April 2012



Sustainable Tulsa Newsletter
In This Issue
McLain in April
First Thursdays!
Easter Island Festival
City of Tulsa Update
When it Rains, Pour
Our Sponsors

Ihloff Salon and Day Spa Employees 'Jeans Day Program'

Our Sponsors

Become a member of Sustainable Tulsa today!


Sustainable Tulsa members receive our free updates and can request a free copy of the 2010 Tulsa Area Green Directory. Your membershiphelps support:


Sustainability education in the Tulsa area


Henry Bellmon Sustainability Awards


Elote SalsaFest


McLain Renewable Energy Program


CNG School Bus Partnership


'First Thursdays!'


Launching Sustainable Tulsa Business Program

Green Tips

The X-Files


Xeriscaping is a way to garden using a minimum of water and energy. This cuts down on spending as well as provides more environmentally friendly methods for maintaining your garden. The following techniques provide useful suggestions for environmentally conscious gardeners everywhere:


1.) Group plants by their water needs. When possible, put high-need plants in naturally wetter areas of your property 


2.) Test your soil. Add organic matter when necessary - maybe from your own compost pile - to increase your soil's water-holding capacity 


3.) Mulch. Cover plant beds with composted leaves or grass to help retain moisture 


4.) Plant native species. Plants that have evolved in your area's climate are more naturally adapted to its water conditions


5.) Utilize the landscape. Slopes and inclines can provide access for water to reach a garden and likewise for water to drain to more high-need areas


6.) Rain barrels and rain catchment systems provide an alternative water source for gardening 


For other great green tips, please visit www.earthshare.org and stay posted for next month's Sustainable Tulsa newsletter!


Green Jobs


Up with Trees


Administrative Assistant

For more information, call 918.592.1138



Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture


Administrative Assistant


This position provides general administrative and clerical support. Qualified applicants will have excellent organizational, verbal and written communications skills, and be able to interact well with our staff and farmer/rancher clientele. Business experience in an office and/or customer service environment a must, along with strong skills in Microsoft Office Suite. A Bachelor or Associate degree specialized in office training desirable. Position requires light travel and some weekend work. Successful candidate will have access to an excellent benefits package with salary commensurate with education, experience, and ability. Applications will be accepted until position is filled. Please submit your resume with three references along with a cover letter to:


Kerr Center

Attn. Melanie Zoeller

P.O. Box 588

Poteau, OK 74953








Who We Are


Corey Williams


Newsletter Editor

Will Huffman


Board of Directors


President: Marilyn Ihloff


Vice President: Denise Reid


Treasurer/Secretary: Connie Cohea


Members: Libby Auld; Jessica John-Bowman; Dan Cameron; Brett Fidler; Bryan Osborne; Brandon Perkins


Leadership Tulsa Board Interns

Kenton Grant

Joanne Ferguson

About Us


Sustainable Tulsa aims to educate and share in the process of developing a sustainability force through our volunteer program. Please see the list below of the many Sustainable Tulsa volunteer opportunities.


Volunteer opportunities include:


  • Elote SalsaFest
  • Henry Bellmon Sustainability Awards
  • Green Directory
  • 'First Thursdays!'
  • Website Champion
  • Green Mentor

'First Thursdays!'


Sustainable Tulsa also meets the first Thursday of each month at Elote Cafe and Catering, 514 S. Boston Ave., in downtown Tulsa. You will find us all the way in the back. We meet at 12:30 PM for lunch and from 1:00-2:00 PM we have a guest speaker and networking. Please join us!!


For more information, please contact Corey Williams at Corey@sustainabletulsa.org





Contact Us


Phone: 918.808.6576










Facebook: Sustainable Tulsa (Official)


Mailing Address:


Sustainable Tulsa

P.O. Box 3543

Tulsa, OK 74101-3543

Sustainable Tulsa promotes responsible economic growth, environmental stewardship, and quality of life for all. Sustainable Tulsa is working toward Tulsa being recognized as the leader in sustainability of the Midwest. Sustainability is the triple bottom line; the balance of people, profit, and planet.

Celebrating McLain Renewable Energy Program in April 


by Corey Williams

A Letter from the Director


On April 10th at McLain Jr/Sr High School for Science and Technology, Sustainable Tulsa will be dedicating the McLain Renewable Energy Laboratory to McLain in honor of Gwen Goff, a devoted Sustainable Tulsa volunteer, Rotarian, and McLain advocate. Sustainable Tulsa, as a partner in education with McLain Jr/Sr High School for Science and Technology is committed to the advancement of the students of McLain High School and to the development of renewable energy education programs for McLain High School students.


