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Sustainability Brings Focus to Star Island

April 8th, 2015

StarIslandSolarPanelsAlexdeSteiguer

When we recently shared information with the press about our upcoming Earth Day event (click here to learn more), we didn’t imagine so many media outlets would pick up the story. But that’s exactly what happened. Check out the following links for stories, and click here to learn more about our Green Gosport Initiative — our program focused on sustainabiliy.

A Solar ‘Microgrid’ On Star Island May Be A Model For The Mainland

New Hampshire Public Radio

Region’s largest off-grid solar array holds out microgrid hope

Nashua Telegraph

Star Island announces completion of solar array

Seacoastonline.com

Star Island solar installation to help with energy

Washington Times

How to supply power to an island

Block Island Times


Our sustianability initiatives help us thrive as a summer destination for families, individuals and youth with a variety of programs focused on themes including arts, religion, international affairs, and social justice. Click here to see a list of the summer programs that call a sustainable Star Island home every summer.

Star Island To Announce Completion of Solar Installation At Earth Day Event

March 31st, 2015

StarIslandSolarPanelsAlexdeSteiguer

This Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22 – the non-profit Star Island Corp. will host an engaging and informative evening with Star Island leaders titled “Going Green”. The public is invited to this presentation on the innovative environmental initiatives underway at Star Island.

Click Here to RSVP

The Earth Day event will be held April 22
At the Discover Portsmouth Center
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
5:30 to 7 PM
Refreshments provided
Click Here for Directions

Learn about the island’s new solar installation — New England’s largest off-grid photovoltaic array which will produce an estimated 60% of the island’s energy needs beginning this summer. The event will include a discussion by Star Island Facilities Director Jack Farrell, and Environmental Services Manager Kristen Simard from 6 to 6:30 PM. They will highlight programs for energy and water conservation and reuse.

Living with limited resources, Star Island has made it a priority to reduce energy and water use, collect rain water for use in showers and laundry, capture and reuse heat from generators, minimize waste, and grow a portion of the food for the thousands of guests that vacation on Star Island each summer. Farrell says, “Star Island is a role model for other communities. We are able to make changes and see the results immediately. Our ability to use our limited resources wisely allows us to be an example for others.” Efforts like these have positioned Star Island at the forefront of sustainability practices in New England. Star Island was recently awarded the Island Institute’s prestigious Island Energy Innovation Award for its accomplishments.

“We are excited to demonstrate the many ways Star Island is going green,” says Joe Watts, Star Island’s CEO. “We have invested years to find creative ways of living lightly on our island, and we want to share what we’ve learned with others.” Joe Watts will be available to answer any general questions about Star Island and its summer programs throughout the evening.

The open house will include live music by local singer/songwriter Dan Walker. Enjoy a lime rickey and network with other people interested in energy issues.

EarthDayRSVPButton

“Going Green” is made possible through sponsors Wentworth Greenhouses, CrossCurrent Communications, Five Maples, and the Portsmouth Garden Club.

Star Island is one of the nine Isles of Shoals located six miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. Home to the historic Oceanic Hotel and a fishing village from the 1600’s, a visit to Star Island is a step back in time. The 43 acre island is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corp. During the summer months, Star Island welcomes families and individuals to explore Star’s rugged beauty for a day or take part in weekly programs with a variety of themes such as spirituality, world affairs, ecology and the arts. Star Island is an all inclusive vacation retreat where guests are encouraged to unplug and connect with each other and nature.


EarthDaySponsors


Green Gosport Initiative

Click here to learn more about the sustainable efforts Star Island has undertaken and plans to take through our Green Gosport Initiative.

Hear Our Story

Click here to listen to a report from NH Public Radio about our initiatives.

Going Green

March 31st, 2015

Earth Day Website Header

This Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22 – the non-profit Star Island Corp. will host an engaging and informative evening with Star Island leaders titled “Going Green”. The public is invited to this presentation on the innovative environmental initiatives underway at Star Island.

EarthDayRSVPButton

The Earth Day event will be held April 22
At the Discover Portsmouth Center
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
5:30 to 7 PM
Refreshments provided
Click Here for Directions

Learn about the island’s new solar installation — New England’s largest off-grid photovoltaic array which will produce an estimated 60% of the island’s energy needs beginning this summer. The event will include a discussion by Star Island Facilities Director Jack Farrell, and Environmental Services Manager Kristen Simard from 6 to 6:30 PM. They will highlight programs for energy and water conservation and reuse.

