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Park Wins State’s Top Environmental Honor

Whitman Mission National Historic Site

National Park News

Whitman Mission was honored on October 9th with the state of Washington’s top environmental award for its use of solar power, water conservation, waste reduction and purchasing policy.

The park received Washington state’s 2007 Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices in a ceremony at the state capitol. Whitman Mission was among 11 companies and agencies Washington recognized this year for their success in moving the state towards a more sustainable future.

“These winners represent the best of the best at protecting the environment while running profitable businesses,” said Jay Manning, director of the Department of Ecology. “I never fail to be impressed by the creativity and vision displayed by these award winners. They show that in Washington you can protect the environment and succeed commercially at the same time.”

The facility near Walla Walla is the site of an 1836 mission. A combination of need and vision propelled the remote facility’s workforce to take a holistic approach to resource stewardship. They use alternative energy, non-toxic or less toxic materials, conserve water, and recycle and compost more than 90 percent of their waste.

They replaced or retrofitted inefficient water-using systems and save 648,000 gallons of water each year. When they couldn’t find biodiesel locally to meet their needs, they bought pure soybean oil and mixed their own blend. They now use biodiesel throughout the park for heating and fuel. The solar energy panels on the maintenance building supplies some of the park's electricity.

They have replaced all petroleum-based products in the maintenance shop with bio-based products and use “green” cleaning products in the buildings. They diverted more than 46 tons of yard waste from the landfill in 2006 by composting it, and then used the compost on the landscaping. They buy recycled materials, including entrance signs, restroom partitions and paper products.

For more information about the award, go to www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/GovAward/index.html, or contact Mariann Cook Andrews (360-407-6740, maco461@ecy.wa.gov) .



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