Community Voices - Francine Toss

Posted by Lydia Moran
Lydia Moran
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on June 24, 2015 in Community Voices

francinetossFrancine Toss graduated from Oberlin College in 1971. She is currently the librarian at Eastwood Elementary School and co-owner of the Carlyle Shop.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

FT: Interesting, challenging, a beautiful place and quiet usually. A lot of green space, lovely flowers and trees at this time of the year in particular.

Q: How is it that you came to live and work in Oberlin?

FT: I came here for the Master of Arts in teaching program in 1969. So I graduated in 1971 and did my student teaching here at Eastwood so then I became a teacher here in 1970.

Q: Do you think about sustainability in your life???is there a specific thing that comes into your mind when you think of the word ???sustainability????

FT: Well I think of it as an Oberlin effort if you will. Recently obviously it???s a major term in our lives but I think it???s always been right there in Oberlin by maintaining green space and a couple of decades ago we had a big emphasis when the building and grounds person at the college redid all the gardens into gardens that would sustain and maintain themselves and that was a big point to all of us at how lovely it could be it was responsible in that you weren???t breaking open the ground over and over again. And it really kept it in mind that there was an effort in town that???s going to be very very important and then things like the bike path and natural plantings and things like that are always just sort of right there. Many years ago now I was part of a team that helped plant tree all along West Lorain street. So we were replacing trees that had been lost to Dutch Elm disease etc. So many towns??? people came out and planted these trees which was a great effort and we enjoyed it felt good and over the years as we???ve watched them grow it???s been nice.

Q: Do you remember if there was ever a time??? I know sustainability has always been present but was there ever a time that you can remember when there was a big shift or push forward for sustainability in Oberlin?

FT: Well not particularly although Ed Thomson???s work on the college campus really highlighted it to all of us and at that time Professor Jones was doing tours and I think they still do them on Tappan of the trees that were there. It was celebrating maintaining living things. So that???s the big concept for sustainability, yes. There it was. And now I think this will be another major change with the ecolympics that we???re doing here at the school and the recycling of all the refuse here in town. I think that???s going to be seen as another major bridge to the next step.

Q: Do you feel like you take any actions in your business or your home life that relate to the concept of sustainability like water conservation or using energy-efficient light bulbs?

FT: Well in my home I???ve switched over to all energy efficient light bulbs and stuff like that. I???m a single person so I don???t use much water anyway but I try not to overdo anything. In my plantings in my yards I try to be careful about using mulch and things like that that will maintain the water I get. I am co-owner of the Carlyle shop uptown and we???ve tried to improve our lighting. We???ve tried to recycle as much as we can the greens and the cardboard and the other products that come into the shop. Other than that we???re doing some composting at my home. It isn???t much it seems but I think every little bit counts.

Q: Do you garden at home?

FT: I do.

Q: How do you feel that these actions are important?

FT: Well they???re important in that if everybody does a little bit it???ll all add up, and if nobody does anything it???ll be a disaster I guess. I think they help just a little bit. But they don???t hurt!

Q: If there anything specific or any person that inspires you to take these actions?

FT: I would have to reference Ed Thomson again, buildings and grounds guy. I have friends like Sue Whitenbomb (?) who is one of my helpers here who is very conscious of recycling and doing things that help keep us all here on this earth longer and healthier. So it???s just common people who are doing the right thing and I like to be part of that group.

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