I Like to Ride My Bicycle

Sorry if that title made you get a certain Queen song stuck in your head (fair’s fair, it’s stuck in mine now).

Back in December, Sherry wrote a post about water conservation and the things we were doing to cut back on our water usage during our extreme drought. I just re-read that post, and I’m happy to say that we still are doing all of those things, and even more now to decrease our water usage. For instance, we now have 2 rain barrels set up outside that we use to refill the tubs we use to wash our tools. Also, we put buckets under any drippy sinks or pipes we have and use that water to water our trees in Carolina Wildlife (but they don’t stay drippy for long–we have an excellent facilities team that usually is there right away to fix them).

I’d also like to touch on some other things we do to conserve our resources here in the animal department, and as a museum as a whole. Here in the Animal Department, any note you find hanging up is almost always written on the back of something else. We have a bin of scrap paper that we throw all of our (in acceptable condition) paper in, and then use those scraps for phone messages, reminder notes, sign up sheets, lists, etc. This has been the case ever since I worked here–it used to be odd to me when I first started that all of our notes were on second hand paper, but now it’s odd if they aren’t.

On the water front, we’ve set up 2 rain barrels outside so that we can use rain water to fill up the chemical buckets we use to clean our tools. I know that we aren’t the only ones with rain barrels at the museum, there are a few others scattered around that are used for watering our landscape. Also there’s been a really awesome and effective compost push Museum wide, with compost buckets dispersed to every office corner of the Museum to collect everyone’s daily compostables. At all of our meetings and events now we have a regular trash can and a compost bin, and the Museum is awaiting the arrival of an industrial composter. At our all staff meetings once a month, people are encouraged to bring their own cups and whoever does gets in a drawing for a prize that’s handed out at the end of the meeting. That’s some of what we do as a collective, but there’s even more that museum employees do on there own to cut down on resources. Instead of driving, Sherry usually walks down to Explore the Wild when she needs to go down there. Cassidy goes above and beyond our normal amount of composting, and tries to save every single compostable thing she can throughout her normal cleaning day. Kristen does funny but thoughtful things like tearing napkins in half to share instead of each using one (which I laughed at her about but then read a statistic that said that if everyone used one less napkin a day, it would save a billion napkins from going in the land fill per year).

While using vehicles are a necessary part of our job most of the time, there are several people around the museum who ride their bikes to work, and some who bring their bikes in to use as transportation around the museum. I keep mine in the Animal Department shower (it’s a garage AND a bike wash!), and end up using it more here than I did at home. I try use my bike on Saturdays when I’m working in Explore the Wild instead of using a vehicle. It works for Saturday because I’m the only keeper working out there and it’s a simple day so there’s not much stuff to haul. However, I was having to come back later in the day with a vehicle to collect all of my trash. That’s until Sherry got me a bike trailer (she technically bought it for the Animal Department, but it feels like it’s mine)! I was probably way too excited when it came in, but it’s really been great. Here’s a picture of me in it that I think really captures my excitement:

I don’t exactly fit in it, as it’s not exactly made for grown up people (max weight: 100 pounds), but I took the picture before it was on wheels so I didn’t break it (luckily). But people hauling aside, it’s worked beautifully.

4 responses to I Like to Ride My Bicycle

  1. Debbie says:

    Another great story from the Animal Department! Thank you Erin!

  2. Sherry says:

    my 6 year old daughter walked in my room last week all excited and confused. She was holding up a blank piece of paper and said "look". I had no idea what she was talking about ( which is very common). She was drawing and came across a piece of paper that had nothing written on it- on either side!I said "wow", and she walked back to her room to continue working.I laughed, felt a little guilty that my kid only gets to do art on paper that has already been used for something else, but mostly felt pretty good about it. After all, she has grandparents who I am sure will get her some blank paper if she ever asked for it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I enjoy reading several different blogs and the Animal Dept blog is one of my favorites! It's informative, funny, and I can count on a new one regularly. Thanks so much for everything you all do!Renee

  4. Marilyn says:

    You're too funny in that trailer, Erin! While I was at the conference, I went to workshop on how to be more green and I came back with a lot of ideas. I will be sharing them with the animal department soon!

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