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Archives for December 3, 2015

Waterwise: A how-to guide to a rain garden – Visalia Times

Note: This is the second of two articles from Master Gardener Nancy Hawkins on suggestions for uses of water from the predicted rain this winter.

Rain garden

A new solution I have been reading about lately is a rain garden. On a recent Master Gardener tour of the Cal Poly, SLO arboretum, the docent showed me an example of a rain garden. Rain gardens are similar to retention basins, but smaller. They are landscaped areas planted with wild flowers and other vegetation that soak up rain water coming from a roof, driveway or other surfaces.

In a storm, the rain garden fills with a few inches of water which slows the flow of water over the surface of the landscape, thus increasing infiltration of water into the water table while filtering the water and reducing pollutants. Water soaks into the ground rather than running off into storm drains. Compared to a conventional patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30 percent more water to soak into the ground.

Rain gardens produce substantial neighborhood and community environmental benefits. Rain gardens work for us in several ways:

• Increasing the amount of water that filters into the ground, recharging local and regional aquifers.

• Helping protect communities from flooding and drainage problems.

• Helping protect streams and lakes from pollutants carried by urban storm water.

• Enhancing the beauty of yards and neighborhoods.

• Providing valuable habitat for birds, butterflies and insects.

Home rain gardens can be in one of two places: near the house to catch only roof runoff or farther out in the lawn to collect water from the roof and other hard surfaces and the lawn. The rain garden should be integrated into existing and future landscaping. It should be located at least 10 feet from the house so water doesn’t seep into the foundation, in full or partial sun, and in a level part of your yard.

Any reasonably-sized rain garden will provide some storm water runoff control. A typical residential rain garden ranges from 100 to 300 square feet.

Planning for a rain garden

Depth

A typical rain garden is between four and eight inches deep. One more than eight inches deep might allow water to stand too long, look like a hole in the ground, and present a hazard for someone stepping into it. A rain garden less than four inches deep will need an excessive amount of surface area to provide enough water storage to handle the runoff from larger storms. No matter what the depth of the rain garden, the goal is to keep it level. The slope of the yard should determine the depth of the rain garden.

Soil type

After choosing the depth of your rain garden, identify the soil type — sand, loam or clay. Sandy soils have the fastest infiltration, clay soils have the slowest, and loamy soils are in the middle.

Drainage area

The next step in choosing your rain garden size is to find the area that will drain to the rain garden. As the size of the drainage area increases so should the size of the rain garden.

Digging the rain garden

While digging the rain garden to the correct depth, heap the soil around the edges to create a berm. The berm will need to be highest at the downhill side, becoming lower on the sides and gradually taper off by the time it reaches the top of the rain garden. In a garden with a slight slope, there should be plenty of soil from digging out the rain garden to use for the berm. After shaping the berm into a smooth ridge about a foot across, compact the soil. The berm should have very gently sloping sides; this helps smoothly integrate the rain garden with the surrounding landscape and also makes the berm less susceptible to erosion.

Planting the rain garden

Planting a rain garden is the fun part. An appealing variety of native wildflowers, ferns, grasses, shrubs, and trees thrive in moist soil. Your rain garden can be divided into three wetness zones. In the lowest zone, plant species that can tolerate short periods of standing water as well as fluctuating water levels. Species that can tolerate extremes of wet soils and dry periods are appropriate for the middle zone. Plants that prefer drier conditions go along the outer edge of a rain garden.

Use as many native California or compatible Mediterranean plants as possible. When finished planting, add a three-inch layer of an organic mulch to suppress weeds.

Changes to Visalia’s outdoor watering schedule

Outdoor watering will be prohibited over the next three months in Visalia.

The water-saving move comes as the winter schedule became effective on Dec. 1 and lasts until February.

“While the recent rains and forecasted El Niño winter should help to replenish out water resources, it will take more than one good winter to recover from four years of exceptional drought,” said Kim Loeb, Visalia Natural Resource Conservation manager.

There are exceptions to the watering schedule. Watering of shrubs, trees or vegetables is allowed using a watering can or hose fitted with a shut-off nozzle. Car washing is also allowed with a hand-held bucket or a hose with a shut-off nozzle.

