From a Jersey Surf press release: The grass on the football field and the lettuce in the taco salad won't be the only "green" to be enjoyed by Jersey Surf this summer as the corps embarks on a new program to examine and improve its "touring eco-footprint." A comprehensive environmental impact project is being designed and managed for the corps by fifth-year Surf visual staff member Eileen Althouse, an environmental engineer specializing in water resources for an international environmental engineering firm. "It's a fact of life that drum corps face a financial burden getting down the road, and it is very obvious that concern for the environment isn't necessarily on the top of anyone's list when the corps are merely trying to stay out of the red," said Althouse. "By examining our operations from the perspective of 'long-term sustainability,' it would be exciting to discover that we could save money and resources in ways that we've never considered before."
According to Althouse, an assessment phase of the project will provide "discovery and analysis" of the corps' current environmental impact, with an implementation phase to follow, identifying areas targeted for improvement. Some overlap of the phases is expected as short-term solutions are created to improve circumstances outlined during the discovery process. The focus of the program will be to improve touring efficiencies and ecologically- and environmentally-friendly operations in several key areas. Areas of study will include: Direct carbon emissions/energy usage
  • Fleet emissions (tucks, buses, generators, support vehicles)

  • "Getting to rehearsal" emissions (determined through research with corps members designed to measure how far they are traveling and how many trips are made per rehearsal weekend throughout the year. This will yield an estimate of the CO2 emissions created by getting the corps to and from rehearsal)
  • Potential use of solar energy on the corps' food truck

Waste production
  • Identifying recycling opportunities while on the road

  • Reduction of food service waste

  • Minimizing paper waste (Analysis of current use and determination of potential recycled paper product options)

Environmental Responsibility
  • Proper disposal of wastewater (food service, fleet washing)

  • Appropriate handling of hazardous materials (approved field paint, cleaners, gasoline, oil, etc.)

Social Responsibility
  • Incorporating the efforts of volunteers, corps members, alumni and staff beyond the scope of the corps' operations.

  • Possible corps-sanctioned service projects prior to and/or following the competitive season

"This is a great opportunity for the Jersey Surf to take a fresh look at our current practices, and find ways to improve our operation while adding additional value to participation in our program," said Director of Operations and Corps Manager Brian Prato. "It is our hope that we will be able to share our findings with other corps who may also wish to conserve financial and natural resources while improving the efficiency of their touring operations. Eileen was happy to help spearhead the project, and we expect to learn a great deal that we can share within our organization and beyond."

Eileen Althouse checks a drill chart during a recent Surf rehearsal.

Prior to joining the Surf's visual staff in 2003, Althouse was a baritone player with the Crossmen for three seasons. She holds a bachelor's of science degree and a master's of science degree in bioresource engineering from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., with a minor in environmental policy, institutions, and behavior. Additional information and periodic updates about this project will be available at