Updated: Dec 13, 2021
2021, our first full year operating amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, was one steeped in serious playfulness for the Sustainability Institute as we learned how to optimize and create more engaging virtual experiences.
In the spring we sponsored the La Crosse Earth Fair in a hybrid format after a one year hiatus in 2020. While there were some face-to-face events, like a socially-distanced, outdoor recycling drive, a wide offering of events, from “live” and recorded music to educational events to the Driftless Area BioBlitz and more, occurred virtually during an “Earth Week” provided by many community partners.
One event that we are particularly proud of offering that week was our inaugural Green Goose Chase, a mission-based scavenger hunt where teams accrued points by texting in answers, submitting photos and videos, and exploring our community via a free smart-phone app. Participation exceeded our wildest dreams, with 42 active teams making over 680 submissions over the course of the week.
This year we continue to support the Earth Fair as it transitions back to a live event on April 24, 2022. Of course, the health of the community is our first priority so plans are subject to change based on local health conditions. Regardless, we plan to run another Green Goose Chase during the week leading up the 24th. Please join us!
Throughout 2021 we engaged participants with our monthly Sustainability Chats series. Sustainability Chats are virtual green tours that highlight local sustainability initiatives and give our audience and guests a chance to connect and learn from each other. We were pleased to highlight some new local initiatives, like the Drift Cycle bikeshare program and Solar on La Crosse Schools (SOLS), as well as catch up with some of our old friends at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Hilltopper Refuse and Recycling.
Like our Sustainability Chats in 2020, we continued to get positive feedback on our virtual
programming. 100% of event attendees reported feeling inspired to learn or share about the topic post the event. Polled attendees also gave an average rating across virtual events of 4.8 (scale of 5-1 where 5 is the highest) for time well spent. At this point, our plan is to stay the course with our virtual Sustainability Chats series through at least the spring of 2022. We’re just beginning to line up our guests, but we know for sure that on February 10th we’ll be chatting with the folks at PaleBLUEdot LLC, the consultants helping the City of La Crosse create its first ever Climate Action Plan.
This fall, inspired by the success of the Green Goose Chase and the culmination of the climate change-related current events, we hosted a community-wide Drawdown Challenge. Over the course of three weeks in October, 46 participants completed 760 actions that helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change, furthered learning about climate-related issues, and/or fostered discussion with elected leaders and others about the climate crisis we face.
Standing at the precipice of the New Year, we look back and stand in awe at the inspirational things happening in our region and in people’s willingness to act and engage in sustainability. We are grateful for our supporters’ feedback, suggestions, and energy…keep it coming! For those of you who participated in any of our events, thank you. We hope you will join us for more in 2022! Be sure to keep an eye on our website and your inbox for updates on upcoming programming.
Want to share your voice when it comes to our programming for 2022? Take our quick 3 minute survey!