Visalia residents are encouraged to continue conserving water, following the city ordinances.

Washing of sidewalks, driveways or other paved areas is prohibited, unless it is necessary for the health and safety of the public. Use of low-flow, high pressure washer is required. Water runoff is prohibited.

Washing off buildings is also prohibited, unless preparing for the building for sale or painting. Use of a low-flow, high-pressure water is required. Runoff is prohibited.

Online: www.gogreenvisalia.com.

In Tulare, there is no outdoor watering in December and January.

Waterwise is a news and notes column Reporter Luis Hernandez compiles. Send Waterwise ideas and suggestions to the reporter on Twitter @lfhernanvtd.

Online

raingardens.org

ucanr.org/sites/scmgfiles/122826url

ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/Feature_Articles/RAIN_GARDENS__Practical_and_Beautiful

ucanr.edu/sites/raingardens

sunset.com/raingardens

Article source: http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/tulare/2015/12/02/waterwise-guide-rain-garden/76701464/

Waterwise: A how-to guide to a rain garden – Visalia Times

Note: This is the second of two articles from Master Gardener Nancy Hawkins on suggestions for uses of water from the predicted rain this winter.

Rain garden

A new solution I have been reading about lately is a rain garden. On a recent Master Gardener tour of the Cal Poly, SLO arboretum, the docent showed me an example of a rain garden. Rain gardens are similar to retention basins, but smaller. They are landscaped areas planted with wild flowers and other vegetation that soak up rain water coming from a roof, driveway or other surfaces.

In a storm, the rain garden fills with a few inches of water which slows the flow of water over the surface of the landscape, thus increasing infiltration of water into the water table while filtering the water and reducing pollutants. Water soaks into the ground rather than running off into storm drains. Compared to a conventional patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30 percent more water to soak into the ground.

Rain gardens produce substantial neighborhood and community environmental benefits. Rain gardens work for us in several ways:

• Increasing the amount of water that filters into the ground, recharging local and regional aquifers.

• Helping protect communities from flooding and drainage problems.

• Helping protect streams and lakes from pollutants carried by urban storm water.

• Enhancing the beauty of yards and neighborhoods.

• Providing valuable habitat for birds, butterflies and insects.

Home rain gardens can be in one of two places: near the house to catch only roof runoff or farther out in the lawn to collect water from the roof and other hard surfaces and the lawn. The rain garden should be integrated into existing and future landscaping. It should be located at least 10 feet from the house so water doesn’t seep into the foundation, in full or partial sun, and in a level part of your yard.

Any reasonably-sized rain garden will provide some storm water runoff control. A typical residential rain garden ranges from 100 to 300 square feet.

Planning for a rain garden

Depth

A typical rain garden is between four and eight inches deep. One more than eight inches deep might allow water to stand too long, look like a hole in the ground, and present a hazard for someone stepping into it. A rain garden less than four inches deep will need an excessive amount of surface area to provide enough water storage to handle the runoff from larger storms. No matter what the depth of the rain garden, the goal is to keep it level. The slope of the yard should determine the depth of the rain garden.

Soil type

After choosing the depth of your rain garden, identify the soil type — sand, loam or clay. Sandy soils have the fastest infiltration, clay soils have the slowest, and loamy soils are in the middle.

Drainage area

The next step in choosing your rain garden size is to find the area that will drain to the rain garden. As the size of the drainage area increases so should the size of the rain garden.

Digging the rain garden

While digging the rain garden to the correct depth, heap the soil around the edges to create a berm. The berm will need to be highest at the downhill side, becoming lower on the sides and gradually taper off by the time it reaches the top of the rain garden. In a garden with a slight slope, there should be plenty of soil from digging out the rain garden to use for the berm. After shaping the berm into a smooth ridge about a foot across, compact the soil. The berm should have very gently sloping sides; this helps smoothly integrate the rain garden with the surrounding landscape and also makes the berm less susceptible to erosion.

Planting the rain garden

Planting a rain garden is the fun part. An appealing variety of native wildflowers, ferns, grasses, shrubs, and trees thrive in moist soil. Your rain garden can be divided into three wetness zones. In the lowest zone, plant species that can tolerate short periods of standing water as well as fluctuating water levels. Species that can tolerate extremes of wet soils and dry periods are appropriate for the middle zone. Plants that prefer drier conditions go along the outer edge of a rain garden.

