Living Sustainably: Dig them tulips! Program helps plant community pride

By Jodi Syens, Holland in Bloom
Image result for holland in bloomDo you really dig the tulips? Well, here’s the chance – to dig ‘em up, that is.
The annual Tulip Dig, sponsored by the City of Holland and Holland in Bloom, is scheduled this year for 9 to 11:30 am. Saturday, June 1. Participants are encouraged be there when it starts, as bulbs run out quickly.
To join in, head to one of three city facilities and dig out tulip bulbs to take home for replanting. The locations are: Window on the Waterfront, at Sixth Street between College and Columbia avenues; Centennial Park, at 10th Street between River and Central Avenues; and the three tulip fields at Windmill Island Gardens. The cost for participation is $10 for a five-gallon bucketful. Participants must provide all necessary supplies, such as the bucket, shovel, and gardening gloves.

The public is invited to come and dig up this year’s tulip bulbs to recycle them into their gardens and sustain the community beauty.

Those planning to dig tulips simply must check in and pay at the chosen park, have their bucket tagged, and receive instructions before starting to dig. Tulips may only be dug on the date and times specified, with no digging prior to the 9 a.m. start! Maps and FAQ’s with additional instructions are posted on and the Holland in Bloom Facebook event page.
The city annually plants in excess of 400,000 quality tulip bulbs purchased directly from the Netherlands. In some areas, such as these three prominent city parks, the bulbs are replanted every year.
Prior to 2013, these bulbs were simply dug up or mulched into the ground in preparation for planting new bulbs in the fall. Holland in Bloom proposed that people be given the opportunity to dig up the bulbs and take them home for replanting. The Tulip Dig not only assists the city’s Parks Division staff, who are busy getting tulip beds replanted with summer annuals, but also provides participants with quality tulip bulbs.

A shovel, pail and strong back – and $10 – are all that’s needed to claim a bucketful of this year’s fading tulips.

Holland in Bloom celebrates “the pride planted in our community” through a variety of sustainability and beautification efforts.
The city participated in the America in Bloom National Competition from 2011 through 2016, receiving a 5-out-of-5-bloom rating as well as an Outstanding Achievement Award in one of the six criteria categories in each of those six years. Holland also won the top award in our population category for five years (2011-2015).
In 2017, Holland competed in the Communities in Bloom International Competition, winning the Large Communities category and receiving a 5-bloom silver rating.
Last year, Holland in Bloom focused on supporting significant community efforts such as “The Oz Project” and the urban tree inventory. And it has again entered the America in Bloom National Competition for 2019, so that these and many other important efforts can be highlighted.

  Jodi Syens is a member of the Holland in Bloom Committee and has been involved in the program since it was started in 2011.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Resources from our Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Series

Our friends at Herrick District Library have put together a great listing of additional resources from our Spring 2019 Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Series.  Check them out at the links below!

Stay tuned for our announcement later this summer about our Fall 2019 series topics.

Green Commuting

The Affordable Community

Economics of Sustainability

Search results for LSATL lists

Living Sustainably: Green Commute Expo offers info and fun at Holland Energy Park

Information about charging stations and owning and driving electric vehicles will be part of the Community Green Commute Expo set for Tuesday evening.

By Michelle Gibbs, Hope College Office of Sustainability and Colleen Nagel, Holland Sustainability Committee

“Green commuting” might sound complicated to some, but it’s not. In fact, the “why, where and how” will be explained Tuesday evening, along with other fun activities, as part of a free Community Green Commute Expo at Holland Energy Park.  The family-oriented event will focus on green commuting options in the greater Holland area. The expo is the last in the spring 2019 series of Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore events.

At the Expo, people will learn about:
Why we should green commute We will hear about the health, environmental, and economic benefits of green commuting as well as how it relates to Holland’s 40-Year Community Energy Plan.
Where we can green commute The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council will share information about the transportation plan and area bike trails, and the Outdoor Discovery Center will provide information about the Greenway Trails for travel.
How we can green commute Local bike shops and green commute groups will have areas to demo bikes, do fun bike decorating, and offer tips on maintaining your bike for safe riding. MAX Transit will share information about services and routes and will have on hand a bus to let visitors practice putting a bike on and off the bus bike rack. Local residents will attend with their personal electric vehicles (EVs) so you can look under the hood, sit inside, and ask questions about their experiences with EVs. (Sorry, no test drives.) And the Holland Board of Public works will have a station for EV education and charging station rebates for residents and business owners.

Tips and routes for bicycle commuting will be part of the presentation at the Community Green Commute Expo Tuesday evening.

Other Expo activities will include the kickoff of the third annual Bike Holland Series. Those who bring bikes to the Expo can ride the trails of Holland Energy Park or take a fun ride out and around Windmill Island. Go to for more information.