McLain Renewable Energy Laboratory is a Henry Bellmon Sustainability Awards Project of Choice 2010 and was made possible because of the partnership with Southside Rotary Club of Tulsa and our shared project, the Henry Bellmon Sustainability Awards Program.


McLain received from Sustainable Tulsa the installation of a 10 Kyocera 130-watt solar module, 2 Kyocera 30-watt modules on poles for experimental use, LED light fixtures for greenhouse, 4 batteries, new louvers, 2 new solar powered fans in greenhouse, and an Outback FX254T inverter. Ion Solar finalized the designs and installed the system in collaboration with McLain environmental science teacher Marsha Campbell and students.


The McLain Renewable Energy Laboratory is sponsored by Sustainable Tulsa, Southside Rotary Club of Tulsa, Osage Casino, AT&T, ION Solar, Williams Companies, McLain Jr/Sr High School for Science and Technology, and Special Thanks to Ms. Marsha Campbell, Dr. Ebony Johnson, Tulsa Community College North East Campus, and McLain Foundation.


Sustainable Tulsa is currently working with McLain administration and teachers to support the Renewable Energy Program and use of the laboratory.


Join us on April 10, 2012 at 10:00 AM at McLain (4929 N. Peoria Ave.) to see the laboratory, go on a tour of the system led by Seth Christ from Ion Solar, and help Sustainable Tulsa celebrate the positive things going on in the McLain community. For more information, contact Corey Williams at 918.808.6576 or corey@sustainabletulsa.org.

First Thursdays!


Tulsa Food Security Council and Local Economic Development



Katie Plohocky will be April's featured guest for First Thursdays! at Elote Cafe (514 South Boston Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74103) on Thursday, April 5 from 12:30-2:00 PM. She will be presenting about ongoing projects and outreach with the Tulsa Food Security Council and its mission to help the Tulsa-Metro community and economy become more sustainable and locally dependent.


Katie currently specializes in economic and community development in low income and underserved urban areas. She is very passionate about sustainable issues and plugs them in to all of her projects. Her leadership positions related to food initiatives include Tulsa Food Security Council Chairman, Oklahoma Food Policy Council member, Co-Founder and President of the Healthy Community Store Initiative (HSCI, Inc.), Co-founder and Director for the Annual Taste of North Tulsa, Oklahoma Coordinator for National Food Day 2011 and 2012, Gateway Market Community Advisory Committee, the OU Wayman Tisdale Specialty Health Care Center Advisory Committee, Forest Orchard Community Garden Director, Pearl Famers Market Board Member, as well as organizing and facilitating food desert and economic development bus tours of North Tulsa for various city and state organizations and dignitaries.


Community food security can be thought of as a community's ability to provide all of its residents a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. Community food security represents a comprehensive strategy to address many of the ills affecting our society and environment due to an unsustainable and unjust food system. According to the Community Food Security Coalition, a membership group of over 300 organizations promoting local food security, there are six basic principles of community food security.


  • Low-income Food Needs
    Like the anti-hunger movement, community food security is focused on meeting the food needs of low income communities, reducing hunger and improving individual health.
  • Broad Goals 
    Community food security addresses a broad range of problems affecting the food system, community development, and the environment such as increasing poverty and hunger, disappearing farmland and family farms, inner city supermarket redlining, rural community disintegration, rampant suburban sprawl, and air and water pollution from unsustainable food production and distribution patterns.
  • Community Focus
    A community food security approach seeks to build up a community's food resources to meet its own needs. These resources may include supermarkets, farmers' markets, gardens, transportation, community-based food processing ventures, and urban farms to name a few.
  • Self-reliance/Empowerment
    Community food security projects emphasize the need to build individuals' abilities to provide for their food needs. Community food security seeks to build upon community and individual assets, rather than focus on their deficiencies. These projects seek to engage community residents in all phases of project planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Local Agriculture
    A stable local agricultural base is key to a community responsive food system. Farmers need increased access to markets that pay them a decent wage for their labor, and farmland needs planning protection from suburban development. By building stronger ties between farmers and consumers, consumers gain a greater knowledge and appreciation for their food source.
  • Systems-oriented
    CFS projects typically are "interdisciplinary," crossing many boundaries and incorporating collaborations with multiple agencies.  


For more information on the Tulsa food Security Council, please visit http://www.ihcrc.org/files/brochures/FoodforLife.pdf.


