Green Spotlight: Tatiana Guerra

“You look busy, how can I help?”

Let’s just say Tatiana Guerra is a super volunteer. And we mean really super.

Tatiana is on the right!

We met Tatiana in the spring of 2017 when her AmeriCorps NCCC team was based at The Environmental Center. Her team, Blue 3, primarily worked on our Energy Challenge program.

“We went around to houses and installed LED light bulbs, water efficient shower heads, and sink aerators in people’s homes,” she said. “Part of our team also stayed in the office to set up the schedule, answer phone calls, and take appointments.”

Blue 3 also helped in other departments – working in the garden each week and helping with outdoor school days, the Earth Day Fair, and a Repair Cafe.

When we received a phone call from Tati about 1.5 years later, we were thrilled to hear that she was moving to Bend! She told us that her time at The Environmental Center gave her a glimpse into life in Central Oregon, and she thought it would be a great place to live, play, and work. Once she decided to make Bend home, it’s no surprise she made her way back to The Environmental Center as a reliable volunteer, dedicated to helping our team in so many ways.

It’s common for Tatiana to reach out and simply ask, “What’s going on? Can I help with anything?” (How amazing is that?) We’re so grateful for her enthusiasm and positive attitude! She is currently supporting the same Energy Challenge program, prepping marketing materials and sending out letters, and assisting with the 2018 Green Tour. She’s also gotten involved in our Rethink Waste Program, preparing Eat First baskets that help people reduce wasted food. We’ve called on Tati to help with last-minute event support, data entry tasks, and more – and she’s been there! All of these actions make a big difference for our organization, and help us to achieve our mission.

Since moving back to Bend, Tati has continued on a service-based career path. She’s working with Commute Options, primarily with the Safe Routes to School program, educating students on bicycle and pedestrian safety. She also works for Bend Park and Recreation District in the Therapeutic Recreation Department. Here, she takes folks hiking, ice skating, cooking, fencing, and more.

If you can’t tell, we appreciate Tatiana’s dependability, upbeat energy, and all the time she’s given to our team. She’s a great advocate for us out in the community, and it’s evident that she is committed to making Central Oregon a better place. Thank you for all you do, Tatiana!

And just for fun, here is a little more about Tati in her own words.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

When I’m not working you can find me on my bike, skiing in the winter, hiking and canoeing in the summer, enjoying coffee at a local shop, and of course, volunteering at TEC. 🙂

Where would you most like to visit in the world? 

I would LOVE to visit more of Asia…maybe Nepal or Cambodia. I visited India and China this past year and fell in love.

How do you practice sustainability in daily life? 

My favorite (and easy to remember!) sustainable practice is turning the heat off when not home, and turning all the lights off. Many folks forget that money and energy can be saved by simply flipping a switch.

2018 Sustainability Award Winners Recognized

The 2018 Sustainability Awards were announced by The Environmental Center on November 15th at a celebration at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon. The Environmental Center received 13 nominations and the winners were selected by a community review committee.

“Sustainability is a big, complex topic,” said Mike Riley, Executive Director. “Achieving it requires patience and perseverance in the face of often daunting obstacles. Our Sustainability Awards celebrate the citizens, businesses, and organizations in our community that are dedicated to overcoming these challenges and making sustainability real in Central Oregon.”

The Environmental Center presented six awards:

  • Local Food Catalyst – Nicolle Timm-Branch and Central Oregon Locavore
  • Local Food Innovator – Volcano Veggies
  • Business – Wanderlust Tours
  • Creative Re-Cycling – Bend Velo
  • Organization – Bend Science Station
  • Exemplar – Bethlehem Inn

A 13-member committee reviewed the nominations and selected the final winners. The committee members were: Allen Engle, Environmental Center Board; Becca Gilbert, Environmental Center staff; Cassie Lacy, City of Bend; Don O’Brien, Environmental Center Board; Indigo Teiwes, Hydro Flask; Jennifer Letz, Environmental Center Board; Karen Kassy, former Sustainability Awards winner; Kendra Hamerly, GreenSavers; Lauren Williams, Environmental Center staff; Mike Riley, Environmental Center staff; Serena Dietrich, Deschutes Brewery; Tom Elliott, Environmental Center Board; and Tom Rowley, Business Oregon. This year’s awards were designed and created by local artist Pete Servine of NW Modern Design.

