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Archives for December 19, 2013

This week’s gardening tips: camellias, ornamental grasses and electric space …

Most ornamental grasses, other than pampas grass, turn brown and go dormant for the winter. Feel free to cut them back hard when the foliage is no longer attractive. With their flower plumes and graceful foliage, though, many gardeners like the way ornamental grasses look when dormant; leave them if you find them appealing. Make sure to cut them back by early March at the latest, however, to make way for new growth.

  • Open flowers of camellias can be damaged by temperatures below freezing, but the buds are generally not damaged. They will bloom normally later on.
  • Be extra careful when using electric space heaters to heat home greenhouses and garages or sheds where plants are stored. Plants should be located well away from the heaters along with any other flammable materials. Use heavy-duty extension cords that are free from damage. Use caution when watering plants. Electric heaters must be unplugged until the area is dry. The heat generated by electric heaters is much more effective when it is circulated, so it’s a good idea to have a fan running to move the air around.
  • Varieties of certain shrubs, such as azaleas, nandinas and junipers, will develop a purplish or burgundy tint to their foliage during cold weather. This is natural and no cause for worry. They will turn green again in the spring.

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Your Garden Guy: Tips for holly in the landscape and indoors

• Try holly “Sparkleberry” this winter. This deciduous (looses its leaves in winter) holly produces a show stopping abundance of red berries and grows to about 12 feet. This is a female holly, so you will need to also buy holly “Apollo,” which is a male holly, for pollination. Plant “Sparkleberry” in groups of three to five shrubs for best show. Use one male plant for every five or so female plants.

• Use cuttings of holly, boxwood, magnolia, pittosporum, acuba, ivey, fern, yew, arborvitae and other evergreens for quick holiday decorating. Use silver, gold and red spray paint on leaves to add color to holiday decorations all around your home.

• Use water-absorbing floral foam in containers to extend the life of greenery and flowers used for centerpiece decorations.

• Buy Christmas cactus (zygocactus) now. Buy plants that are just beginning to bloom. Place plants in bright, indirect light and water when the soil is dry to the touch. These plants will re-bloom next year at the same time. Easy!

• Plant amaryllis, “Paper White” narcissus, tulips and hyacinths indoors now for blooms in the dreary month of February.

• What’s blooming in late December? Daphne odora. This evergreen, small shrub prefers shade and well drained soil. It’s beautiful and fragrant.

• Don’t forget to water landscape shrubs every two weeks in the absence of rain.

• Pansies looking puny? Give them a good soaking of liquid fertilizer at the recommended dose.

• Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you!

Todd Goulding provides residential landscape design consultations. Contact him at 478-345-0719, or on Facebook.

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Design-Conscious Cat Lady

Ms. Benjamin, 42, started blogging about her favorite things for cats in 2007, and over time a business began to emerge. Readers posted fan mail. Boutique manufacturers started advertising on her site and sending samples for her to review. And the number of cats in her 1,100-square-foot condominium grew. (At last count, she had 11.)

As her advertising revenue climbed, Ms. Benjamin quit her day job as the marketing director of Boon, a company that sells modern baby products, and opened a design studio where she and her employees could create cat toys and accessories to sell on her website. And last year, she re-branded her Moderncat blog as Hauspanther, an “online magazine for design-conscious cat people.”

Next on the horizon is a consulting business built around the concept of “catification”: tailoring your living space to the needs of your cat without sacrificing aesthetics.

“The idea is to influence the mass cat-product industry to step up their game,” said Ms. Benjamin, who has teamed up with Jackson Galaxy, the cat behaviorist from the television show “My Cat From Hell,” for this effort. “We just want to be the go-to source for anyone who wants to live stylishly with cats.”

As the tattoo on her arm announces, Ms. Benjamin is positioning herself as a cat lady for a new generation. A vegan with Bettie Page bangs, she has upended the old stereotype of the frumpy, middle-aged woman surrounded by cats. And her two-bedroom townhouse here is a showcase of the latest in feline interior design.

