The Natural Step Monona (TNSM)

The Natural Step Monona (TNSM) Green Tuesdays & Thursdays - 2012

Overview
The 2012 Dane County Environmental Council (DCEC) grant award of $500 to The Natural Step Monona (TNSM) went toward the purchase of environmental films and their performance rights for the educational series Green Tuesdays & Thursdays Films & Lectures.

Presented in a widening program of Green Tuesdays & Thursdays that currently reaches nine communities, these films are being screened in a circuit that includes Monona, Middleton, Cross Plains, Mt. Horeb, Oregon, Fitchburg, and three neighborhoods in Madison. To add to a growing list of firsts, this season marked the first round of Green Tuesday & Thursday paid advertisements in the Willy Street Reader. This year also brought Green Tuesdays & Thursdays field trips to the program, keeping attendees engaged even in the summer months. To better match the accessibility of Green Tuesdays & Thursdays with the variability of the student calendar, Madison College and Edgewood College will host film festivals in April, sharing the movies in a condensed time frame rather than on the circuit.

After each film is screened in all communities, the DVD is donated to one of the libraries among the participating communities, making it available throughout the South Central Library System.

History
Each week from late summer to late spring, one or more Green Tuesdays or Green Thursdays occurs somewhere in Dane County. Screenings are held in public libraries, college auditoriums, churches, and a co-op. The free film and lecture series offers a mix of films, presentations from experts, and thoughtful facilitated discussion about ways to live more sustainably. The program gives people the opportunity to become educated about ways to be better stewards of our natural systems. Attendees converse with other concerned citizens and neighbors, think critically to develop solutions to the problems of un-sustainability, and become more empowered to create resilient lives and communities by joining together to give direction and meaning to the push toward sustainability.

The Natural Step Monona began Green Tuesdays in January 2008. In fall of 2009, TNSM saw opportunities to assist with awareness-raising in other communities by sharing the successful program with regional sustainability leaders. In collaboration with sustainability champions from Middleton, Cross Plains, Mt. Horeb, and Oregon, and film festival planners from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Green Tuesdays program was re-organized into a circuit and Thursdays were added to the program. Four new partners have joined since the initial expansion.

Attendance
As of the end of November 2012, more than 2,500 individuals have attended 172 Green Tuesdays & Thursdays programs. The number of attendees varies by topic and location.

Partners
Walker Evans, Fitchburg: Fitchburg Public Library
Heather Gates, Monona: The Natural Step Monona
Marcia Hartwig, Mt. Horeb: Mount Horeb Area Sustainability Network
Twink Jan-McMahon, Madison: Sustainable Atwood
Kris Loman, Cross Plains: RGPL Green Tuesdays, Cross Plains
Jim Lorman, Madison: Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program, Edgewood College
Susan Santner, Oregon: Oregon Public Library
Terry Ross, Madison: Madison College
Deb Saeger, Middleton: Middleton Sustainability Committee
Molly Schwebach: Nelson Institute

Heather Gates
The Natural Step Monona
207 W. Dean Ave
Monona, WI 53716
(608) 663-2459

The Natural Step Monona (TNSM) Green Tuesdays - 2010

Overview
The 2010 Dane County Environmental Council (DCEC) grant award to The Natural Step Monona (TNSM) was for the purchase of six environmental films and their performance rights for the educational series Green Tuesdays Films & Lectures.

Presented in an expanded program of Green Tuesdays and Green Thursdays that began in September, these films are being screened in a circuit that includes Monona, Middleton, Cross Plains, Mt. Horeb, and Oregon. Although representatives from Cottage Grove participated in all the planning meetings for this expansion and were part of our grant proposal, a leadership void in that community has precluded their participation as initially intended.

Since the expansion began just last month, only one film has been screened so far this season.

After each film is screened in all communities, the DVD is/will be donated to the Monona Public Library’s Sustainability Section or another library among the participating communities, making it available throughout the South Central Library System.

History
Green Tuesdays began as a once-per-week, month-long series in January 2008. The initial venture was successful, and, after a DCEC grant enabled the purchase of five films, the series resumed in May of that year.

In January 2009, Whole Foods joined as sponsors of the Green Tuesday series, sharing food and drink with attendees.

In fall of 2009, The Natural Step Monona offered to facilitate the expansion of the program. In collaboration with sustainability champions from each of the partnering communities mentioned above and film festival planners from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Green Tuesdays program was re-organized into a circuit and the "Green Days Partnership" was formed.

All screenings are held in the community’s public library except for Mt. Horeb where they are in a church.

The Monona Public Library was named Wisconsin’s Library of the Year for 2010. Partnership with The Natural Step Monona was noted as one of the ways the library has increased its collective impact.

Attendance
Since Green Tuesdays began in January, 2008, 658 individuals have attended these programs in Monona. To date, Monona’s Green Tuesdays film screenings have averaged more than twenty-two attendees. Average figures are not yet available for the expanded program.

The films help engage the wider community in environmental issues and encourage sustainable actions. In the discussions held afterward, attendees have the opportunity to translate the information presented, and speak about how to apply it to our state, region, municipalities, and backyards. Discussing the implications of the film’s content leads to minds opening and knowledge growing. The sharing of experiences leads to bonding and community building.

Feedback from attendees continues to push for the latest information and for topics relevant to "backyard issues" – things that attendees can do themselves or things over which they feel they can best gain some control.

