Dirt Hugger, Leos, Linda Short honored with Tod LeFevre awards

On Earth Day under sunny blue skies at the Hood River Waterfront Park, the Columbia Gorge Earth Center announced the winners of the 2012 Tod LeFevre Gorge Sustainability Champion Awards. These awards celebrate the commendable commitment, leadership and compassion of Hood River’s Tod LeFevre, who passed away last spring after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis.

According to the Earth Center’s Nick Kraemer, “In organizing the first Gorge Sustainability Awards, many asked, ‘What qualifies someone to get this award?’ and ‘How does CGEC define ’sustainable?’”

The answer: LeFevre’s way is the most accurate, authentic and solid example of how CGEC can define what a sustainability champion is. Nominations were submitted from throughout the Gorge and awards were given to business/organization, individual and student.


Dirt Hugger is a regional composting company based in The Dalles that supports a sustainable, local economy by collecting, processing and utilizing valuable organic nutrients locally. Since beginning Dirt Hugger has composted more than 5 million pounds of material with more than 2 million of those pounds landfill-diverted (i.e. used to go to the landfill).

On the product side, Dirt Hugger produces a Certified Organic (OMRI listed) which has found its way into hundreds of backyard gardens, CSA farms, fruit orchards and vineyards throughout the Gorge region.

This past year Dirt Hugger has doubled the staff and quadrupled production capacity to meet local demand for compost and compost services. Dirt Hugger now has a commercial food scraps collection program in Hood River and The Dalles, and is working toward a residential organics program in both cities as well as across the river.


Linda Short has been a longtime resident of Hood River and volunteers with organizations that span a wide variety of topics. In particular, CGEC was impressed with Linda’s spearheading of the Country Living class series and reinvigoration of the Rockford Grange.

Short developed the Country Living Series by reaching out to community members and finding topics that interest rural folks. The series includes classes from seed collection to food preservation.

Short has worked with other dedicated members of the Grange to preserve the organization and recently joined the “green granges” movement. From a historical perspective, the Grange was a radical populist movement from the 1870s that formed in opposition to both monopolistic corporations and their middlemen. Sound familiar?


In 2007 the Hood River Valley Leos started and still maintain a bottle and can recycling program which recycles the nickels from redemptions back into the community.

Through this monthly project, in wind, rain, snow and occasional sunshine, the Leos have recycled and redeemed more than 310,000 bottles and cans while returning more than $15,000 to community nonprofits and local community projects.

This work is not only helping to keep trash out of landfills, but also keeps those dollars from deposits in our community. This program certainly meets the triple bottom line of sustainability: people, planet and profit.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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