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Archives for February 13, 2015

Students for a Sustainable Stanford hold panel on agriculture and climate change

On Feb. 10, over 100 Stanford community members attended “Crops and Carbon: Agriculture and Climate Change Demystified,” a panel sponsored by the Climate and Energy subgroup of Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS) and the Stanford School of Earth, Energy Environmental Sciences. The panel was the third in a quarterly series focusing on demystifying various issues associated with climate change.

Emma Hutchinson ‘17, co-leader of the Climate and Energy subgroup (CE), said that the group hopes to raise public awareness of the interdisciplinary importance of global climate change through the panels they host. CE ensured that they remained unbiased in their presentation of the topic by including panelists from all sides of the issue both from within and outside Stanford.

“Our goal is always to bring in people with very different views and very different backgrounds and put them all in the same room together,” Hutchinson said. “This is a topic that really matters in today’s society, and through the conversation you see it from all angles.”

Following introductions by the leaders of CE, the panel was moderated by Pamela Matson, Dean of the School of Earth, Energy Environmental Sciences. Audience members listened to five panelists, including executives at Pie Ranch and the Climate Corporation, an ecology researcher from the Carnegie Institute for Science and two Stanford Earth science professors.

To select a topic for the panel, CE brainstormed ideas during their meetings and voted on several to present to the School of Earth Sciences. Matson, the panel’s co-sponsor, selected the final topic: the relationship between agriculture and climate change – the topic for which she felt most comfortable moderating.

“It’s just a really unique conversation and I don’t think it happens that much on campus,” Hutchinson said.

The panel’s discussion topics ranged from the role of new technology in measuring and decreasing agricultural waste to ways that agriculture can combat or even capitalize on climate change.

“It covered a lot of really cool ‘next big things’ with regard to agriculture,” said audience member John Latimer ‘18.

Other attendees agreed and said that they found it interesting how the panel incorporated advanced technology and statistics into a practice as old as agriculture.

Hutchinson thought that the panel was a positive experience for students in CE and SSS as well, noting that it was a good way for group members to gain experience in event planning and coordination. She also hoped that the interdisciplinary nature of the panel helped get everyone excited about all aspects of handling the effects of climate change.

The panel’s focus on boosting public awareness aligns with SSS’s main goal of increasing the visibility of sustainability efforts on and off campus. In addition to CE, SSS consists of four other subgroups, all of which are hard at work on sustainability projects of their own. Their projects include piloting an aqueous ozone project in Stanford Delta Delta Delta and Florence Moore Hall; lobbying for xeriscaping, or landscaping with drought-tolerant plants, in the Meyer soon-to-be open space and around campus; building bluebird houses at the Dish and hosting Environmental Justice Week, which took place two weeks ago.

“I really feel like this is a unique group on campus in that everyone here wants to change the world,” Hutchinson said.

SSS is also working with the Green Alliance for Innovative Action (GAIA) to create a list of long-term sustainability goals for Stanford to achieve by the year 2050. SSS co-president Zack Gold ‘15 is excited about the progress that SSS is making and noted that the University has been receptive to their initiatives so far.

“We’re hoping to work with the faculty and administration in really pushing Stanford to continue to be a leader in a lot of [sustainability] things that Stanford can really do,” Gold said.

Given the enthusiasm and dedication of SSS members, Gold and Hutchinson believe that the group has the ability to continue advancing Stanford’s sustainability agenda. They hope to continue working with other student groups as well as with the general student body to promote the sustainability movement.


Contact Zachary Birnholz at

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Better Living Expo big draw for homeowners

More than 120 vendors, door prizes, giveaways and live demonstrations will again be under one roof.

The three-day Better Living Expo and Fine Arts Show returns to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 20.

This year marks the 50th anniversary for the Optimist Club’s biggest fundraiser, said event chairman Mike DeFiore.

The Optimist Club is a civic organization that has been serving Salisbury’s younger generations for the last 60 years.

“All of our programs are youth oriented,” DeFiore said. “We have oratorical, essay and art contests and athletic programs, and we provide scholarships in the spring for all five local high schools including Delmar. The Better Living Expo basically funds all of this.”

Past expos have featured animals from the Salisbury Zoo, face painting, clowns and jugglers for the kids, a multitude of area contractors with the newest innovations for home and garden and an entire room devoted to arts and crafts.

This year’s vendors will showcase landscaping companies, contractors, HVAC companies, custom-made Dutch furniture and quilts, gutter and leaf relief, pest control, insurance agencies and health and fitness booths. The show will also feature arts and crafts from local artisans.

“Weather permitting, Mark Williams will be giving live blacksmith demonstrations outside on Saturday,” DeFiore said. “He will be making a variety of items for sale like fireplace utensils and twisted nail puzzles.”

Tyler Building Company will also be participating in the Better Living Expo for the 10th year. Co-owner Nikki Tyler said the show is great exposure for her and her husband’s business.

