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Sustainable Operations

Extreme Makeover: DVD Ranger District Edition

The Forest Service’s first “Extreme Makeover – Ranger District Edition” DVD premiered on Earth Day, April 22nd.

By incorporating real-world change efforts and a little bit of humor, the Deer River Ranger District shows where and how opportunities for reducing one District’s environmental footprint can have a tremendous effect if replicated across the agency.

This DVD is meant to encourage conversation around opportunities we all have to reduce our environmental footprint. 

Check with your unit to find out how your region will be incorporating this extreme DVD into its Earth Day activities.

Letter from Ranger Joe

Watch and get extreme!

DVD Trailer

Did you know that the Deer River Ranger District...

  Saved 73,000 gal of water in one year by replacing 7 toilets?    Increased their energy efficiency by 35% and saved the same amount of CO2 emissions from the electricity used as 5.2 homes use in one year? (Source: Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator)    Saved the same amount of gas as 6.5 people not driving any vehicle for an entire year, by reducing the number of fleet vehicles and minimizing the overall purchase of fuel? (Source: Energy Information Administration DOE)    Saved 24 trees from being cut by changing to 100% recycled content and duplex printing?    Demonstrated that everyone in the Forest Service, all 30,000 full-times, have the opportunity to be sustainable leaders?

Slideshow

D

Extreme Quiz

Test your knowledge of the Extreme Makover and the experience of the staff on the Deer River Ranger district.

FAQ's

Extreme Makeover FAQs
From Ranger Joe on the Deer River RD

Q. Fleet reduction saves miles driven, but it is still unpopular. What did you need to do to make reductions?

A. I had to meet with the Forest Fleet Manager and my staff to identify opportunities to make reductions. They were very firm and did not really warm up to my suggested reductions. The primary concern was that we had paid the F.O.R. on these vehicles and if we don’t replace the vehicles we simply lose that money. This is true but if you don’t get rid of them you never get rid of them OR the monthly F.O.R. obligation. I also looked for opportunities to work with the other districts to expedite our reductions. The reason for this is that we only have so many that come up for replacement each year and I used some of their slots for our gain. None of this was easy and I simply had to make some unpopular decisions. If you want to make reductions it’s simply the right thing to do if you think you can fford them. If you don’t reduce your fleet your miles driven will not go down.

Q. I didn’t think we could recycle the paint cans for marking because of the tracer. How did you get around this?

A. When it came to recycling, paint cans offered the biggest issue for us. The rest of our recycling program takes continued oversight and pressure to make sure we are doing what we should in recycling. As to the paint cans, I first asked my staff on the district who told me we couldn’t do it legally. I then went to the forest contracting officer who told me we couldn’t do this. So, I insisted that we find a way and the forest contracting officer worked with the regional office staff and found out that it could be done legally. We are now doing this across the forest.

Q. How did you handle some of the “low-hanging fruit” when it came to energy conservation?

A. Lights and sensor switches are a good example of this…we worked with our engineering shop and relied on our energy audit to point out this need. We worked together to prioritize money for this work. They put together a simple contract that was under the $2,500.00 cap to make it easier to fund and got bids from local contractors to do the work

Q. What was a really easy upgrade you made that didn’t require a ton of time, money, or persuasion?

A. Toilets were not a huge challenge. The toilets needed replacement and it did not cost much. I worked with engineering to acquire the funds and put out a contract like the one mentioned for the lights and a local contractor mad the installation.

Q. Is there anything you wanted to make an upgrade to but didn’t because of cost?

A. For sure. The upshot is that it forced us to think of options that we previously hadn’t considered. We tried hard to justify a water catchment system but thought it was going to take more than it was worth. We are going to implement some native landscaping this year and reduce our lawn by about fifty percent.

Q. A new furnace! How did you get that done?

A. We had been trying to do this for years and the forest engineers had been building up funds for us to use. The makeover itself forced their hand and they had to finally give us the money to get the job done.

Q. Were all of the improvement because of you or did other employees initiate green activities?

A. Our SSS was (and still is!) really persistent about green purchasing and came up with a lot of good ideas. The importance of it was made clear so I simply made a mandate and our SSS worked with the purchasing agent to make green purchasing a commitment.

Q. Is there anything that you thought would be easy to implement but wasn’t?

A. Duplex Printing. This has been a struggle. We have been through several printers that don’t do well with duplex especially when using recycled paper. We are getting new printers next week and we will continue to get this right. My employees are committed to using duplex but you sometimes have to wait until IT is willing to replace them.

Q. How have you seen behaviors change over the course of the Extreme Makeover?

A. We have had insulating window shades in place for a long time on the district and had not been using them. This winter we have been using them so well that I am getting complaints about a lack of sunshine. Changed Behavior is the only answer here and things are going well in that department.

Q. How did sustainable leadership play a role in your Extreme Makeover?

A. The key to all of this is to have commitment by the line authority at the facility in question. You have to talk about this regularly just like we speak of safety and other important topics. Without this commitment none of it will happen!

Share Your Story

Do you have a success story you want to share? Has this video inspired you to develop ways to reduce your region’s environmental footprint? How will you incorporate this DVD into future events?

Submit your story via the Sustainable Operations Inbox.

Last Modified: 11/04/2011