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Michelle's Earth Foundation News
Fall 2008
Michelle's Earth Foundation,  P.O. Box 5140 Preston King Station, Arlington, Virginia 22205
Donations are possible through Facebook or by mail.

***Thanksgiving Tree Planting Event***

MEF will be sponsoring a tree planting over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Details will be available shortly.  Please visit for an update on this event.

In This Issue
NPR Features MEF Member
Eating Local
Useful Terms
"This I Believe"
This I Believe Book Cover
This I Believe, Inc. has recently published a compilation of stories and essays that have been read on its National Public Radio segment. Michelle's essay has been included in this second edition. Publisher Henry Holt and Co. brought out the new edition on September 30th and distributed it through independent, national and online booksellers. All proceeds of the book will go to This I Believe, Inc., a non-profit organization that has revived the series for NPR.
Dear  ,

Volunteerism, what a great concept! When Gail Fendley and Yasmine Rassam recently prepared a grant proposal for MEF, one of the questions they encountered was, "How many of your projects are staffed by volunteers?" This question led to the startling awareness that ALL MEF projects are volunteer driven, resulting in thousands of hours of donated time. So for each one of you who have generously given of your time and talents, a very big THANK YOU!

As always, we want to extend a special thanks to those who've created and supported tributes and memorials to Michelle on Facebook Groups, Facebook, and the MEF site.

NPR Features MEF Board Member

NPR did a feature on MEF board member T.H. Culhane, who is the founder of Solar Cities, an organization that is installing solar hot-water heaters on the rooftops of Coptic Christian and Muslim communities in Cairo's slums.  Check out
In Cairo Slum, the Poor Spark Environmental Change : NPR.

Solar Water Heater in Cairo

Solar hot water heater for Cairo's poorest
Click to see the fascinating photo gallery.
Volunteers of All Ages Work on the MESUNOLA ProjectSunflower

This year MESUNOLA, Michelle's Sunflowers in New Orleans, continues in its efforts to remediate lead contaminated soil by planting sunflowers. Volunteers from around the country, including Taylor Elementary School and H-B Woodlawn High School here in Arlington, have been working to turn sunflower phytoremediation into a beautiful reality in the city's poorest neighborhoods.

H-B Woodlawn volunteers with science adviser David Soles

In one collaborative effort Darcy McDonald and Gail Klein at Taylor ES helped fourth graders and kindergartner's start seedlings in cups.  The sprouts went to New Orleans with science adviser Dave Soles and H-B Woodlawn seniors to plant on MESUNOLA lots.  See the adjoining pictures.

Darcy McDonald with seed cups & Taylor students planting seeds...
Dr. Ed Bush, an Agronomy professor at Louisiana State University, has been working closely with MEF, Michelle's Earth Foundation volunteers to study and validate the effectiveness of the sunflower's lead removing capacity. This semester he has initiated a project with graduate students at LSU who will test the ability of various native plants to remediate soil contaminants. This study is being conducted in New Orleans on land and soil from MESUNOLA lots.

H-B Woodlawn lot in NOLA & college volunteers preparing a lot for planting

MESUNOLA has always been focused on educating the public about lead contamination and inexpensive, effective removal of toxins. We plan to take this effort to new levels in the coming year. The initiative is moving towards an educational outreach model that will work with elementary and middle school students to help them remediate the soil at their own schools, teaching them about the scientific process as well as the growing process, while making their schools safer at the same time. The program has also been working closely with many other non-profit groups in different capacities to increase public awareness. This includes planting sunflowers on contaminated lots owned by the fair housing initiative Jericho Road, which works in Central City to provide affordable housing to displaced residents in the historically low-income district.

As awareness of the dangers of lead contamination in New Orleans increases, so does the awareness of environmentally sound and inexpensive methods to reverse the problem. MESUNOLA has and will continue to facilitate this awareness in the hopes that New Orleans can be a safer place for children to learn and grow.
For more information, please contact  Also, see the June 1 Washington Post article, "In Louisiana, Planting Seeds of Memory".

Buy Local, Eat Seasonal

For seasonal Autumn foods, think ORANGE -- pumpkins, squash, yams, ginkgo fruit, cider and persimmons.  Pick up some persimmons at your local farmers market, and bake some of Jo Alice's Persimmon Bread:

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1-3/4 cups flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon each of. baking soda, salt, cinnamon & cloves
1 cup pureed persimmon pulp
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins optional

Preheat over to 350 F. Cream together sugar, oil & flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating one minute between each egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake in small loaf pan for 30 min or until done.


Many farmer's markets close as the cool weather rolls in. If your local farmer's market has closed, check out one of these local markets that are open all year.  Also, be sure to check out the MEF website for more information on buying local.

Arlington Farmers' Market, Arlington Courthouse
N. 14th St./Courthouse Rd.
Saturday 8 - 12
(703) 228-6400
Falls Church Farmers' Market, City Hall
Park Ave/Little Falls Rd.
Saturday 8 - 12
Dupont Circle Farmers' Market
Washington, D.C.
Sunday 8 - 12

What state is the leading generator of wind energy?

What oil man is the leading investor in wind power?
Visit for the answers!


Figures from the EPA and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory show that every mile per hour you drive over 55 costs about 1% in fuel economy.
Useful Terms

when utilities purchase renewable power from customers at above-market rates. It stimulates renewable power markets. Implemented in Germany and Denmark.
Decouple: the separation of the price of electricity from how much energy is actually used. This gives utilities an incentive to promote conservation.
Wind Turbines in Spain
As many of Michelle's friends find themselves settling into post college lives both near and far, take Michelle's spirit with you. Send us photos and articles on living sustainably wherever you are. We'd love to hear from you.
Best of luck to Rachele Huennekens, a MEF founder, who is heading off to S.E. Asia. And many thanks to Stephanie Lewis who sent us this photo of wind turbines in Spain.

H-B graduate Heather Spence has worked this summer on a MEF project in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Providing habitat for juvenile lobsters, Heather has been working with the park service. In addition she has been developing an outreach program for the local schools and hotels to help protect the Mesoamerican reef system. This December we will be meeting with Heather to hear first hand about her work. Stay tuned.