Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for December 1, 2014

GV Gardeners: Tips for gardening in December

GV Gardeners

GV Gardeners

In this small garden patch at Desert Meadows Park, peas are in bloom and carrot tops are peeking above the soil.



Posted: Sunday, November 30, 2014 12:00 am

GV Gardeners: Tips for gardening in December

By Mary Kidnocker

Green Valley News Sun and The Sahuarita Sun

|
0 comments

As December arrives, temperatures become cooler and plant growth slows, as do tasks in the garden. However, let’s share a few pointers that can help you have a successful winter gardening experience.

The following advice has been gathered from area authors, horticulturists, landscape designers, commercial growers and experienced local gardeners.

Subscription Required


An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety.


You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?


Login Now

Need an online subscription?


Subscribe

Login

Or, use your
linked account:

Choose an online service.


    Login Now

    Need an online subscription?


    Subscribe

    Login

    Or, use your
    linked account:

    Choose an online service.

      on

      Sunday, November 30, 2014 12:00 am.

      Article source: http://www.gvnews.com/lifestyle/gv-gardeners-tips-for-gardening-in-december/article_07d57bba-773a-11e4-8512-03112f4bd742.html

      Alternative fuels: Part II

      Posted: Monday, December 1, 2014 8:44 am
      |


      Updated: 8:44 am, Mon Dec 1, 2014.

      Alternative fuels: Part II

      By Bob Beyfuss
      For Columbia-Greene Media

      thedailymail.net

      |
      0 comments

      The smell of wood smoke has become very conspicuous the past couple of weeks as the cold weather settles in. We did get a brief respite from the cold for a few days last week, but Thanksgiving looks to be snow covered this year for the first time in many years for much of the region. I hope you will get to eat some of your homegrown garden produce along with your turkey. I did not shoot a turkey this fall, so my Thanksgiving dinner will feature the store bought type. As delicious as a “Butterball” turkey is, a wild turkey, in my opinion, tastes even better! Combined with some home grown fall vegetables such as turnips, beets, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and winter squash, it is a feast that our forefathers enjoyed almost 400 years ago. We have a lot to be thankful about in this country, despite our political differences and a safe and abundant food supply is something that most of us take for granted. Most of the world is not nearly so fortunate.

      Last week I wrote about woodstoves and coal furnaces. Wood is, of course, a renewable resource and a well-managed woodlot should yield at least one half cord of firewood a year, forever. Coal is a non-renewable fossil fuel, but the best quality coal does not produce as much smoke or particulate matter as a typical fireplace or woodstove. Coal also does not produce creosote, which is a serious and potentially very dangerous by product of burning wood. Our country is more than self-sufficient in coal production, but we still do import vast quantities of oil. Less than 25 years ago, we were told by the leading scientists that the world’s supply of oil would be completely exhausted by 2020. They were wrong about that of course, and technology today has allowed for increased production of other fossil fuels such as natural gas. Sadly, all fossil fuels come with a heavy price that goes far beyond the actual costs of production. All fossil fuels release carbon dioxide, but that issue is insignificant compared to the price we have paid in warfare.

      Subscription Required


      An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety.


      You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

      Have an online subscription?


      Login Now

      Need an online subscription?


      Subscribe

      Login

      Current print subscribers


      Login Now

      Need an online subscription?


      Subscribe

      Login

      Current print subscribers

      on

      Monday, December 1, 2014 8:44 am.

      Updated: 8:44 am.

      Article source: http://www.thedailymail.net/columnists/weekly_gardening_tips/article_27c37a76-7960-11e4-95ac-5bcca76abc65.html

      Holiday decorating tips from the Evening Garden Club of West Roxbury


      By Nancy Reynolds
      Special to the Transcript


      Posted Nov. 27, 2014 @ 7:00 am


      ROSLINDALE

      Article source: http://west-roxbury.wickedlocal.com/article/20141127/News/141127922

      Design Recipes: The power of plaid

      Local News

      Valley rainstorm could last until Thursday, impact ski resorts

      Article source: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/12/01/4263838/design-recipes-the-power-of-plaid.html

      Home Calendar

      Arts/crafts

      10th Annual Handmade Ornament Show – Features handmade Christmas ornaments from a variety of popular local artists. Materials include paper, beads, wire, glass, feathers and found objects. Proceeds benefit the Spokane Art School. Today, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. (509) 325-1500.

      Country Christmas Antiques, Arts and Crafts Sale – Presented by Two Women Vintage Goods. Visit www.twowomenvintagegoods.com. Today, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Moran Prairie Grange, 6106 S. Palouse Highway. $4/good all weekend; free/age 11 and younger. (509) 245-3444.

      Fine Arts and Crafts Open House – Annual event by local artisans from Coeur d’Alene. Painted porcelain pottery, woodland wreaths, fine woodworking, photographs of the Northwest, elegant folded paper ornaments and home decor, handcrafted wool mittens, Victorian jewelry, small paintings, pastel drawings and transfer prints on wood. Today, noon-4 p.m., Kathy Gale Fine Art, 6775 N. Davenport St., Dalton Gardens. Free admission. (208) 661-0703.

      Newport United Church of Christ Holiday Gift and Bake Sale – Lunch served Friday from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Presented by the Women’s Fellowship. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Newport United Church of Christ, 430 W. Third St., Newport. $5/lunch. (509) 447-4121.

      Vintage Vixes Holiday Show – Vintage finds, Christmas gifts, paper crafts, vintage jewelry, furniture and more. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Ritter’s Florist and Nursery, 10120 N. Division St. (509) 710-0068.

      Arts and Crafts Sale – Dec. 6-7. Local artists making quality gifts. Hours are Saturday and Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 815 E. 36th Ave. (509) 624-3457.

      19th Annual Craft and Gift Fair – Presented by Coeur d’Alene Christian School. Featuring craft and gift items, lunch, coffee, hot cocoa, hot cider and baked goods. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Coeur d’Alene Christian School, Fourth and Hanley, Dalton Gardens. Free admission and parking. (208) 772-7118.

      St. Luke’s Snowflake Faire – Handmade crafts, affordable gifts, homemade soup and pie, original art, raffles, gently used treasures, baked goods and stocking stuffers. Saturday, 9 a.m., St. Luke Episcopal Church, 501 W. Wallace Ave., Coeur d’Alene. Free admission. (208) 664-5533.

      SCC Holiday Arts, Crafts and Food Fair – More than 100 vendors offering gifts, holiday floral displays, and more. Saturday, 9 a.m., Spokane Community College, Building 6, 1810 N. Greene St. Free admission and parking. (509) 434-6576.

      German Christmas Market – Presented by the German American Society. Say hello to Santa on Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Deutsches Haus, 25 W. Third Ave. Free admission. (509) 747-0004.

      Stratton Craft Fair – More than 80 vendors with a variety of items. Santa will be there for a visit. Food and lattes will be available. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Stratton Elementary, 1201 W. Fifth Street, Newport. Free admission. (509) 447-0656.

