Wisconsin Rapids Citizens for a Clean Green & Welcoming Community
Citizens for a Clean, Green & Welcoming Community (aka the Clean-Green group) is beginning its 7th year of working on projects that focus on sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment. 2013 was a very successful year, and we will continue our efforts in 2014 with some on-going and some new projects.
Among our success stories in 2013 was earning the Bird City designation for Wisconsin Rapids with this award being presented to the city at the Grand Affair on September 8. We also adopted a stretch of highway for clean-up so our group can walk the talk in a very public and noticeable way. Although the Clean-Green group was not directly responsible for the creation of the Growing Friends Community Garden, our members helped get this project off the ground with table top gardens and on the ground with raised bed and grounds plots. All three of these projects will continue in 2014. With the need to renew the Bird City designation annually, an event is planned for June 7 at Lake Wazeecha. Also, we will be picking up litter along our designated stretch of highway and making friends at the Community Garden.
Other continuing projects include the following:
• Choose to Reuse – This event, which is organized by different area townships (e.g. Rome, Grant, Grand Rapids, Saratoga), allows people to drop off useful items for others to have for free. Check with your local township for dates.
• Recycling Rangers – This activity will continue to provide recycling containers and volunteers at local community events.
• Sustainable Wisconsin Rapids – This involves working with Wisconsin Rapids officials to move the city towards becoming a sustainable community.
• Green Map – Businesses, parks/green spaces, and other organizations will be added to the Central Wisconsin Green Map, a web-based interactive map that uses the universal Green Map icons to highlight the ecological, social, cultural, and sustainable resources of central Wisconsin. This mapping system helps central Wisconsin visitors and residents to discover and locate the area’s sustainable assets. Check it our at http://kaywa.me/H5ZZK.
• Earth Care Booklet – We’re updating information in this booklet, which contains information on items to recycle, energy saving tips, buying locally, and money saving options with respect to food and transportation. To review the electronic version of this booklet, go to the Clean Green Wisconsin Rapids Area Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cleangreenwr.
• Nonpartisan legislative committee – This committee keeps the group abreast of pending legislation and policies that impact the environment.
• Booth at local/area fairs – Look for us at events like the Grand Affair to learn more about our group.
In 2013 we also explored the feasibility of some new ideas. One idea was a Bike Share program. Wood County Health Department is now leading this effort and will be aided by the participants in the Encourage Community Foundation’s Teen Leadership Program. Another idea that was explored last year was to purchase available greenhouse space and transform it into a community center for growing greens and education. This idea has evolved and may eventually result in a hoop house at the Community Garden. The idea of encouraging the City of Wisconsin Rapids to adopt an ordinance to allow for residents to keep chickens has been researched and hopefully will move forward in 2014.
New projects for 2014 involve working with other organizations and municipalities to:
• Resurrect a Clean Sweep program for residential and agricultural hazardous waste.
• Increase recycling rates in Wisconsin Rapids and surrounding areas.
• Utilize school, county and municipal forests to create walking trails.
• Advocate for the adoption of ordinances that would require event recycling as part of an event permit.
The success of our on-going and new projects depends upon our selfless volunteers. With more help, our chances of success will improve. If you are interested in joining our group and helping out on one or more of these projects, we invite you to attend our meetings which occur at 4 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at McMillan Library.