During our Annual Conference in Wenatchee, WORC President Dan Corum presented our annual awards to the following organizations and individuals. Our congratulations to all! Check out our previous winners and nominate today for our future winners!
Composter of the Year: Royal Organic Products
We are pleased to recognize Royal Organic Products as Composter of the Year. Royal Organics operates a premier composting facility in the center of Washington State, on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, near the Columbia River. Royal Organics has worked to developed new products for compost, soil and agriculture. After years of research, Royal Organics has designed a compost product for precision agriculture. It can be applied with modern, precision equipment such as air drills, no-till drills, banding fertilizer applicators and more. Precision agriculture in row crops such as wheat, canola, corn, soy, peas, and others now has a new tool to get the benefits of high quality compost. High quality compost increases soil health and plant health. This innovation is represents a paradigm shift to the industry.
Excellence in Education and Outreach: Washington State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Unit
The Washington State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Unit has worked diligently to further the use of compost in agriculture by developing a multi-faceted program to identify appropriate and safe uses of compost in the Pacific Northwest. This program works with a wide-range of audiences including compost producers, regulators, farmers, gardeners, and concerned citizens. Projects include both applied research and Extension education. Research projects have identified appropriate application rates for organic amendments, documented long-term soil improvement in agricultural and urban settings, developed a potting mix product that is now sold commercially, and evaluated composting effects on contaminant fate. Extension education has included workshops, field days, webinars, worksheets, Master Gardener training, and publications for gardeners and farmers. A key Extension event is the week-long, hands-on Compost Facility Operators class held annually at WSU Puyallup. Other recent programs include presentations and workshops in Idaho, Oregon, and British Columbia, as well as on-going programs in Washington.
Accepting the award for WSU’s Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Unit was David Granatstein.
Innovation in Organics: Impact Bioenergy
Impact Bioenergy is being recognized for its innovative “High-solids, Organic-waste recycling system with electrical output” (HORSE) device and marketing campaign. These devices are designed to scale down the size and cost of anaerobic digestion (AD) and provide on-site generation of energy from food waste and similar organic materials. These devices are designed to reduce the environmental footprint of small cafeterias or restaurants by offsetting trucking offsite to distant facilities, while also offsetting less sustainable forms of energy with self-generated renewable energy. The system also produces valuable fertilizer and soil co-products. This means local soil resources are conserved, reducing the need for agrichemicals and providing the local community with a post-consumer food lifecycle. Recycled organic matter can return to the soil as sequestered carbon as close to home as possible. This is a completely new innovation in organics conversion.
Accepting the award for Impact Bioenergy was its president, Jan Allen.
Outstanding Leadership in the Promotion and Use of Composting
Sandy Salisbury of the Washington State Department of Transportation was recognized for her outstanding leadership. Sandy is a long-time supporter of WORC and a regular presenter at our annual CFOT training.
She has been a problem solver and a valiant warrior for compost use for many years. Sandy is the Roadside and Site Development Manager for the WSDOT. She develops and implements roadside policy, provides landscape architectural expertise, and is WSDOT’s expert on roadside and erosion control materials, including compost. She also works on climate change adaptation.
Sandy started with WSDOT in 1998 and was a team leader, author and editor of the Roadside Manual and the roadside chapters of the Design Manual. These manuals provide guidance on restoration practices and materials on state highways. The Roadside manual won the 2003 FHWA Environmental Excellence Award in Roadside Maintenance and Management.
Sandy revises and updates WSDOT’s Statewide Standard Specifications and Standard Plans for erosion control and roadside restoration practices and materials, including compost use. She also provides statewide training on topics such as WSDOT’s climate change policy, soil bioengineering, compost use, native plants, integrated vegetation management and roadside policy.
In 2014, she spearheaded the development of WSDOT’s Roadside Policy Manual that provides practical roadside restoration policies and guidance, which are based on minimizing life cycle costs while providing operation and environmental functions. It promotes ecological context, environmental preservation, and maintainability. And compost, of course!
WORC members know Sandy as a fair problem solver when it comes to problems of compost contamination, a powerful advocate for the value of compost in landscapes, and the author of compost use specifications that have greatly expanded the use of recycled organics in roadside and other government projects. Sandy is a wonderful teacher, whether at WORC’s CFOT training or to landscape architects and engineers.
As Sandy looks forward to a well-earned retirement next spring, it is our honor to recognize her years of collaborative and visionary work. We know she’ll continue to have dirt, or compost under her fingernails.
Excellence in Education & Outreach: Washington Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss
The Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss, also known as Washington School for the Deaf (WSD) is a K-12 school in Vancouver, Washington with about 125 students. Some students live on campus, which has a kitchen and cafeteria on site. The kitchen staff is efficient with ordering and preparing food to prevent food from becoming waste. Food scraps and yard debris are collected and composted at a local facility. The school diverts about 275 gallons of organic material each week from the landfill and it’s made into soil-enriching compost.
WSD takes great pride in being environmentally conscientious and that their students lead the charge. They started recycling paper in the 1990s. Since then, they have added cans, bottles and organics collection. The agency knew the recycling program would be a great teaching opportunity for their students, therefore this program has always been conducted as part of the academic department. Their facilities department helps the program run smoothly by cleaning food recycling bins, building compost bins and meeting other requests. During lunch, student monitors help keep contaminants such as plastic out of the organics collection bin.
WSD is a participating member of Washington Green Schools, and WORC is pleased to recognize them for their tremendous efforts.