Heather Gates
The Natural Step Monona
207 W. Dean Ave
Monona, WI 53716
(608) 663-2459

The Natural Step Monona (TNSM) Green Tuesdays - 2009

Overview
The 2009 Dane County Environmental Council (DCEC) grant award to The Natural Step Monona (TNSM) was for the purchase of three environmental films and their performance rights for the educational series Green Tuesdays: Films & Lectures on Sustainability. The series includes not only the films and lectures of its title, but engaging discussions following the screening or presentation. These are facilitated by members of TNSM.

The films Up Close and Toxic and Kilowatt Ours were screened in October and November. The films had attendance of ten and thirteen, respectively. The December 8 screening of Mama Earth was cancelled due to the snowstorm that evening. It has been rescheduled for March 30, 2010. After screening, the films were/will be donated to the Monona Public Library for its Sustainability Section and are available to users throughout the South Central Library System.

History
Green Tuesdays began as a once-per-week, month-long series in January 2008. The initial venture was successful, and, after a $300 DCEC grant enabled the purchase of five films, the series resumed in May of that year. Events were once per month in the summer and every other week in the fall. There were fourteen Green Tuesdays events in the first year, including seven films.

In January 2009, Whole Foods joined as sponsors of the Green Tuesday series, sharing food and drink. In May and June of 2009, two Green Tuesdays were held outside in Winnequah Park in an attempt to increase warm weather turnout. The first was well attended, but the second was not, and after a new local music series began in the park on the same night as the series, the schedule was modified to a September-through-May schedule.

In September 2009, a new feature was added to the beginning of each Green Tuesday – a five-minute discussion with attendees about how that evening’s topic is relevant to sustainability. By asking the attendees how each of the four system conditions of The Natural Step framework apply to the topic, the discussion increases the educational benefit of the series by sharing a robust definition of sustainability. To make the system conditions accessible to those unfamiliar with them, the facilitator also shares Nike’s simple, slogan-like versions.

A special Green Wednesday on September 30 was part of the Monona Public Library’s Community Read on the works of Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and other books. The Green Wednesday was a discussion with a panel of local food and sustainable food experts.

Currently, TNSM is working with sustainability leaders from Middleton, Cross Plains, Cottage Grove, Oregon, Mt. Horeb, and Jefferson County to form a Green Tuesday network to more widely disperse the Green Tuesday format in the region. Goals include sharing resources, leveraging funds to purchase more current and/or topical films, and reaching more people, especially in communities that are struggling to make inroads in educating their residents and leaders about sustainability. A first meeting was held in December. The Nelson Institute is interested in helping the effort, although their representative did not attend the first meeting.

Attendance
To date, the Green Tuesday film screenings have averaged more than twenty-three attendees. In 2008, the average was fifteen; in 2009, it was twenty-eight. Attendance was highest for Mad City Chickens, a film of great interest made by local filmmakers. It was supported by contributions from the Monona Public Library and Sustain Dane.

Green Tuesday attendees are from Monona and the Madison region. Many members of TNSM attend regularly to expand their knowledge beyond what they learned in TNSM study circles.

The films help engage the wider community in environmental issues. In the discussions held afterward, attendees have the opportunity to translate the information presented, and speak about how to apply it to our state, region, municipalities, and backyards. Discussing the implications of the film's content leads to minds opening and knowledge growing. Sharing experiences leads to bonding and community building.

Feedback from attendees continues to push for the latest information and for topics relevant to "backyard issues" – things that attendees can do themselves or things over which they feel they can gain some control.

Heather Gates
The Natural Step Monona
207 W. Dean Ave
Monona, WI 53716
(608) 663-2459

Monona Community Center Landscaping Project - 2009

The Community Center Landscaping Project and education around sustainable gardening went very well for Monona in 2009. March 18, 2009 a Seed Starting Class was given at the community center and many people from both Monona and Madison attended. Instructions for starting seeds were distributed and also instructions on building your own very inexpensive grow system. We also did hands-on planting of seeds. We had a good turn-out of around 15 people. Many of the plants started that night ended in the community center garden beds later in the spring. On February 10, 2009 Kate Heiber-Cobb participated on a Sustainable Gardening panel for TNS Monona’s Green Tuesday event.

On May 30, 2009 we had a Community Center planting day with around a dozen people showing up to learn about planting sustainably and helping get all of the plants, shrubs and one tree into the ground. We also heavily mulched the four beds with shredded mulch from our own city’s trees. From helping our Parks Manager understand the use of wood chips much of the many trees taken down for the Monona Drive construction later in the Summer were distributed to different sites for residents to use on their own properties. This was the first time this has occurred in Monona.

Many residents of Monona donated plants to use in our planting there. So, besides the plants purchased with the grant money, we had hundreds of other plants to go in the ground. It was actually a fairly large area to plant, and we needed every last one of them. We took turns helping to weed, water and oversee the site. As you can see in the pictures, it was a fun work day and the gardens became very beautiful over the course of their first season.

This report, all of the educational hand-outs and a complete photo essay of the project will be going into the sustainability section of the Monona Library.

We are looking forward to the gardens this coming season and seeing how they wintered over and what natives spread and sprouted. I will be doing an article for our local paper on the project, beds and the purpose of the project with specific information on sustainable gardening.

Visit The Natural Step Monona website at tnsmonona.org