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Habitat announces the winners of its second annual SustainIt! Awards,
voted on by the residents of the Wood River Valley.

by Jennifer Tuohy
photos by Roland Lane


Favorite Green Advocate (person)
1st Scott Runkel

2nd Erika Greenberg—
Wood River High School teacher and coordinator of the W.A.T.E.R. environmental club.

3rd Elizabeth Jeffrey—City of Hailey's Climate Challenge Construction Recycling Program Coordinator.

Favorite Green Advocate (business or organization)
1st Community School

2nd Despo's Mexican with Altitude—
An environmentally friendly Mexican restaurant.

3rd Environmental Resource Center—An organization dedicated to promoting a more sustainable environment through education, awareness and participation.

Favorite Green Business
1st Community school

2nd Despo's Mexican with Altitude

3rd Site Based Energy—An energy management and renewable energy engineering, procurement and construction company.

Favorite Green Service Provider

1st Mountain Rides

Two-Way Tie
2nd Environmental Resource Center—An organization dedicated to promoting a more sustainable environment through education, awareness and participation.

2nd Idaho's Bounty—A food co-op and online marketplace supporting local producers.

Two-Way Tie
3rd Clear Creek Disposal—Clearing up the valley's trash and helping us all recycle.

3rd Community School—An independent pre-k through 12th grade school in Sun Valley.

Favorite Locally Made Product (non-edible)

1st Sun Valley Candles

Three-Way Tie
2nd Boulder Mountain Clayworks—A nonprofit space in Ketchum where artists, and the not-so-artistic, create precious pottery.

2nd Jytte Hats—Jytte (You-tay) makes her fabulous merino wool beanies in her factory in Hailey.

2nd Rocky Mountain Hardware—Exquisite SCS-certified, hand-cast bronze hardware manufactured in Hailey.

Favorite Locally Made Product (edible)

1st sun valley mustard

2nd Sawtooth Brewery Beer—Ketchum's only brewery serves locally inspired brews such as Off Trail Belgo Pale Ale.

3rd Bigwood Bread—Homemade, handmade loaves baked right here in Ketchum.

first place

Community school
Favorite Green Business
Favorite Green Advocate (business or organization)

scott runkel
Favorite Green Advocate (person)

The Community School's math and science teacher Scott Runkel gained a substantial number of votes from his students to win the accolade of Wood River Valley's Favorite Green Advocate. "His passion to create a culture of sustainability beginning in kindergarten is a calling, not a job," said one of his many admirers. That passion is matched by his employer. The Community School, an independent pre-K through 12th grade school in Sun Valley, was voted Favorite Green Advocate (business or organization) and Favorite Green Business this year. Recently, the school has adopted a zero waste goal (diverting over 1,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill last year), implemented a plastic bag recycling program, and made significant strides toward building a greener campus. "As we find systems that work for our school, our goal is to be that model that others can follow," Runkel said.
The school and its teachers also work hard to incorporate a strong focus on sustainability in the curriculum. "Currently students are working on designs of a net zero greenhouse (all water, heat, electricity are generated on site), as both an educational tool and for real food production," Runkel said. A recent grant from the EPA allowed the implementation of a Trail Creek monitoring program, involving students in the protection of the creek that runs through their campus.

mountain rides
Favorite Green Service Provider

Operating and advocating for sustainable alternative transportation options in the Wood River Valley, Mountain Rides served close to 500,000 passengers last year. By saving energy, reducing the valley's carbon footprint, improving air quality and reducing traffic, the organization is making a significant contribution towards creating a more pleasant environment for all. Combined with its aggressive education campaign to encourage people of all ages to walk and bike, it's no surprise the community picked Mountain Rides as its favorite green service provider.
The organization is constantly searching for new ways to make green transport a more attractive option. "We are looking at alternative fuel types and the addition of solar options to our facilities," said Kim MacPherson, the administrative support coordinator. "We have used an oil recycling program and are ordering smaller, lower emission buses for use on neighborhood routes. We are also constantly evaluating cleaner technology for our buses and building better bus stops, sidewalks and bike access so that the built environment better supports a more balanced transport system."

sun valley candles
Favorite Locally Made Product (non-edible)

Sun Valley Candles began in 2011 as a personal project for Hailey residents Codrin Iorga and Cristiana Cristorean. Their mission was to create an all natural, 100 percent soy candle that from the cotton wick to the product packaging was fully biodegradable and made from recyclable or recycled material.
The result is an environmentally friendly product, manufactured and sold exclusively in the Wood River Valley, a perfect example of community sustainability. "Sun Valley Candles is proud to contribute to strengthening the local economy," said Iorga.

photo by joshua wells

sun valley mustard
Favorite Locally Made Product (edible)

The valley's signature spicy condiment, Sun Valley Mustard has been handmade in town for nearly 30 years. In 2012, Joshua Wells took over what was then a struggling company and has spent the last 12 months transforming the much-loved brand into a true regional success story.
After opening a new production facility in Hailey and making a big push toward getting the mustard into gourmet stores, restaurants and delis throughout the Mountain West, Wells has turned the company into a profitable business that makes a significant contribution toward the long-term sustainability of the Wood River Valley. "As our company continues to grow, we hope to create even more quality jobs and perhaps stimulate investment in related industries," Wells said.

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