For information on the Community Food Security Coalition, please visit http://www.foodsecurity.org/aboutcfsc.html.

Out with the Old in with the New: 'Easter Island's' New Inhabitants


by Will Huffman

Letter from the Editor 

When it comes to its history, Easter Island has long been the subject of curiosity and speculation. The Easter Island most historians refer to is an island of volcanic rock in the South Pacific that is 2000 miles from the nearest population center, Tahiti or Chile, making it one of the most isolated places on Earth. The origin of its first inhabitants is highly speculative and because of their use of advanced building technology needed to create giant monoliths, called Moai, there is little understanding of how the culture made such developements in primitive times. While recent archaelogical evidence reveals the island's origins began around 400 A.D. and was likely first inhabited by Polynesians, it is still unknown how such an impressive and enigmatic culture, one that blossomed for hundreds of years, came into being. Much like the Egyptians and the pyramids, little is understood on how the Moai architecture could have been accomplished without the use of modern technology. But unlike the Egyptians, disaster would soon wipe out Easter Island's first civilization.
The population of Easter Island reached its peak at perhaps more than 10,000, far exceeding the capabilities of the small island's ecosystem. Resources became scarce, and the once lush palm forests were destroyed - cleared for agriculture and moving the massive stone Moai. In this regard, Easter Island has become, for many, a metaphor for ecological disaster and an example of how a culture's tendency to consistently deplete resources without renewability in mind can lead to a socio-economic condition where a culture greatly prospers for a short amount of time and then experiences long-term suffering.


It is this very message that captures Tulsa band MOAI Braodcast's vision of sustainability and ecological stewardship as it pertains to our community's responsibility to the earth and its resources. 'We began Easter Island music festival to reach out to Tulsa and Oklahoma citizens alike and spread the message of local community development and ecological stewardship, whether through music, artwork, community activism, or by simply bringing people together and unifying under one positive vision,' says Cody Brewer, MOAI guitarist and co-creator of the festival. Along with MOAI drummer, Nick Bernson, Cody wanted to give Oklahoma and its citizens a voice and an opportunity to be heard through a medium where all walks of life would be welcome and many different talents would be on display, thus the idea was born. It was soon after the idea blossomed that the rest of MOAI Broadcast and much of Tulsa's music and art scene followed suit and Easter Island took shape in 2010. The festival's vision resonates on a local level providing a stage for Oklahoma artists, musicians, businesses, vendors, and community organizations to display their talents and services. 'While some regional artists and musicians take part in the festival because they share our vision, this festival is primarily focused on reaching Oklahomans and giving them a vision for Oklahoma's future,' says Brewer.
With the third annual festival on the horizon and Spring in our midst, Easter Island will be featuring outdoor workshops from Green Country Permaculture LLC. on sustainable living, self-reliance skills, and permaculture (sustainable landscaping). GCP also plans to do on-site composting with the help of the festival community. Part of the proceeds of this year's festival will go to benefit Land Legacy, a Tulsa based nonprofit land-conservation organization that conserves and enhances urban and rural landscapes. Furthermore, Shikoba Recycling, a local recycling company, is providing the recycling services. Shikoba takes sustainability very seriously and promotes the idea of humans as stewards of the environment. Shikoba will be providing campers with trash bags and recycling bags to ensure nothing is wasted and the festival is as low impact on the environment as possible. With sponsors such as PSO, The Current, and local businesses like Fassler Hall and The Treehouse helping support the festival, along with acts from MOAI Broadcast, Panda Resistance, The Phoenix Brothers, and Paul Benjamin Band w/ Steve Pryor, plus many more, we can expect the 2012 festival to be a memorable one.
Easter Island Music Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, 2012. The festival cost is $30 for the weekend and camping. Festival grounds are located off HWY-20 between Owasso and Claremore at Valley Park. For more information, please visit http://easterislandfestival.com/.
For more information on:
Green Country Permaculture, please E-mail greencountrypermaculture@gmail.com or call Will Huffman at 918.978.4465. You may also visit us on Facebook.
Shikoba Recycling, please visit http://www.shikobarecycling.com/ or call 918.894.2019.
Land Legacy, please visit http://www.landlegacy.com/ or call 918.587.2190.