The living room is filled with all manner of cat beds, scratchers, hiding spots and perches, including a miniature sun bed attached to sliding glass doors that open to a catio (a patio enclosed for the protection of her cats). The centerpiece on the dining table is not a flower arrangement or a fruit bowl, but a white porcelain cat bed designed to look like a sink. On the coffee table is a thronelike cat lounge that doubles as a scratcher. And a huge basket of cat toys is stationed next to the sofa.

“It is a little bit over the top,” said Ms. Benjamin, who admits to showering in the second bathroom because the master bath has been given over to litter boxes. But that’s all right, she said, because it means the cats “all have lots of options. Rarely is there a fight over places to sit.”

The crush of cat products is an inevitable consequence of having a blog that serves up a different item every day, along with a dose of attitude you won’t find in the plain-vanilla pages of a magazine like Cat Fancy.

Readers leave comments, some gushing, others critical, as well as suggestions. (The new site gets about 150,000 page views a month, she said, but it is still building traffic; the old site, which she shuttered to avoid a lawsuit with a Canadian magazine that had adopted the Modern Cat name, got around 350,000.) The product manufacturers, which tend to be mom-and-pop shops, use the feedback to refine their wares and develop new items — which, of course, they send to Ms. Benjamin to review.

Some of these companies advertise on her site or have affiliate arrangements with Ms. Benjamin, who gets a flat fee or a percentage of sales when a customer clicks through from her blog and buys something (although she won’t say exactly how much that amounts to over the course of a year). But others pay nothing to be on her site.

“I keep my editorial honest and straightforward, regardless of whether or not I’m receiving any compensation,” she said. “One of my favorite things to do is to help promote a new or small company just because they make great products that my readers need to know about.”

As far as she is concerned, she said, what it comes down to is good design.

“I would like to see every cat in a happy, loving, forever home, and I want to keep them there through design,” said Ms. Benjamin, who studied environmental design and analysis, with an emphasis on interior design, at Cornell and branched out into industrial design and visual communications at Arizona State University. “Because if somebody doesn’t want to buy a scratcher because the scratchers are so ugly, and then the cat scratches on the sofa, the cat’s booted onto the street or taken to the shelter. If a product design can help change that, that’s where I want to see this go.”

The people whose products appear on Hauspanther credit Ms. Benjamin with helping to build the market for designer cat furniture, a small but growing category. Once her blog became a go-to place for furnishings that appealed equally to cats and their owners, these vendors say, more specialty retailers cropped up, widening the product mix, and big chain stores like Walmart and Target began carrying nicer-looking cat products.

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Madison County news and events for the week of Dec. 18

SIUE offers tour of Cuba

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Photographers Tour of Cuba is scheduled for March 9-15, 2014. It is the first tour to Cuba available to people in the greater St. Louis area. Travelers will experience a rare opportunity to explore Cuba from a photographer’s perspective. The tour is designed for amateurs, professionals and anyone interested in photography. The group of 24 individuals also will meet with professional Cuban photographers.

A tour guide and translator will lead the group. Highlights will include the Hotel Plaza in Old Havana, exploring Havana and the Morro-Cabanas complex, traveling to Cojimar, Regla and Fototeca (the Cuban photo archives). More information is available at

Prices are based on a Miami departure. Travelers must make their own arrangements to get to Miami for the flight to Havana, which leaves at 1 p.m. March 9. All prices are based on double occupancy: $3,000 for general community members; $2,800 for SIUE alumni basic members or SIUE faculty/staff; and $2,600 for SIUE alumni premium members or SIUE students. A $500 nonrefundable deposit is due Jan. 9 to reserve a spot. Final payment is due Feb. 7. Payment should be made to SIUE Office of Educational Outreach. The trip is restricted to those 18 years old and older. The trip is offered through a partnership between the SIUE Alumni Association and the SIUE Office of Educational Outreach.