“We have had great success with the show,” Tyler said. “It gives us a chance to showcase our work and to meet people we normally wouldn’t have the chance to.”

DeFiore said he is expecting about 6,000 people to attend this year’s event.

“Our hopes are that people will be able to find some great home improvement ideas, find some wonderful gifts and just have a fun day outside of the house with the family,” DeFiore said.

If You Go

What: Better Living Expo

When: 4-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22

Where: Wicomico Youth Civic Center

Cost: $1 Friday; $4 Saturday and Sunday. Children under 12 are free.

Online: facebook/SalisburyOptimist or

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Peek inside Great Big Home and Garden Show’s new features and must-see …

CLEVELAND, Ohio — You’ll feel right at home at this year’s Great Big Home and Garden Show going on at the I-X Center through Sunday. 

The annual event features over 650 exhibitors there to help with remodeling tips, interior design, landscaping and much more. The 10-day show wraps up this weekend with celebrity appearances by host of HGTV’s 2015 Dream Home Matt Muenster and ‘Top Secret Recipes’ author Todd Wilbur. You can also check out Plain Dealer reporter Julie Washington’s 10 cool things to see and do at the show. 

Watch the video above to get a sneak peek look inside the display. 

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Yard MD blog: Garden Expo is here

Get a taste of what’s new and exciting for 2015 for Wisconsin gardeners at the annual Wisconsin Garden Expo sponsored by Wisconsin Public Television this weekend.

Held in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center, this year’s show is sure to give you plenty of new ideas for plants, new ways to garden, new products, garden art and décor, outdoor living and so much more.

The Wisconsin Garden Expo begins today and runs through Sunday. Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets can be purchased locally at the Green Bay Botanical Garden or Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh. Parking costs are separate.

New to the expo this year is the Farmers Market at Garden Expo, which will take place Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the atrium, featuring all the fun of a farmers market, food and fun.

You’ll find vendors such as the Wisconsin Hosta Society selling live plants to whet your appetite for the coming growing season, along with hundreds of spring bulbs in full bloom, colorful orchids, cacti and more.

More Yard MD: Theme gardens celebrate love | Catalog favorites by plant type

You’ll also find tons of great landscaping projects and ideas from various vendors throughout the Midwest.

Many local growers and suppliers will be on hand featuring their take on gardening and outdoor living in 2015.

In addition to the vendors, simply sit back and enjoy the beauty of the central garden, fully landscaped with heavenly scented blooming bulbs, shrubs, and more, along with a soothing, flowing stream.

You will also find a number of vendors available to answer your questions and provide educational materials all types of gardening projects including invasive species, garden design, native plants and much more.

Seminars and workshops will cover a wide range of gardening projects and themes. Some are free, though seating is limited, while other workshops may carry a fee.

With temperatures expected only to reach the single digits for highs all weekend long, visiting the Wisconsin Garden Expo is the perfect way to experience the warmth and beauty of spring and get your creative gardening spirit flowing.

For the full listing of events, workshops and seminars for the three-day event, visit

—Rob Zimmer, Post-Crescent staff writer, writes Yard MD every Friday. He can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 7154 or yardmd@postcrescent. com; on Twitter @YardMD.

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Regional Home & Garden Show set Feb. 20-22 at TRAC in Pasco

Local News

Time capsule to be opened in 2389 sealed shut in Richland (w/video)

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Home and garden calendar for week of Feb. 14 – The Courier


Thieneman’s Herbs and Perennials “Sowing Seeds and Taking Cuttings.” 9120 Blowing Tree Road, 10 a.m.-noon Saturday; 1-3 p.m. Sunday. Learn from professionals how to be successful with starting seeds and cuttings. $35, includes materials. Registration, (502) 296-1499.

Bullitt County Extension Service classes, 384 Halls Lane, Shepherdsville:

“Orchard Production.” 6-9 p.m. Monday. Basics of fruit production.

“Garden Prep.” 6-8:30 p.m. Feb. 27. Learn how to prepare your garden for the next growing season.

Free. Registration required, (502) 543-2257.

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest “Smart Gardens and Landscapes: Fruit Trees.” 2499 Clermont Road, Clermont, 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 21. Learn how to plan, care for and harvest from trees. $15; $10, members. Reservations due by 4 p.m. the day before, (502) 955-8512.

“2015 New Introductions and Current Trends in Cultivated Plants — Annuals, Perennials, Herbs, Shrubs and Trees.” Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York St., 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Presented by the Jefferson County Master Gardeners Association. Speakers: June Sandercock, an association member; and Jeff Wallitsch of Wallitsch Garden Center. Free.

Clubs and meetings

Riverside Garden Club. Riverside — The Farnsley Moreman Landing, 7410 Moorman Road, 11 a.m. Saturday. Speaker: Ray Rock, nursery manager for Stephenson Garden Center and Landscaping on home gardening. (502) 935-6809.

