On Thursday, November 8, 2012, the first Water: Take 1 Online Short Film
Contest Awards Presentation and Party was hosted by Brooks Institute of
Photography on one of the sound stages at their Ventura Campus.
SustainableVentura.TV'sMaryann Ridini Spencer covered the event
attended by Ventura Mayor Mike Tracy and Ventura City Councilmembers
Christy Weir and Neal Andrews. Those present enjoyed refreshments and
mixed and mingled before watching a special video presentation of
finalist and winning films. Also present were local contest winners and
representatives from Patagonia, Limoneira, Ventura Water and iThentic,
all contest sponsors.
Over 125 people attended the free ceremony, open the public with an RSVP.
On Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 4:30-7:30pm, The Ventura Chamber of Commercepresented the "Haunting at the Harbor" Business Expo at the Four Points Sheraton on Schooner Drive in the Ventura Harbor.
The event featured over 60 local businesses showcased in tabletop
exhibits, food vendors, a silent auction and raffles and prizes. The "Sustainable Ventura" TV Series was on hand to talk to attendees.
"Sustainable Ventura," hosted by Maryann Ridini Spencer and Ray Olson,
airs on Caps-TV VTV's Channel 15, Thursdays at 8:30pm. It rebroadcasts
Monday-Thursday and Saturdays at 9:00am, Sundays at 8:30pm and every
other Wednesday at 8:30pm.
person on this planet relies on water. In Ventura, our water is from local
sources and it's our responsibility to protect it for future generations. To
help spark that awareness, Ventura Water is partnering with Limoneira's Limco
Del Mar, Patagonia and iThentic for the inaugural "Water: Take 1" Online Short
Film Contest. We hope that this exciting initiative will highlight people's
relationship with water and promote water awareness, efficiency and recycling
"We chose to do an online film contest with a water focus because members of
our community, as well as on a national and global level, must begin to
recognize the importance of water and its infrastructure," explained Shana
Epstein. "With the contest, we hope to engage intelligent and creative
conversation between leadership, businesses and the community."
Filmmakers worldwide are invited to submit short films of less than five
minutes in any genre - drama, documentary, comedy, animation, Sci-fi or
experimental - that address the topic of water. Films can be submitted and
uploaded at no cost to the contest website, watertake1.com, through
September 4, 2012.
A panel of environmental and entertainment professionals will choose a winner
for the $1,500 Grand Prize and the top winner will be presented at an event
hosted by the Brooks Institute later this fall. The film receiving the most
votes at watertake1.com will be presented the Audience Choice Award and its
filmmaker will receive a Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera.
Competing in this contest is a great way for Ventura County's high school and
college students, among others interested in water and the environment, to do
something positive that helps others appreciate our access to clean water while
promoting water efficiency and sustainability. Help spread the word to your
friends, neighbors and coworkers and get involved by joining the contest and/or
join the wave by voting for your favorite video at watertake1.com.
The issue of water infrastructure is a global one. In the United States alone,
there are large areas of infrastructure more than 100 years old that must be
fixed or replaced. However, in many other countries, such as parts of Africa
and India, the total lack of infrastructure there has a serious impact on the
local health and economy and causes a negative ripple effect worldwide.
Water is also an important issue in Ventura, although many residents are
unaware of the huge effort and the amount of energy it takes to clean and move
our water so it can be used again and again for generations to come.
Ventura is among California's oldest coastal cities and has many areas where
infrastructure is ending its useful lifespan and will need replacement over the
next few decades. While projects and plans are underway to improve this
invaluable infrastructure, it isn't without cost.
Years ago, much of the infrastructure was maintained using federal grants, most
of which are no longer available due to budget cuts. As a result, water
customers now bear the full financial responsibility of infrastructure
maintenance, replacement and improvement.
"Green Drinks" is a term known in the environmental world as a fun,
meet up for like-minded business professionals in relaxing, celebratory
settings where they can network, exchange ideas and forge valuable
known in international environmental circles, Green Drinks is a network
of unstructured meet-ups where environmental professionals and
locals get together in a relaxing setting to network, exchange
and forge valuable relationships. At last count, Green Drinks
are hosted in over 600 cities worldwide.
mixture of attendees at Green Drinks events usually include
in the areas of: general business, academia, government,
home décor, construction and other fields.
