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Sustainable Tulsa Newsletter              June 2012
In This Issue
First Thursdays!
City of Tulsa Update
Communion in the Garden
Turtle Rock Farms
Water and Energy
Our Sponsors

Ihloff Salon and Day Spa Employees 'Jeans Day Program'


Southside Rotary Club of Tulsa




Green Star


Become a member today!

Click here and 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




It is now spring and many of us are wanting to get ourselves into prime (bathing suit) shape to get poolside for the upcoming summer months...ok, ok, maybe we want to get fit and more healthy to feel better about ourselves or our doctor's and nutritionists want us to shed a few pounds. Whatever your motivation, here are some green workout tips that can help you achieve just that...and be eco-friendly while doing it.


  • Take it outside whenever you can. Instead of increasing your energy consumption via home and gym exercise machines, take advantage of hiking and biking trails in your area. One big advantage to the great outdoors - it's 100% free and always interesting! Check out the Rails-to-Trails TrailLink database to find the perfect outdoor trail in your area.

  • Inspire a green makeover at your health club or gym. If the great outdoors just aren't for you, consider encouraging your gym to make some eco-friendly upgrades. Make sure your club offers recycling bins and energy efficient machines, and remind the staff to ask patrons to limit their towel usage. Check out Mother Nature Network's five questions to ask to uncover whether your gym is eco-friendly. Some environmentally-conscious gyms are even harnessing their patrons' workouts to generate power!

  • Car pool to your local gym with a friend or neighbor. Not only does carpooling cut down on your fuel costs and usage, but having a gym buddy is an instant incentive to keep up with your fitness goals and resolutions. For extra support, consider joining a soccer, volleyball, or kickball league in your neighborhood. No one to car pool with? Your bike is another great way to get where you're going and warm up for your workout at the same time.

  • Looking for some new workout clothing or gear? Organic cotton and bamboo threads are a great place to start for sweat-friendly green fabrics. For eco-conscious equipment choices, check the web or a local sporting goods shop for great deals on secondhand bikes and weights. For new clothing or gear, be sure to check out Gaiam and Natural Fitness Inc. Both companies are practicing some pretty innovative manufacturing techniques and are utilizing recycled rubber and materials to produce their workout goods.

  • Just say no to one-time use plastic water bottles. It's time to commit to using refillable water bottles for workouts and everyday hydration. Using a refillable bottle means less waste in landfills and more money in your wallet. How about this self-filtering, re-usable healthy-plastic model from our friends at Back to the Tap?

  • Get creative with your workout routine. It's not always easy to find time to head to the gym or commit to an after-work jogging schedule. Try to throw in an extra walk or bike ride during your lunch break for a calorie-burning boost. Another great way to supplement your gym routine: Try knocking out some house or yard work by attacking the job with gusto! Raking leaves, cleaning up beds and even vacuuming and dusting can be great activities for burning off a greasy business lunch or holiday season extras.

  •  Don't let a good workout go to waste. Put your pedal power to work by hooking up your stationary bike to a battery or generator! In no time you will be making enough energy to power common household appliances and gadgets.

  • Recycle your cross-trainers. After putting in all of that extra mileage, your new shoes are bound to lose their bounce. Instead of tossing them, give your shoes new life with Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. Worn out shoes are used to build new tracks, basketball and tennis courts. New life for old shoes!

    Please visit for more great green tips!

    Green Jobs


    For Information on Green Jobs in Oklahoma visit:


    Who We Are


    Corey Williams


    Newsletter Editor

    Will Huffman


    Board of Directors


    President: Marilyn Ihloff


    Vice President: Denise Reid


    Treasurer/Secretary: Connie Cohea



    Libby Auld

    Jessica John-Bowman

    Dan Cameron

    Brett Fidler

    Richard Gajan

    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





    Contact Us


    Phone: 918.808.6576








    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.



    Director's Update


    by Corey Williams

    Sustainable Tulsa, Director



    We are excited to be working with Eloté Café and Catering to present the 4th annual SalsaFest at the H. A. Chapman Centennial Park, located at 6th and Boston in the heart of downtown Tulsa, on Friday, June 29 from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.


    SalsaFest is a family friendly event that is a free outdoor festival where the main attraction is a salsa making/tasting contest. Local restaurants and home cooks are invited to compete to see if their salsa really is award winning.


