News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 11, 2012

Institute releases interactive ‘green’ map

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

---- — From organic foods or sellers of recycled paper products to solar energy firms, a new interactive online map from the Institute for Community Sustainability can help Wabash Valley residents become part of a sustainability movement.

The online “green” map also allows people or businesses to send in information to the institute to be included. The advantage of being online is the map can be regularly updated and expanded, said Jim Speer, director of the institute on the campus of Indiana State University.

“The original impetus for the green map was thinking about a new person moving into this area.  If they are interested in any sustainability resources, how would they go about finding it?” Speer said.

The map provides locations on topics such as parks and green spaces, recycling facilities/re-sale stores, goods and services, foods, artists and transportation, such as Fat Bikes on Wabash Avenue or J’s Bikes on Honey Creek Drive in Terre Haute or Terre Haute’s bus service.

“It also includes honey being sold on private food stands or where to find locally grown grass-fed beef,” Speer said.

A paper map was first developed by the White Violet Center at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Stephen Aldrich, ISU assistant professor of geography, and Julie Whitaker, an Indiana State student, conducted research to update it and bring it online for those interested in finding businesses and/or becoming more involved in the sustainability movement.

The interactive map has colored dots for different categories. By clicking on the dot, a box shows details on the site and what you can get that is sustainable.

“For example, at Staples, you refill ink for your printers and do recycling of ink cartridges” and it offers recycled paper products, Speer said. “A company as a whole doesn’t necessarily have to be a paragon of sustainability, but have some aspect that people would be interested in.”

Another example is the Apple House, “which sells local fruit trees, such as persimmon and popeye, which is hard to get in most places,” Speer added.

“We could even have seasonal businesses so if there are farm stands during the summer they could be added to the map,” Speer said. “One aspect of this sustainability map is it is an opportunity to market yourself as a small local business, which do not go into a lot of marketing.

“We want to get to the small local producers to give them an outlet where people can find them more easily,” Speer said. “Or if you want to do something sustainable on the weekend, you can click through the map and take a look at the parks or recreation or the Wabash River. In the future, hopefully we can have boat ramp locations on the Wabash [River], so people know where they can put [a boat] in,” he said.

There are at least 46 sites on the map so far, including sites in Illinois, such as L&A Farms in Paris.

The map can be found at http://unboundedpossibilities.com/

institute-for-community-sustainability/projects/sustainability-map.aspx
. The interactive map is at the bottom of the link. For further information and to be listed on the map, contact Caroline Savage, assistant director of the Institute for Community Sustainability via email at Caroline.Savage@indstate.edu.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.