Use as many native California or compatible Mediterranean plants as possible. When finished planting, add a three-inch layer of an organic mulch to suppress weeds.

Changes to Visalia’s outdoor watering schedule

Outdoor watering will be prohibited over the next three months in Visalia.

The water-saving move comes as the winter schedule became effective on Dec. 1 and lasts until February.

“While the recent rains and forecasted El Niño winter should help to replenish out water resources, it will take more than one good winter to recover from four years of exceptional drought,” said Kim Loeb, Visalia Natural Resource Conservation manager.

There are exceptions to the watering schedule. Watering of shrubs, trees or vegetables is allowed using a watering can or hose fitted with a shut-off nozzle. Car washing is also allowed with a hand-held bucket or a hose with a shut-off nozzle.

Visalia residents are encouraged to continue conserving water, following the city ordinances.

Washing of sidewalks, driveways or other paved areas is prohibited, unless it is necessary for the health and safety of the public. Use of low-flow, high pressure washer is required. Water runoff is prohibited.

Washing off buildings is also prohibited, unless preparing for the building for sale or painting. Use of a low-flow, high-pressure water is required. Runoff is prohibited.

Online: www.gogreenvisalia.com.

In Tulare, there is no outdoor watering in December and January.

Waterwise is a news and notes column Reporter Luis Hernandez compiles. Send Waterwise ideas and suggestions to the reporter on Twitter @lfhernanvtd.

Online

raingardens.org

ucanr.org/sites/scmgfiles/122826url

ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/Feature_Articles/RAIN_GARDENS__Practical_and_Beautiful

ucanr.edu/sites/raingardens

sunset.com/raingardens

Article source: http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/tulare/2015/12/02/waterwise-guide-rain-garden/76701464/

Start Planning Next Year’s Garden With Native Plants in Mind

As the Native Plant Society of New Jersey points out, winter is a great time to start planning next year’s garden. And homeowners who haven’t already are urged to think ecologically, and go native.

“Native plants have evolved over thousands of years to be adapted to conditions in a particular region and to the other plants and animals around them,” explains the Barnegat Bay Partnership. “Natives thrive in our local climate and soil.”

Daniel Hoch and Adrienne Cerefice, who own Hoch’s Landscaping and Garden Center, at 229 South Main St. in Barnegat, concur, noting, “Native plants, especially a mix of native plants … work best with our natural environment – soils, animals, birds and bees.

“Natives allow for easy success, lower maintenance and water, as well as a greater resistance to pests and diseases. A well-chosen mix of native plants can offer year-round interest, with spring, summer, fall and winter color.” They also provide pollinators and wildlife with food, shelter and nesting sites.

In addition to requiring less water – saving property owners time and money – another important note about natives, says the BBP, is that their roots “hold soil in place, increase infiltration of rainwater into the ground, and filter pollutants from our water. Since natives need less fertilizer, they help reduce the quantity of fertilizer that stormwater can carry into our waterways and the Barnegat Bay.”

“Barnegat Bay has been in serious ecological decline due to many human activities that take place on the watershed lands that drain to the bay,” notes Bayscape for Barnegat Bay, an American Littoral Society program that encourages individuals and groups throughout the watershed to become better stewards of the coast.

“Scientific studies have shown that large quantities of the stormwater (nutrient) pollution entering the bay is from non-point sources due to land use and development. We can all help protect and restore the bay by implementing native plant gardens and reducing lawn areas and polluted run-off.”

Online resources with information on local indigenous plants and gardening best practices are plentiful. The BBP offers an online guide to landscaping with natives in the Barnegat Bay watershed, at bbp.ocean.edu, to help with selecting plants best suited to a yard’s specific growing conditions.

Also check out the newly launched website jerseyyards.org, which provides practical tips to create environmentally friendly lawns and gardens, and includes an “interactive yard” tool.

Bayscape for Barnegat Bay, meanwhile, is online at littoralsociety.org.

And, visit the Native Plant Society of NJ website, npsnj.org, for specific information on rain gardens.