On Wednesday, August 1, The Ventura Chamber of Commerce's
Green Task Force(GTF)
organized this year's first Ventura-based Green
Drinks event at
EcoLogic Life, downtown's designer showroom for
decoration products. The event was a smashing success
with over 50
attendees. Tutti's on Main provided the delicious food.
Alquimia Tequila provided the green drinks, made from organic agave, no food
LtoR: Diane de Mailly and Courtney Lindberg, Green Task Force Co-Chairs
"Green Drinks has been around for a long time," said Diane de Mailly,
President, DDM Metering Systems and GTF Co-Chair. "Recently, the
GTF was asked to step in and organize these events in Ventura. We know
they'll be a big success moving forward because Ventura is such an
amazing community dedicated to the environment. We plan to make
Green Drinks a quarterly event."
the GTF strives to do," added Courtney Lindberg, Environment
with the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability
GTF Co-Chair, "is to promote green business development.
We bring local
businesses together and educate them about sustainable
covering such topics as waste recycling, energy, water
pollution prevention and staff education. We highlight successes and
learn from our mistakes so that we can grow as a community with
business practices part of our every day consciousness."
Green Task Force LtoR: Courtney Lindberg (Environmental
Specialist, City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division and
Green Task Force Co-Chair), Janis Shinkawa (Veterinarian, Buena Animal
Hospital), Diane de Mailly (President DDM Metering Systems and Green
Task Force Co-Chair), Kirsten Davis (AdvoCare) and James Davis
you had to paint Ventura one color, it would probably be blue,
color of our ocean. If you added another color, it would be
Rick Cole, City Manager, City of Ventura. "This is a
community and environmentally-oriented to its core.
We all pay attention
to the motto 'Think globally, act locally.'
Whether it be on a global
scale, or a local scale, waste costs money
and pollutes the planet. It's
also something we don't want to pass
onto the next generation."
addition to Green Drinks, the GTF organizes a series of quarterly
Practices Workshops" where local businesses share their
green ideas and
practices with others in the community. To date,
there have been
workshops at Red Brick Pizza focusing on sustainable
practices and the
YMCA focusing on lighting retrofits.
Al-Saleh, a student at Ventura's Foothill Technology High School
(foothilltech.org), doesn't like trash.So, this month, as part of her school's senior student community service
requirement, she led a Hero project in waste assessment in the school
dumped the contents of all the trash receptacles at the school on the lawn onto
huge tarps, dividing the waste into categories such as 1-Styrofoam (or
cardboard) trays, 2-spork packets, 3-milk and juice boxes, cartons and
non-recyclable beverage containers, 4-fruits and vegetables, 5-trash, 6-litter
and 7- recyclable items (cereal cups, recyclable bottles, pudding cups and
Lujain plans to
write up a "how to manual" for other students who want to do the same at their
getting interested in trash reduction when I attended the Ventura Charter
School," says Lujain."I want to
get other students engaged and aware of waste and its impact on the
conducted on March 23 provides a baseline estimate for how much waste is
generated at Foothill annually.From this one assessment, it can be estimated that about 22.7 tons of
trash is sent to the landfill each year from the trashcans located within the common areas in the main quad, not including trash from individual classrooms or other buildings.
already set up a CRV collection and recycling program and has initiated
recycling programs at school events such as track meets and other sporting
events.Her Hero project advisor,
Rick Villano, was also present at the waste assessment.
Ornelas, from the City of Ventura's "Volunteer Ventura," found out Lujain was
interested in protecting the environment, she was introduced to Environmental Specialist, Jill Sarick, who provides environmental education classes and leads regular waste assessments at the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) elementary schools.
to engage students at their level of understanding and then build upon that
knowledge in a creative and entertaining style," said Sarick.
The waste sort
program is a recent collaboration between VUSD Healthy and Green Schools
Partnership and the City's Environmental Sustainability Division. In the
program, already conducted at 10 of the 16 elementary schools, 5th
grade students help Sarick sort through lunchtime
trash to glean information that could help reduce waste.So far, it is estimated that roughly
297 tons of material from only the lunch waste is set to the landfill each
school year from these 10 schools alone.