    SalsaFest contestants must use at least one Oklahoma-grown ingredient for the public and celebrity judges to taste and vote for their favorite. There are three categories for contestants to enter their salsa: spicy; traditional; and alternative. Awards will be given out to the three public chosen winners, an overall winner, the celebrity judges' winner, and the salsa maker using the most local ingredients.


    In additional to the Salsa contest, there will be a chili-pepper eating contest, live Salsa music, Salsa dancing, children's activities, local art booths, and a Chihuahua costume contest and race.


    We hope you will be able to support the downtown family event. You can support SalsaFest by being a participant, contestant, volunteer, and/or a sponsor. Sponsorship starts at $100!


    To become a sponsor click here.


    To become a volunteer click here and join us Monday, June 11 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at Elote Café and Catering, located at 514 S. Boston Ave. Tulsa, OK 74103, for a pre-thank you volunteer party and sign up for a volunteer shift!


    To learn more contact Sustainable Tulsa at 918-808-576 or


    First Thursdays!


    Edible Gardens


    by Jenny Thompson

    Ellaberry Gardens, Owner



    Hey, folks! I'm Jenny Thompson. I'm an avid gardener, chicken lover, crafter, chef, mother of four, and wife. I've got an insatiable curiosity about all things urban farming and have a project list about a mile long. I grew up in Tulsa and am somewhat irrationally attached to being an Okie. I love my community and I am driven to help educate others about producing food in an urban setting.


    In 2010, I began a small urban farming business called Ellaberry Gardens to do exactly that! Folks always ask me where the name came from. My grandma's name is Ella and I fell in love with the idea of growing your own food while frolicking in her strawberry plants. She planted strawberries as edging around the flower beds in her backyard. I remember being just a teeny thing and poppin' those sun-warmed berries in my mouth and being amazed that you could grow something so wonderful right in your own backyard. It seemed magical and powerful to me then as a wee one. That sense of magic and empowerment drives me still today.


    Here at Ellaberry Gardens, I'm all about helping others learn to grow something, anything, they can eat. I have seasonal gardening classes, help folks design/plan edible plantings, and do my best to get out in the community and talk up growing food as often as I can. I believe very much in the local food movement while also believing it doesn't get more local, or more sustainable, than producing food right outside your own back (or front!) door. I love what I do, at home and out in the community, and hope that I can help you all get growin at First Thursdays!


    First Thursdays! with Sustainable Tulsa are free and open to the public and provide a chance for you to network with your community and learn about sustainability happening in the Tulsa area. We have a guest speaker each month on a variety of topics. This is also an opportunity to let others know about what you are working on! Come learn and share! We meet the first Thursday of each month at Eloté Café and Catering, 514 S Boston, Tulsa, OK. We gather at 12:30 for lunch and from 1:00 to 2:00 PM for the guest speaker and networking. For more information click here or contact Corey Williams, 918-808-6576. June 7, 2012 is our next First Thursdays! with Ellaberry Gardens. Please join us!

    Thank you to Covant Energy and Jenkins Consulting Group for their sponsorship of First Thursdays!




    City of Tulsa Sustainable Development Initiative


    by Brett Fidler

    City of Tulsa, Sustainability Director


    To the City of Tulsa, sustainable development means making sure buildings and other infrastructure serving our citizens are designed and constructed to be energy efficient, environmentally friendly, structurally sound, and affordable. To help us reach these goals, the City is investigating ways to incentivize the development community to use sustainable design, green construction, and low-impact development techniques in their design and construction efforts.


    The Office of Sustainability has been working with city planning and legal departments to develop an incentive system aimed at promoting sustainable-development techniques. Other cities around the country have similar programs that offer perks to architects, developers, and builders that are willing to 'build green.' Although certain techniques could be mandated through building and zoning codes, we want those in the industry to use sustainable techniques voluntarily because they are better for building owners and inhabitants, make their designs and building more marketable, and decrease the environmental impacts and operating costs of buildings over their life span. Therefore, we are designing an incentive package that will be offered to the entire development community for the benefit of those who choose to take advantage, while not mandating participation.