Call Cathy McNeese ( at 618-650-3208 in the SIUE Office of Educational Outreach or Photographers Tour of Cuba Coordinator C. Otis Sweezey ( at 618-650-2360.

Blood Center holding drives

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is holding several upcoming blood drives, including: 

  • Dec. 20, Scott Credit Union, 12455 Illinois Route 143, Highland, 2-6 p.m.
  • Dec. 26, Scott Credit Union, 501 Edwardsville Road, Troy, 1-5 p.m.
  • Dec. 27, Scott Credit Union, 1067 Illinois Route 157, Edwardsville, 2-5 p.m.


American Red Cross December blood drives

The American Red Cross is holding the following blood drives in Madison County this December:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2-6 p.m. at Culver’s, 6724 Old Troy Road, Edwardsville.
  • Thursday, Dec. 19, 3-7 p.m. at GC Cuisine and Crystal Gardens, 1230 University Drive, Edwardsville.
  • Friday, Dec. 20, 1-5 p.m. at Alton Square Mall, 200 Alton Square, Alton.
  • Saturday, Dec. 21, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rivers of Life Christian School and Community Church, 3131 23rd St., Granite City.
  • Dec. 26, 2-6 p.m. at Wood River Public Library, 326 E. Ferguson, Wood River.
  • Dec. 26, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Alton Memorial Hospital, 1 Memorial Drive, Alton.

MCT announces holiday hours

MCT bus service’s holiday hours are: 

  • Dec. 24: normal bus service.
  • Dec. 25: no bus service. 
  • Dec. 26: normal bus service.
  • Dec. 31: normal bus service.
  • Jan. 1: no bus service. 
  • Jan. 2: normal bus service.

Call 6180797-4636, or e-mail

Green industry conference announced

The Gateway Green Industry Conference will be held Jan. 14-15 at the Gateway Convention Center, Collinsville. The educational program has a track for sports turf, golf, landscape, arborist, plantscape, parks and recreation as well as green industry. Those who work in lawn care, landscaping, nursery, a garden center, golf course or any other grounds-related industry, can get new ideas and research-based information at the conference. Registration for the two days is $100 or $80 for one day if completed by Jan. 3. The fee includes lunch. Registration fees increase after Jan. 3. There is also a trade show featuring many local businesses that is free to the public.

To obtain a copy of the Gateway Green Industry Conference brochure and registration form, contact U of I Extension office at 618-344-4230 or Online registration is available. 

Pest workshop to be held

University of Illinois Extension’s Madison-Monroe-St. Clair Unit will be offering the Illinois First Detector Invasive Pest Workshop on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Collinsville Branch office located at 1 Regency Plaza Drive, Suite 200, Collinsville.

This workshop will include sessions devoted to emerging and current oak threats in Illinois. A session will be included on invasive plants introduced as ornamentals, such as burning bush, Bradford pear, and Japanese barberry, along with a discussion on non-invasive alternatives. In-depth training sessions will highlight identification, symptoms, management, and much more. New this year will be a session devoted to how safeguarding and regulation plays a role. 

Cost for the program is $40, which includes on-site lunch and training materials. To register send $40 payable to University of Illinois Extension to 1 Regency Plaza Drive, Suite 200, Collinsville, IL 62234. Online registration or a conference flyer is available at Registration deadline is Jan. 13.

Call Sarah Ruth at 618-344-4230.

Bike Expo in late January

The 2014 Midwest Bicycle Expo and Swap Meet will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Gateway Center, 1 Gateway Drive, Collinsville. Admission is $5; free for children under 10. The exp includes vendors, a bike corral (an area for guests to place their items for sale), and a classic bike show ($5 per entry). Pre-register at to be allowed in a half-hour early at no extra cost. Attendance prizes will be drawn; for every two tires or four tubes brought in for recycling, an extra entry is added for a special drawing. 

This year’s event includes a kids’ corner with a bounce house, an area for test rides, shuttles from the nearby MetroLink station, mini-clinics and fashion shows.

