A new feature at Long Lake Conservation Center is the water bottle filler that is located in our dining hall! This allows us to use reusable water bottles rather than having to buy large packs of water bottles in the store, so far we have saved over 150 water bottles!
A few of the Conservation challenges that the students participate in here at Long Lake Conservation Center are the 'I Heart Nature' award and the 'Resourcewise' award.
I Heart Nature: This challenge is about keeping rooms clean, picked up and having lights and water faucets turned off when not in the room. Having recyclables in the trash can in rooms and using the recycle bins is an important part of this award as well. This award allows students to be responsible for their own rooms and their behavior. It helps them to really look at how they leave a room, taking the time to notice if there are clothes all over the floor or if the lights were left on. If the students are able to keep their rooms clean, lights and faucets off each room can get this award! Our Long Lake staff checks each room during the day so every room has a chance at earning this award!
Resourcewise: This is an award that students work for as a whole school. At every meal the tables are given a 'food waste bucket' and any food that is on their personal plate when the meal ends is scrapped into this bucket and weighed as a whole. The school is given a goal at the start of each meal that they try and remain under working towards a goal of zero food waste. This award forces students to look at how much food they are wasting, when the naturalists tell the group what their food waste was for the previous meal it is common to discuss how much energy it takes to make food. Many students don't know how many resources and time is put into making a meal so when they discover this they are more likely to be more selective about how much food they take, taking only what they can eat. If the school has decreased the amount of food waste they have at every meal the school will receive the Resourcewise award!
Winter 2019 Conserve
Long Lake Conservation Center has installed 4 new GARN Water Heating System Furnaces. These GARN Furnaces use wood, thermal solar and off-peak electric as units of heat.
Long Lake previously had 5 GARN Furnaces installed, in 2017 Long Lake Conservation Center and Aitkin County Land Department went about getting grants and funding to replace the aging machines. Three of these older GARN's were installed in 1984 with the other two being installed in 1998-99, these furnaces surpassed their service life of 20-35 years. After much research it was decided that the GARN system was the best way to heat the Long Lake Campus especially since it is a heating system that allows Long Lake to use a sustainable product, wood. All of the wood that Long Lake burns is harvested on Aitkin County lands, our own and others, and is Forest Stewardship Council Certified.
During the process of acquiring funding for the new GARN units Long Lake Conservation Center (Aitkin County) was awarded $100,800 in grants from IRRRB to assist with this project. This funding allowed Long Lake to have 4 new GARN Furnaces installed on campus. These new furnaces have allowed Long Lake to increase the Heating Capacity ( from 1.8MMBTU/hr with the old GARN's to 200,000BTU/hr) this means that the heating is more efficient. Because of this transition to new updated GARN Furnaces is that our need or cord wood has decreased from 120 Cords of wood per year to 100 Cords per year. The efficiency of the new furnaces also allows Long Lake to decrease the amount of times that our staff needs to fire each day, from every 3 hours to every 4 hours.