At one school,
the sorting team discovered a significant number of unopened milk cartons and
uneaten apples from the school lunch program discarded in the trash.Further analysis showed that one cause
could be students' impatience to get to recess, which immediately followed
lunch.Some schools have students go to recess first and then come in to eat
lunch. In fact, a lunchtime waste assessment at another school, where recess
precedes lunch, showed almost no such waste.
educational waste assessment programs, as well as other educational programs
teach concepts of recycling, composting, water conservation, stormwater pollution
prevention and other environmentally friendly "best" practices to more than
4,000 students per year," said Sarick.
Education Programs are provided FREE to all schools in the City of Ventura. Curriculum
used in the classroom presentations aligns with State curriculum guidelines for
all grade levels. For more information, contact:Jill Sarick at (805) 652-4501 or email,
-Maryann Ridini Spencer for VC Style/Sustainable Ventura
Reusable Grants requests up to $30,000 are available for
businesses and other organizations that are planning to incorporate reusable
packaging into their transport and distribution.
Eligible Projects should focus on waste prevention and
specifically reusable transportation (projects that replace single - or limited
- use transport packaging with durable pallets or bins, reusable pallet-wrap,
expanded use of intermediate bulk containers, IBCs).
To be eligible, programs need to be implemented within six
months of application or have already been implemented in the six months prior
To find out more, Visit the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Blog.
Fulton, Steve Roth (Balboa Teacher) and Jose Duenas (Balboa Teacher).
MIDDLE SCHOOL RECEIVES 2011 GREEN SCHOOL AWARD
year's 2011 GREEN SCHOOL AWARD was presented to Balboa Middle School for their
recycling and horticulture practices during a November 14 City Council Meeting
in honor of America Recycles Day, (November 15). Mayor Bill Fulton and
Agromin Chief Executive Officer, Bill Camarillo, presented the honor to Balboa
Principal Teri Gern, Teachers Steve Roth and Jose Duenas, and several of the
Balboa students. Balboa Middle School will also receive a $500 check,
courtesy of Agromin.
are judged for the Green School Awards by submitting applications that detail
their sustainable practices, which are then reviewed by representatives of the
City's Environmental Sustainability Division and Agromin.
the years, we've witnessed an increase in schools entering the
competition," said Christine Wied, Environmental Specialist for the
City. "We look forward to continuing to make it a competition that
schools are anxious to win because not only is it a positive step in the
student's environmental education, it benefits our planet.
was specifically chosen for their impeccable efforts in recycling paper,
plastic bottles and cans," continued Wied. "This types of hands
on activity, which involves weighing and keeping a recyclables log, also gets
students involved with critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that also
makes them think about their impact on the environment."
student's efforts also make the school about $700 a year, which gets recycled
into special activities and projects.
activities began in 1997 at Balboa Middle School. Since then the school
has continued to grown their programs. Mr. Jose Duenas is the teacher that
supervises the student body recycling efforts while Mr. Steve Roth teaches a 7th and 8th grade elected course on
horticulture. Last year, Roth and his students began a California
native garden specifically to learn about xeriscaping, composting and growing
flowers, vegetables and fruits.
grow vegetables and fruits in boxes provided by Food Share, the non-profit
organization that provides food and support to Ventura's hungry," said
Roth. "We use some of the produce in school, but donate a majority of it
to Food Share. So not only are the children learning about how to
care for and nurture the environment, they're learning how to grow produce and
the importance of helping those in need."
year special "Environmental Hero" recognition certificates were also
presented to Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education for their
environmental community action at the Earth Day Eco-Fest and Trash-a-thon
fundraiser and to Buena High School for "Environmental Leadership" in
recycling and other community environmental programs. The "Eco-Hero"
certificate was presented to Juananmaria Elementary for developing a culture of
environmental awareness in their daily activities.
vital that our youth learn how to care for our precious environment,"
recently said Mary Haffner, Board Member for the Ventura Unified School
District. "Becoming 'environmentally engaged' at a young age engrains
positive behaviors and attitudes in students that are so vital for the quality
of their future -- and for their children's future."
winners of The Green School Awards have been Portola Elementary School (2010),
Lincoln Elementary (2009), Saticoy Elementary (2008) and Pierpont Elementary
addition to presenting The Green School Award for environmental practices, the
City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Divison teaches environmental
education. Throughout the year, City of Ventura-based schools and
businesses can have a representative from the City come present a stand-alone
presentation or talk.
used in the classroom presentations aligns with State curriculum guidelines for
all grade levels," said Ray Olson, Manager, Environmental Sustainability
Division. "The City's program teaches concepts of recycling,
composting, water conservation, and stormwater pollution prevention to more
than 4,000 students per year. In addition to working with the schools, we
also offer FREE presentations and free business evaluations to local
organizations and businesses to get and keep them on the sustainable
find out more about the FREE environmental programs and how you can schedule a
presentation, visit cityofventura.net/greenschool and/or call 805-652-4584.