The NPSNJ also conducts regular lectures and presentations on topics such ecological landscaping. “Our annual meeting is a must-attend event for anyone involved in the native plant movement in New Jersey,” the group notes. “We organize nature walks and garden tours, dispense advice on design and maintenance of native gardens and landscapes, and have helped establish native plant gardens around the state.”

In the warmer months, the Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, often hosts home, landscaping and garden workshops. Last summer, for example, LBIF Science Committee co-chair Angela Andersen, along with the BBP’s Karen Walzer and Bay Ave. Plant Company owner Tom Scangarello, presented on gardening with the environment in mind.

Or, simply inquire about natives at a local garden center. A variety of indigenous plants are available at Hoch’s. “Some of the most popular we sell and plant on LBI are cedar trees, bayberry, Rugosa rose and many types of juniper,” Hoch and Cerefice explained.

“As LBI faces the worst infestation of pine beetles, quickly killing groves of black pines, we look to native trees and plants as proper replacements.” —J.K.-H.

Article source: http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/start-planning-next-year-s-garden-with-native-plants-in-mind/1451560

Start Planning Next Year’s Garden With Native Plants in Mind

As the Native Plant Society of New Jersey points out, winter is a great time to start planning next year’s garden. And homeowners who haven’t already are urged to think ecologically, and go native.

“Native plants have evolved over thousands of years to be adapted to conditions in a particular region and to the other plants and animals around them,” explains the Barnegat Bay Partnership. “Natives thrive in our local climate and soil.”

Daniel Hoch and Adrienne Cerefice, who own Hoch’s Landscaping and Garden Center, at 229 South Main St. in Barnegat, concur, noting, “Native plants, especially a mix of native plants … work best with our natural environment – soils, animals, birds and bees.

“Natives allow for easy success, lower maintenance and water, as well as a greater resistance to pests and diseases. A well-chosen mix of native plants can offer year-round interest, with spring, summer, fall and winter color.” They also provide pollinators and wildlife with food, shelter and nesting sites.

In addition to requiring less water – saving property owners time and money – another important note about natives, says the BBP, is that their roots “hold soil in place, increase infiltration of rainwater into the ground, and filter pollutants from our water. Since natives need less fertilizer, they help reduce the quantity of fertilizer that stormwater can carry into our waterways and the Barnegat Bay.”

“Barnegat Bay has been in serious ecological decline due to many human activities that take place on the watershed lands that drain to the bay,” notes Bayscape for Barnegat Bay, an American Littoral Society program that encourages individuals and groups throughout the watershed to become better stewards of the coast.

“Scientific studies have shown that large quantities of the stormwater (nutrient) pollution entering the bay is from non-point sources due to land use and development. We can all help protect and restore the bay by implementing native plant gardens and reducing lawn areas and polluted run-off.”

Online resources with information on local indigenous plants and gardening best practices are plentiful. The BBP offers an online guide to landscaping with natives in the Barnegat Bay watershed, at bbp.ocean.edu, to help with selecting plants best suited to a yard’s specific growing conditions.

Also check out the newly launched website jerseyyards.org, which provides practical tips to create environmentally friendly lawns and gardens, and includes an “interactive yard” tool.

Bayscape for Barnegat Bay, meanwhile, is online at littoralsociety.org.

And, visit the Native Plant Society of NJ website, npsnj.org, for specific information on rain gardens.

The NPSNJ also conducts regular lectures and presentations on topics such ecological landscaping. “Our annual meeting is a must-attend event for anyone involved in the native plant movement in New Jersey,” the group notes. “We organize nature walks and garden tours, dispense advice on design and maintenance of native gardens and landscapes, and have helped establish native plant gardens around the state.”

In the warmer months, the Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, often hosts home, landscaping and garden workshops. Last summer, for example, LBIF Science Committee co-chair Angela Andersen, along with the BBP’s Karen Walzer and Bay Ave. Plant Company owner Tom Scangarello, presented on gardening with the environment in mind.

Or, simply inquire about natives at a local garden center. A variety of indigenous plants are available at Hoch’s. “Some of the most popular we sell and plant on LBI are cedar trees, bayberry, Rugosa rose and many types of juniper,” Hoch and Cerefice explained.

