Volunteers: The Faces of the Sierra Club!

At least twenty Kanza Group volunteers helped educate Kansas City area residents again this spring, by volunteering to promote Sierra Club programs at various events. Pitching our message in the public arena gives us credibility and builds our base; both are critical to our success. Thanks to everyone who has helped put a face on Kansas Sierra Club conservation efforts!

We were well-prepared this year with “peak oil” information compiled by Wayne Sangster, with our new “No Sweat” Guide created by Craig Volland, and with a cool construct-it-yourself pinwheel designed by Brooks Albery and printed with kid-friendly conservation messages. By the end of April, we also had our exciting new “Clear Voice” conservation campaign brochure in hand, thanks primarily to the excellent work of Frank Drinkwine and Craig Wolfe.

The tabling season began April 1, when Brooks Albery, Tom Thompson, Steve Hassler and I tabled at the annual Farmers Exhibition 2006, organized by Craig Volland, hosted by the KC Food Circle and co-sponsored by Sierra Club. The following weekend, our outreach efforts continued, courtesy of Wayne Sangster, who soloed again at the annual Earth Fair hosted by the Prairie Village Environmental Committee and the Shawnee Mission East Environmental Club.

In mid-April, Tom Thompson, Sarita Singh, Craig Lubow, Steve and Jennifer Hassler and son Greg, and I tabled at two different Wild Oats Market locations for their Earth Day celebration.

At noon on the Friday before Earth Day, Brooks Albery, Jim Horlacher, Steve Hassler and I passed out literature and the last of our handheld fans at the annual Sprint Headquarter’s 2006 Earth Day Celebration. Hundreds of office workers meet with representatives of the environmental community over the lunch hour.

The next day was the 36th anniversary of Earth Day. A team of Kanza volunteers spent over four hours talking to the public about our energy campaign at the Kansas City area EarthFest, organized by Bridging the Gap and held this year in ShawneeMissionPark. Close to 2600 visitors were counted at the event. We had a simple solar energy demonstration created by Richard Voss and a team of pinwheel assembly assistants, including Greg Hassler, Rachel Voss and I. A special thanks to Brooks Albery, Tom Thompson, Steve Hassler and Wayne Sangster, who manned the main table. A number of Sierrans dropped by to chat.

Volunteers from the Kanza Executive Committee, notably Craig Wolfe, our Auction Chair, Frank Drinkwine, Tom Thompson, and Mike Miller, were busy early the following Saturday, setting up and then running the Group’s annual Earth Day celebration and silent auction.  Last year’s Auction Chair Mary Thompson helped lay out donated items and bid sheets. Margaret Drinkwine volunteered as bar tender for the evening, and the Voss/Giessel family’s  “Red Shoe” catering operation prepared and served the refreshments and kept the kitchen functioning.

The following Friday found Tom Thompson and me back out in the field, tabling at the Cinco de Mayo Celebration in Rosedale Park, Kansas City, KS. We did a tag team operation – while I helped  kids construct pinwheels, Tom pitched renewable energy to the adults. Tom set up again at the park on Saturday morning, where Steve and Greg Hassler and I met him later, for the afternoon shift. This is 3-day event, but we just didn’t have enough volunteer energy left to table on Sunday.

By tabling at a variety of events, we have managed to reach a wide diversity of individuals. My thanks to the many volunteers who helped spread the word on the benefits of renewable energy to thousands of Metro area residents this spring!  I apologize if I have missed anyone.

We will be tabling again this summer, including at the annual June ‘teenth celebration in WyandotteCounty and at local water festivals. We can always use more volunteers – on the job training is provided! It’s fun meeting with the public and sharing your passion. If you are interested in helping, please contact Elaine Giessel at 

Elaine Giessel, Kanza Group Chair and Volunteer Coordinator

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