Gardener program accepting applicants

Area lawn and garden enthusiasts can get intensive horticulture training in exchange for volunteer hours through University of Illinois Extension’s Master Gardener program. The training program consists of weekly sessions that run from January through April. Participants get more than 60 hours of in-depth instruction on such topics as soils; botany; insect and disease control; flowers, trees, shrubs and other ornamentals; fruit and vegetable production; turf grass; basic landscaping and a wide range of other topics. An internship of 60 hours of volunteer horticulture-related service completes the training requirements. Some Master Gardeners answer lawn and garden questions from homeowners. Others help design and operate demonstration gardens for the public and some make presentations to local schools and civic groups. The Master Gardener training will be held on Tuesdays, Jan. 7, through April 15, and rotates between Madison and Monroe counties. At all locations, classes run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration for the program is $225, which includes a copy of the Illinois Master Gardener manual.

Call Sarah Ruth at the Madison-Monroe-St. Clair Extension Unit at 618-939-3434 or 618-344-4230; or visit

Volunteers needed to help with taxes

It may not be tax season yet, but the time to sign up to volunteer to help with tax assistance is now. United Way of Greater St. Louis’ tax coalition partners want to pair volunteers with low-income and elderly residents for tax assistance from late January through April 15 at various locations in the region.

Trainings take place during January 2014 at various times and locations in Madison and St. Clair counties. Volunteers must attend one or more certification trainings in order to greet, interview or prepare taxes. Previous tax assistance experience is not required. Registration in advance is required; contact the Gateway EITC Community Coalition at 314-539-4062 or; Friendly Community Tax Coalition at 314-691-9500 or visit There are various volunteer positions available, with varying degrees of tax knowledge necessary. 

The purpose of the coalitions is to offer free Earned Income Tax Credit preparation and education to low-income residents.

County offers help for energy bills

Madison County has obtained funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development to assist low-income county residents with the cost of home energy bills. Applications will be taken through May 31, 2014, or until funds are depleted.

The Madison County Community Development Energy Assistance Office administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and can help residents with the application process.

Call 618-296-6485 to get information about local offices where applications can be filled out.

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Cottage & Lakefront Living Show Opens Feb. 27 in Novi

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2014 Cottage Lakefront Living Show at Novi’s Suburban Collection Showplace

We offer vacationers and homeowners the opportunity to explore new ideas and plan for this summer’s family experiences and memories.

Novi, MI (PRWEB) December 18, 2013

The seventh annual Cottage Lakefront Living Show returns to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi Thursday, Feb. 27 and runs through Sunday, March 2.

“Our preseason event is for anyone who owns or dreams of owning a cottage or lakefront home,” said Mike Wilbraham, show producer of ShowSpan, Inc. “We offer vacationers and homeowners the opportunity to explore new ideas and plan for this summer’s family experiences and memories.”

The Log and Timber Frame Showcase will include how a cabin is put together, floor plans, profiles, roof options, log species, cedar siding, full logs, post and beam and do-it-yourself or contractor built home packages. Builders and contractors will be available for scheduled private consultations through the show’s website.

Cottage Living Stage experts will explain how to set up cottage ownership within a family for sharing and handing down; describe science-based practical application smart gardening designed to be sensitive to the environment, lower the environmental impact and reduce time and money spent on lawns, soil and plants; and explore other ways to enjoy a cottage more.

Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership will provide informal advice and educational materials from Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Lake Stream Association and other agencies, organizations, contractors and landscape professionals on shoreline construction projects and natural shoreline landscaping that benefit lake ecosystems and protect Michigan’s inland lakes.

Michigan artists at the Cottage Fine Art Show will present Great Lakes and Michigan inland lakes steel silhouettes, Petoskey stone art, rustic and driftwood furniture, copper-enameled garden art, jewelry, wood lake art, hand-carved cottage décor and signage, chainsaw carvings and wildlife oil paintings for sale. Home décor, furnishings, decorative accessories, handcrafted ceramic art tiles and gourmet and specialty appetizers and foods will be available for purchase at the Lakefront Marketplace.

