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Environmental Stewards Gather at NIEHS

By Eddy Ball
May 2010

NC Environmental Stewardship Initiative banner
The folks at DENR are thoughtful and grateful guests who bring along their banner for the special day each year at NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Photo of a group of seated people in an auditorium, focus is on a woman
During her remarks, Smith, center, traced the roots of stewardship to a "commitment to pay attention" to the environmental impact of every aspect of operations - and not simply to getting a job done or a product manufactured. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

A man standing at a podium, pointing off screen with a laser pointer
Joel Lee, plant engineer at the massive Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations in Wilson - one of this year's new stewards - presented an impressive catalogue of environmentally friendly measures implemented there and an ambitious list of goals for 2010. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

A group of seated people, focus is on a bearded man
In between the presentations, Hunt, above, joined the audience to listen to the new stewards speak proudly of their accomplishments. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Five people lined up outside, three men and two women
Members of the NIEHS team gathered afterwards for a group photo. Shown, left to right, are Steinmetz, Castranio, Andrews, Merkle, and Sloane. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

As it has each year since 2007, NIEHS hosted the annual North Carolina Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI)(http://www.p2pays.org/esi/) Exit NIEHS Members Meeting on March 23 in Rodbell Auditorium. In recent years, the meeting has come to mark the beginning of a season of Earth Day celebration and sustainability events that follow it each spring at NIEHS.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the daylong event offers environmental managers from across the state a venue for celebrating successes and sharing strategies. Members share the common goal of nurturing their social and economic bottom lines by making operations more environmentally sustainable.

Members of the ESI program advance through three stages of stewardship. NIEHS is currently an ESI "partner" with plans to advance to status as a "rising steward" in 2011. A handful of members have achieved the status of "stewards," who serve as standard bearers for the program and mentors for other members.

Stewardship at NIEHS

NIEHS Office of Management Deputy Associate Director Chris Long welcomed the stewards to campus, as he pointed to the Institute's recent installation of LED lighting in the auditorium, operation of solar collectors on the roof of B module, and other stewardship accomplishments throughout campus. "We're proud of what we do," he told the audience.

Long referred attendees to the recently published NIEHS "Sustainability Report" (http://niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_f_o/niehs_sustainability_report_2011.pdf)  Download Adobe Reader (7.1 MB) outlining accomplishments of the Institute's initiatives to reduce energy use and environmental impact. He invited them to take one of the copies on display at the registration table - or, even better, to read it online. In the spirit of stewardship, Long added, "Don't print it unless you really need to." 

Honoring stewards and sharing best practices

Representing DENR Secretary Dee Freeman, DENR Assistant Secretary for Environment Robin Smith welcomed attendees on behalf of the State of North Carolina. The meeting facilitator, DENR Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance Division Director Gary Hunt, introduced the five new stewards and noted the "phenomenal growth" of the ESI program statewide.

The program included presentations by five members on management strategies that produced environmental benefits while also cutting costs. Attendees enjoyed networking time during a poster session and breaks for lunch and refreshments.

Representing NIEHS and sharing lessons learned on campus were members of the Health and Safety Branch (HSB) environmental team - HSB Chief Scott Merkle, Environmental Specialist Bill Steinmetz, Hazardous Waste Manager Paul Johnson, and Sustainability Coordinator Trisha Castranio - as well as NIEHS Environmental Awareness Advisory Committee (EAAC) co-chairs Danica Andrews and Dick Sloane.



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