After more than a year of collecting aluminum cans across St. John for recycling, the St. John Community Foundation is launching a new comprehensive “Go Green VI” program this year.
The can collection program was under the auspices of Recycling Association of the Virgin Islands, but with its new “Go Green VI” initiative, SJCF hopes to expand its environmental efforts to reduce electrical usage, reduce waste and redouble its educational efforts both in schools and in the community, explained the group’s executive director Paul Devine.
“We are still going to be recycling cans,” said Devine. “But with this new program we want to expand our focus and get into the schools with education programs and engage the community. Recycling is a part of it, but it’s just a part of a much greater picture.”
A major aspect of the “Go Green VI” program is networking with other community stakeholders with similar missions, explained Celia Kalousek, resource and development for SJCF.
SJCF hosted a “Go Green VI” kickoff meeting on Tuesday, January 11, at The Marketplace. The group hoped to bring a wide array of organizations and citizens together to work towards shared goals.
“We sent out invitations to 86 concerned citizens and organizations,” said Kalousek. “We asked them to come to the table with their mission statements and projects they have in mind. We wanted everyone to throw all of this out on the table and see where we can help each other.”
About 30 people including representatives of Friends of the V.I. National Park, Environmental Association of St. Thomas, V.I. Waste Management Authority, St. John Recycling group members, Maho Bay Campground and the Island Green Building Association, attended the meeting.
“This is all about moving forward,” said Devine. “We want to expand recycling, focus on education and see how we can get businesses and organizations to work together to improve the territory.”
SJCF, for example, will launch an anti-litter campaign this year and already has the signs, posts and approval to erect them. The group still needs help, however, with the physical installation of the posts, explained Kalousek.
“We also have an agenda of 12 ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ monthly topics we want to take into the schools,” she said. “If you’re already working on those ideas, let’s get together and work as a team. We don’t want to duplicate efforts.”
“We want everyone who is working in these areas to be working under one umbrella,” said Devine. “This will be a collaboration of everyone who in working to improve the environment. We’re initiating this and hope that all kinds of organizations will join us and stay with us.”
SJCF is inviting any organization interested in joining the “Go Green” effort to attend the group’s next meeting on February 22, at Sputnik’s in Coral Bay. For more information about how to participate call Kalousek at 693-9410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.