Style's Roving Eye
and Sustainable Ventura by Maryann Ridini Spencer
The Jeffrey Foundation(TheJeffreyFoundation.com), a non-profit Child Care/Resource Center offering educational services, childcare and counseling for special needs children, was founded by Alyce Morris Winston in 1972.
Over the past 40 years, the Foundation, which strives to improve the quality of life for special needs children (ages 18 months through 18 years), serves children with such diseases as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and autism.Other children enrolled in their programs have a variety of physical impediments or are victims of abuse, neglect or in utero drug exposure.
At the Foundation, children and families are served through a variety of community-based therapeutic, recreational, educational and social programs including childcare, preschool, K-12 educational programming, speech therapy, occupational therapy, life skills, parenting education, after-school activities and social events.
While the Foundation serves the greater Los Angeles area, Morris Winston is also involved in a national and international outreach program, Special Child USA.Via Special Child, Morris Winston consults with other cities, states and even countries that are interested in developing similar childcare and resource centers.
"There are over 30,000 disabled youth in Los Angeles County that are in need of special interventions," said Morris Winston."Our Foundation is the only one of its kind in LA and we only have a capacity of only 124 children per day, and 40 families per month.So the need is great -- not just in Los Angeles, but everywhere."
Morris Winston, whose adopted son Jeffrey, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was two, abandoned her career as a Max Factor model and began the Foundation after discovering that there was not enough appropriate child care, resources or support for families with special needs children.What began in her living room is now housed in two professional buildings on West Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles.
"Most of The Jeffrey Foundation's students are referred by Child Protective Services or a Regional Center," said Morris Winston."Many of the families are headed by single mothers with multiple children.In the Foundation's Parent Training program, over 85% of the children are in foster care and 10% are living with a parent who has lost custody at least once due to child abuse, neglect, maltreatment or abandonment."
The emphasis of the classes and programs, which are inclusive, aim to build core competencies such as cognitive skill building, language development, gross and fine motor skills and social and emotional development, as well as provide health and nutrition education.
"We also strive to enrich our student's lives by giving them the opportunity to enjoy some recreation and special events.We encourage them to learn and appreciate art, music and nature.Our mission is to improve the quality of every aspect of their live as well as serve as a support for their families," said Morris Winston.
The current economic climate, and cuts in federal and state funding, are severely impacting the Foundation's ability to keep some of their programs alive.To offset some of the negative impact, Morris Winston recently came up with the creative idea of "Project 40" in honor of the Foundation's 40 years.
Project 40 will be a series of 40 events and happenings to fight the economic turndown.Last night, one of the Foundation's friends, Lladro Boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, hosted a kickoff reception and launch of the YES! Network (Executives for Special Needs Children and their Families).The YES! group will spearhead many of the Project 40 programs which will take place in Southern California as well as nationally.
Morris Winston hopes that through the YES! Network, different members of the business community will also become engaged to network, cross promote, as well as lend their expertise and support in developing new programs and fundraisers to sponsor and boost the Foundation's needed programs.
"We support the community, and we need assistance from those in the community and beyond," said Morris Winston.It does take a village and we want to be around for the next 40 years!"
To find out more about The Jeffrey Foundation, Project 40 and the YES! Network, visit:
VC Style's"Roving Eye" (aka me with video camera!), recently attended the "Haunting at the Harbor" Business Expo at the Four Points Sheraton in Ventura Harbor. It was a great event presented by the Ventura Chamber of Commerce. There were approximately 59 local business tabletop exhibits, a variety of food vendors, a silent auction, and raffle. I had fun doing some business networking -- not to mention enjoying some pre-Halloween cheer.
During the evening, I caught up with the Environmental Sustainability folks at their booth. Environmental Specialist Christine Wied shared some recycling tips. Next door at Ventura Water, "Aunt Sally" compared the price of water per gallon to other must-haves.