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Reclaim for the Future: A Winning Ecology-Economy Partnership

What’s an ecology-economy partnership? See a tangible example below, and refer to Eco Illusion:  Ecology and Economy Don’t Mix.

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On Labor Day, I spent most of my time in the company of a terrific Monterey High School student.  At one point, I asked him how budget cuts were affecting his school this year.   He paused a moment before answering.  Then he  said, “There is a $45 fee now for Construction Technology.”

Two days later, I was attending a presentation on AB 811, the California Assembly bill that addresses financing for Solar/Renewable/Energy Efficiency projects by residential and commercial property tax payers.  (See 9/9/09 post, “Bringing More Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency….”)  Before the AB 811 presentation, there were some announcements by members of the hosting organization, National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)-Monterey Bay.

With the Labor Day words of my young friend in the back of my mind, and knowing that another $45 fee at school was not a small thing for him or for many other students, my ears especially perked up when I heard one NARI member’s announcement about Reclaim for the Future.

Reclaim for the Future is the brainchild of Salinas resident Gary Walter.  This nonprofit community project’s Web site ( is presently under reconstruction; meanwhile, you may contact Gary by phone 831/214-4589, or by e-mail,  garyatreclaim AT sbcglobal DOT net.  Here’s a quote from Reclaim for the Future’s brochure:

“We are a nonprofit organization focusing on reclaiming and repurposing construction materials.  We recollect reclaimed wood and metal and distribute those materials to build projects.  Our goal is to teach the students the value of reclaiming and reusing materials for the benefit of our environment. ”  The brochure also includes this simple mission statement:  “To provide reclaimed wood and metal at no cost for career technical education in our local schools for the students to use.  Period.”

Do you have wood or metal to donate?

Gary’s heart was touched to start this nonprofit after witnessing the puzzling inactivity of some students in a Career Technical Education (AKA Construction Tech or Wood/Metal Shop) class.  He saw that these students were loading and unloading trucks with materials for other students, but they were not participating in any building projects of their own.  When he inquired, he learned that they did not have the money for the materials fees.

With most schools drastically affected by budget cuts, materials fees will be an obstacle that may seriously limit the class participation of many more students, in many locations–as attested to by the Monterey High friend I visited with on Labor Day.  But here in Monterey County, students at schools such as Salinas High School, Alisal High School, Washington Middle School School, and Mission Trails Regional Occupational Program (ROP) have already been able to participate to a greater degree than youth in many other places.  That’s thanks to Reclaim for the Future!

If you live in the Monterey Bay region, you may donate materials, money, or time. And now is an especially good time to do that, since Reclaim for the Future has a special materials collection day about twice a year, and the next one is coming right up:

On Saturday, September 19, Reclaim for the Future and NARI-Monterey Bay is sponsoring a materials collection day, dubbed “Destruction of Construction.”  It will be held from 10 AM to 3 PM at the California State University-Monterey Bay campus, in the CSUMB campus warehouse at the corner of Inter-Garrison Road and 7th Avenue.

DIREX from the Monterey Peninsula to the 9/19, 10 AM – 3 PM Reclaim for the Future Materials Collection Event:

  1. Take Highway 1 north.
  2. Take Exit 406 (CSU Monterey Bay/Fort Ord Main Entrance/Lightfighter).
  3. At the third traffic signal, turn left onto Gen Jim Moore Blvd.
  4. From Jim Moore Blvd, turn right onto Inter-Garrison.
  5. On Inter-Garrison, go up to 7th Ave; the warehouse is on the right.  LOOK FOR EVENT SIGNS.

This is a winning Ecology-Economy partnership! Reclaim for the Future benefits our environment (by reusing precious resources, saving the energy needed to manufacture new materials, and more) and our economy (by supporting the tech training of the next generation of skilled crafts people).  It also provides an opportunity  for businesses and individuals to make a tax-deductible donation (Reclaim for the Future is a California registered nonprofit).  And of course, it provides positive opportunities for creative expression, so critical to the optimal development of teenagers.

If you live outside the Monterey Bay region, you may wish to make a financial donation to Reclaim for the Future.  You may also want to chat with Gary about starting a similar program where you live.

To date, Gary personally provides most of the funding for this nonprofit, in addition to donating his time and skills.

Please contact Gary with your questions or to donate materials, money, or time.   And again, since the Web site is temporarily unavailable, you may reach Gary Walter/Reclaim for the Future by phone, 831/214-4589;  e-mail,  garyatreclaim AT sbcglobal DOT net; and also by fax 831-455-8845.

You may wish to read a 4/30/09 article about Reclaim for the Future that appeared in the Salinas Californian.

This post was published on 17 September 2009. One or more changes last made to this post on 11 June 2017.

  1. Gary Walter and Reclaim for the Future have kept a number of high school woodshops open and productive!

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