The University of Memphis held its annual Tiger Blue Goes Green event on campus Wednesday at the UC fountain Oct. 4, highlighting green initiatives both on campus and off. This year several small businesses and nonprofits were invited to come and showcase their opportunities and products.
“I always need folks that are interested in our organization to learn about us and speak about us,” said Nick Wiggins, a coordinator with Wolf River Conservancy. “We’re always looking for interns and people who might need hours for an internship here.” Wolf River Conservancy protects the Wolf River and the surrounding area, accounting for nearly 19,000 acres. Besides cleaning the river and protecting it from contamination, the organization also supplies activities for visitors, including paddling, talks on native wildlife and more.
Another conservation organization advertising at the event was Nonconnah Creek, a group that, as the name suggests, initiates conservation efforts that protect Nonconnah Creek and the surrounding area by doing clean up events. The group showed off some artifacts found in the creek over the years. “We do once in a while find these Native American arrow heads in the creek... fossils, fossilized coral, pyrenoids in these little disks,” said a Nonconnah Creek Conservancy volunteer. He drew attention to some weathered tusks lying on the table. “Then all of this is all material is from the last ice age, including a wooly mammoth,” he said.
Aside from the several non-profits there were also a multitude of businesses there including Wild Child Herb Shop run by Virginia Winn. Wild Child Herb Shop is a store that sells natural products such as tea and infused honey. “I had already gotten many of my sustainability practices from my grandparents, so it was very easy to start using them in my business,” Winn said. “Getting sustainable products for things like labels is actually much cheaper and easier.”
Another small business in attendance was Down With Earth Studio, an online business based out of Oakland TN that sells alternative accessories online. “I have always been interested in alternative fashion and sustainability,” the owner said. “Besides, I have had issues with procuring jewelry supplies, or anything mass produced really.”
Aside from the small businesses, there was one larger company entitled RAPAC, which works with a material not often recycled – Styrofoam. RAPAC collects it, compresses it, and recycles the polymers. “We are here to advertise that Styrofoam can be recycled.” said Stephen Doorley, a plant manager for RAPAC. “We are the only facility of our kind, but we hope to expand to more in the future.”