The nominees were scored on the basis of their leadership, innovation, and operating practices with regards to sustainability, as well as their community involvement and promotion of social equity.

The 2018 Sustainability Awards are sponsored by Worthy Brewing.

Tickets available for the 2018 Sustainability Awards

A limited number of tickets are now available for the 2018 Sustainability Awards on November 15, 2018. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited and this event will sell out. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased online here.

What:    The 2018 Sustainability Awards, an Environmental Center event that honors Central Oregon’s sustainability leaders and innovators

When:   November 15, 2018 from 5:00 -7:00 p.m.

Where:  The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon (61980 Skyline Ranch Rd, Bend, OR 97702)

Awards will be presented to a business, organization, and individual who are leading the way to a sustainable future. Special awards may also be given away. By showcasing local commitment to a healthy environment, vibrant economy, and an equitable society, this event will inspire even more sustainable action in Central Oregon.

 The 2018 nominees are:

  • 4 Peaks Music Festival
  • Bend Science Station
  • Bend Velo
  • Bethlehem Inn
  • Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council/Cascades East Transit
  • Central Oregon LandWatch
  • Central Oregon Locavore
  • Levi’s Sawmill
  • Nicolle Timm-Branch
  • SeQuential
  • Un-Bag Bend
  • Volcano Veggies
  • Wanderlust Tours

For more information, visit our webpage. The 2018 Sustainability Awards are sponsored by Worthy Brewing.

Help to Write Bend’s Climate Legacy

There was recently a really interesting and visually compelling story featured in The Washington Post.

Imagine an arctic lake in the Western Brooks Range that hisses and bubbles as it releases hard-hitting methane gas into our atmosphere. Now consider this same lake bed ALSO contains craters that show signs of unleashing ancient fossil fuels from a reserve that had once been sealed. And if this weird hybrid of what’s happening at Esieh Lake is happening across the top of the world, this could be a big blow to our climate system.

Strange stories like this one are becoming more and more prevalent across the globe, driving home the fact that our climate is changing dramatically (and quickly) due to human activities. But you don’t have to travel to the Arctic to feel the destructive consequences of climate change. We just experienced the fifth-driest summer in Bend’s history, impacting local irrigation and farming, wildfire behavior, and more.

Right now, we have the chance to take local climate action that will make a difference here at home, while contributing to a global purpose. Our climate legacy is being written at this very moment, as the City of Bend works to implement the Climate Action Resolution that was adopted in 2016. We now need our community’s support to complete Bend’s climate action plan – the first such plan in Oregon east of the Cascades. Please show your commitment to this effort, which will produce tangible, practical strategies for Bend to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Your dollars will help Bend step up to the challenge of leaving a healthy climate for future generations.

Donate today and help us reach the $10,000 goal. Learn more and show your support here.

Water Cycle Education Program Highlights

The Environmental Center and the City of Bend are expanding our Water Cycle Education Program to include a pilot full-day field trip around Tumalo Falls. Our goal is to deepen students’ sense of watershed stewardship and boost their awareness through visiting utility facilities, interactive games, exploring models, and discussions with local water conservation professionals, hydrologists, chemists and water operations staff.

Last week, City staff guided students in their investigation of the Bend Municipal Watershed, watershed models at Tumalo Falls, and water testing at the Water Filtration Facility. The Environmental Center staff lead students in analyzing stormwater pollution models and a water cycle games at Skyliner Lodge.

Together over two days, we educated 300 6th grade students from Cascade Middle School about their watershed. The Water Cycle Education Program is ongoing and includes two field trips and four in-class lessons. During the 2018-2019 school year, we will continue to reach more middle school and elementary students in Bend!

Photo highlights thanks to photographer and Environmental Center intern, Grant Stein.

Green Tour Sneak Peek #3-Locally generated renewable energy

Homegrown renewable energy is expanding in Central Oregon–both for residential use and utility-scale and rightfully so. We have some of the best solar potential in the US. This is an opportunity to visit a solar farm and get behind the scenes.

Local Cypress Creek Renewables staff will be on site at the solar farm on Neff Road to discuss the development process, the energy generation, give you a tour, and answer any questions you may have about utility-scale solar projects.

This 10 MW solar project covers 62 acres on Neff Road and just east of Big Sky Park. It produces enough energy to power 3,000 homes. The power that is generated is sold to Pacific Power. With 67% of Pacific Power’s current energy mix coming from coal, this is a really big and important step in the direction to creating a clean energy future here in Central Oregon.