      Cheney High School Holiday Bazaar – A big shopping event with more than 50 vendors. Wrapping station available. Hours are Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Dec. 7, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cheney High School, 460 N. Sixth St., Cheney. Free admission. (509) 994-9209.

      Holiday Gift Gala – Ninth annual event where visiting artists and resident artisans offer their holiday works along with an expanded gift shop. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Artisans at Dahmen Barn, 419 N. Park Way, Uniontown, Wash. Free admission. (509) 229-3414.

      EVHS Band Annual Winter Craft Fair – More than 70 local vendors and crafters selling mostly handmade items. There will be food and drinks available. Saturday and Dec. 7, 10 a.m., East Valley High School, 15711 E. Wellesley Ave. $1/admission. (509) 850-5714.

      41st Annual Ritzville Holiday Bazaar – With 30-40 vendors selling baked goods, gifts, decorations, toys, Scholastic books and other items. Lunch service is available from Soup It Up. Santa photos available, bring your own camera. Sponsored by Ritzville branch of AAUW. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Ritzville Grade School, 401 E. Sixth St., Ritzville. Free admission. (509) 659-4986.

      Make It Happen: Makers Market 2014 – Join Ink Art Space for a winter makers market, a celebration of art, community and winter. Spokane-area artisans will be selling cloth, jewelry, words, metal, leather, wood, and more. The perfect place to buy locally made holiday gifts. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Ink Art Space, 228 W. Sprague Ave. Free admission. Visit www.inkspokane.org for more information.

      Christ’s Hands on Afrika – Christmas shopping with vendors, live performers, food and a silent auction. Funds raised will go toward sending supplies to West Africa to help with the Ebola crisis. Saturday, 5-9 p.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road. (509) 926-6363.

      Borah Elementary Marketplace – Dec. 13, 9 a.m., Borah Elementary School, 632 E. Borah Ave., Coeur d’Alene. Admission free with food donation to backpack program. (208) 664-5844.

      Craft classes/ workshops

      Fresh Wreath Making Class – All the evergreens, ribbon, decorations and wreath forms will be provided, but feel free to bring battery operated lights, treasured ornaments, or vintage accessories. Dress warm, this is an outdoor class. There will be chili, holiday tunes and merriment. Today, 1 p.m., Manic Moon More, 1007 W. Augusta Ave. $30. (509) 413-9101.

      Holiday Wreath Making Class – This popular course offers students new ideas for making beautiful holiday wreaths that range from traditional to contemporary. Students will use seasonal greens, cones, berries, and twigs provided by Ritters. Feel free to bring personal touches like ribbon, heirloom embellishments, and materials from your garden. Bring pruners. Today, 2 p.m., and Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Ritter’s Florist and Nursery, 10120 N. Division St. $35/per class. (509) 467-5258.

      Christmas Tree Circle Napkins – Learn to make this fun circle napkin for gifts or holiday luncheons on the serger or sewing machine. Tuesday, 1-4 p.m., Sew Uniquely You, 11402 N. Newport Highway, Suite C. $10. (509) 467-8210.

      3-D Printing Cookie Cutters – Learn how to create your own cookie cutter using a 3-D printer. No 3-D printer experience necessary. Printed cookie cutters will be ready one week after the event. Registration required. Space is limited. Visit www.scld.org. Wednesday and Dec. 8, 7-9 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Free. (509) 893-8400.

      Snowman Mug Rug Class – Class includes painting on fabric, applique and finish work on one mug rug. Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sew Uniquely You, 11402 N. Newport Highway, Suite C. $20. (509) 467-8210.

      Marlene’s Marching Birds – Come create a pieced, appliqued and quilted Marching Bird. Friday, 10 a.m., Sew Uniquely You, 11402 N. Newport Highway, Suite C. $35. (509) 467-8210.

      Boxes Galore – Learn a quick, easy and fun method of making a box for a quick gift. Dec. 10, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Sew Uniquely You, 11402 N. Newport Highway, Suite C. $15. (509) 467-8210.

      Potholder Class – Learn to make a cute gift for someone or for yourself with patterns such as snowmen, penguins, owls and more. Dec. 11, 10 a.m., Sew Uniquely You, 11402 N. Newport Highway, Suite C. $20. (509) 467-8210.

      Spirit Charm Necklace Workshop – Each participant will create a personalized necklace, made up of Milagros, charms, beads, and religious medals that represent a multitude of cultures and spiritual practices. The instructor will provide handcrafted silver bales, leather cords, charms and beads, jump rings, and jewelry pliers. Please feel free to bring your own charms, beads, religious medals and pliers. The instructor will also have special charms for sale. Registration is required. Dec. 13, 1-3 p.m., Spokane Art School, 809 W. Garland Ave. $16/class; $25/supply fee. (509) 325-3001.

      Creative Expressions – Share your ideas and learn about embroidery machines from instructors. This meeting will be the Christmas Party. Dec. 16, 6-8 p.m., Charming Lulu, 1300 N. Mullan Road. $10. (509) 340-9256.

      Home/garden

      “Scary Roads and Alpine Dwarves” – Stephen Love will give highlights of his trek to collect high-elevation native plant specimens. Destinations included Seven Devils, Lemhi Range, White Clouds, Wallowa and five other mountain ranges. Love does native plant domestication research to develop plants for home landscaping. He is UI Extension Horticulture Specialist and vice president of Idaho Native Plant Society. Sponsored by White Pine Chapter INPS. Free and open to the public. Dec. 9, 7-9 p.m., 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St., Moscow. Free. (208) 883-2638.

      Animals

      Spokane Humane Society’s “Love-A-Thon” – Start a new tradition of generosity on Giving Tuesday. The shelter will be open and encourages community members to come by and spend some quality snuggle time with the amazing shelter animals. Tuesday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Spokane Humane Society, 6607 N. Havana St. Free; donations appreciated. (509) 467-5235.

      Spokane Humane Society “Home for the Holidays” – Stop in for a tour of the shelter and the new spay/neuter clinic, meet the staff and volunteers, enjoy refreshments and play with the cats and visit with the dogs. For more information, email kwiltzius@spokanehumane society.org or call. Saturday, 11 a.m., Spokane Humane Society, 6607 N. Havana St. Free. (509) 467-5235, ext. 211.

      SCRAPS Howliday Open House – Drop by the regional shelter for cookies, cocoa and a visit with the cats and dogs available for adoption. There will also be kids games and gifts at the Bow Wow Market. Donate your gently used clothes and textiles to help raise money for the SCRAPS Animal Medical Fund. Dec. 13, 1 p.m., SCRAPS, 6815 E. Trent Ave. Free. (509) 477-2532.

      Article source: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/nov/30/home-calendar/

      Locally grown: Morris area farmers gratefully welcome community support

      Interest in locally grown foods is clearly on the rise, but to take root firmly, Morris County farmers are in agreement that community support and awareness of the value of locally grown food needs to be nurtured.

