NRPA Gears Up for Earth Week

By Roxanne Sutton | Posted on April 15, 2014

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22—a reminder that we’re all part of this world and we’re responsible for taking care of it. However, as park and recreation professionals know all too well, one day out of 365 isn’t enough. Park and rec pros are the green leaders in their communities, so your national association is working on being the green leader here in our community.

To make sure NRPA is thinking green all year long, we recently established the NRPA Green Team—a group of conservation minded staff members who enjoy spreading encouragement (and subtly applying peer pressure) to the rest of the association staff. From trading in trash cans for recycling bins to dutifully turning off lights, the Green Team aims to make NRPA HQ as green as can be. 




In celebration of Earth Day, the Green Team decided to do an entire week of green events. From zero-waste lunches to planting trees to volunteering at a local nature preserve—we’ve got quite the schedule of activities planned. You can see a detailed list of events in this month’s issue of Parks & Recreation.

We figured a week is better than a day and by being green all year long, we’re aiming to improve our score in the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge this year. We achieved gold level last year and have our sights set on platinum for 2014!

So, what is your agency doing for Earth Day? Are you engaging your community in any special events? 

Even if you don’t have anything specific planned, we encourage you to think a little greener next week. Consider trying a trash-free lunch! Just reducing the amount of waste you create on a daily basis can have a major impact. Wondering how to have a trash-free lunch? Here are some tips from NRPA’s Jessica Culverhouse:

10 Tips for a Trash-Free Lunch

  1. Pack your lunch at home rather than purchasing fast food or takeout, which are typically served in non-recyclable wrappers and containers. 
  2. Use a reusable lunch box or bag. If you don’t have a lunch box, reuse a shopping bag. 
  3. Pack your drink in a reusable thermos, water bottle or jar. Avoid single-serving drinks, if possible. If you must have that lunchtime soda, recycle the can or bottle. 
  4. Use reusable containers for your food. You could even wrap your sandwich in your napkin (see #5). 
  5. Pack a cloth napkin. A small cotton bandanna or tea towel will work well, too. Unless you have a spill or a particularly messy lunch, you may not need to replace it daily. 
  6. Use flatware or wash and reuse your plasticware. 
  7. Pack leftovers. You’ll save time and avoid wasting food. 
  8. Pack foods that come in their own biodegradable containers, like fruit. 
  9. Avoid single-serving packages. Purchase a large bag of pretzels or trail mix, for example, and refill small reusable containers. You can do the same for yogurt or applesauce. 
  10. Consider where your food comes from and all of the waste produced along the way. Buying fresh, in-season, local food and eating less meat will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and energy required to produce, package and transport your food.  

Keep us posted on how you’re staying green by tweeting us @NRPA_News. We love getting inspired by the awesome things our members are doing! We’ll be live-tweeting all of our Earth Week events, so check in often to see what we’re up to.


Roxanne Sutton  is the Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist for NRPA and member of the NRPA Green Team.