And with the weather warming, the Expo will also include the City of Holland’s Operation Polar Patrol offering frozen treats.

This Expo is part of the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council’s annual Green Commute Week, beginning today, May 12, through Saturday.  It’s not too late to join in the Green Commute week fun and track your miles! Green Commute Week is all about making transportation decisions that are good for your health and the planet. And since everything is more fun with friends, teaming up is encouraged.  Register today and start tracking your miles at What counts as Green Commuting? Some examples include walking, biking, carpooling, riding the bus, telecommuting, or driving a fully electric car.

And we’ll see you Tuesday as we have fun learning about all the benefits of green commuting!

Community Green Commute Expo
When: 6 to 7:30 Tuesday, May 14
Who: The whole family is invited
Where: Holland Energy Park
Cost: Free

 Michelle Gibbs is director for the Hope College Office of Sustainability and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute. Colleen Nagel is a member of the City of Holland Sustainability Committee.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Living Sustainably: Rethink, Reuse, Recycle with Holland BPW during Tulip Time

By Morgan Kelley, Holland Board of Public Works

The Holland Board of Public Works is excited to be the official Tulip Time Conservation Partner for the seventh year in a row and, as such, to help the community “rethink, reuse and recycle” to help boost sustainable practices in our community.

Along those lines, consider these opportunities:

Rethink your transportation choice for navigating Tulip Time by taking the MAX Tulip Time shuttle. The shuttle offers optimal convenience for getting around the festival, and it’s also better for the environment. You’ll save time by avoiding heavy traffic and limited parking; you’ll also reduce your carbon emissions. Check the interactive map for details and routes at

Reuse a refillable water bottle. Bring your own bottle, and as you explore the festival, you will find free water bottle filling stations. There is no need to buy disposable bottles of water when you can conveniently refill!

Recycle acceptable materials. You will find recycling bins around the festival, promoting stewardship of our resources.
Meanwhile, the Holland Board of Public Works will be helping Tulip Time paint the town orange.

The Holland Board of Public Works will help “paint the town orange” for Tulip Time by handing out orange hard hats for kids before the Kinderparade Thursday.

Before the Kinderparade on Thursday, May 9, we’ll be passing out orange hard hats for kids and other conservation tips. The West Ottawa Robotics team (WOBOTS) and their robots will be assisting us.
In addition, partially guided tours of the Holland Energy Park will be held during Tulip Time. Tours are on a first-come first-served basis and will be held Monday through Thursday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m., as well as Monday through Wednesday afternoons from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Participants need to arrive no later than 10 minutes after the tour start time. More information can be found at or by contacting the HBPW visitor programs specialist at (616) 355-1213.
The Board of Public Works has been a community-owned resource since 1893 and strives to be environmentally responsible while providing reliable and economical electricity, water and wastewater treatment, and fiber services to the Holland community. Find more details about the Board of Public Work’s role as conservation partner at

Remember to Rethink, Reuse, Recycle: See you at Tulip Time!

 Morgan Kelley is the conservation programs specialist at the Holland Board of Public Works where she tracks and administers residential energy efficiency programs and represents HBPW at community events.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community & Neighborhood: The places we live and the individuals we interact with support the development of our personalities and perspectives on life. Encouraging vital and effective communities is essential.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Living Sustainably: Native plants are beautiful and beneficial

By Sarah Irvin, DeGraaf Nature Center

Leaving dead flower heads attached over the winter, like on this native evening primrose, provides organic art, as well as shelter for hibernating insects.

This growing season, you can help reintroduce native plants to our otherwise cultivated landscapes of non-native or invasive plants and monocultures of green grass. Including native species in your yard will bring beauty to your life; benefit our local ecosystem, and save you time, money, and energy!

Here are some of the benefits:

Create an artistic display We have the privilege of seeing the many forms of native plants and their dynamic seasonal displays, from showy flowers and beautiful fruits and seeds to brilliant fall foliage and organic winter forms.

Keeping fallen leaves and twigs in your yard through the winter creates wonderful protection for hibernating animals like these garter snakes, as well as insect larvae and pupae.

Benefit our wildlife Native plants and animals have evolved alongside one another, becoming essential to each other’s survival. These specific plants provide higher quality shelter and food, ensuring better survival all of the way up the food chain. Including plants of variable heights, such as trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, creates layers of habitat, allowing more animals to live in the same amount of space.

Conserve water, and keep our waterways cleaner Non-native plants require more water, as well as extra accommodations such as pH and soil adjustments, and rely on the use of fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides for survival. Native species keep these chemicals out of our community and conserve water. They also provide flood and erosion control; their fibrous roots go much deeper than non-native alternatives, increasing rainwater infiltration, which reduces storm water runoff, increases water quality, and limits the amount of pollution and sediment reaching our waterways.