      In a panel discussion titled, “Your Table in the Valley,” a continuing series presented by the Middle Valley Community Center in Long Valley on Nov. 20, three local farmers shared their perspectives with members of the community about the value of locally grown foods, the challenges they face and their love and passion for working the land.

      Moderated by Laura Knipmeyer, trustee at the Middle Valley Community Center, the purpose of the series is to raise awareness about the production of locally grown food and to promote its continued growth.

      SEE VIDEO: http://dailyre.co/1xYq5xd

      Three farmers in northwestern Morris County talk about what they have to offer, the need for community support and their love of working the land. VIDEO BY MARYLYNN SCHIAVI/CORRESPONDENT for the Daily Record. Nov. 2014

      Alfred Esposito is looking forward to his sixth growing season. He is the proprietor of Poplar Wood Farm, LLC, located in Port Murray, almost precisely at the point in which Morris, Warren and Hunterdon counties meet.

      He’s worked in horticulture for more than two decades — owning a florist shop, working in landscaping — and now as a full-time farmer. Working to build a sustainable regional food system, he currently serves as a board member of The Northeast Organic Farming Association and the Food Shed Alliance.

      Poplar Wood Farm began as a nursery operation but Esposito made a conscious choice to grow vegetables and he’s hoping to be certified organic by spring.

      “We have a tremendous amount of opportunity for a regionally based food system comprised of many farms,” he said. “A large part of what we face is simply not enough people knowing about what we have to offer.”

      Eating locally grown food is healthier, uses less of the Earth’s resources for transportation and offers greater sustainability in the long term, according to Esposito. But for local farmers to keep producing, they need greater support from the community.

      Helen and Ed McLaughlin established Mini Mac Farm in 2005 on 18 acres on Pleasant Grove Road in Long Valley and began raising white-faced Herefords because Angus cows could escape too easily. Helen said they later added chickens to the farm and what began as a population of 25 has now expanded to 200.

      Going hog wild

      Once the cows and the chickens were on board, McLaughlin said it was just a matter of time before she decided to bring on the hogs, and her little farm began to grow.

      “We are known for our beef, which is all-natural and raised free of pesticides,” she said. “We are very proud of the fact that we raise our animals in the most humane way and we’re providing nutritious, wholesome food within our community.”

      While McLaughlin is now running a successful small farm, she agrees with Esposito that there is a need for greater awareness about the unique value local farms provide.

      She said she is also very proud of the fact that she can be a role-model to women who are thinking about running their own farm.

      With a small retail store on her property, she added vegetables, flowers, and items made by local artisans.

      “There’s a lot you can do with a small parcel of land,” McLaughlin said.

      New farmer

      Colleen Puelsch is Middle Valley’s newest farmer and works 30 hours a week as a veterinary technician and the rest of the time, she tends to her farm on six acres. She began farming a little over a year ago and is still developing her farm, which she hopes to call Wind Dance Farm.

      She is currently growing mixed vegetables, and raising chickens, sheep and honey bees.

      In addition to working as a vet tech for 12 years, she also has completed a “Farm to Table” culinary course at the International Culinary Center, the New Farmer Development-Farm Beginnings course with Grow NYC and NYC Green Market, and a Permaculture Design certification course.

      “I love what I’m doing and it gives me a sense of extraordinary peace. My dream is to be able to work as a farmer full time,” she said.

      Puelsch said everyone within the community has welcomed her warmly and is supportive of her farming goals.

      “What brings me the greatest joy is when people stop by and I show them the animals and we walk through the garden,” she said. “I especially love showing kids where their food is coming from.” she said.

      Puelsch said she is still learning but she loves the process.

      All the live long day

      The three farmers agreed that the days are long and there is an enormous amount of work involved in running even a small farm — but the desire to work with the Earth is something that gets into one’s blood.

      They also agreed that having access to a commercial kitchen would offer them greater opportunity to can their fresh vegetables and make it possible for their patrons to enjoy, for instance, fresh tomato sauce made from locally grown tomatoes all year long.

      All three farmers share a passion for supplying the community with food that is healthier and far more sustainable — using less of the Earth’s resources than food that is shipped at great distances.

      “When I wake up every morning, I just want to produce and source the highest quality food possible and I also love listening to my customers — hearing about what they are looking for next,” McLaughlin said.

      She said when you walk into a grocery store, you often don’t know from where the products are coming.

      “Even if I don’t raise the honey I’m selling, I like knowing where the honey comes and it’s nice to be able to tell my customers where it came from as well,” she said.

      Live and learn

      Esposito said the process of farming requires continuous learning and refining. He was growing 45 varieties of tomatoes at one point, now he has trimmed that number down to eight to 10 varieties.

      Esposito and McLaughlin have different ideas about how and where to sell their products. McLaughlin said she likes to stay within a 20-mile radius. Esposito brings his goods to sell at farmers markets in Jersey City and Hoboken.

      McLaughlin said she has been approached by a major food chain a number of times, but would rather keep her operation very local and personal.

      She said, “I want to be there for the local people and have a relationship with our customers,” she said. “We can talk about chickens and food. We know each other’s names. It’s such a nice feeling.”

      For more sustainability stories, visit DailyRecord.com/grassroots/.

      Article source: http://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/local/grassroots/2014/11/30/locally-grown-morris-area-farmers-gratefully-welcome-community-support/19694959/

      Buttermilk base work to be completed by opening day


      Some landscaping work will need to be postponed until next spring

      The Powder Pandas won’t have to worry about packing construction boots to navigate the base of Buttermilk this season as the redevelopment work there is scheduled to be completed in the next two weeks.

      David Corbin, vice president of planning and development at the Aspen Skiing Co., said the construction work should be finished and the site cleaned up in time for Buttermilk’s opening.

      The two-year project includes the new $10 million Hideout at Buttermilk children’s center, an arrival plaza and changes to the parking lot area in its first phase.

      “We’ll have everything open on Saturday, Dec. 13,” said Corbin. “Our current plans are to have the final inspections done on [Dec. 5]. We’re finalizing the finishes on the building now.”

      The new 7,377-square-foot structure will be a permanent replacement for the Powder Pandas children’s center, which had been housed in modular trailers that have since been relocated.

      “The improvements at the base of Buttermilk this year will give guests an improved arrival experience and create a better flow and entrance to the mountain,” SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle wrote in an email on Friday. “The Hideout will give our youngest guests an exciting new facility from which to launch and end their ski day.”

      The project’s second phase will include replacing the current green structure with a new guest services building that will include ticketing, rental, retail and other guest services facilities, according to Hanle.

      Work on phase two has not been scheduled and no future ground-breaking date has been set, Hanle added.

      The Pitkin County commissioners last year approved the SkiCo’s master plan for Buttermilk, and the U.S. Forest Service several years ago also accepted it. Construction on the base began in late May.

      Corbin said last week that paving on the plaza, as well as the concrete work, were nearing completion and the project is “just on schedule to make it.”