Living with limited resources, Star Island has made it a priority to reduce energy and water use, collect rain water for use in showers and laundry, capture and reuse heat from generators, minimize waste, and grow a portion of the food for the thousands of guests that vacation on Star Island each summer. Farrell says, “Star Island is a role model for other communities. We are able to make changes and see the results immediately. Our ability to use our limited resources wisely allows us to be an example for others.” Efforts like these have positioned Star Island at the forefront of sustainability practices in New England. Star Island was recently awarded the Island Institute’s prestigious Island Energy Innovation Award for its accomplishments.

“We are excited to demonstrate the many ways Star Island is going green,” says Joe Watts, Star Island’s CEO. “We have invested years to find creative ways of living lightly on our island, and we want to share what we’ve learned with others.” Joe Watts will be available to answer any general questions about Star Island and its summer programs throughout the evening.

The open house will include live music by local singer/songwriter Dan Walker. Enjoy a lime rickey and network with other people interested in energy issues.

EarthDayRSVPButton

“Going Green” is made possible through sponsors Wentworth Greenhouses, CrossCurrent Communications, Five Maples, and the Portsmouth Garden Club.

Star Island is one of the nine Isles of Shoals located six miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. Home to the historic Oceanic Hotel and a fishing village from the 1600’s, a visit to Star Island is a step back in time. The 43 acre island is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corp. During the summer months, Star Island welcomes families and individuals to explore Star’s rugged beauty for a day or take part in weekly programs with a variety of themes such as spirituality, world affairs, ecology and the arts. Star Island is an all inclusive vacation retreat where guests are encouraged to unplug and connect with each other and nature.


EarthDaySponsors


Green Gosport Initiative

Click here to learn more about the sustainable efforts Star Island has undertaken and plans to take through our Green Gosport Initiative.

Hear Our Story

Click here to listen to a report from NH Public Radio about our initiatives.

Star Island Staff Clean Up Rye, NH Beach

March 27th, 2015

Star Island staff spend a lot of time focusing on Star Island, and the summer programs that come back year after year. But we also think it’s important to focus on the mainland. For example, on Wednesday, March 25, as part of our bi-annual retreat series, we volunteered our time for a beach clean up. Organzied by our friends at the Blue Ocean Society, the beach clean up was a great way to practice our values with the mainland community, and broadens the scope of our sustainabiliy efforts through the Green Gosport Initiative. Our work to make Star Island a greener, more sustainable place can only get better if we practice what we talk about with others.

Our clean up focused on the “Drowned Forrest” beach near Odiorne’s Point in Rye, NH with the Isles of Shoals just off on the horizon. During this clean up our staff collected a little over 37 lbs of debris which included washed up nets, fishing gear, rope, plastic bags, styrofoam, and cigarette butts. As we picked up trash, we also recorded what we were picking up. The data will then go to state and federal agencies for informational purposes. We appreciated the time to be outdoors, and helping a cause we feel strongly about. Here are some snapshots from our afternoon:


Beach Clean Up 1-1

Our IT Manager, Warren Simard, records what debris he has picked up.


Beach Clean Up 2-2

CEJoe (left) goes to dispose of some debris while Food Service Manager John Bynum (center), and Director of Development Pam Smith (right) record data.


Beach Clean Up 3-3

Facilities Director & Island Manager Jack Farrell searches for debris.


Beach Clean Up 4-4

The team searches the beach for washed up debris.


Beach Clean Up 6-6

After collecting debris from the beach, we consolidate all of it into garbage bags.


Beach Clean Up 5-5

What’s CEO Joe Watts doing in this last picture? After weighing himself, Joe weighs himself plus a bag of collected debris to measure how much we gathered from the beach.

How Our Gardens Grows – Infographic

January 8th, 2015

by Kyle M. Belmont, Program & Outreach Coordinator
StarIslandGardenGraphic


Winter 2015 Newsletter

Star Island's Winter 2015 newsletter explores the theme of sustainability through several avenues including our solar project, being a Star steward, and the output of the island gardens

Star Island’s Gardens Grow

September 13th, 2014

StarIslandKaleGarden

Celia Thaxter’s Appledore garden is probably the most well known of the plots out at the Isles of Shoals, but Star Island’s gardens are growing strong while supplementing staff and guest meals throughout the summer.

