The Emerging Professionals Committee’s first meeting of 2018 set us up for a great year! We were joined by the new USGBC-MA Executive Director Meredith Elbaum, a representative from the Boston Area Sustainability Group, and decided our new USGBC-MA Board Liaison, EMPA Co-Chair Jenna Dancewicz.

Starting with an empty calendar, our membership and leadership team came together and brainstormed loads of new events to support young professionals and grow our community. Look forward to more building tours, skill shares, and the return of favorite events like the annual bike tour this year!

Coming up in the next few weeks are the USGBC Annual General Meeting on January 31st, and the Invite to Ignite event being put on by the Boston Area Sustainability Group on February 8th. Later in February please join us at the Emerging Professionals Winter Warmer, hosted by the Boston Society of Architects on February 22nd as well as the Mentor Close Out/Green Building Leadership Institute Kick Off on the 27th.

Our presentation this week was given by our Social Media Manager Julie Salvatoriello, founder and CEO of soil remediation company Equiterra. Julie shared her expertise on grassroots soil remediation topics and their application to brownfield sites. Brownfields are properties whose development may be impacted due to hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. In cases where soil is contaminated, the standard procedure is to dig up and truck out several feet of dirt, an expensive and greenhouse-gas intensive procedure. We learned how three types of soil remediation could be applied to brownfields, bioremediation (microbial), phytoremediation (plant), and mycoremediation (fungi). By using natural processes in order to mediate nutrient load and draw pollutants out of the ground, these techniques can provide a non-invasive and attractive alternative to removing and replacing brownfield soil.

Equiterra was started as a resource for grassroots soil remediation products and education with a focus on mycoremediation. Turns out, fungi have some pretty impressive abilities to break down toxic materials. In addition to their usefulness as major decomposers, certain types of mushroom can remove a wide range of environmental and industrial pollutants, even DDT and petroleum! In order to empower individuals and local groups to perform their own soil remediation projects, Equiterra is developing products and educational materials that can be applied to urban brownfield sites.

Join us at the next USGBC EMPA Monthly Meeting on February 26th at 6:00 PM at 50 Milk Street.

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