Southern Indiana Botanical Society. Walnut Ridge Nursery, 2108 Hamburg Pike, Jeffersonville, 7 p.m. Feb. 26. Discussion on “Incorporating Old and New” with certified landscape architect Dave Julius and garden center manager Donna Kunz.

Email items to The deadline to receive items for next Saturday’s column is noon Tuesday.

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Tips On Kitchen Gardening #propertyinsights

Kitchen gardens have been around since people decided to grow plants for their own use rather than gathering them from the wild. Kitchen Gardens are not only a great use for extra back yard space, they also make tasty cooking more convenient as you can grow your own herbs such as rosemary or mint and use them as you please.

There are a few things you will need to buy if you do not already have, before you embark on this fulfilling journey. Planting tools such as a spade, a hoe, gardening gloves, a garden hose, a wheelbarrow or bucket and a watering just to mention a few.

It is important to know when long and short rains are so as to keep alert to the weather patterns in your area. Before you start, here are a few tips to guide you:

Picking a spot.

Picking a spot where you would like to have your kitchen garden is important, as this will determine whether your plants will strive or thrive. A sunny spot, one that gets a good amount of sun will do. Soil type is also key as you want soil that drains well, that is it doesn’t drain too fast or hold water for too long, so loam soil is ideal. You’ll also need to make sure that the soil is healthy enough to sustain life so adding compost to it will continue to nurture the soil and grow healthy plants.

What to plant.

When deciding what to plant, you must really do your homework and get to know what the plants need in terms of water, soil fertility and temperature; however as a first timer it’s advisable to start small and plant what you like to eat. Growing what you like to eat is rewarding as you will tend to look forward to a bountiful harvest. Crops such as chilies, rosemary, sukumawiki, and tomatoes will do well. You could plant these crops from either seeds or seedlings, though seeds are cheaper though they’ll take longer to grow.

Maintaining your garden.

This is easier than you think. To start with, you need to keep your soil healthy by adding mulch in the form of leaves, cut grass or dead weeds to it. This wards off pests and helps keep moisture in the soil. Remember to water your plants regularly especially for the younger plants that haven’t developed a deep root structure yet. Putting up a small fence around your garden will also help keep off birds and other pests.

The most fulfilling thing about a kitchen garden is that you not only get to see the transformation of seeds to healthy plants, but you also get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Get more property insights from Pam Golding.

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This week’s gardening tips: lawn weed killers, harvest parsley, plants for …

If needed, apply lawn weed killers to control cool-season weeds before they have more time to grow. There is no advantage in delaying. Make sure the product is safe for the type of grass you have. Follow label directions carefully, and spray on a mild day with a high of 60 degrees or above. Do not use weed and feed products. It’s too early to fertilize.

Harvest parsley regularly by breaking off the lower, older leaves. There’s still time to plant parsley transplants now for harvest through early summer.

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Top Five Tips for Watering Your Lawn & Garden…

You can’t always count on Mother Nature to water your lawn and garden when they need it, so the experts at Rain Your Way install, maintain, and upgrade in-ground irrigation systems to keep your landscape looking lush and healthy. They also offer these five top tips for efficient watering to save you time and money, decrease water waste, and protect your grass and plants.

1)    Water only when you have to. Your lawn doesn’t need to be watered every day. In fact, overwatering can cause root damage and lead to fungus growth and disease. Look for signs that your grass is thirsty: a bluish-green hue, curling at the ends, and footprints that remain longer than usual. These are signs that your grass needs to be watered.

2)    Water in the morning. The period just before to just after dawn is prime time for watering. The air is still and cool, slowing evaporation so that the water has time to sink into the grass or soil and penetrate the roots. Set your sprinklers to run sometime between 4 and 10 a.m.

3)    Spritz your landscape on hot afternoons. When the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), run the sprinklers lightly for about 10-15 minutes mid-afternoon. This misting will keep plants cool and keep your lawn from developing the patchiness common in summer.

4)    Set zones and water problem areas. Setting your sprinkler to run one problem zone manually will not disrupt your scheduled watering days and times.  Ask an expert at Rain Your Way for a walk through, or upgrade your system to accomplish this effectively.

5)    Place sprinklers strategically. Your driveway, sidewalk, garage, and other non-living structures don’t require water, but sprinklers often end up covering these areas, wasting water. Ensure the sprinklers of your in-ground irrigation system are placed in such a way that only the things that need water — your yard and garden — get it.

Proper watering not only keeps your yard and garden healthy and green, but it also saves the environment and saves you money by reducing water waste. The experts at Rain Your Way will install, maintain, or upgrade your in-ground irrigation system to ensure it provides the most efficient watering possible. Contact them today for your free quote!

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Gardening column: Tips for taking care of cut roses and planting indoor seeds This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

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