City of Tulsa Office of Sustainability Update


City of Tulsa's CNG Program 


by Brett Fidler

Director of City of Tulsa's Office of Sustainability


Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has been identified as an excellent "bridge" fuel for the nation as we work to reduce our dependence on foreign fuels. CNG is a safe, cleaner burning, locally available fuel source that can be used now to replace gasoline and diesel while new and cleaner fuels are being developed. The production and distribution of natural gas for compression and use as a vehicle fuel also holds some excellent economic development opportunities for Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma. Not only is Oklahoma a top domestic producer of natural gas, but much of the equipment used in production, distribution, compression, and retailing is manufactured in whole or part in our state; much of this takes place right here in Tulsa. CNG is cost competitive and currently the price of CNG at local, publically accessible stations is substantially lower than that of gasoline or diesel; well over a dollar less per gallon than standard gasoline.


In order to take advantage of all the benefits CNG has to offer, the City of Tulsa is replacing as many of our vehicles as possible with CNG powered alternatives. Currently, 20 of our vehicles run on CNG, including refuse trucks and several cars distributed across City departments. The City is even requiring our new residential refuse collection contractor to operate CNG trucks, which will help keep costs down and drastically reduce harmful emissions from these notoriously inefficient vehicles. Our ultimate goal is to replace all diesel powered vehicles in the City fleet, and as many gasoline powered vehicles as possible, with CNG alternatives. Our conversion to CNG will reduce our fueling costs and help improve Tulsa's air quality by removing diesel burning vehicles from our streets.


One of the main roadblocks to implementing the City's plan is figuring out how to fuel CNG vehicles once they are purchased. We are in the process of upgrading two City-owned CNG fueling stations to provide adequate fueling capacity for the vehicles we have and to keep pace with the fueling needs of vehicles we plan to purchase over the next few years. These and other stations owned by the City will be open to the public to allow citizens more fueling options and help remove this barrier to the wider acceptance of alternative fuel vehicles. We are also working with local natural gas producers to develop additional stations in the Tulsa area to provide an improved fueling network for fleets and private citizens alike. We hope to provide everyone in Tulsa the opportunity to take advantage of technology that will reduce air pollution and save money.


Although many vehicle fleets have and will adopt CNG as their fuel of choice, driving the CNG market in the private sector is key to widespread acceptance in Tulsa. CNG is a classic "chicken and egg" situation where people resist buying CNG vehicles because of lack of fueling infrastructure even though fuel is substantially cheaper and they can expect to recoup their upfront investment within the life of the vehicle. It's also difficult to justify developing a CNG fueling infrastructure when there are so few CNG vehicles being used. To help increase the number of CNG vehicle in use, Mayor Bartlett has directed City staff to modify residential building codes to require the necessary utility service for CNG compressors and EV (electric vehicle) charging stations be provided to a suitable location in the garage area of all new homes built in Tulsa. This will incentivize the purchase of CNG vehicles and make it easier and less expensive for homeowners to install home units to fuel their vehicles, if they choose to do so. We expect this to be done with a negligible cost increase for the builder and homeowner. This will provide further incentive to those considering making the switch to CNG in their personal vehicle and will hopefully lead to a larger number of these clean burning vehicles on the streets of Tulsa.  


When it Rains, Pour...Pervious Concrete
by Graham Brannin 
City of Tulsa Water and Sewer Department

Pervious concrete isn't new but it hasn't taken hold in Tulsa, yet. Virtually all concrete is impervious and encourages runoff of all water that it encounters. Added to this runoff are various pavements, roofs, and other impermeable surfaces that encourage rapid runoff of potentially polluted waters that swell our storm sewers and urban streams. Pervious concrete allows water to run through it into a gravel base below and also infiltrate into the ground. This is one method to reverse ever increasing impervious surfaces in the metropolitan area.


The City of Tulsa has teamed up with five ready-mix companies and various contractors to pour five different pervious concrete slabs for testing at a City-owned parking lot. The ready-mix companies are Eagle, Arrow, Dolese, Twin Cities, and GCC Ready-Mix. The concrete contractor is Cantera and other contributors are Lafarge, Flintco, Manhattan, OSU, and the ORMCA (Oklahoma Ready Mix Concrete Association).


This unusual collaboration is intended to increase local expertise while measuring the pervious concrete's effectiveness over time. Prior to the pour project, there was training and certification testing to document technical knowledge. The pour and subsequent demonstration of its ability to soak up rapid runoff received media attention and will result in future public education on this process.


This training, pilot project, and educational outreach will increase the demand and competitive environment to cost-effectively add this to the mix of stormwater quantity and quality improvement methods used in Tulsa. The hope is for an urban environment that is more disaster-resistant and green for future generations to enjoy.