DreamCatcher BoatWorks of Grand Rapids will display custom-built, lightweight, high performance, wood-covered fiberglass crafts and demonstrate handcrafted building techniques on a stand up paddleboard. Michigan Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of historic boats, will have boats on display.

The Beach, a giant sandbox complete with carving tools, will be ready for creative building of sand sculptures and castles by children and adults. Children will have the opportunity to fish at the Trout Pond fully stocked by Michigan B.A.S.S. Federation Clubs and play in the kid’s activity center at the Cran-Hill Family Zone.

Cottage Living Center will provide the opportunity to relax and work on a community puzzle, put a pin in an oversized Michigan map to show where cottages are located, listen to the 2014 Cottage Favorite Play List music and read or purchase a 2014 Essential Cottage Reading List book. Patrons owning cottages are able to post them on the Cottage for Sale or Rent Board.

The Water Woods Photo Contest Display will allow voting for the best photo that illustrates cottage and lakefront lifestyles.

Landscaping ideas to increase your outdoor living space are incorporated in landscape displays that include wooden cabins, fireplaces, cooking options, patios, decks and garden products. Other exhibits with information and educational materials for those looking to buy, build, rent or maintain cottage and lakefront property include log, timber frame and cedar homes, cottage rental, cottage furnishings, lakefront homebuilders and realtors, lakeshore maintenance, boats and docks, outdoor recreational equipment, non-profit environmental organizations, government agencies, financing and other products and services. Experts throughout the show will provide tips, advice and knowledge on purchasing, renting, planning and maintaining spring, summer and year-round cottage and lakefront living homes.

Suburban Collection Showplace is located at 46100 Grand River Ave. between Novi and Beck Road in Novi, Mich. Show hours are from 3 – 9:30 p.m. Thursday; Noon – 9:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10; $4 for children 6-14 and children 5 and under admitted free. Discount coupons for $2 off Thursday or Friday box office adult admission are available at show’s website and participating Wendy’s restaurants. Free crossover admission from the Cottage Lakefront Living Show to Outdoorama. On-site parking is available for a fee. For more information, visit, or call (800) 328-6550.

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Grant Cohn: Rebuilding Raiders, a blueprint

TO: Reggie McKenzie, general manager, Oakland Raiders

FROM: Grant Cohn

Reggie, as a favor, I want to help you rebuild the Raiders’ roster.

First, let me commend the job you’ve done the past two years tearing down Al Davis’ and Hugh Jackson’s expensive mess. You’ve made the roster cheap and practically talentless – a blank slate.

Now, you have a high draft pick and more than $63 million in cap space. It’s time to start rebuilding, but you haven’t shown the ability to do that yet. So, I’ve put together some ideas and, if you like them, take them and call them your own. This is between you and me.

Before you go hog wild adding players, you need to fire your head coach, Dennis Allen. Your team isn’t improving under him. He’s a bad head coach, a defensive X’s and O’s guy, a conceptual guy, not a teacher or a leader. You’re going to get your franchise quarterback this offseason and you can’t have Allen around to stunt his growth. You need to replace Allen, preferably with a coach who has a background in offense and experience developing young quarterbacks.

You also have to determine what style of offense and defense your new coaching staff wants to run. There is no sense adding players who don’t fit your new coordinators’ systems.

Next, you must understand this is a two-year rebuild, at least. You’re miles behind every other team in your division – the Broncos and Chiefs are for-sure playoff teams and the Chargers might make the playoffs, too. Adding one franchise player will not propel the Raiders into the playoffs next season.

You need at least two offensive linemen, a tight end, a running back, a quarterback (obviously), at least one wide receiver, two cornerbacks, a safety, two linebackers and two or three defensive linemen. You should have traded Darren McFadden earlier this year, but you didn’t. You will get nothing for him when he leaves in free agency.