       Jordan Curet/Aspen Daily News
      “The kids’ ski school is set to be held on the 13th,” Corbin said. “So we’ve got to be there.”

      He added that the indoor work would be completed this weekend.

      “The inside work is continuing unimpeded,” Corbin said. “The new flooring is going in over the weekend and general cleanup is scheduled for [today].”

      A new sidewalk also has been installed that stretches from the Highway 82 Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus stop and around the parking lot to the base.

      Corbin said some landscaping work would have to be finished in the spring. The ponderosa pines that were ordered for the site couldn’t be delivered in time to be put in the ground due to inclement weather conditions where they were grown in Idaho.

      The sprawling Stapleton parking area, which is close to Owl Creek Road, still has two lots that are unpaved, but SkiCo and the county are looking into ways to get that work completed.

      “The hope is to collaboratively pave the rest of the Stapleton lot,” Corbin said. “But we have to talk with [county manager] Jon Peacock about approval and funding first.”

      Commissioner Rachel Richards was concerned about the potential effects of having two lots made of solid concrete with drainage and runoff at last week’s board of county commissioners’ work session, saying she wanted to see a sound stormwater plan in place.

      “That’s creating a lot of impervious surface there,” Richards said. “How is it running off and where is it running off? And how’s it being treated? Those are all important components.”

      Pitkin County Public Works Director Brian Pettet said the idea of using tiles in the unpaved lots to allow for better drainage is being pursued.

      “One of the ideas, and this is something we’ll bring up in February, is to create a pervious surface made of tiles that will allow the water to infiltrate across that part of the lot,” he said. “So we’re going to see how much that costs as well.”

      He added that the county is “at the beginning of that project and is looking at all alternatives.”

      collin@aspendailynews.com

      Article source: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/164802

      Southern California in need of water usage behavioral shift



      Not long after 9/11, going to the airport included taking off your shoes and getting body scanned.

      With the advent of the smartphone, talking is giving way to texting.

      As almost all of California slips into a fourth year of severe, extreme or exceptional drought, are there similar benchmark behavioral changes we can expect regarding water?

      Most experts say no, not unless the 400 retail water agencies insert draconian penalties for water gluttons, or the state Legislature passes outright bans on “nonbeneficial” water uses such as lawns, fountains and swimming pools.

      Without the stick, there will be no dramatic behavioral change. People obey TSA rules because it is the law.

      “Are people going to become water saints, take 90-second showers and rip out their grass lawns? That’s not going to happen overnight,” said Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve in Los Angeles and a commissioner at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from 2008-2013.

      If there is one place where change is afoot, it is outdoors.

      Lawn psychology 101

      A quick perusal of State Water Resources Control Board rules regarding water conservation and those of most local cities and water agencies reveals the obvious: There’s a bull’s-eye on your lawn.

      Of all water provided to cities, 70 percent to 80 percent goes to outdoor irrigation. Some experts say Southern Californians waste 1 million acre-feet of water through excessive watering of lawns each year — about half the amount of water imported into the Los Angeles region each year.

      Voluntary water conservation measures in Los Angeles, for example, allow watering three days a week in summer. Some cities, such as Pasadena, have cut that to one day a week in fall and winter. The biggest target placed on green grass is from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is handing out $60 million in incentives in a two-year budget mostly for what is called turf removal. MWD has received turf removal requests worth $94 million — exceeding the budgeted amount, the agency reported last week.

      Rainfall amounts hit historic lows last year in Southern California. The snowmelt in the Sierra was at zero percent this past summer. And reservoirs and groundwater basins — reserves for non-rainy years — are dropping rapidly, in some cases causing the ground around them to lower by dozens of feet.

      In Los Angeles, a semi-arid region akin to cities along the Mediterranean Sea or in Australia, keeping a green lawn may no longer be practical.

      Mitch Howard, a landscape designer with a degree from Cal Poly Pomona, says 90 percent of his business arises from homeowners who want to replace their lawns with plants native to Southern California or a Mediterranean climate because they require far less water than a carpet of Kentucky bluegrass.

      “Close to 100 percent of my clients, the first question they ask is ‘How can I save water,’” said Howard, who has a bumper sticker on his truck that reads: “I killed my lawn. Ask me how.”

      Penny Falcon, water conservation manager at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, reported a tenfold increase in turf removal jobs from 2013 to 2014.

      But parting with one’s own lawn-scape unearths some deep psychological issues.

      “The lawn in Southern California is a symbol of social status. That is ingrained in our public consciousness and is very difficult to undue,” said Adan Ortega, a water consultant who develops conservation strategies for water districts in Southern California.

      Keeping a grass lawn neat and trimmed says we are in control, Howard said. A native-plant garden is more wild, less orderly — something that can create anxiety in some suburbanites.

      Watering a lawn can bring a homeowner a dose of security in a scary world, said Celeste Cantu, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), a joint-powers agency working on water conservation and consisting of large water districts from Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties.

      The fact that surviving without water is impossible is hard-wired in our brains, she said. “Sometimes that hard wiring is expressed by wasting a lot of water,” she said.

      It’s almost like the body gets sidetracked into bad habits over time.

      To bring about a paradigm shift in water use, Southern Californians need to get to know water better: where is comes from, where it goes, what it truly costs, Cantu said.

      “We are in a dysfunctional relationship with water. We don’t appreciate it. We take it for granted. We have to move from a dysfunctional relationship to a functional one.”

      To do that we must study history, she said.

      From zocalo to lawn

      The Santa Ana water authority — SAWPA — is embarking on a $22 million campaign to transform public lawns at warehouses, factories, schools and city halls into drought-tolerant landscapes. Sure it saves water but more importantly, they are living billboards for water conservation for anyone who drives by, she said.

      Better still would be if Cantu could show everyone pictures of her great-grandparents who came from Mexico and Prussia and lived in the Inland Empire not with lawns but with flowering roses, bushes and trees.

      “They didn’t have a water budget for nonessential things like grass. They had a relationship with water. They had a water ethic,” she said.

      Historian Michele Zack, who wrote several books on the history of Southern California and produced a film “Eaton’s Water” on pioneers and water development in Los Angeles County foothills, said settlers from the Midwest and East Coast brought with them the British version of a public-private lawn, aka the “idealized meadow.”

      This concept, made popular by American-born landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, replaced the zocalos or courtyards of plants, gardens, brick and tile — with manicured meadows called lawns.

      “They were outnumbered by people moving here from the Midwest and East Coast trying to show they could be civilized here,” Zack said.

      The only problem is that conditions on the East Coast are different than in Southern California.

      Zack, who is also chairman of Altadena Heritage, works with the environmental-historical group to host waterwise film festivals and an awards program for homes with the most drought-resistant landscaping.

      A fashion statement

      Zack and Cantu see a tide change in outdoor watering but stop short of calling it a paradigm shift — that is, a universal, societal swing.

      Instead, Cantu compares the turf-removal movement to a style choice, like switching from wide to skinny neckties.

