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ecoBBQ at Lincoln Woods - 6/30/2012


The Rhode Island Sierra Club had their inaugural ecoBBQ on June 30, 2012 at Lincoln Woods Park. The event kicked off with a short morning hike through some of the lesser explored trails of the park. Coy Pemberton, the outing leader, taught the group about two different topics before setting out. First, he explained that Lincoln Woods is a geologists dream come true because of it many interesting rock formations. Those same rocks draw boulderers to the park who scale the boulders for sport, usually with their body’s contorted in ways gravity never intended.


Second, Coy taught the hikers about the seven principles outlined by Leave No Trace, a group and concept dedicated to minimizing the impact of humans on nature. The principles range from planning ahead, to disposing of your waste responsibly, to staying on trails, to leaving nature where it is (a.k.a not collecting souvenirs along the trail), to respecting wildlife. To go along with this theme Coy brought garbage bags and gloves for anyone who wanted to help pick up litter along the trail. “I wasn’t sure if people would be into me asking them to pick up trash during the outing,” said Coy at the conclusion of the hike, “but everybody pitched in and we collected 4 or 5 bags worth of garbage that would otherwise be out there in the woods.”


The hike itself offered a short walk along Quinsicket Pond, a close encounter with a couple of turkey vultures, some big rocks, and a winding path through some of the park’s prime mountain biking trails.


Once back at the picnic area, everyone got to work preparing the food. The BBQ was potluck style and attendees brought a delicious spread that included a bean salad, home brewed ice tea, coleslaw, homemade bread, muffins, vegi-burgers, hamburgers, hotdogs, and corn-on-the-cob. In keeping with the “eco” part of the ecoBBQ, the Sierra Club made sure to have reusable cups, plates, utensils and napkins present, and got ecoRI News to provide composting and recycling services.


Ben Jones, the chair of the Outings Club reflected on what the ecoBBQ meant to him, “I think what we’ve seen here today is that a little extra planning goes a long way to minimizing our environmental impact. This BBQ has resulted in almost no trash, with most of the waste being recycled or composted. Also, keeping dishes mostly vegetarian and local is one of the best ways to limit the ecological footprint that humans have on the environment. Plants take a lot less energy to grow than animals.”   


In addition to the good food, attendees were also treated to two short talks while at the BBQ. First, Kevin Proft from ecoRI News discussed Rhode Island’s new recycling system which went online on June 7. The new system, dubbed “Recycle Together RI,” allows people to put all of their paper, plastic, metal, and glass in the same bin. It also allows people to recycle a lot more plastic containers, such as clamshells (i.e. strawberry containers and to go salad containers), yogurt containers, and plastic Dunkin Donut cups.


Second, members of the Climate Summer program joined the hike, then spoke about the work they are doing to promote issues associated with global warming. The group is traveling around all of New England entirely by bicycle in order to bring awareness to the cause. Said one dedicated biker, “we’re living on $5 a day and sleeping on church and community center floors.” Check out the details or find out how you can get involved here: http://www.climatesummer.net/.


When all was said and done, the ecoBBQ was exactly what the RI Sierra Club had hoped it would be. It was an opportunity to get out in nature, learn about being more environmentally friendly, enjoy good food while generating little waste, and making new friends.  




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Sierra Club Rhode Island


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