Toward a more sustainable Star

Star Island sustainability initiatives supported by Foundation grants, donors

Summer is peak season on Star Island, a 43-acre retreat six miles off New Hampshire’s coast. Fifteen thousand people visit Star, one of Hew Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals, each year. Some stay overnight or attend educational workshops and conferences in the island’s Oceanic Hotel. Some visit island’s museum and marine lab. Some just walk the island’s trails, or come packing paintbrushes and easels.

“Everyone is welcome,” said Pam Smith, the development director for the nonprofit Star Island Corporation, which owns and operates Star.

But running operations off the grid and six miles offshore is complicated, and expensive.

The Star Island Corporation has undertaken a series of sustainability initiatives for everything from drinking water to electricity.

Foundation grants and donors helped support measures in the “Green Gosport Initiative.”

Star now has the largest off-grid solar array in New England, which meets about 60 percent of the island’s power needs during the peak summer months – and has cut annual consumption of diesel fuel for generators by 35 percent.

The island’s combination of sustainability initiatives has led to a reduction in annual diesel consumption of nearly 75 percent since 2012. An island vegetable garden is supplying seriously local produce for guests and staff. Rain water is gathered and filtered – the only such permitted system for drinking water in the state.

And now, said Smith, “we want to share it.”

Eco-island tours are showing off the new measures, and the nonprofit is planning to use the island’s infrastructure to deliver STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs to New Hampshire educators, students and nonprofits.

Star Island is also holding a year-long commemoration of its centennial with a rededication next summer. The organization was first founded as a nonprofit in 1915.

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT WWW.STARISLAND.ORG