    Some examples of sustainable development incentives offered by other cities include expedited/fee reduced permitting, expedited plan review, reduced stormwater and other fees, eligibility for grants and loans from the city, and various types of recognition programs for participating designers, builders and developers. The best option for Tulsa is to start small and pick an area of sustainability to incentivize first, such as energy efficiency. This will allow us to build our program while gaining wider community acceptance of certain techniques. This also gives developers an opportunity to become familiar with these techniques, thereby increasing their use. Some of the above incentives may be applicable to Tulsa, but sustainable development standards have to be set. Some cities develop their own standards; others use an existing set of standards (such as LEED). Early in the program, Tulsa will most likely use existing standards that are not currently required because they are excluded from state and local codes. These include certain energy efficiency codes, for example. This allows developers to exceed what is merely required while meeting standards that already exist in other parts of the country, and be recognized for going above and beyond. Plus, it eliminates the need for the City to develop separate standards while bringing us more in line with other regions. As the program evolves, standards will become more difficult to meet but will produce greater green benefits.


    This program is in its infancy in Tulsa, but is a sustainability priority. The first step in the process is to engage the development community and gather input on what they consider incentives in terms of sustainable design and construction. These experts know best where issues exist and what it will take to overcome them. Currently, a survey is being developed to circulate among members of the development community; this step is paramount to the success and acceptance of Tulsa's sustainable development program. With growing support for this initiative, many in the development field voluntarily adhere to a higher green standard and it's time they were recognized for their efforts and given the support they need to promote the concept within their respective professional community.


    Communion In the Garden


    by Becky Eagleton



    For many years I have thought of myself as a tree - a red oak to be exact - and it occurs to me that I cannot be an effective sustaining member of my community unless I sustain my own spirit first. Since I am a tree, sustaining my spirit means giving myself lots of room to grow, plenty of deadwood to shake off, and heaps of nourishment. I am a seasonal gardener for the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden in Woodward Park and I come in contact with many people who use our public parks to sustain their own spirits, I believe, by communing.


    The idea of commune (to be in close rapport) that is desired in a park is quite different than that desired in a coffee shop. To experience communion in a park is to have a sense of intimacy with nature and yourself and to sense a sharing with those around you without having to talk about it. The Rose Garden is a site for a great deal of sharing, as I see everyday: mothers and grandmothers spreading picnic blankets for toddling children; lovers seeking the "best-smelling rose" (or seeking other communing activities under the moonlight - I have found many a wine bottle and abandoned pair of underwear); desperate animal lovers who abandon kittens in the hope a worker might rescue them (one mews on my windowsill right now); or two strangers on adjacent benches, both reading the same book.


    Public spaces also call us to be in them for special occasions. One weekend I witnessed at least 75 prom girls in dresses to rival the surrounding rose blooms, their young skin as fresh and smooth as any petal strewn on the walkway. Also posing for photographs were at least three quinceañera beauties surrounded by admiring friends and family (many as desperate to shed their tuxes as I am to rid the rose beds of weeds).


    Further, the most intergenerational place in any town is going to be a public park, and simply experiencing a place covered with people of all ages and genders, all minding their own business while at the same time sharing the unspoken knowledge that all people gathered there are desiring the same thing - communion - well, that's a powerful moment. I spent twenty minutes one morning with a Korean veteran who wanted my help in remembering the name of a tree he'd seen in the Dallas Botanical Garden. Never mind I'd never met him before and that we weren't in Dallas - he just wanted to commune with me about something of beauty he'd experienced. I finally came up with "crepe myrtle" as the plant he'd seen, and he was ecstatic. To be able to name a plant can bring joy, I've discovered.


    I invite you to come to the Rose Garden to sustain yourself. Remember, like people, the garden is a constant work in progress, and the greatest beauty there is not the velvet blossoms themselves but our common desire to experience beauty together.


    Care for how you for what you see...and always do it sustainably...


    by Pat Hoerth, Turtle Rock Farms


    Growing up on a farm on the prairie of north central Oklahoma, we helped our parents gather eggs laid by 2,000 chickens, grade them, and pack them for sale to our clients in Enid. We brought the sheep in at night from the south pasture, helped with the gardening, and after school we worked at chipping concrete off a pile of bricks that had once been the Billings post office and would one day be the outside walls of a new house, to be built half a mile up the road.


    It was a great life and we thought so, even then. But after college we moved away, returning to the farm for family gatherings and summer vacations, introducing our children to this great place that was our true home. In the 1990s, as a spiritual director and hospital chaplain, I brought people here on retreats and was always struck by how much they enjoyed a day at the farm and by the fact that they seemed to experience something mysterious when they spent a day in the country. My sister, Ann McFerron, shared a dream with me of one day to open a retreat center at the farm. We took that big step in 2007.

