March 27, 2006 | General

Editorial: Camaraderie In Composting

BioCycle March 2006, Vol. 47, No. 3, p. 3
Jerome Goldstein

EVER SINCE we started this publication in the 1960s, we have witnessed the good will and lighthearted rapport that are so abundant in the comradeship that goes into organics recycling. Activists in the composting field have told us for years how different the attitude and spirit are than in other then-growing industries like computer science and electronics.
We thought about this personal/professional quality as we headed out to the BioCycle West Coast Conference in Portland, Oregon, March 20 – 22, where attendees would have lots of significant choices to learn and network. Along with those choices, there would also be a great emphasis on sharing the fun, the “camaraderie”, the hearty companionship that goes with the special field we’re all part of. From the nitty gritty details to the at times overwhelming spirit – yes, we are part of something big, so now is the time to enjoy ourselves.
In Portland, thanks to Judy Crockett and her colleagues at the city’s Office of Sustainable Development, the first Conference event began Sunday afternoon in the middle of the Willamette River. It was a three hour kayak tour that circumnavigated Ross Island. First-time kayakers and experienced paddlers enjoyed a unique perspective of Portland, passing by an impressive blue heron rookery, spotting bald eagles and osprey while gliding by Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. The kayakers were treated to an unparalleled view of Portland’s skyline on their return to the dock.
On Monday (March 20) at the end of the Conference sessions, BioCycle sponsored the evening reception replete with delicious food, great information exchange and shared memories (along with Executive Editor, Nora Goldstein, shouting out winners of the door prizes supplied by the exhibitors). On Tuesday, March 21, in the early morning, Conference attendees could wake up with a 45 minute run/walk along the Willamette. And later that evening, everyone was invited to enjoy the “Chat and Brew – Little Taste of Ireland in Portland,” sponsored by The Composting Council of Oregon and the Washington Organic Recycling Council. “This was our second BioCycle conference social gathering,” said one of the organizers. “This year, we decided to hold the event at the famous Kells Irish Pub downtown, with the entire upstairs banquet reserved for our event – including the Northwest’s largest selection of single-malt scotch and Irish whiskeys plus a fabulous array of local and imported beers.”
The field trips on Wednesday (March 22) included stops at a composting site, food bank and rebuilding center, plus a walking tour that covered inspection of green roofs, renewable energy sites, one-of-a-kind commercial recycling … and more. After three intense, enlightening and fun-filled days, we all came away renewed and ready to plow ahead, knowing that the veterans and pioneers alike are always a phone call or e-mail away. Camaraderie – thy name was, is and will be – composting, organics recycling and renewable energy, and we are glad to be always in the thick of it.

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