“As LBI faces the worst infestation of pine beetles, quickly killing groves of black pines, we look to native trees and plants as proper replacements.” —J.K.-H.

Article source: http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/start-planning-next-year-s-garden-with-native-plants-in-mind/1451560

Arizona Gardeners: Winter has its share of gardening and landscaping tasks

Even after cold weather arrives, there are several garden and landscape tasks that beg for attention.

Landscape and garden plants need good care in the winter just as much as they do in the summer. As our thermometers continue to drop, these winter tasks become more and more important. If you have deciduous fruit trees, there will be a pruning project. A young citrus tree, a bougainvillea or other cold sensitive plants will need to be protected from frost. You should give your drip irrigation system the once over and now is a good time to put down a pre-emergent herbicide to protect your yard from the unsightly mess of winter weeds. Let’s visit for a few minutes about these winter gardening tasks.

I know many of you are champing at the bit to get started with winter pruning. I suggest you give it another week or so. Yes, winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs, but I think it is best to wait until all the leaves are off the tree. My “Kadota” fig is in the middle of shedding leaves so I plan to wait until they are all off before I do any cutting. The same goes for my other deciduous fruit trees. New Years Day will probably be about the right time.

Pruning of deciduous fruit trees, like peach, apple, plum and apricot is best done during the winter months because the plants need to be in a dormant state. The wounds bleed less and there is minimal stress placed upon them. The desert adapted trees like mesquite and palo verde seem to do better when pruned in the summer. For shade trees, take no more than 20 percent of the wood off at any one time. Fruit trees are pruned to specifications dependent upon the species. Citrus trees do not require pruning. 

All pruning requires the removal of broken, diseased or damaged limbs to ensure the continued good health of the plant. Most pruning on landscape trees and shrubs can usually be limited to those branches that rub against each other. Constant rubbing usually leaves both limbs damaged. It is best to remove the weaker of the two branches and to leave the stronger.

Branches of trees that damage property by rubbing against buildings, fences and roofs need to be selectively pruned. However, please, do not just lop them off. Follow the offending branch back to its point of attachment and remove the entire branch. In this way, you will prevent unsightly stubs and slow-healing wounds. For all of these pruning tasks, we have some great publications here at the Cooperative Extension office. Feel free to come by and pick up what you need. 

Watch the weather forecasts carefully during December, January and early February for frost or freeze alerts and provide protection when needed. Any frost damaged leaves and branches of tender plants like bougainvillea or lantana should be left in place until the temperatures begin to warm in the spring. While they may not look their best, the extra layer actually serves as a protection for the healthy wood under the canopy. By keeping this extra insulation, you will have a healthier plant next spring.

Winter weeds invariably pop up to speckle your dormant lawn or desert landscape with green splotches, especially after winter rains. Not only do they make ugly splotches in otherwise attractive landscapes, they demand constant attention to keep them from growing tall and unsightly.

Weeds can be completely avoided by applying a pre-emergent herbicide before there is enough moisture in the soil to germinate the weed seeds. Oryzalin is the most common pre-emergent active ingredient sold for homeowner use in our area. Look on the label for the list of active ingredients when you are searching for the right product. Pre-emergent herbicides do not kill any weeds that have already started to grow, so it is important to have the material already in place before the seeds germinate.  

When you carefully read the label, you will see that the pre-emergent herbicide must be incorporated for it to be effective. This is usually done by sprinkling the lawn with water to dissolve and leach the chemical into the soil profile. The label will tell you how to do this. It will also tell you how to do other procedures correctly. Make sure you read the label.

Weeds that germinate before you get the pre-emergent herbicide in place can be killed easily if you spray them while they are still tiny with a post-emergent herbicide. These products kill weeds on contact. However, many of the weeds, like lambsquarters, little mallow and prickly lettuce, become very difficult to kill with any product after they have grown much beyond 6 inches tall. Then just about the only way to control these weeds is by mowing, digging or pulling. With contact burn down sprays, the secret is to apply them early before the weeds get to the four leaf stage.

