Celebrate Earth Day by reducing paper consumption

Celebrate Earth Day by reducing paper consumption

At Gundersen, we try to reduce the amount of paper we consume daily by unsubscribing from unwanted junk mail and switching to digital file formats. We ask you to join us this Earth Day in our pursuit. Here are some easy ways to limit how much paper you use at home and, ultimately, pave the way to a paperless lifestyle:

Paper or plastic? How about neither! Bring a reusable bag when grocery shopping.
Forget notebooks and use the Notes app on your phone instead.
Ditch your paper calendar for a reusable dry erase one.
Pay your bills digitally.
Unsubscribe from unsolicited mail.
Use online payment services like Venmo instead of sending checks or money in the mail.
Compile digital files of your important documents like family members’ medical history, educational accolades, etc.
Schedule self-audits.
Save everything to a hard drive.

For more eco-friendly tips and ideas, check out the Envision® blog at gundersenenvision.org. Happy Earth Day!


May is National Bike Month

National Bike Month

National Bike Month

The month of May is national bike month! This is a great opportunity to encourage more people to start enjoying the health benefits of biking and get outdoors. Here’s a few biking tips to help you get out on the trails:
Consider biking to and from work. This will save you gas money and the hassle of trying to find a parking spot. Some city buses even have bike carriers if you’re route to work is too far to bike all the way.
Try biking as a workout. Biking doesn’t have to be limited to roads or flat trails. Some bikes are actually designed to withstand hilly or rough terrains so you can maximize your workout.
Have small children? Consider investing in a trailer that you can haul behind your bike so that your kids can join the ride. You could even try investing in a two person bike or buying your kids bikes of their own.
Don’t have your own bike or can’t afford one? Many bike stores will offer bike rentals which is also a great opportunity to try out different bike varieties and figure out which bikes best suit your needs.
Don’t know where to bike? Check your local county website or town hall for a listing of nearby bike trails or paved paths.
Happy pedaling!

8 ways to clean greener

Looking for ways to “go green”? If you haven’t already, consider switching to cleaning products that are safe alternatives and not harmful to the environment. Listed below are “Do it yourself”(DIY)mixtures you can make with products you probably have on hand.

  1. Cleaning counter tops: Cut a lemon in half, dip in baking soda and use on counter top. Wipe with a wet sponge. Do not use on stainless steel or marble surfaces.
  2. Dirt or rust stains: Combine salt and lemon juice together. Apply to area.
  3. Clogs: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down clogged drain followed by ½ cup white vinegar. After about 15 minutes, flush with four cups of boiling water. For plastic pipes, use hot tap water.
  4. Windows or glass surfaces: Combine ¼ cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well before use.
  5. Water stains: Combine baking soda and water to make a paste. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into the water stain. For tough stains, pour vinegar on stained area and then continue scrubbing.
  6. Freshening garbage disposals: Cut a lemon into slices and run through the disposal.
  7. Soap scum: Heat one cup of white vinegar in a microwave and combine in a spray bottle with one cup of dish detergent. Spray on soap scum and wait a minute before wiping off.
  8. Grease stains: Sprinkle cornstarch on problem spots. Let stand 20-30 minutes before vacuuming.

These are only a few easy-to-create and safe-to-use mixtures. Click here to learn more about the different type of mixtures.

Happy cleaning!


What is Farm to School?

Farm to School is a nation-wide program that provides early childhood education to cultivate healthy eating habits by exposing children to healthy local foods, cooking lessons, taste tests, gardening, field trips, and more.

Farm to School is a key strategy for early childhood development for two reasons: Health and high-quality learning. Well-nourished children are able to function better in school during a critical stage in their development.

Gundersen Health System is an active member of the Farm to School program.  Gundersen’s Certified Executive Chef Thomas Sacksteder supports the local program by visiting schools to educate students on healthy eating habits. The program also includes a “Harvest of the Month,” in which one local food is selected and promoted throughout the school system. Chef Thomas uses the “Harvest of the Month” in the recipes he showcases to students, and it is then served in the school cafeterias.

Grants received from the “Chefs Move to Schools” program have enabled Chef Thomas to continue to teach children about healthy food in a fun and appealing way.  Watch Chef’s Farm to School education assembly at a local school.

8-5-2016 10-30-08 AM

How does the Farm to School program relate to sustainability? Food purchased from local farmers does not travel as far to reach point of sale, which in turn saves energy and reduces fossil fuel emissions. Buying local also supports the local economy.

Get involved! The Farm to School program exists in all states. If you or your organization is interested in helping children learn to eat healthy, check out the National Farm to School Network.

For more information on Gundersen’s sustainability programs, visit gundersenenvision.org.

Walk, ride, share for cleaner air

walk, ride, share

Champion a Walk, Ride, Share for Cleaner Air employee challenge at your work place and start making a difference today!

Gundersen Health System’s Walk, Ride, Share for Cleaner Air commuting challenge gives staff incentives for biking, car-pooling, taking the bus or walking to work. Each month through the end of August, employees who participate in the challenge have a chance to win gift cards and other great prizes.

Active and alternative commuting not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, it helps reduce greenhouse emissions, which can cause illness and disease such as cancer, asthma, cardiac, and reproductive problems.

Active/alternative commuting options

  • Walking
  • Bicycle riding
  • Car pooling
  • Using mass transit transportation
  • Any other travel without driving yourself (rollerblading, skateboarding)


It’s OK if you are not able to actively or alternatively commute every day. Do it as often as you are able.

Start your challenge today!

Learn more about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions from the environmental leaders at Envision.

Patients engage in rooftop garden planting project

patient plantingpatient planting 2

Gundersen’s Envision program not only impacts Gundersen employees but also Gundersen patients and the greater community.  Recently Envision started selling Udderly Green Organic Compost and Potting Mix in collaboration with Purple Cow Organics at Ace of La Crosse.  These products are made with plant fiber byproduct from Envision’s dairy digesters located in Wisconsin.

Originally intended as an employee engagement project, these products gave employees and community members the opportunity to learn more about the Envision program and the dairy digester projects. However, staff working in the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Gundersen saw these products as a way to engage the long stay patients in healthy and fun outdoor activities.

Pictured above is a patient planting vegetables on the rooftop garden at the hospital using the Envision potting mix with assistance from Courtney Hoeg, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).  Chef Thomas Sacksteder assists the patients in the fall season with harvesting and preparing the vegetables.  If you are interested in learning more about Envision, see the following website: www.gundersenenvision.org.