      Nowadays, in more affluent communities, more people want to show off their ecological hubris by replacing their lawns, said Zack, a nod to individual empowerment. Howard, whose business, MLH Design Studio is based in Whittier, has clients in Spyglass, a well-off unincorporated hillside neighborhood overlooking southeast Los Angeles County.

      Cantu wouldn’t object to the state water board passing a rule that bans lawns without a benefit, adhering to the law in California that says all water must be put to beneficial use. “That would be a huge leap for the board. I don’t think we will see that any time soon,” she said.

      But through combinations of technology, a reluctance to pay higher water bills, and a green version of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” lawn removals will grow in Southern California, albeit slowly. And that kind of change is already happening.

      “We need to adjust our idea of what beauty is. That doesn’t happen overnight,” Zack said.

      Article source: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20141129/southern-california-in-need-of-water-usage-behavioral-shift

      Pennsylvania Garden Expo changes hands: George Weigel

      The Pennsylvania Garden Expo – the Harrisburg area’s annual late-winter gardening show – will have a new owner for its 2015 edition.

      The 2-year-old Central Pennsylvania chapter of the Illinois-based National Association of the Remodeling Industry will take the helm from Harrisburg-based Journal Multimedia, which has run the show since 2008.

      “We don’t plan on changing anything,” said Jessica Adams, NARI’s new Pennsylvania Garden Expo administrator. “We’re trying to keep it the same as it’s been. We have a marketing department that’s going to try and increase traffic, to try to make it bigger and better.”

      The 2015 show will be held in the same venue as the last several years – the North, Northwest and Northeast halls of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on Cameron Street, Harrisburg.

      Next year’s show dates are Feb. 27 and 28 and March 1, a week later than the 2014 Garden Expo.

      View full sizeA dozen display gardens are a main draw at the Pennsylvania Garden Expo, held each late winter in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. This one was built by Hummel Landscapes and Dreamscapes Watergardens for the 2014 show. 

      The main elements of the 3-day consumer show are about a dozen display gardens built by local landscapers, a Market Faire shopping area of about 125 vendors, and a lineup of educational talks at two different show-floor locations.

      “It was profitable for us,” said David Schankweiler, the CEO of Journal Multimedia, best known as the publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal and Central Penn Parent magazine. “We increased attendance and increased revenue each year.

      “But it was a stand-alone show for us. We have no website or publication tied to it like we do our other shows. As much as I loved it – (gardening) is something I do – it was a one-off for us.”

      Journal Multimedia will continue to run Family Festivals tied to Central Penn Parent.

      The company took over operation of the Garden Expo in 2008 and staged six shows, except for 2009 when the show was canceled in a tanking economic year.

      Schankweiler said annual attendance runs at about 15,000 visitors and has a regional pull.

      The Pennsylvania Garden Expo debuted as a 3-day event in 2003 in the new Exposition Hall of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.

      It was founded by the Pennsylvania Green Industry Foundation, a local organization set up to operate the show by its two original driving forces, Dennis Burd, then the owner of Country Market Nursery garden centers, and the late Terry Bush, whose Hood, Light and Geise firm did the marketing for 28 years for the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.

      Journal Multimedia kept the basic concept but added a few tweaks, such as a family night, a “Nighttime in the Gardens” feature in which the overhead lights are dimmed periodically over the display gardens to accent landscaping lighting, and the additional of regional wineries.

      The winery booths have grown into some of the show’s most popular stopping points.

      Adams said that one idea being considered for the 2015 show is setting up a “wine garden” to group all of the wineries in one gathering area.

      NARI is an organization of remodeling professionals whose members are committed to higher standards of education, ongoing training and ethical conduct.

      Its 30 local members are traditional home remodeling firms but also pool and spa companies, communications companies such as FOX43 and Comcast, printing companies and security companies.

      “Some of our members are hardscapers and landscapers who have been part of past Expos,” said Adams. “They came to our board and said they heard (Journal Multimedia) was planning to cancel the show. We threw around the idea of purchasing the show, and it worked out.”

      It’ll be the first show operated by NARI of Central Pennsylvania.

      Adams said Joseph Levendusky, owner of Levendusky Landscape of Wellsville, has agreed to continue coordinating the display gardens.

      NARI is currently booking vendors and speakers, finalizing sponsors and updating the show’s website, which will continue under the existing www.pagardenexpo.org address.

      Show admission will be $13 for adults at the door, the same as this year’s price. Discount programs will be continued for senior citizens, veterans, children under age 12 and those who arrive after 5 p.m.

      Schankweiler said Journal Multimedia staff often got comments from show-goers that they preferred the Harrisburg show to the huge, world-class Philadelphia Flower Show, which runs at the same time of year.

      “A lot of people said they’d rather come to this one because they can walk right up to the garden designers and talk to them,” said Schankweiler. “Plus, these are ideas people can actually do at home.”

      (Disclosure: The author is one of the annual speakers at Pennsylvania Garden Expo, paid to do so by Pennsylvania Media Group, which has sponsored some Expos in the past.)

      Article source: http://blog.pennlive.com/gardening/2014/11/pennsylvania_garden_expo_chang.html

      Seven Days of Play in Paradise – The News

      Spotlight

      Edison Ford Holiday Nights Historic homes and acres of gardens of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford decorated with lights, traditional decorations and Edison and Ford inventions. Self-guided tours, adults $20, children (6-12) $2, students ages 13 – college (must present college ID) $10, Edison Ford members free. Guided tours, adults $25, children (6-12) $8, students age 13 through college (must present college ID), $12. 5:30-9 p.m. Edison Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 334-7419. edisonfordwinterestates.org/events/annual-events/holiday-nights/

      Sunday

      Berne Davis Botanical Garden Take a peaceful walk and enjoy the Berne Davis Botanical Garden created with the work of 19 local garden clubs and 9 plant societies. Open every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free admission and parking. Fort Myers-Lee County Garden Council, 2166 Virginia Ave., Fort Myers, 332-4942. fmlcgardencouncil.com

      Coastal Sea life, Shelling Dolphin Cruise Cruise out with our marine biologist, or certified master naturalist, in pursuit of dolphins and manatee, and other wildlife. Learn about our diverse ecosystem and some of our local sea life, such as sea urchins, sea horses, conchs, brittle stars and more. Stop at a remote shelling barrier island along the way to look for shells, observe and learn about some of the sea life that may be found along the shoreline, and/or go for a swim. $35 per person, $25 for children 11 and under, no charge for infants under 12 months. 9 a.m.- noon Good Time Charters, 4765 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 218-8014. goodtimecharter.com

      Dolphin Nature Cruise Prepare for an afternoon of fun watching dolphins. Kids and adults will learn about dolphins and other marine wildlife on this cruise. $30 per person + Sales Tax. Noon-1:30 p.m. Banana Bay Tour Company, 5781 Cape Harbour Dr, Cape Coral, 728-8687. BananaBayTourCompany.com