This year, the gardens were tended to by sustainability intern Elspeth Pennell as well as numerous volunteers who helped from a few hours to several days. There are three gardens on Star. The largest, called the Pel Garden, started over five years ago as a small plot tended to by Pelicans — our summer staff — during their off time. This garden has grown over the years and includes two levels and a small greenhouse. Vegetables like summer squash, zucchini, and kale were grown in this garden over the summer. A small garden behind the Founders motel unit started as a potato patch in 2013, and grew kale and other leafy greens this summer. The flower cutting garden behind the Elliot Memorial Building (EMB), where our winter caretaker lives during the off-season, continues to be a flower garden with the addition of vegetables this year.

The goal of the gardens is to reduce our need on mainland food as part of a substantial sustainability effort.

By September 1, 2014, the gardens have produced a total of 910 pounds of produce. Here are some of the numbers from within that haul:

  • 44.5 lbs of Lettuce and Salad Greens
  • 54.5 lbs of Kale
  • 156 lbs of Chard
  • 167 lbs of Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • 55 lbs of Green Beans
  • 42 lbs of Tomatoes

If you have ever participated in a CSA, you’ll know that sometimes you receive a lot of one vegetable at once. In a similar sense, we end up with a lot of certain items at once. For example, a plethora of zucchinis have led us to utilize the vegetable for interesting treats like zucchini muffins. Here’s the recipe our island bakery follows for these muffins (to feed approximately 300 people):

    Ingredients

  • 45 beaten eggs
  • 26 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 26 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 30 cups grated zucchini
  • 9 3/4 tablespoons vanilla
  • 45 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 4.5 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4/5 tablespoons baking powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla in a gigantic mixing bowl. In a separate gigantic bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (plus chocolate chips, if you prefer). Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three parts, and mix until combined. Pour the batter 3/4 of the way up into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chickens

Starting in 2013, a flock of chickens was added to Star’s sustainability causes. These chickens are fed leftover bread and vegetables from staff and guest meals. The chickens are instrumental in reducing the amount of compost shipped off island. In 2014, the chickens have eaten 2,349 pounds of leftover food. The chickens, destined for an end of season staff bbq, will produce about 300 pounds of meat.

Star Island’s Sustainable Summer

September 13th, 2014

StarIslandSolarConstruction

Summer 2014 has seen many developments towards a more sustainable Star Island. From simple changes to major overhauls, this has been a year of greening.

From the start of the summer, Star Island has been operating with a number of habits already in place. For example, we rely on rain collection for a portion of our water. New endeavors include encouraging guests and staff to bring beverages in aluminum cans to help with recycling costs.

Star Island’s largest improvement in green initiatives is the installation of a solar array. This solar power system will provide approximately 60% of the island’s energy needs in 2015. The installation area has been cleared for future construction happening later this month and into October. Meanwhile, the former generator room in the Power House has been completely overhauled for battery storage.

Upgrades on Star Island also include installing dual-purpose equipment, or equipment with multiple benefits. For example, excess heat from generators is captured to heat water. Some of this water makes its way to the dish washing machine. Installed earlier this spring, the dish machine uses 1/3 less water than the previous machine. This reduction in water supports our sustainability in more ways than one as 1/3 less water used means 1/3 less water needed to be heated, and 1/3 less water going to the waste treatment facility.

If you were on Star this summer, you hopefully noticed our re-designed recylcing stations. We moved to single stream recylcing to ensure easier disposal. And, if you visited the Snack Bar this summer, any paper good or utensil you received was compostable.

In 2015, we look forward to continuing with our sustainability initiatives. And, we look forward to your help in these efforts as you return to the island or support or endeavors through donations or volunteering.

Next Page »

Our Mission

Our mission since 1915 is to hold and maintain Star Island and such other property as the Corporation may hold or acquire, as a center for religious, education, and kindred purposes consistent with the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create on Star Island an environment that frees all who come to renew spiritually, explore matters of consequence, and gain knowledge about the world as it might ideally be.

Contact Star Island

Phone: (603) 430-6272
Fax: (603) 430-6270
Island Phone: (603) 601-0832
Staff Email Address List

Star Island Corporation
Morton-Benedict House
30 Middle Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Get directions to the office

Content © 1999–2015 Star Island Corporation. Clouds photo © Axel Rouvin.
Other photos © their respective owners.