    We soon began to understand what "the mysterious thing" is that happens when people spend a day in the country. They connect to something inherently critical to their lives: the natural world that is our home. We too had lived busy lives in the city and lost touch with the natural world. Coming home to the farm had helped heal this rift in our lives. It became our mission to provide a place for others to experience this as well.


    At the same time, we were becoming more aware of the effects of global warming and our own deep anxiety that we needed to do something about it. Attending our first Oklahoma Sustainability Network conference helped us discover our name-Turtle Rock Farm: A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality and Healing-and refine our mission: to provide a place on the prairie for people to connect with the natural world; pay attention to it; get to know it; care about it; and learn how to live more sustainably in it.


    The work of Turtle Rock Farm has developed in ways we could've never foreseen. Our approach was to simply do the next thing we could toward sustainable living and teaching. We offer individuals, families, and groups time away in nature, instructing them how to pay attention to the details and the grandeur of the natural world. Furthermore, we offer workshops and retreats that teach various aspects of living sustainably. It's a two-pronged process: getting to know and care about the natural world; and learning to live so that all in the natural world may thrive.


    Our hermitage (a guest cottage) is built with mud and wheat straw right off the farm. We tend bees, alpaca, rabbits, chickens, guineas, and pygmy goats with each contributing their part in a sustainable system. We are building a high tunnel to experiment with round-the-year gardening in Oklahoma's changing climate. Central to our work here remains the foundational knowledge that if we don't know the planet we aren't going to care about it, but if we get to know it we can't help but care about it.


    Our success is measured in moments: When a little girl from the city gathers her first egg and tells us there's a baby in it and we tell her no, we don't have a rooster so there's no baby, and she immediately gets it, saying, "Oh, this is food." Seeing children run freely across the prairie finding bugs and rocks and toads and pointing them out to their parents. When a woman who comes repeatedly tells us, "I need to come often and touch base where things are being done the way I think they should be." The moment someone becomes a beekeeper, gardener, composterer. The moment a couple realizes that they want to step away from consumerism and live more simple, healthier lives. The moment it dawns on a group of women that there are environmental and health issues with our current food system and they commit to make changes that contribute to a healthier planet and healthier humans. The night teens from suburban Connecticut stand under a vast dark sky glittering with jillions of stars and exclaim, "We have never seen stars like this."



    Please visit Turtle Rock Farm online at and


    The Nexus of Drinking Water & Energy

    by Graham Brannin

    City of Tulsa Water and Sewer, PW Planning and Intergovernmental Administrator

    How important is energy use regarding drinking water systems and how can the City of Tulsa improve its sustainability in this area? Energy consumption related to drinking water systems is the largest consumer among all of City operations. The second largest consumer is the other end of water handling, which is the wastewater system. Water-related energy consumption includes raw water pumping from the source lakes, the numerous systems within the water treatment plants, and, finally, the pumping stations within the distribution system. Primary consumption is in the form of electricity.

    Tulsa's drinking water system consumed over 3 million dollars' worth of electricity representing about 26% of the total consumption of City government including over 230 buildings. This cost is with a very low electricity price structure for this type of consumer along with the relatively low price paid in Oklahoma. This low price could be subject to change.

    Given the magnitude of energy usage in City operations, especially in the water system; the City's Sustainability Plan emphasizes energy efficiency.   The Water & Sewer Department also makes energy efficiency and conservation a priority. Some steps being taken to reduce energy consumption are:

    • Work with PSO to upgrade electrical meters and the availability of real-time 15-minute interval data.
    • Combine this electrical data with operational information to identify areas of improvement.
    • Work with Operations, Engineering, PSO, and consultants to upgrade equipment and operational efficiencies.
    • Actively participate with the PSO Clean Cities program to capture energy conservation rebates.
    • Join the PSO Demand Response program to cut peak load at critical usage times resulting in a reduction in the overall grid load and yielding operations incentive fees.
    • Encourage water conservation for government, businesses and residences.

    All of the efforts mentioned above are ongoing and continual. These measures will help limit utility rate increases, continue to secure our water supply dependability, alleviate the need for power plant construction, and be responsible environmental stewards. The result is a more sustainable community.