AP NEWS

St. Clare Hospital adopts Baraboo’s Steinhorst Park, works to improve environmental friendliness

April 24, 2018 GMT

SSM Health St. Clare Hospital is taking steps to promote sustainability both inside and outside its Baraboo healthcare center.

The institution will adopt Steinhorst Park and host cleanup days to ensure the area is free of litter and other debris for visitors. St. Clare Hospital leaders met Monday with Baraboo Parks Director Mike Hardy to kick off the new partnership and plant two trees, which the healthcare center will adopt and maintain.

“We’ll really look to engage and sponsor this as a park for the community,” said St. Clare Hospital spokesperson Melanie Platt-Gibson. “We think it’s important to give back to the community, and this is one of the ways we can do that.”

Baraboo Parks Director Mike Hardy said several businesses, organizations and individuals sponsor the city’s parks each year. He said the groups purchase and plant trees, organize cleanups and alert department staff when there are issues with vegetation, playgrounds and other equipment.

Hardy said the community sponsorships are essential to maintaining the city’s green spaces.

“The park system has been growing, but our staff really hasn’t been, so we look to volunteers and things like cleanups to help us,” he said. “Even little things like calls telling us about dead trees or playgrounds – obviously we don’t have staff that can make it to every park every day, so that helps us out a lot.”

In addition to looking after Steinhorst Park, St. Clare Hospital has launched several other initiatives to reduce the waste it produces, including forming a sustainability committee and eliminating the use of plastic and Styrofoam water containers.

St. Clare Hospital Preserve our Earth council coordinator Richard Peidelstein said SSM Health also launched three system-wide initiatives to reduce energy use, regulate medical waste and increase recycling. In 2017, the healthcare provider reduced its overall energy use and recycled 23 percent of its total waste, according to company figures.

“We’ve been meeting all of our targets since it began, and we’re always trying to do more,” Peidelstein said. “We look for opportunities all the time for different kinds of savings, and we’ve been pretty successful with it.”

Other organizations can adopt a public space by contacting the Baraboo Parks Department at 608-355-2760. Hardy said city workers appreciate all the help they can get.

“It’s a great program,” Hardy said. “It allows people to get involved in the community and obviously saves the taxpayers money if we have people who are donating and contributing their time.”