Growing Green Together this Holiday Season

Monday, December 21, 2020 | 

Sustainability Newsletter

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Our sustainability work has shifted more virtual as our community combats COVID-19, but we remain excited and available to work with the Leon County community and are always looking for new opportunities to connect. Feel free to email us at or give us a call at 850-606-5021.

Meet the Sustainability Team

Sustainability Team

Tessa Schreiner - Tessa, our Sustainability Manager, manages the Office of Sustainability's many projects, oversees policy recommendations and community outreach, and guides the County's efforts to meet our sustainability goals. In addition to traveling and going on adventures in her free time, you may find her enjoying a round of disc golf or playing volleyball with friends!

Tobias Raether - Tobias serves as our Sustainability Programs Coordinator, where he helps promote sustainability within County operations and the community at large, through educational outreach events and written content. When he is not giving presentations or engaging the community at events, Tobias enjoys riding Tallahassee’s many single-track bike trails and trying new local food! (Fun fact: Tobias completed a solo bike journey across the United States in 50 days!)

Shelby Green - Shelby is our Sustainability Analyst and spends her time quantifying sustainability metrics related to the County’s operations and creating models that help articulate the research guiding our work. When she is not creating beautiful spreadsheets, you’ll find her biking along the St. Marks Trail or floating in the Cherokee Sinkhole!

Reader Action Items

1) We want to hear from you!

As the Office of Sustainability begins planning for the Sustainable Community Summit in Spring 2021 (date TBD) we would like to get community feedback in order to better plan an event that suits the desires and needs of our community. Please take 5-minutes to complete the survey.

2) Calculate your carbon footprint!

We each have a carbon footprint – the sum of all GHG emissions produced through our activities. What we do affects the environment - driving, eating, shopping, and cooling our homes are just a few of the ways we contribute to the release of GHG. Calculating your footprint will enable you to identify steps you can take to lower it! You can learn more about greenhouse gas emissions here and calculate your personal GHG emissions here!

Have you recently made a change to become more sustainable? We want to hear and share your story! Share a post describing the changes you have made and include the #SustainabilitySuperstar hashtag to have your posts shared by Leon County Sustainability or to be featured as a future Social Media Highlight!



1) Solsmart Gold Community

In June, Leon County became one of the first counties in Florida to be designated as a SolSmart Gold Community. This award recognizes the County’s innovative approaches to make a transition to solar energy faster, easier, and more affordable. Read more about the designation here and here.

2) Annual Sustainability Program Report

On December 8th, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners accepted the Annual Sustainability Program Status Report. The report highlights the Office of Sustainability’s accomplishments and programs over the past year. We encourage you to read the agenda item to learn more about our office’s activities and initiatives.

ems ambulance


New battery pilot program saving environment as EMS save lives – Tobias Raether

This article, featured in the Tallahassee Democrat in June, highlights Leon County’s collaborative effort between the Office of Sustainability and EMS to transition to an ambulance fleet that saves fuel and reduces greenhouse gas emissions while still providing the same great service.

Update: It has been a year since the implementation of this pilot project and the results are in! In total the two ambulances with on-board battery systems have reduced idle time by 65%, saved the County over $10,000 and 4,000 gallons of fuel, while reducing carbon emissions by 44 tons. Thanks to the success of this pilot project, Leon County has ordered two more ambulances with this system and anticipate including it in all new ambulances in the future.

Tire Amnesty Days is a whale of an opportunity to recycle – Tessa Schreiner

This article, featured in the Tallahassee Democrat in October, highlights the partnership between Leon County and the Florida DEP to provide citizens the opportunity to recycle tires for free. The proper disposal of tires helps keep our community safe and healthy. 

Leon County’s Adopt-a-Tree program offers three native species – Mindy Mohrman

In this article featured in the Tallahassee Democrat in November, Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department's Urban Forester, Mindy Mohrman, encourages County residents to participate in the Adopt-a-Tree Program. This free program allows residents to have a native tree planted on their property – adding beauty and shade to your yard while helping the environment. Applications can be submitted by visiting the Leon County website or the City of Tallahassee website if you live within city limits applications will be accepted through January 31st on a first come, first served basis. 

#SaferAtHome Sustainability Tips

Love Your Local

1) Shop local, shop small, or don't shop at all

Shopping local is more important this holiday season than ever before. It helps support our local businesses and is a fun way to find special gifts for friends and family. You’ll also save time and help the environment while you’re at it! Alternatively, consider gifting something that does not require you to purchase anything new – homemade gifts, gift certificates, quality time, or even a CSA membership are all great ways to show someone you care. Learn more about how to #LoveYourLocal here.

2) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The holidays can often lead to excess waste, but there are simple ways you can keep your holiday celebrations more green this year. Repurposing materials around the house to use as wrapping paper, packaging, or decorations can help prevent waste from the source. Packing away decorations for future use rather than throwing them away, saves you money and ensures you’ll already have everything you need to make next year equally as festive!

Upcoming Events
  • On January 14th UF/IFAS Leon County Extension Agents Mark Tancig and Molly Jameson are hosting a free virtual backyard composting workshop from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. This is a great opportunity to learn about the benefits of compost and how to build and maintain your own compost pile! This is a free event and you can register here.
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