      Edison Ford Holiday Nights Historic homes and acres of gardens of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford decorated with lights, traditional decorations and Edison and Ford inventions. Self-guided Tours – Adults $20 – children (6-12) $2 – students ages 13 – college (must present college ID) $10 Edison Ford Members free Guided Tours – Adults $25 – children (6-12) $8 – students age 13 through college (must present college ID). 5:30-9 p.m. Edison Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 334-7419. edisonfordwinterestates.org/events/annual-events/holiday-nights/

      Estero Bay Paddle Explore Florida’s first aquatic preserve with us. Estero Bay has diverse habitats including seagrass beds, mangrove islands, salt marshes, tidal flats and oyster bars. Relax in the comfort of a sea kayak with a Florida Master Naturalist as your guide. Bird watchers will love this tour. Reservations required. $45, all equipment included. 10 a.m.-noon. College of Life Foundation Inc., 8661 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-2184. collegeoflifefoundation.org

      Farmers Market Koreshan State Historic Site will be hosting a Farmers Market. There are more than 25 vendors registered. Patrons will be asked to pay the park entry fee of $5 and will have access to this beautiful park for the entire day. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 707-8102

      Free Sunset Cruise Spend $20 on an entree at Parrot Key on Sunday and board the Sight Sea-R for a free evening cruise. Reservations are required. 7-8 p.m. Salty Sams Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, 2500 Main St., Fort Myers Beach , 463-3257. myparrotkey.com

      Golden Gate Farmers Market Open-air farmers market featuring fresh produce and flea market items. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays. Sunshine Ace Hardware Shopping Center, 11725 Collier Blvd.., Naples, 206-4339. Farmermarket2.com

      Homes Harbour Nature Cruise View the multi million dollar estates and luxury yachts as we cruise the waterways that surround Cape Coral. On this tour you are sure to see elaborate landscaping an the homes of many snowbirds. $30 plus sales tax. 2:30-4 p.m. Banana Bay Tour Company, 5781 Cape Harbour Dr., Cape Coral, 728-8687. BananaBayTourCompany.com

      Manatee Kayak Tour Manatee Kayak Tour on wild creeks and rivers with GAEA Guides. Get up close and personal with these gentle giants and learn about their history, habitat and habits. Also learn some history of our natives and these waterways and the birds, plants and animals that call it home. $55 per person includes all equipment and a Fla. Master Naturalist as your guide Reservations required. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve, 17100 McDowell Dr., North Fort Myers. 694-5513. GAEAGuides.com

      Paddleboard Eco Tour Paddleboard with the dolphins and manatees with expert guides at Southwest Florida Standup. $60. 9-11:30 a.m. Estero Bay, 8600 Estero Blvd., Bonita Springs. 218-5549. swflstandup.com

      Paddleboard Yoga Paddleboard yoga in Bonita Springs with certified yoga instructor Marcie Gillis. Take your practice to the mat and learn about standup paddleboard techniques and safety. $25 per person, includes all gear; $15 if you have your own board, $10 if you bought your gear from us. 10-11:30 a.m. Sundays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.. Estero Bay, 8600 Estero Blvd., Bonita Springs. 218-5549. swflstandup.com

      Peace River Wildlife Center Tours Enjoy learning about our southwest Florida wildlife by visiting the Peace River Wildlife Center. The non-profit center rehabilitates injured and/or orphaned wildlife and releases the animals whenever possible. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Peace River Wildlife Center, 3400 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, 941-637-3830. PeaceRiverWildlifeCenter.com

      Sanibel Island Farmers Market More than 45 vendors at the market. Browse for fresh bread, local produce, honey, seafood, meats, and cheeses. Sundays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sanibel City Hall, 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel. 691-9249.

      Shelling in the Ten Thousand Islands Naples/Marco Reel Kind Fishing Tours takes passengers on shelling trips through the Ten Thousand Islands in Marco and Naples with a Florida Master Naturalist. Trips typically last 1.5 or 2.5 hours. Reservations required. Two for $75.Goodland Boating Park, Palm Point Drive, Goodland. 249-9878. reelkindfishing.com

      Monday

      Beginners Guide to Kayaking Learn basic paddle strokes from an experienced guide. This class is taught by GAEA Guides. Meeting location provided upon registration. Advance registration is required. $40 Cape Resident / $60 Non-Cape Resident (includes kayak, equipment). 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Eco Park, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, Cape Coral, 549-4606. CapeParks.com

      Estero River Kayak Join Koreshan State Historic Site and the College of Life Foundation as we guide you through the historic beauty of the Estero River. Beautiful live oaks and native palm trees create a canopy over this peaceful river. $45, all equipment included. Reservations required 9-11 a.m Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-2184. collegeoflifefoundation.org

      Fletchers Farmers Market Fresh local produce, local vendors 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays. Fletchers Farmers Market, 627 Cape Coral Pkwy W, Cape Coral, 542-7878. fletchersgrille.com

      Free Butterfly House Tour Free Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly House Tour every Monday, Friday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Reservations are not required. Rotary Park, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral, 549-4606. capeparks.com or ccfriendsofwildlife.org

      Peace River and Hunter Creek Estuary Bird Rookery Kayak TourWilderness and birds on the Peace River and its tributaries. Observe an active bird rookery. $40 per person includes equipment and a Certified Florida Master Naturalist as your guide. Reservations required. 2-5 p.m. every first Monday of the month. Hunter Creek Park, 9211 SW Liverpool Road., Arcadia. 694-5513. GAEAGuides.com

      Tuesday

      Estuary Kayak Tour in Estero Bay With GAEA Guides. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays. See herons, egrets, pelicans, osprey, dolphins, manatees and more. Learn about the estuary, and the many creatures that live in the mangrove forest and some history of our natives, the Calusa. $40 per person. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Estero Bay, 8600 Estero Blvd., Bonita Springs. 694-5513. GAEAGuides.com

      Guided Walk at Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park Join park staff on a stroll through natural plant communities. See firsthand the plants and animals that make southwest Florida so unique. Participants should be able to walk approximately one and a half miles. 9-11 a.m. Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park, 17980 Palm Beach Boulevard, Alva. 822-5212. LeeParks.org

      Guided Walks at CREW Marsh Trails Join CREW Land Water Trust volunteer and FL Master Naturalist, Dr. David Cooper, for a humorous and informative 2.5 to 3-hour guided walk at the CREW Marsh Hiking Trails. . 9 a.m.- noon CREW Marsh Trails, 4600 CR 850 (Corkscrew Road), Immokalee. PRICE: Free. CONTACT: 239-657-2253. WEBSITE: http://crewtrust.org

      Lunch Cruise to Historic Tarpon Lodge Calusa Indian Mounds on Pine Island This cruise will focus on the fishing cultures of Pine Island Sound from the indigenous Calusa to the spectacular tarpon and sport fishing of today. En-route to Pine Island passengers will get an up close look at historic fish houses before enjoying lunch at the Historic Tarpon Lodge and then have the opportunity to go on a guided walk on the Calusa Indian Mound Trail. $45/Adult $35/Child. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Captiva Cruises-McCarthy’s Marina, 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 472-5300. captivacruises.com