Close-toed shoes required. You will be required to wear safety equipment and sign a liability waiver.

Only 10 spots available per hour. On the Green Tour, tours will start at the top of the hour from 10:00 – 4:00. 

Reserve your spot on a solar farm tour!

Tour Guides

Eric Prezzia, O&M, Cypress Creek Renewables

Amy Berg Pickett, Cypress Creek Renewables;


21836 Neff Rd, Bend

See the full map and detials of Green Tour sites!

Sign up for the Rethink Food Waste Challenge

Food waste is a big issue here in the United States! About 1/4 of what people bring home from the grocery store ends up in the trash. In this episode of EnviroAnswers, Ani provides some tips on how to organize your fridge and shop smarter – in ways that will reduce your waste.

Are you up to the challenge? Earlier this year, over 200 households in Central Oregon took the Rethink Food Waste Challenge. They weighed their wasted food each week, and received helpful resources, tips and ideas on how to reduce what ends up in the trash. Throughout the course of the Challenge, we’re happy to report that participants’ food waste dropped by a whopping 59%!

Now it’s your turn. We’ve made the Challenge available online! Sign up and you’ll receive a short email series that guides you through the process. You’ll learn what food you’re wasting in your home and how to prevent it. Pledge to waste less food! Sign up here.

Call for Applications for the 2018 Sustainability Awards

On November 15, 2018, The Environmental Center will present its sixth Sustainability Awards, honoring businesses, organizations and individuals that are leading the way to a sustainable future in Central Oregon. Applications for awards will be accepted in four categories: Small Business (10 or less employees), Large Business (more than 10 employees), Organization (government and nonprofits), and Individual.

Request an application and learn more about the awards at:

All completed applications are due by September 14, 2018.

The Environmental Center hosts the Sustainability Awards to highlight the determined and persistent change makers in our local communities who are essential to achieving a sustainable future.

“By showcasing their commitment to a healthy environment, a vibrant economy, and an equitable society, we hope to inspire even more sustainable action in Central Oregon,” said Executive Director Mike Riley.

The 2018 Sustainability Awards are sponsored by Worthy Brewing. The awards ceremony will take place on November 15, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon.

Awards are given out every other year. In 2016, seven awards went to:

  • Individual:  Allison Murphy
  • Small Business:  Pacific Crest Affordable Housing
  • Large Business:  Pine Mountain Sports
  • Special Award—Pioneers:  Bob and Mary Devore
  • Special Award—Rookie of the Year:  The Broomsmen
  • Special Award—Industry Leader:  GreenSavers
  • Special Award—Forward Momentum:  City of Bend

For examples of past winners and summaries of why they won, click here.

Questions? Email Lauren or call 541-385-6908 x18.

Garden Grant Update: Three Rivers Elementary School

Three Rivers Elementary School in Sunriver had a very unique idea for a school garden! Their goal was to create a school garden project that was manageable in size and scope, but still connected students to growing food. With assistance from our FoodCorps Service Member, Claire, the school designed and built three mobile indoor garden carts using donated shopping carts – complete with a ‘parking garage’ lighting system, soil and seeds, and a water catchment system.

Students have been actively involved in planting seeds in the starter trays, transplanting the garden starts to the mobile carts, and watering and monitoring the growth of plants in the mobile carts.

Over the next year, Three Rivers plans to start a new science curriculum called “Amplify,” which will utilize the garden carts in tandem with a unit on life sciences. They also want to encourage more classes to be involved, and rotate the carts among classrooms. We’re extra excited to learn that Three Rivers sees this project as a potential catalyst for launching a bigger, more permanent garden project in the future!

Garden Grant Update: Seed to Table

With their grant from The Environmental Center, Seed to Table Farm in Sisters purchased a small set of grow lights to increase vegetable production for the school during winter months. This allowed the school to increase the amount of produce grown from zero heads of lettuce to 12 heads of lettuce a week! Providing fresh greens in school lunches will help students connect spring and fall farm-based education with their meals.

In addition, Seed to Table began to experiment with three different hydroponic systems for the high school agriculture and biology classes. These new systems will allow science teachers to conduct experiments and classroom instruction in an up-to-date environment.

Seed to Table also planted a native plant garden utilizing funds from The Environmental Center. The native plant garden will be maintained for use in biology, environmental studies, and agriculture classes.