaluated 37 applications with requests totaling more than $150,000 in funding.

The grant recipients are Arcadia Montessori School, CASTINGS and McCarver Elementary Peace Makers, First Creek Neighbors/Tacoma Eastside Action Membership, Friends of Julia’s Gulch, Green Tacoma Partnership/Cascade Land Conservancy, Jason Lee Middle School, Lincoln High School, McKinley Elementary School, Mount Tahoma High School, Point Defiance Elementary School, Point Defiance Zoological Society, Stadium High School & Downtown: On the Go!, Tacoma Community College Foundation, Tacoma School of the Arts Partners, Transportation Choices Coalition, University of Washington Tacoma, and Washington-Hoyt Elementary School PTA

The proposed projects include a multitude of organic gardens being developed in schools, creating composting programs in their cafeterias to use in the gardens. The project by CASTINGS and McCarver Elementary Peace Makers will complement the project dedicated to the memory of Zina Linnik.

Issues of transportation are another common theme among the funded projects. Because automobile exhaust makes up the largest portion of Tacoma’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Point Defiance Zoological Society intends to put up signs to remind visitors of the effects of idling vehicles on habitat and wildlife populations.

The city’s Office of Sustainability works to promote and implement practices to realize the Tacoma’s Climate Action Plan, and to measure the city’s progress as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The 11-member Sustainable Tacoma Commission on Climate Change, appointed by the Tacoma City Council in 2009, works with the Office to oversee the implementation of Tacoma’s Climate Action Plan. For more information on the Sustainable Tacoma Commission, and all city-related Sustainability efforts, visit the Office of Sustainability Web site at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/sustainability .