      Mound Key Archaeological State Park – Kayak TourKoreshan State Historic Site invites you to paddle to the cultural center of the Calusa Indians. Built from nearly 2,000 years of human activity and framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds rise more than 30 feet. The estuarine waters surrounding the island are within the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and are an excellent place to observe dolphin, manatee, sea turtles, and native Florida wading birds. Reservations required. $55, all equipment included. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. College of Life Foundation, 8661 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-2184. collegeoflifefoundation.org

      Tours of Historic Palm Cottage Docent-guided tours of Naples oldest house shed light on what life was once like. Tour the 3,500 sq. ft house-turned museum Tuesday-Saturday. Open year round. Admission $10, children 10 and younger free, members free. Admission includes access to The Norris Gardens at Palm Cottage, Cottage Theater, and the Archival Viewing Center. 1-4 p.m. Historic Palm Cottage, 137 12th Ave. South, Naples, 261-8164. napleshistoricalsociety.org

      Wednesday

      Bird Rookery Swamp Guided Walks Join our excellent volunteers for a 2.5-hour guided walk on a portion of the Bird Rookery Swamp trails. Learn the history, see wildlife, enjoy the views. 9-11:30 a.m. CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trails, 1295 Shady Hollow Blvd W, Naples. 657-2253. crewtrust.org

      Cocohatchee River/ Wiggins Pass Estuary Kayak Tour This is a beautiful estuary area, with mangroves and many birds, dolphins, manatees and other critters. $45 per person includes all equipment and a Florida Master Naturalist guide. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays. Cocohatchee River Park, 13531 Vanderbilt Dr., North Naples. 694-5513. GAEAGuides.com

      Estero River Kayak Join Koreshan State Historic Site and the College of Life Foundation as we guide you through the historic beauty of the Estero River. Beautiful live oaks and native palm trees create a canopy over this peaceful river. $45, all equipment included. Reservations required 8-10 a.m. Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-2184. collegeoflifefoundation.org

      Guided Botanical Garden Tour The Botanical Gardens at Sanibel Moorings Resort is overflowing with six acres of mature and unusual tropical flora and fauna. Join head gardener, Anita Force Marshall for an open to the public two hour walking tour. RSVP required $5 per person. Every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Sanibel Moorings Condominium Resort, 845 E Gulf Dr., Sanibel, 472-4119. sanibelmoorings.com

      Haunted History Tours downtown Fort Myers Haunted History Tours in downtown Fort Myers. Come hear about reputed paranormal activity in residences and office buildings. Tour isdelves into the darker more sinister side of our local history. Reservations required. $13. 8 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday. True Tours, 2200 First St, downtown Fort Myers, 945-0405. truetours.net

      Preschool Nature Programs These preschool programs generally include a story, a fun lesson, a hike, a game and a craft. Age 3 to 6. $5 per student. A parking fee is also required. 10-11:30 a.m. Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 19130 N. River Road, Alva. 822-5212. LeeParks.org

      Shelling Wildlife Cruise Step aboard the Sight Sea-R for a shelltastic time with our Captain who is also a naturalist. Visit the secluded SW Florida state park beaches that are only accessible by boat and have fun at the beach looking for shells Enjoy swimming and exploring the island, then it’s back on board to go watch the dolphins play. Adults are $32.50. Kids are $22.50. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Salty Sam’s Sight Sea-R, 2500 Main St., Fort Myers Beach, 765-7272. sightseaflorida.com

      Walking Tours of the Naples Historic District Walking Tours of the Naples Historic District are conducted throughout the year by knowledgeable docents who guide walkers on a one-mile, two hour tour thru back alleys, Cottage Row, Third Street South and more, while describing life from yesteryear. $16; Members Free. 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Historic Palm Cottage, 137 12th Avenue South, Naples, 261-8164. NaplesHistoricalSociety.org

      Thursday

      Dolphin Adventure Cruise Want to experience the amazing, graceful and beautiful wild dolphins that call Fort Myers home? Then this cruise is for you! The two-hour ecotour through Mantanzas Pass out to Sanibel Lighthouse and Causeway, allows guests to encounter the awesome animals that thrive in these local waters. The only requirement is a sense of adventure. Kids are $20. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Salty Sam’s Sight Sea-R, 2500 Main St, Fort Myers Beach, 765-7272. $30. sightseaflorida.com

      Estero Bay Paddle Explore Florida’s first aquatic preserve with us. Estero Bay has diverse habitats including seagrass beds, mangrove islands, salt marshes, tidal flats and oyster bars. Relax in the comfort of a sea kayak with a Florida Master Naturalist as your guide. Bird watchers will love this tour. Reservations required. $45, all equipment included. 10 a.m.-noon. College of Life Foundation Inc., 8661 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-2184. collegeoflifefoundation.org

      Farmers market Fresh farmers market located in the large field next to Gulf Coast Village. Locally grown produce, fresh pickles, jewelry, plants, sunglasses, food trucks and more. This farmers market will be every Thursday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gulf Coast Village, 1333 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral, 785-8361.

      Free Nature Wildlife Seminars at Rotary Park This is a program for anyone who is interested in learning about native and exotic species found in Cape Coral. This talk is free and open to all ages. Topic: Burrowing Owls. 1-2 p.m. Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral. 549-4606. CapeParks.com

      Living With Wildlife Learning to live in harmony with SW Florida’s unique insects, birds, mammals and other wildlife is easy when you understand, know and respect them. Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s own Dee Century will explain with pictures and video. 10 a.m.- noon Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, 3450 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers, 275-3435. calusanature.org

      Monthly Meeting of Southwest Florida Astronomical Society Monthly meetings of the Southwest Florida Astronomical Society, open to the public. 7:30-9 p.m. the first Thursday of the month. Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, 3450 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers , 275-3435. calusanature.org

      Oxbow Kayak Tour This class will introduce you to the basic techniques of paddling and then you will have the opportunity to use your new skills for a guided trip. We will paddle the beautiful oxbow islands of the Caloosahatchee River for a two-hour guided and informational tour. All kayaking equipment is provided. Register online. $25 per person. 9-11 a.m. Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 19130 N. River Road, Alva. 533-7440. LeeParks.org

      River District Farmers Market This green market offers a variety of local produce, seafood, baked goods, honey, nuts, cheese, flowers, plants and more. Held year round Thursdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. under the Caloosahatchee Bridge in the Centennial Park parking lot. Centennial Park, 2000 West First St., Fort Myers, 321-7100.