During the winter months, it is often a temptation to forget the water and leave the plants to fend for themselves. While it is true that lawns, gardens, fruit trees and other landscape plants need less water during the cooler months, it is important to the health of all plants to have adequate moisture around the roots at all times. Usually a single, deep irrigation once a month is sufficient to meet the needs of plants. Use a soil probe or a shovel to check the soil moisture content before irrigating to avoid wasting water and creating an unhealthy, too-wet environment in the root zone.

The cooler winter months are also a good time to do needed maintenance on your irrigation systems. The plants and your irrigation system do not care what time of year it is, of course, but it is much more comfortable for us to do these chores now, rather than when it is 100-plus degrees outdoors.

Begin your maintenance by checking all sprinkler heads and drip system emitters for leaks and plugs. Broken sprinkler heads waste water. Plugged emitters cannot provide the necessary water to plants when they need it most. Both keep the system from working at peak efficiency.

If you replace a sprinkler head, be sure to replace it with parts with the same brand and type so that the replaced head will deliver the same amount of water in a given time as the other existing heads. Water application efficiency is important to maintaining good plant health and vigor.

Drip emitters can become clogged with salts or sediment and should be cleaned or replaced. As plants grow and mature, they will need more water to support the increased number of leaves. Winter is a good time to move existing emitters out away from the trunk towards the drip line of the plant and to add any needed new emitters to ensure that the entire root zone of the plant is being irrigated.

Staked trees should be carefully checked to see if the tree will stand alone without extra support. Trees with stable trunks should have the stakes removed as soon as possible to avoid injury to the trunk and branches of the tree. If the ties on trees have started to gouge the bark, move the ties to a new location so that the wound can heal. Do not replace the ties too tightly. Allow the tree enough slack so that the trunk moves slightly with the wind. It is through this movement that the tree is able to strengthen itself.

Finally, the application of a good organic mulch around the base of trees will improve the soil by adding nutrients and slowing the loss of moisture from the soil. Mulches will keep tender roots warmer during the cool winter months and cut down on heat gain during the summer. Do not place the mulch up next to the trunk of the tree or shrub because it can allow soil fungi to get a toehold in the trunk tissue and eventually damage or kill the plant.  

There is always lots to do in the yard no matter what season we are in.  By practicing good maintenance year round, many problems can be avoided.

If you have questions, you can reach one of the Master Gardener volunteers at the Cooperative Extension office, 820 E. Cottonwood Lane, Building C, in Casa Grande.  The telephone is 520-836-5221, ext. 204. 

———

Rick Gibson is an agricultural extension agent and the director of the Cooperative Extension in Pinal County. He can be reached at gibsonrd@ag.arizona.edu.

Article source: http://www.trivalleycentral.com/trivalley_dispatch/home_and_hearth/arizona-gardeners-winter-has-its-share-of-gardening-and-landscaping/article_561f7b6a-9870-11e5-b30f-1340cc21df10.html

Volusia County Ag Extension celebrates opening of teaching gardens – Daytona Beach News

Residents and businesses can get landscape and garden tips at the new Florida Friendly Landscaping Demonstration and Teaching Gardens at the Volusia County Agriculture Center, 3100 E. New York Ave., DeLand.

The two-acre site features butterfly and vegetable gardens, an outdoor children’s classroom, landscape layouts, a koi pond, shaded pavilion and information on composting. Visitors can take self-guided tours Monday through Friday or call ahead for guided tours.

The $110,000 project was built with a $55,415 Volusia ECHO grant and donations from the county’s Master Gardener program and area businesses. The plans were laid and plants were planted by University of Florida/Volusia County Extension staff and master gardeners with help and donations from Lindley’s Nursery, Evolving Landscapes and Tropical Water Gardens.

The staff, gardeners and businesses will welcome guests during a dedication ceremony and open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Master gardeners will lead tours, answer questions and describe the nine principles of Florida-friendly landscaping that are incorporated into the gardens.

For more information call the University of Florida/Volusia County Extension at 386-822-5778.

