Sierra Club Members: Your Election Help Needed

YOU can make the difference!    While much this year remains uncertain, one thing remains true: the 2020 election will be the most consequential of our lifetimes. Help our environment be the winner this election; go to
Currently we have three remote volunteer efforts: our letter writing, texting, and calling teams. You can indicate how you want to help on this form, then we’ll email you instructions on how to get started.

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Upcoming Portage Trail Group Program and Discussion Meetings

To participate in Zoom meetings you must first send your name, phone number and email address to or call Dick Beck at 330-699-9155. Participation can be via computer, cellphone or telephone.

September 8 at 7:00: Conservation discussion via Zoom

September 15 at 700: “Electric Vehicles- Recent Developments” via Zoom. In accord with current Sierra Club policy we will meet via Zoom instead of gathering at the UU church in Fairlawn. There will be another outdoor EV meeting as soon as it’s safe to let you kick the tires. In the meantime, we will try to keep you abreast of recent developments in this fast-evolving area of transportation technology. Join us for an up-to-date report, regardless of whether you own or are thinking of owning an EV.

October 13 at 7:00: Conservation discussion via Zoom

October 20 at 7:00: “Arboriculture and Climate Change” via Zoom. Dan Herms, a biologist and currently V.P. for Research and Development at Davey Tree Expert Co., will discuss the impact of climate change on flora and fauna, with emphasis on biodiversity and ecological interactions. We’ll explore what science can tell us about the natural world of the future (assuming there is a future, of course).

November 10 at 7:00: Conservation discussion via Zoom

November 17 at 7:00: “Solar United Neighbors” via Zoom. Tristan Rader of United Solar Neighbors, a cooperative that advances the use of solar power, will discuss their approach. In a nutshell, they recruit individuals in an area who are interested in installing solar arrays, find a reputable installer, negotiate a discounted price, and advise individual home owners. This is a promising approach that removes much of the uncertainty associated with this large but meaningful home improvement.

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Words from the volunteer Portage Trail Group Sierra Club 2020 chairman

For the last few years, we’ve met for environmental programs the third Tuesday evening of every month except December, and we’ve had a fund-raising Earth Day dinner & auction every spring.

In this year 2020, the corona virus has canceled all these events after our February meeting.


 I’d like to give you quick comments on our January and February meetings:

January 21, at least 41 of us met for a program on Summit County Re-use by Ben McMillan, a young man who has made composting into a business.  It was obvious that others of us are composting, and working to care for good gardening, and the long-term quality of soil.

February 20, at least 43 of us welcomed Tom Dayton.   He described how his business, Dayton Nurseries, pushed him into careful use of water, caring for the soil, and building solar arrays to power his business and to bring more profit.   It was interesting to me to hear him mix his desire to protect the earth (and be an environmentalist) with his search for more profitable ways to run his business.   It was almost as if profit came first, . . . but the two were interchangeable.   That is for some of us the way we in the USA are going to need to care for planet earth in the short run.   And in the long run, many of us think that care for the earth IS profitable!


Starting in March, all of our programs have been canceled or postponed due to the corona virus, and the genuine need for “social distancing.”

As of now, our annual fund-raising Earth Day Dinner & Auction has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 25.   Some think that will end up being canceled or postponed again, . . . but as I write this May 1, we’re letting that date stay until the social experiments in Georgia, Florida, Ohio and around the world give us more clear ideas of what is healthy, . . . and what ISN’T healthy!


Our Earth Day Dinner/Auction IS a fund-raiser, . . . and if it is canceled, it will make a big difference in our “bottom line” income.   We do have enough money in the bank to be able to keep up with expenses for over a year.   Our biggest expense is sending out a snail mail newsletter to 2,500 or so households (and 2,800 or so members) every two months.   We have no paid employees, so we don’t have to worry about payroll.

By the way, the Ohio Chapter Sierra Club and the national Sierra Club DO have paid employees.  Right now I think the Ohio Chapter has the most urgent continuing need for your donations!   Ever since we lost a grant-writing Ohio Chapter executive, it’s been difficult for that group.   But the Ohio Chapter IS still doing things to protect the earth, AND to help us all enjoy and explore Ohio.   You can go online to the Ohio Chapter Sierra Club at and make a donation.

It’s possible that we could have an online auction, even if we decide the dinner would not be healthy this year.   But so far, all such decisions are on hold.


Right now our Portage Trail Group executive committee IS meeting by zoom, and keeping in touch by email and even telephone calls.   YES, some of us still talk on the telephone!

By the way, we DO have a desire to have real elections the end of this year.   If you’d like to serve, you will NOT be paid any money, but you may contact us on the executive committee to throw your name (and your skills and motivation) into an election hat.


For now, we have no public meetings, no water monitoring, and no roadside trash pick-up except by individuals.   Why?   In part because the national Sierra Club has banned such gatherings for all members until at least June 14.   In part because our water monitoring managers say such data collection should be done by at least two people together.  [This IS citizen science, remember?]  And mostly, because we really do care about health for the world, including for each of us.

Some of us have considered doing something online (by zoom or Google or another medium), but we haven’t yet organized anything.

Please stay tuned for coming programs.


The corona virus does NOT stop our desire to EXPLORE, ENJOY and PROTECT the planet EARTH.

We hope you enjoy spring;  get outside alone or with people you co-habitate with;  garden or farm well in ways that make soil and people healthier;  and simply walk or run . . . on your property, in your neighborhoods, and in parks.

We are very pleased that both Summit County and Stark County seem to have passed MetroParks levies in our April 28 Ohio primary election.   We know that in Ohio such county parks levies are necessary every few years, because they cannot be voted in for perpetuity.   We hope that you have healthy parks in your areas too!   Let us know when we can support levies or other activities for parks.

To protect the earth, you may write letters to the editor, work for candidates you think will help make the earth a healthier place, pick up litter on your own, and care for land you own!   There ARE folk right now, in our club, who are putting solar arrays on their houses.   Let us know what else you’re doing.

Thanks for reading this, . . . and we wish you healthy living, and opportunities to explore, enjoy and protect planet earth.

                         Richard F “Dick” Beck
                        your volunteer 2020 chair of the Portage Trail Group Sierra Club
                        May 1, 2020

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Volunteer Opportunities

Here’s a great opportunity for alert, wide-awake, energetic, and committed environmentalists!

Akron Peninsula Road Cleanup. Picking up trash along two miles of Akron Peninsula Road in the CVNP is a long-standing PTG responsibility. We do it three or four times per  year on Saturday mornings. It takes at most two hours. A nice walk if nothing else. If you can help out, call or email Dan Nelson, 330-666-4246 or


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