A Profile in Biobased Success
In the pursuit of sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, Chris Case, the Facility Manager at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Mich., has become a leading advocate for biobased products. With a wide array of products made from soybean oil, Case has successfully integrated these alternatives into various aspects of park operations. His passion for biobased solutions has led him to establish an extensive education program, spreading the word about their benefits to both the parks and the public.
Embracing Biobased Products
Case's philosophy revolves around asking, "Why aren't we doing more?" instead of questioning why they should use biobased products. At Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the adoption of biobased products spans over 15 years. It started with the implementation of soy-based hydraulic fluids and expanded to biodiesel and numerous other biobased alternatives. The success of these products has been evident in various areas, including vehicles, equipment, and non-vehicle applications.
A Comprehensive Product Lineup
The list of biobased products used at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore showcases their versatility and effectiveness. Vehicles such as dump trucks, backhoe loaders, tractors, and snowmachines benefit from biobased hydraulic fluids, biodiesel, and 2-cycle oils. Non-vehicle products like bio-parts cleaner, soy hand cleaner, and bio-soy/orange cleaner contribute to the park's eco-friendly practices. The extensive adoption of these products reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship.
Environmental and Health Benefits
The use of biobased products at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore goes beyond sustainability. It also prioritizes the well-being of park workers and visitors. The positive impact of these products is evident in real-life examples. Mechanics like Bill Magli, who suffered from rough and chaffed hands, experienced significant improvements after using biobased cleaning solvents and soy-based hand cleaners. Diesel equipment operator Brad Bradley found relief from headaches by switching to biodiesel.
Spreading the Biobased Word
Motivated by the question, "Why aren't we doing more?" Case took it upon himself to advocate for biobased products. He started by sharing his experiences and knowledge within the Park Service. Presentations at regional meetings and National Park Service sites allowed Case to discuss the environmental benefits and performance advantages of biobased alternatives. Additionally, he reached out to external audiences, organizing workshops and engaging local and state government officials, technical schools, and industry representatives.
Making an Impact
The impact of Case's efforts extends beyond informative presentations. Through collaborations with suppliers like Renewable Lubricants, he facilitated workshops that educated participants on the concept and practical application of biobased products. These events attracted attendees from various sectors, including state and national parks, technical schools, and correctional facilities. The success stories resulting from these workshops, such as solving cleaning challenges in prisons, exemplify the practicality and effectiveness of biobased solutions.
A Commitment to Environmental Responsibility
Chris Case's dedication to environmental responsibility and the use of biobased products is rooted in the belief that the National Park Service should lead by example. As custodians of unique natural resources, the NPS has an obligation to employ sustainable practices. At Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and other park areas, biobased products have become an essential element in meeting the public's expectations and ensuring the protection of these invaluable resources. In recognition of their environmental efforts, the staff at Pictured Rocks received the prestigious White House Closing Circle.