Article source: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20151202/NEWS/151209889/101065?Title=Volusia-County-Ag-Extension-celebrates-opening-of-teaching-gardens

The future garden is inspired by the way vegetation grows in nature

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This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/what-is-a-designed-plant-community/2015/12/01/481de7dc-9784-11e5-8917-653b65c809eb_story.html

Recycling great ideas: best practices for reducing waste

Sustainability can mean many things to many people, but limiting waste product and fostering reuse are at the core of sustainable best practices. Should it have avoided the vocabulary and mantra of Occidental students before this semester, sustainability now seeps into many conversations and curricula across campus as the college’s annual theme. The Cultural Studies Program (CSP) lecture series brought Jay Famiglietti, whose talk “Water and Sustainability” discussed the needs and challenges of water conservation in California; early in the semester, this publication ran a double-paged spread about the various facets of sustainability on campus.

Discourse on the subject will continue into next semester, culminating in the this year’s TEDx Occidental conference, which will focus on the various facets of global sustainability.

In the midst of this conversation, Occidental produces trash — mounds and mounds and dumpsters and more dumpsters brimming with rubbish. For their guest speakers (yes, even those focused on sustainability), the college hosts luncheons complete with pastries on doilies and half-eaten finger sandwiches destined for a waste basket. Sustainability and waste go hand in hand, one the antithesis of the other.

Colleges and universities, despite being at the forefront of many other progressive initiatives, often lag behind in embracing sustainable best practices. In a 2001 op-ed for the journal “BioScience,” Christopher Uhl and Amy Anderson challenged higher education institutions with nine goals to integrate sustainability into higher education. More than a decade before “sustainability” morphed into a hip buzzword on the streets of northeast Los Angeles, Uhl and Anderson presented the following list of goals to institutions of higher education: seek fossil fuel independence; conserve water resources; end materials waste; eat food produced sustainably; create and abide by a land ethic; create sustainable alternatives to car-based transit; create “green” buildings; guarantee ecological literacy; and prioritize research for a sustainable world.

Either through coincidence or the shared goal of a greener world, Occidental has risen to many of these challenges. According to the college’s sustainability web page, the school has committed to reducing water use on campus, is a leader in providing sustainably-sourced food, has funded sustainable alternatives to car-based transit and instituted a strict standard for new buildings and renovations.

With these many advances in other fields, the fate of material waste on campus then comes into question. What happens to the crusty fries left over from Cooler burgers after beginning their journey haphazardly tossed in the trash bins? As with many heroic tales, their resting place depends on where they began.

Waste on campus

The college’s materials waste is divided into “waste streams” that determine the endpoint based on where the material began, such as in the case of the Cooler burger and fries or, more importantly, the Snapple that washed it down. The leftover fries, the paper container that swaddled them, and the bottle are destined for the landfill. According to documents supplied by Environmental Health and Safety Manager Bruce Steele, solid waste from the Cooler has food waste, trash and recyclables mixed together and placed in a small compactor. The same document concedes that in the future, the college needs to determine a method to better separate recyclables and compostables from this waste stream so they do not end up destined for the landfill.

Food from the Marketplace and the Green Bean fares better in terms of sustainable reuse. Pre- and post-consumer waste from Dining Facilities in the Johnson Student Center makes its way to the large trash compactor on the side of the building. From campus, it travels almost 80 miles to Victorville, California, where it is industrially composted and used to create soil amendments. Material disposed of in the green-colored composting cans found at various locations across campus (like the Green Bean) is deposited in this receptacle. According to Steele, in the future the college aims to increase compostable waste directed to this trash compactor after resolving certain logistical hiccups. Steele said that this would require all waste disposed into these bins be compostable, as glass, plastic and metal — which are sometimes accidentally deposited — can cause the larger loads to be rejected at the composting site.

“A bag for compost that has even one piece in it that can’t be composted ends up in the trash,” Laura Koeller, Health and Safety Manager at the Green Bean, said via email. “So what’s really important is that everything is accurately sorted and that people are mindful of where they put the items.”

While trash and food waste are generally the most obvious examples of waste products generated across campus, less obvious examples include green material for the college’s landscaping. Trimmings are brought to Mount Fiji, where they are transported for composting or, if contaminated, used as ground cover at the landfill. Some green waste finds itself at the Food, Energy, and Sustainability Team (FEAST) garden for composting. Wood waste is chipped and either composted or used as mulch and soil additive.

