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New Rotary group is going green

‘Change always comes bearing gifts,” according to management consultant Price Pritchett.

Case in point: Rotary emerged in 1905 so Paul Harris and a few business associates might build better communities and friendships by sharing their expertise and successes.

Today, Rotary is a worldwide community of 34,000 local clubs with members bonded by similar meeting traditions, guidelines and goals.

For several years, however, Rotary leadership has been assessing its operating procedures, looking to make changes that will attract youthful business leadership.

Former Morro Bay Rotary President John Weiss was tasked by current Central California District Governor Deepa Willingham to explore a concept titled Eco-Rotary in San Luis Obispo County.

For months, interested individuals have met regularly, defining their goals for an active group focused on completing beneficial environmental projects.

Eco-Rotary’s Charter Night, set for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Morro Bay Golf Course, affirms that the Central Coast was receptive to Rotary’s outreach for systemic change.

“Rotary is trying to think outside the box by appealing to those whom the traditional club does not fit,” Weiss said. “I prefer the traditional club, but this club works for those who can’t take a break in the day or are specifically eco-minded.

“My drive has been to seek those who have left the current Rotary structure or would not normally participate.”

Morro Bay Eco-Rotary’s founding members come from around the county, and they have a significant first project.

Once completed, the club’s cutting-edge zero-waste demonstration project at area golf courses will be acknowledged throughout the Rotary network. The Central Coast is in a position to score worldwide for producing sustainable environmental change.

“Zero waste is amazing,” Weiss said. “This project is unique.”

The project requires collaboration with various organizations and businesses — a game-changer for Rotary. It involves the county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority; Dairy Creek, Morro Bay and Chalk Mountain golf courses; and Environmental Protection Associates, a San Luis Obispo-based nonprofit.

The county will purchase composters for food waste, grass clippings and landscape byproducts at Dairy Creek then use the compost for the maintenance health of all three golf courses.

“Ultimately, I want to eliminate all waste into landfills,” said Josh Heptig, director of the county’s golf operations.

Richard McConahay, an Environmental Protection Associates partner, remarked, “A lot of people have interest in environmental activism or want to participate in environmental projects, but organized projects are not that easy to find. Eco-Rotary will be a clearinghouse for opportunities.”

Eco-Rotary is also working on an erosion-control project at Walters Creek on Cal Poly property.Membership is open, and guests are welcome to visit to find out more. Contact Weiss at 748-9615 or

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