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CUs offer a variety of environmental efforts
MADISON, Wis. (4/28/08)--Credit unions have a lot to offer members and their communities through their efforts to help the environment, and they are finding a variety of ways to go green.
First graders from Klondike Elementary School water a tree they helped plant on Arbor Day in an event sponsored by Purdue Employees FCU and West Lafayette, Ind., Parks Department. (Photo provided by Purdue Employees FCU)
In West Lafayette, Ind., Purdue Employees FCU (PEFCU) partnered with the West Lafayette Parks Department and a first grade class from Klondike Elementary School to plant trees donated by the credit union in Celery Bog. The trees were planted Friday, which was Arbor Day in the community. Students received a gift bag from the credit union that contained a Colorado Blue Spruce seeding to plant at home. The $475 million asset credit union also celebrated the fact that its members saved 22 trees per month in 2007 by choosing to receive eStatements rather than traditional paper statements in the mail. In Washougal, Wash., Columbia CU made donations totaling $3,000 to two parks on April 22 to celebrate the opening of the Vancouver-based credit union's green Washougal branch.
From left: Columbia CU President/CEO Parker Cann presents the credit union's donation for Washougal, Wash., parks to Cheri Martin, Vancouver-Clark Parks Foundation; Janice Ferguson and Suzanne Bachelder, Washougal Parks Foundation board members; and Henry Gerhard, Vancouver-Clark Parks Foundation. (Photo provided by Columbia CU)
President/CEO Parker Cann presented the checks to Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Washougal Parks to aid in the funding of education programs for Steigerwald and to help finance improvements at Hathaway Park. The new branch, built to LEED standards, uses natural resources. It harvests rain for plumbing and irrigation, and its natural ventilation will cool the branch during warmer months. A skylight and high-efficiency HVAC system reduce electricity needs. The branch also features local Camas stone and lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for environmentally responsible harvesting methods. Seventy-five percent of construction waste from building the branch was diverted from landfills through using sustainable products and tracking materials and waste. In Raleigh, N.C., State Employees' CU (SECU) participated in the state's first annual Planet Earth Celebration April 19. SECU's partnerships with NC GreenPower and Advanced Energy prompted the invitation to the event. SECU staff and youth mascot Fat Cat provided information on the
State Employees' CU's youth mascot, Fat Cat, and volunteers employed an interactive Wheel of Knowledge--instead of tree-eating brochures and handouts--to provide information on environmental topics at a recent Planet Earth Celebration in Raleigh, N.C. (Photo provided by State Employees' CU)
credit union's green products, including mortgages, auto loans and e-statements. The credit union refrained from distributing paper brochures or handouts, but chose the interactive educational format using Fat Cat's "Wheel of Knowledge," which quizzed young visitors on topics such as recycling, energy conservation and environmental awareness. The credit union's members support 1.3 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy generated annually, resulting in an environmental impact equal to planting more than 200,000 trees. Staff also pointed out SECU Foundation's teacher housing initiative at Herford Pointe, which has Energy Star rating and green design. "Our ultimate goals are to not only help members keep money in their pockets, but also sustain North Carolina's natural resources, " said Leigh Brady, senior vice president of SECU's education services department. She added the Planet Earth Day event fits nicely with the 'Do the Right Thing' mentality of SECU's staff.


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