You’re learning.

You need to add 17 or 18 players to the roster this offseason via free agency and the draft, mostly the draft. If you sign too many players in free agency, you’ll put yourself right back into Salary Cap Hell, so limit yourself to four free agents.

If you can, sign these four: sack specialist Brian Orakpo, cornerback Walter Thurmond III, wide receiver Golden Tate and tight end Greg Olsen.

See, I’m making it easy for you, Reggie.

Don’t waste your cap space by signing a quarterback. Quarterbacks are expensive in free agency. Draft your quarterback like Bill Walsh drafted Joe Montana. That’s the model.

It appears you’re going to have the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. I know it’s tempting to use that pick on a quarterback.


No quarterback is worth a top-five pick this year – not Johnny Manziel, not Teddy Bridgewater, not Derek Carr. “Not nobody not no how,” as the Gatekeeper in the Wizard of Oz would say.

You need to trade down, Reggie. Twice. Trade down from No. 3 to No. 8, and then from No. 8 to No. 17, or somewhere around there. By trading down you pick up an extra second and third-round pick, and maybe a high pick in 2015, too.

That’s your move, Reggie. You should have done this last year. I blame myself – I should have contacted you sooner.

After you trade back a second time, you’re going to draft your franchise quarterback, and you’re going to get him in the second round.

The only two quarterbacks you need to think about are Brett Hundley from UCLA and David Fales from San Jose State. Forget everyone else. Hundley or Fales is your guy, whichever one when you choose in the second round. Hundley is more athletic and three years younger than Fales, but Fales is athletic, too, and a more advanced pocket passer than Hundley. Both guys have everything you want from a franchise quarterback.

Circle their names and underline them three times. Watch their film. Go to their schools and meet them and their coaches and their trainers and their teachers. I can pick you up and we can drive to San Jose State and UCLA together, make it a road trip. I’m really familiar with UCLA. I went there.

Reggie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

What do you say?

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at

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Bury St Edmunds: Protected species of bat is discovered as works at Abbey …

Work has begun in the last two weeks on improving the water garden at the Abbey Gardens including remodelling the shelters to provide a walk-through from the garden to the bowling green area.

But one pipistrelle bat, which was found roosting in one of the shelters, means work at this spot to do with the glass windows is on hold.

Pipistrelles are the smallest and commonest bat in the UK, but they are a protected species.

John Smithson, parks manager for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We have stopped working where we know the bat is so we don’t disturb it any more and all other landscaping work is carrying on.

“We are waiting for a report from an ecologist who will tell us what we need to consider because it is a protected species, and we will abide by any recommendations they make.

“In the spring pipistrelles will start hunting again and will have a summer roost which is a different roost to a winter roost.

“If we do need to do work that would potentially disturb it we will leave it until the spring.”

Mr Smithson said the work was due to be finished in the spring anyway because there was a lot of planting to do.

Referring to the bat, he said: “It’s not a deal-breaker as they say.”

Plans to improve the water garden have been in the pipeline for some time, but two bids for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme for the Abbey Gardens were unsuccessful.

Mr Smithson said the cash – about £30,000 – for the water garden works had been donated by a benefactor who wanted to make a difference to the gardens, which are visited by thousands of people every year.

He said the revamp would make the water garden more accessible, adding: “It’s always been a bit of a hidden jewel really.”

He also mentioned a child drowned there many years ago, and the garden also suffered from some antisocial behaviour, which were other reasons for opening it up.

“There will be a new fence line and planting. The water feature itself is staying pretty much the same as it is,” he added.

The water garden is closed to the public while works are going on there.

Also being discussed are plans to create a route from the refectory at St Edmundsbury Cathedral through to the gardens, coming out by the bowls kiosk.

“It’s about trying to improve the connectivity between the other establishments in what we call the abbey precinct,” Mr Smithson said.

He said the benefactor had also donated £10,000 to revamp the sensory garden.

