Green apprentices learn how to fix up town

Southern Humboldt County is benefitting from the hard work of eight local youth, aged 19 through 24, who are involved in the Redwood Coast Pre-Apprenticeship Green Building Program. The participants, Kelly Larson, Noah Irish, Cody Mallo, Albert Skinner, Trish Ostlund, David Larsen, Torrey Irish, and David Flores are receiving employment training with local contractors, College of the Redwoods staff and Humboldt State University instructors. In the process, they are making improvements which help some local non-profits, bringing revenue to local businesses, and providing a qualified workforce for our community. According to Laura Chancellor, Step Up for Youth Jobs Coordinator, the project will bring an estimated $60,000 to the community in the form of wages and purchases from local merchants.

The program to train individuals for jobs in the green economy is funded by a Clean Energy Grant obtained by Humboldt County Economic Development with the cooperation of College of the Redwoods. Southern Humboldt contractor, Jim Truitt, is the work experience supervisor and Redway resident, Josh Sarandos, is the assistant supervisor for both on-the-job and classroom training. Jim and Josh have been working with the crew to build an addition to the KMUD music library. The project will double the size of the library and provide two new offices for the public radio station. It is being built with lumber donated by Sue Moloney, which the students milled with the help of Mike Jakobal of Briceland. Organic Grace in Garberville is the vendor for the insulation made from recycled blue jeans.

Daniel Tittmann of Greenwired Renewable Solutions and Jay Peltz of Peltz Power were the mentors when the interns installed a new energy system for Salmon Creek Community School. Four new 230 watt photovoltaic panels were installed and the existing system was restored. The school will no longer have to rely exclusively on a generator for power.

Solar hot water design and principles and water efficient buildings and retrofits are two additional areas of study. While working with Ned Harwood, a Whitethorn alternative energy specialist, they built a portable solar hot water heater that will be donated to a non profit wilderness camp. Ned also directed them to create a new water delivery system for the Whitethorn Community Garden. The rainwater catchment system at the garden was improved with the installation of a photovoltaic pressurizing pump to provide sufficient water pressure for irrigation. The also learned about water conservation with a tour and instruction from Tasha McKee of Sanctuary Forest.

As part of their water efficiency training the youth are working at the Garberville Sanitation District’s new water treatment wetlands. They toured the state of the art water treatment facility with director Mark Bryant. Later they dismantled an old structure on the property so the materials could be recycled for future use.

The week of June 20 the participants will learn about energy efficiency and retrofitting with environmental resources specialists Heidi Benzonelli and Sean Ellsworth. They will perform a house inspection to evaluate energy loss using specialized tools and make recommendations to improve power efficiency.

Environmental literacy training has been an essential component of the Green Building Pre-Apprenticeship. The youth have been meeting for classroom instruction at the Garberville Presbyterian Church. The classes included Introduction to Green Building with contractor Isaac Lyons and Energy Fundamentals with Aaron Valley, a recent HSU graduate, as well as further instruction on Solar Photo Voltaic Design and Principles with Daniel Tittmann. In addition, they have been studying on-line learning modules from CR on topics relating to renewable energy and building. They completed a ten hour OSHA certification with Paul Kinsey of CR. When the session comes to an end with a graduation ceremony on June 24, our community will be fortunate to have eight very knowledgeable and skilled young people eager to enter the workforce.

Jim, Josh and the crew are continuing their work on KMUD, so stop by and give them a thumbs up. If you’d like to see pictures and track their progress, Josh has created a California Energy Conservation web site at Check it out.

For more information about our green interns, contact program coordinator Carole Willard-Clark at (707) 223-2909.

photo captions:

1. This crew includes: (front row left to right) Trish Ostlund, David Larsen, David Flores; (back row) Albert Skinner, Cody Mallo, Kelly Larson, Josh Sarandos, Jim Truitt, Torrey Irish, Noah Irish

2. The crew with solar panel at Salmon Creek School are: Daniel Tittmann, Trish Ostlund, Noah Irish, David Larsen, Torrey Irish, David Flores, Kelly Larson, Cody Mallo, Albert Skinner, Josh Sarandos