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November 15, 2023

Attendance: Alex Kinsella, Sebastien Bigorre, Liz Maloney, Bryan Urquhart, Gretchen Swarr, Alan
Gaul, Claire Anacreon, Stephanie Murphy, Morgan Anthony


#1 Beach cleanups (first Thursday of the month at noon)
• Liz will lead December 7
• Gretchen will lead January 4

#2 Energy Master Plan — Updates on plan for Lunch and Learn
• The EMP hasn’t been presented to the board yet, which might hold up the lunch and learn.
Also, the current focus is on the new dock project. Bryan will follow up with Dave Derosier
to see where we are on the EMP lunch and learn for the WHOI community.
• Bryan: In the meantime, progress from Facilities on energy conservation: smart thermostats
have been installed on Winding Lane, HVAC systems are being turned on/off at optimal
times, and more.
• Sebastien: This is a good communication opportunity where STF can partner with Facilities
to tell the community that we are making progress on an energy plan.
• Alan: Is there a plan to make the new dock more energy efficient?
• Sebastien: There was investigation of ocean-source geothermal, but it probably won’t
pan out. Also looking at making the new Smith building more energy efficient.
• Bryan: Plans haven’t been finalized yet.

#3 Invasive plant removal — Choosing plants for re-planting Clark parking lot corner in the
• Alex: We will have funding in the spring to re-plant the green corner in the parking lot
closest to Clark. If anyone has ideas about what should go there, let us know. Maybe some
kind of fruit tree.
• Alan: We can put a collection of pollinator-friendly plants below the tree to have a well trafficked
area with an example of a native ecosystem.

#4 Lunch and Learns — Update on data library/herbarium tour
• Claire talked to Pam Polloni and Jeff Donnelly about an NSF proposal they would like to
write that would help fund the herbarium in parallel with preserving core samples. This
would be through the G&G department. Jeff offered freezer space for herbarium
• Data library doesn’t have space for lunch, so it would have to be just a tour. A good time
might be December 13 at noon to avoid department seminars.

#5 Plant-based vs. petroleum plastics
• Stephanie Murphy is on a committee with the Town of Falmouth that is charged with
developing a regulation to reduce or eliminate single use plastics in food establishments.
She relayed that the committee is considering including plant-based compostable plastics in
the ban for now because we have no industrial composting facility on the Cape. These items
often end up either in recycling streams, where they are a contaminant, or in landfills, where
they release methane as they decompose.
• She wanted to start a conversation about how this might impact the use of plant-based
plastic to-go containers at the Buttery and develop strategies for minimizing the impact of a
potential ban. Although WHOI has a contract with an off-Cape industrial compost facility,
the issue is with containers that are taken out of the Buttery and back to offices (or other
places) where there is no composting. They are often not disposed of properly. The only
place we can currently dispose of industrially compostable materials is at the Buttery.
• Alan: Can we get more compost locations at WHOI?
• Maybe, but that will cost money.
• Morgan: If we further developed composting at WHOI, could employees bring in home
• Maybe, but again that will cost money.
• Even at the Buttery, people are often not putting materials into the correct bins. How can
we improve this?
• Liz will help improve signage at the Buttery
• Alan: Volunteers can occasionally direct people how to properly dispose of their
waste so that they learn for next time.
• Liz: The most effective method is putting actual examples above the bins of what
should go in them. Or maybe even a screen with a short video?
• Claire: We could also put STF updates on the screen.
• Sebastien: The underlying problem is single-use plastics. We should be encouraging people
to choose reusable options as much as possible, such as the plates.
• Alan: Can we make the plates the default option at the Buttery?
• Bryan: That might be more expensive, and also we would need to look at health
codes to see what is allowed.
• Claire: How many dishes can the Buttery accommodate? Let’s ask them.
• Sebastien: Can we stack containers in the compost so that it needs to be picked up less
• Stephanie: You are not supposed to stack PLA because it doesn’t decompose as well
in that case.