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National Wildlife Federation and Landscape Professionals Join Forces to …

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Certified Landscapers logo

This program connects homeowners, schools, businesses and others with professionals who can help them create an outdoor space that will serve as a haven for wildlife for years to come.

(PRWEB) December 18, 2013

Landscaping professionals around the country are now able to become a Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional under National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat® program. The professional must demonstrate a commitment to supporting ecologically sound and wildlife-friendly methods of landscaping in the business. NWF and landscape professionals around the country are combining forces to address a nationwide concern for wildlife habitat loss and fragmentation.

NWF’s brand new Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional program certifies landscaping professionals as a complement to its long-standing Certified Wildlife Habitat® program and its companion programs, Schoolyard Habitats® and Community Wildlife Habitat®. These wildlife-friendly landscapes and gardens help keep water and air resources clean, are healthier for people and the environment, and are less resource-dependent than conventional landscapes. Wildlife-friendly landscapes can serve to enrich our urban areas and give residents pride in their neighborhoods.

“We’re partnering with professional landscapers to promote sound wildlife conservation efforts through their business practices,” said Jaime Matyas, executive vice president and COO of National Wildlife Federation. “This program connects homeowners, schools, businesses and others with professionals who can help them create an outdoor space that will serve as a haven for wildlife for years to come.”

“There’s no more rewarding way of helping wildlife than by restoring habitat in our cities and towns,” said David Mizejewski, naturalist with National Wildlife Federation. “Whether it’s in our own backyards, a local schoolyard or park, or even a corporate landscape, any place that can support a garden can attract colorful birds, beautiful butterflies and other wildlife. There’s no better way of connecting with nature than stepping out the door into a wildlife-friendly garden.”

The Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional program engages professionals who can commit to becoming more sustainable in their business practices and encourage wildlife in their communities through their services to homeowners, businesses, schools, churches, parks and other institutions. As a benefit for becoming certified, professionals receive certification, marketing resources, and promotion to the nation’s largest wildlife gardening network and more than 4 million members. Certified professionals are profiled on NWF’s growing searchable database of Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professionals as a way to assist individuals, businesses, and organizations to find a landscape professional who can help them become more wildlife-friendly in their own landscapes. For more information, please go to:

For more National Wildlife Federation news, visit:

National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

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County to launch sponsor gardens

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

By HARRISON HAMLET – Special to the Bulletin

The effort to beautify roadside landscaping in Henry County took a step forward Tuesday at the Henry County Board of Supervisors’ afternoon meeting.

The board unanimously approved a resolution to “comply with the conditions of permits for sponsor gardens and maintain adequate liability insurance for the projects,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

The board also unanimously approved an appropriation of $12,500 from the Harvest Foundation for the creation of the first sponsor garden. It will be on U.S. 220 South past the end of the bridge near the hydroelectric plant, according to board Chairman Jim Adams.

County Administrator Tim Hall said this is “part of an ongoing effort to clean up our community and make it more picturesque.”

The sponsor gardens are an initiative between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the county. Counties identify sites they would like to see landscaped — generally gateway sites into the community. If these sites are approved by VDOT, the county seeks businesses to sponsor landscaping there, according board documents.

“My wife has been after me for years to try to stimulate development through those islands, (with) landscaping on 220 South,” Ridgeway District Supervisor H.G. Vaughn said during the meeting.

The Harvest-funded sponsor garden may be the first in a series in the county, according to board documents. Businesses have expressed interest in creating additional sponsor gardens, but those locations have not yet been announced.

Hall said he has confidence in the team in charge of the sponsor garden project.

“We have a great relationship with (the Harvest Foundation) on this project. We’re working through Gateway Streetscape and (county Refuse Director) Mike Amos’ guys. Mike is working with our special projects coordinator, so it’s a really, really good team,” Hall said.

Board of supervisors Chairman Jim Adams of the Blackberry District added that this garden will be the “first of many areas I hope we see” improved through the project.

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