Eastern hemlocks are an amazing native tree that block so much sunlight with their needles that they create a cooled microclimate, which can lower air conditioning costs.

Reduce the impact that our gardens have on our climate Native plants do not require as much mowing, therefore reducing fuel consumption, as well as noise and carbon pollution. Long-living trees also can remove existing greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

Limit maintenance time Some native plants grow into dense groupings, or drop leaves and twigs that act as a natural mulch and weed suppressant.

Reduce money spent on plants and accommodations Because these plants evolved here, they are more resistant to damage from freezing, drought, common diseases, and herbivores. Some varieties also live for many decades. Planting many different types of native plants will better protect your whole garden from disease and environmental stress, making it more resilient against non-native introductions.

Conifers and other native large trees provide ample habitat for animals like this great horned owl, whereas smaller herbaceous plants shelter owl’s prey.

For anyone looking to add some of these beauties to their garden this year, DeGraaf Nature Center is having a Native Plant Sale. We will have numerous species of native wildflowers, shrubs and trees available from a local grower who specializes in Michigan genotypes. These are plants whose genetics were influenced by a long history of growing locally, and will therefore be more successful in your garden.


If You Go
What: Native Plant Sale
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 18
Where: DeGraaf Nature Center, 600 Graafschap Road, Holland
Why: Improve your yard’s ecosystem

 Sarah Irvin holds degrees in geology and terrestrial ecology and is a naturalist at DeGraaf Nature Center.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Living Sustainably, Get Ready to Roll in Green Commute Week

Join the Hope College Green Team by emailing “”

By Carolyn Ulstad, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Spring is a time to reinvent, refresh and reflect on how we want to proceed through the warm months ahead. For most of us, after enduring the long winter, spring means spending as much time outside as possible.
My own warm weather goals involve promises to myself to see the beach at least once a week no matter how busy life may get, spend less time on the couch, take more walks during lunch, ride my bike to work more frequently, and spend more time with friends and family.
If you have similar goals, you can get started on them during the annual Green Commute Week taking place May 12-18.
Green Commute is all about making transportation decisions that are good for our health and the health of our planet. And since everything is more fun with friends, teaming up is encouraged! What counts as Green Commuting? Some examples include walking, biking, carpooling, riding the bus, telecommuting, or driving a fully electric car!
Here’s how it works: During the week, individuals and teams in the Holland/Zeeland area compete by choosing “green” transportation options when commuting to work, school, running errands, and so on.
Miles are logged on the MACC’s website Monday through Friday. Those with the highest participation within their category will be declared the winner! This year, the winners will receive a trophy crafted by Cento Anni Custom Woodworking and an outdoor bike rack to keep or donate to a location of their choosing.
This event is for everyone, whether you’re a year-round green commuter or first-timer interested in trying something new.
Here’s the process for joining the fun of Green Commute week:
1. Register as an individual or form a team with your friends, family, co-workers, church, neighbors, club, sports team, classmates, or any other group of people you’d like to compete with. Register at
2. Track your commutes and miles Monday through Friday on the MACC website.  Total commute miles will be used to determine air quality benefits and may be used as a tie-breaker.
3. Visit the Recharging Stations! At those spots, Green Commute participants will receive discounts on things like food, coffee, bike tune-ups – and also get free rides on MAX Transit!
4. Share your progress with us and keep up to date with the week’s events on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @GreenCommuteHZ.

Green Commute Dates to Remember
May 1: Green Commute Poster Contest entries deadline. Learn more and see prizes at www.the- All ages welcome!
May 14: LSAL Green Commute Expo and Bike Ride. See more at
May 16: Transportation Open House from 12 to 2 and 4 to 6 p.m. at the MACC office to see
transportation projects planned for our area over the next four years.
May 17: All Green Commute miles reports due to the MACC by noon.
May 21: Green Commute Awards Banquet at Brew Merchant, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

 Carolyn Ulstad is transportation planner at the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Happy Earth Day! – April 22

Climate change. Oceanic garbage patches. Deforestation. Endangered species. Oh, the environmental woes we have in the only place we call home.

Let’s talk about creation care then, especially for Earth Day.

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22. First commemorated in 1970, Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries, which are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

For Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, Earth Day is every day. He is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope, and he oversees the environmental studies minor and chairs the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, also known as the Green Team.

As an environmental theologian and a strong proponent of sustainability efforts locally and nationally, Bouma-Prediger actually prefers the term “earthkeeping” since it infers God and faith has been invited into ecological conversations. He has written six books and numerous papers on the subject. He also annually teaches “Ecological Theology and Ethics” in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.