      True Tours Historical Walking Tours 90-minute historical walking tours are done to educate and entertain with stories of local history, and talk about personalities of the founding fathers who built Fort Myers. Reservations are required. $12 plus tax. 10:30 a.m.- noon. Thursdays and Saturdays. True Tours, 2200 First St., downtown Fort Myers, 945-0405. truetours.net

      Friday, Dec. 5

      Bird Beaches and Mangrove Creeks of Bunche Beach Kayak Tour A protected wild area of shallow waters, lots of birds and a variety of other creatures, including dolphin and manatee. $55 per person includes all equipment and a Florida Master Naturalist guide. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. the first Friday of the month. Bunche Beach Preserve, 18201 John Morris Road, Fort Myers. 694-5513. GAEAGuides.com

      Estero River Kayak Join Koreshan State Historic Site and the College of Life Foundation as we guide you through the historic beauty of the Estero River. Beautiful live oaks and native palm trees create a canopy over this peaceful river. $45, all equipment included. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-noon. Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-2184. collegeoflifefoundation.org

      Free Gardening Series at Rotary Park Program offered by the Lee County Master Gardeners. Topic: Using Color in Your Garden. 9-10:30 a.m. Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral. 549-4606. CapeParks.com

      Full Moon Paddle Paddle around the waters of Eco Preserve by the light of the full moon. Meeting location given upon registration. Advance registration is required. $30 Cape Residents / $45 Non-Cape Residents. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Eco Park, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, East end of S.E. 23rd Terrace, Cape Coral, 549-4606. CapeParks.com

      Lakes Park Farmers Market Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and shopping at the Lakes Park Farmers Market. This farmer’s market has over 60 vendors offering fresh produce, fruit smoothies, meats, seafood, and more! Look for unique and hand-crafted gifts, like our soap, baskets, jewelry, and paintings. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays. Lakes Park, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, south Fort Myers. 691-9249

      Saturday, Dec. 6

      2014 Swamp Heritage Festival Join as we celebrate the history and culture of South Florida.Learn about the history of this rugged, yet beautiful environment through park rangers, volunteers, local experts and residents that will share their love of the swamp through live perfomances, activities, and thought-provoking presentations. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Big Cypress National Preserve, 33000 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, 695-4757. nps.gov/bicy/planyourvisit/swampheritagefestival.htm

      Annual Bromeliad Plant Sale Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society’s annual sale of bromeliads from around the world. Also driftwood, garden supplies and friendly advice. Free parking and admission. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Terry Park, 3410 Palm Beach Blvd. Fort Myers. 694-4738.

      Bike the Loop – 12-Mile Bike Ride at BRS Join CREW Trust staff members as we bicycle the full 12-mile loop at Bird Rookery Swamp. This is a trail ride on uneven, soft, grassy/sandy trails. Ground level with swamp on both sides of the trail. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trails, 1295 Shady Hollow Blvd. W, Naples. 657-2253. crewtrust.org

      Bonita Springs Farmers Market Located at The Promenade at Bonita Bay, the farmers market offers locally grown and produced items including everything from garden-fresh fruits and vegetables to cut flowers, decorative plants, baked goods, local seafood, honey, jams, and much more. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Promenade At Bonita Bay, 26811 S Bay Drive, Bonita Springs. 691-9249.

      Bonsai Class Learn to design and style your own bonsai tree with teacher’s assistance.Our class is a two-part series. Fee $115 includes a tree, a pot, textbook and the classes. Contact us to sign up. $35 deposit required. 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wigert’s Bonsai Nursery, 2930 South Road, North Fort Myers, 543-2234. wigertsbonsai.com

      Cape Coral Farmers’ Market Fresh local produce, Gulf-fresh seafood, baked goods, native plants and trees, crafts, jewelry, and live music. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Cape Coral Farmer’s Market, SE 47th Terr SE 10th Pl. Club Square, Cape Coral. 549-6900. capecoralfarmersmarket.com

      Downtown Revitalization Tour This 60-minute tour showcases the growth of historic downtown from its decline in the early 1960’s to recent multi-award winning redevelopment and revitalization projects. Tours held the first Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m. $10 plus tax reservations required. True Tours, 2200 First St., downtown Fort Myers, 945-0405. truetours.net

      Estuary Kayak Tour in Estero Bay See herons, egrets, pelicans, osprey, dolphins, manatees and more. Learn about the estuary, and the many creatures that live in the mangrove forest and some history of our natives, the Calusa. $40 per person. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Estero Bay, 8600 Estero Blvd., Bonita Springs. 694-5513. GAEAGuides.com

      Fort Myers Founding Females Tour Learn about the female influence on the early development of Fort Myers from 1873 through 1945. Their intrinsic contributions to the arts, culture and beautification of the area has helped define Fort Myers as we know it today. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in front of the Franklin Shops in downtown Fort Myers. Reservations required. $12. 10:30 a.m. True Tours, 2200 First St, downtown Fort Myers, 945-0405. truetours.net

      GreenMarket Farmer’s Market Find local produce, seafood, honey, cheeses, baked goods, plants and gardening supplies, and more. Live music, free wi-fi, and free classesin a natural setting that the whole family can enjoy. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Alliance for The Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 939-2787.

      Guided Walk at Caloosahatchee Regional Park Join park staff on a stroll through natural plant communities. See firsthand the plants and animals that make southwest Florida so unique. Participants should be able to walk approximately one and a half miles. Dress appropriately and bring a water bottle. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 9-11 a.m. Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 18500 N River Road, Alva, 822-5212. LeeParks.org

      Moonlight Madness at CNCP! Rediscover your wild side and join us for an evening of full moon fun. The planetarium will be open with shows, there will be viewing the moon with telescopes and help from the SWFL Astronomical Society, African Drumming with Ndakhte and guided night hikes out on the trails. Regular admission prices apply. 7-9 p.m. Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, 3450 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers , 275-3435. calusanature.org

      Moonlit Fakahatchee Tram Tour The Friends of Fakahatchee are offering a Moonlit Tram Tour of Fakahatchee Strand.The two-hour Moonlit Tram Tour will start at 5:30 pm at Park Headquarters at 137 Coastline Drive, Copeland. An experienced naturalist will lead each tour and demonstrate communication with denizens of the night, including fireflies, bats and owls. $35. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, 137 Coastline Drive, Copeland. 695-1023. fofreservation.eventbrite.com

      Rotary Park Flea Market Find old things, new things, fruits and vegetables, crafts and more at Rotary Park’s outdoor Flea Market. Be a vendor and sell your wares or have your yard sale at Rotary. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral. 549-4606. CapeParks.com

      Sunset to Starlight boat tour This naturalist-led small boat adventure takes place in the evening. Guests will visit a remote section of Keewaydin Island. Stroll along and enjoy beachcombing until sunset. $90 non-members, $80 members. 4:30-7:30 p.m. Rookery Bay Environmental Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples, 530-5972. rookerybay.org

      True Tours History Tour Of Matlacha Island Cost is $10. Reservations required. 9 a.m. Lovegrove Gallery Gardens, 4637 Pine Island Road, Matlacha. 45-0405. truetours.net

      Article source: http://www.news-press.com/story/life/outdoors/2014/11/29/seven-days-play-paradise/19661607/