‘King of Scrounge' Brings Green Message to Campus
Jim Juczak '80 realizes his green dreams with what he calls the art of scrounging. Known as the "King of Scrounge," Juczak has made recycling, scrounging and sustainable living a part of his life — and is expanding his mission globally.
Juczak visited campus March 12 to talk about his unique style of sustainable living in a presentation hosted by the college's Office of Business and Community Relations.
The Woodhenge green community founder, Cornell Cooperative Extension energy coordinator and author is hoping to go to Afghanistan next summer with the military to help farmers learn sustainable practices.
It all started when a student asked if Juczak, who taught technology education for 25 years, actually used any of the things he taught. That inspired him to practice what he was preaching.
So, for the past decade, Juczak has been scrounging, or looking for old and discarded items that can be reused for another purpose.
Scrounged items, such as the windows in Juczak's house, can be found in many ways, including bartering, buying or even the occasional dive into a dumpster.
In 1997, Juczak and his family founded Woodhenge, a 55-acre planned community near Adams Center. Woodhenge is all about sustainable living. Juczak's 18-sided house is made of 80 percent recycled and waste materials, which includes an earthen roof and salvaged glass windows. He got most of the materials for free.
The community lives off the grid somewhat accidentally. Juczak was originally avoiding paying the high cost of extending the power lines down the road to his home. He powers his home with solar energy, wind and a gasoline generator with storage batteries for night.
It's not about being a Luddite, he said. Sustainable living is about using practical technology that works long term.
"It doesn't involve green, it involves brown," Juczak said. "Brown means trying to do more with less."
It's easy to be willing to give green a try when you realize you've spent more in a vending machine than many people in the world live on each day, he said. And, he added, it's alright to start small and make little changes such as using energy-saving fluorescent bulbs, starting a garden or buying locally produced food.
Juczak credits his SUNY Oswego education for a lot of his success. He moved to Oswego from Long Island his freshman year to major in technology education.
As a student, Juczak built and reupholstered furniture for the college 20 hours a week at the campus Furniture Shop in the basement of the service and publications building.
"I learned as much there as I did in the classroom," he said.
Juczak is now regional energy program coordinator for Cornell Cooperative extension in a 10-county area of the North Country. He published his first book, The High Art and Subtle Science of Scrounging, two years ago and his second book, Water Supply Systems for the Homesteader, will be available this fall.
— Ken Sturtz '12
Jim Juczak '80 waxes sustainable to a group of students and community members March 12 in a presentation hosted by the Office of Business and Community Relations.
Back to April front page • Next story: Reunion Giving • Previous story: Alumni Input