Read more of Eva’s SPERA article at:

Living Sustainably: Two events address business sustainability

By Michelle Gibbs and Paul Lilly, Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute
Businesses are emerging as significant players in the environmental/social movement because of their opportunities to implement solutions while still following principled business methods.
Two upcoming events provide opportunities for businesses and community members to learn about ways to support the “triple bottom line” – the business approach that accounts for social, environmental and economic impacts.
First, the West Coast Chamber of Commerce will host a kick-off event for a new Sustainability Affinity Group at their office at 8 a.m. Monday, April 22.  The goal of the event is to help businesses brainstorm about the role they can play in improving the social, economic and environmental well-being of our community.  Registration information is available at the Chamber’s website at

Second, the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore team will host an event on the “Economics of Sustainability” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 at Herrick District Library.
The Living Sustainably team is partnering with Good for Michigan to pull together a panel of experts who will discuss why and how they have implemented environmentally and socially responsible business practices, while ultimately prioritizing the growth of their bottom line.  Community members and business owners alike will have time to ask questions.
We will hear from representatives of: Local First West Michigan/Good for Michigan; the chair of the new Chamber Sustainability Affinity Group; Lakeshore Advantage; and local businesses like EcoBuns Baby + Co., Lemonjellos Coffee, and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan.
Good For Michigan recognizes companies across Michigan that are making a positive impact on their employees, their community, and the environment. Through collaboration across sectors, this initiative is designed to build the business community’s capacity to have measurable triple bottom line
impacts and foster a shared, durable prosperity for all.
Lakeshore Advantage’s SURGE program offers resources for early startups to achieve their next growth milestone.
Ecobuns Baby + Co. is a Holland-based business that is focused on being conscious of the overall environmental impact of the products they carry. The business provides a space for both education and a retail store that only carries products that families can feel good about using.
Lemonjellos has for many years led efforts among downtown businesses to have responsible recycling programs and waste minimization programs. “Sustainability, for me, has always just made sense,” said owner Matthew Scott. “At Lemonjellos, it’s a way of life that we choose and that we want to
make easy and accessible for folks in the community.”
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is an example of how one organization can help other business be more sustainable and create a network of participants. Their program for recycling, under the direction of Dan Broersma, has opened an avenue to reduce the amount of material entering landfills.
These two events will help enhance development of a network of like-minded businesses that can be a powerful force in West Michigan for sustainability.

Check out Earth Day events
Earth Day, April 22, is right around the corner and the Holland area is offering lots of great opportunities to learn more about the earth and ways to help protect it.  Check out the community calendar by clicking on the “events” tab at to see all of the upcoming events.

 Michelle Gibbs is the director for the Hope College Office of Sustainability and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute (HHCSI).  Paul Lilly is a long-time advocate for sustainability in the greater Holland community and sits on the Steering Committee for the HHCSI.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.


In Holland, we believe that in order to become a vibrant, world-class community we must look at all aspects of our community.  This includes the “Triple Bottom Line”  and the economic, social, and environmental impacts we all have. Our City of Holland Sustainability Committee has created a seven-pillar framework with “lenses” to help us evaluate and make more sustainable choices. We have used this framework model as a way to identify the 2019 Hope College Sustainability Research Projects.

The Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute (HHCSI) would like to formally recognize the following projects:  

PDF Document:  2019 Sustainability Research Projects

PDF Document:  2019 Program

This year’s research projects were designated with a “green ribbon” on their research poster at the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance. Original research by students on topics ranging from: exploring the effect of the Vietnam War on the Hope College campus to finding out about the value of trees in the City of Holland; from learning about environmental factors that influence the Macatawa watershed to discovering how project-based learning in STEM classrooms impacts local students’ attitudes toward school, were highlighted during the Celebration at Hope College on Friday, April 12, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

Framework Categories:








For more information about the Framework visit:

For more information about the Annual Celebration visit:

The students and their projects represented all of the college’s academic divisions — the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied science.

The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope. Undergraduate research is a hallmark experience for many Hope students and has been a teaching model used at the college for more than seven decades. Mentored collaborative research happens year-round, with approximately 300 students conducting faculty-supervised independent research during the academic year and 200 doing research over the summer, making Hope’s summer research program among the largest in the nation at a liberal arts college. Since faculty are active in scholarship year-round, many more students engage in research during the academic year.

Research has a long and storied history at Hope College. More than 100 years ago, biologist Dr. Samuel O. Mast designed research laboratory space for the college’s Van Raalte Hall, which opened in 1903. The late Dr. Gerrit Van Zyl, who taught chemistry at the college from 1923 to 1964, is widely recognized for developing research-based learning at Hope in its modern sense.

Hope has received recognition in a variety of ways through the years for its success in teaching through collaborative faculty-student research, and for the high quality of the research itself. For the past 16 years, since the category debuted, the “Best Colleges” guide published by U.S. News and World Report has included Hope on its listing of institutions that are exceptional for their emphasis on undergraduate research and creative projects. Hope is one of only 42 institutions of all types, and one of only 12 national liberal arts colleges, on the list in the 2019 edition.