Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, March 19, 2010

To save a tree

Deborah Holle is the refuge manager at Balcones Canyonlands NWR, and she and the refuge have received three national awards for recycling.  I have a story about how dedicated this woman is to recycling.  Back over ten years ago, the US Fish and Wildlife service maintained GSA stores where refuges ordered their supplies from.  As times changed, these "stores" were eliminated.  As a result, Deborah was able to go to one of the supply houses and receive, for free, a huge amount of reams of paper that could be used for printers and xerox machines.  It turns out that this supply of paper lasted the refuge about ten years!  However, as she picked up the paper, the warehouse insisted that she also take some excess toothpicks along with the paper.  She tried not to do this, but they insisted.  So, the refuge ended up with 18 cases of Penley toothpicks!  That equates to 2,040,000 toothpicks!  Over the years, the refuge was able to use up one case!

It turns out that Penley toothpicks were the last toothpicks produced in the US.  I bet you didn't know that the picks that you buy now are made in China!

Anyway, having 17 remaining cases of toothpicks weighed heavily on Deborah's mind as she didn't want to just throw them away.  So she got on the Internet and googled toothpicks.  The result is that she found an artist named Stan Munro, in Syracuse, NY, that made artistic structures out of toothpicks.  She got in contact with him and he was interested in this mother lode of picks.  She was relieved, but a new problem cropped up.  All those picks were government property, so she couldn't just give them away!  Eventually it was worked out that if Stan paid the shipping, he could have the toothpicks.  He gladly paid the $600 in shipping, and they were his.  He wanted to show his gratitude to the refuge for this bonanza, so he created this...

masterpiece and sent it to Deborah a couple of months ago!  The entire plaque is made out of Penley toothpicks and is about a foot tall.  How cool is that?  Deborah has retained one box of toothpicks and plans to donate that box and this plaque to the National Wildlife Refuge museum upon her retirement.  She certainly has saved a tree!  You can view more of Stan's creations at toothpickcity.com if you like.  :)

Since I didn't work today, I spent the day trying to firm up plans for next fall and winter.  I was pretty successful, too.  I'll be returning to Anahuac NWR towards the end of October.  That means I'll be able to store the RV there while I go on the cruise.  Then I'll be going to Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR for February through April.  I'm excited about that.  Now, if I could only hear from someone in Oregon about this summer!

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later,  Judy