The importance of recycling green waste in California was recently underscored by the California State Assembly via the passage of the Assembly Bill 1826. The bill, approved Sept. 2014 by Governor Jerry Brown, requires businesses producing a specified amount of organic waste per week to arrange for recycling services. Starting in January 2016, businesses producing more than eight cubic yards of commercial solid waste per week will be required to begin organic recycling; by 2020, businesses producing as little as two cubic yards per week will be required to make such arrangements.

Occidental has already begun implementing a mitigation strategy for all waste, including recyclable waste. The college will be getting a mixed recycling container so paper, plastic, cans, glass and cardboard can all be collected and directed to a Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF), Steele said. In the future, there will be stricter mandates for directing trash to MRFs in order to avoid sending recyclable materials to the landfill.

“Waste minimization is the best approach and is done when possible,” Steele said.

Best practices for sustainable waste disposal on college campuses

In 2013, the State of Massachusetts published a set of guidelines for colleges and universities, outlining sustainable best practices and suggestions for waste reduction on campuses statewide. Citing examples from colleges across the country, the authors identify reducing plastic bags and bottles, recycling furniture and dorm decoration, designing green buildings and raising recycling awareness as potential and previously successful practices for reducing waste on campus. Over the past several years, Occidental has implemented many of these tactics, including removing plastic bags from campus dining facilities and recycling student furniture through the Sustainable Recycle Program.

Other campuses across the country, too, have taken up the crusade against waste, and in 2013, students from the University of New Hampshire formed the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) to help build and support student-led and sustainable waste-reduction programs at colleges nationwide. So far, more than 25 institutions have joined the network, including Harvard University, Pitzer College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carleton College, with the goal of creating zero-waste solutions in campus communities.

Sustainability at Occidental

In the future, Campus Sustainability Coordinator Jenny Low hopes to bring a recycling awareness campaign to campus as well as improve signage for the existing infrastructure.

“I do want to have more outreach events in which we will talk about the larger goals and also talking about what’s happening on campus,” Low said. “I’m also going to be working on clearer signage so people can actually know what should go in the [recycling] bin.”

The Green Bean has recently purchased new waste bins in an attempt to increase student awareness regarding which waste goes where, according to Koeller.

“I’m very excited about the new bins — anything that draws attention to the importance of composting and sorting trash is something we certainly need,” Koeller said. “I think this has definitely made people think twice about where they put their waste, and that’s certainly a positive thing.”

All Green Bean staff members are trained in waste disposal, which enables them both to help students and to sort trash themselves. Additionally, all of the cups, straws, lids and stir sticks that the Green Bean orders are compostable. She hopes that the bins, which will have signage detailing common trash, recycling and compostable products, will help to educate customers.

“The Marketplace staff sorts everything that goes back onto the trays,” said Koeller. “But at the Green Bean the students have to be a bit more proactive.”

Similarly, students leading the Sustainable Recycle Program — a program that collects donated items left in dorms and re-sells them to students the next year — take the time to ensure that Occidental’s material waste is reduced.

The annual sale, which has occurred the last three years, takes place during move-in. According to student organizer Brita Loeb, the most common items are hangers, lamps, trash bins, fans, and plastic storage containers. Often, though, unique items, such as surfboards, rollerblades and unused anal beads are donated to the program.

More items have been donated and purchased each consecutive year — this year’s sale yielded about $1500, according to Loeb. The funds generated from the program pay student workers, who help organize and sell items for a four-day period.

“I hope that leaders continue to put in the labor and effort needed to sustain the program,” said Loeb via email, noting the importance of the program in diverting potential waste from landfills.

Low, who recently joined the Facilities staff, has goals to reduce all-around waste on campus, including power and water waste.

The current roofing project, which will repair or replace five roofs across campus, will include a light-reflective surface that cools the buildings and reduces cooling costs associated with running air conditioning. However, according to Low, the solar array on Mount Fiji remains the most obvious example of energy waste reduction. Based on figures since its installation, the solar panels on upper campus have satisfied between 11 and 13 percent of the campus-wide energy needs, reducing the college’s dependence on outside electrical power. Air duct cleaning and other efficiency-improving measures such as roof replacement have contributed to additional savings.

Water waste continues to be a source of discussion on campus as the historic drought in California presses on. Though officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association acknowledge that the anticipated El Niño conditions in the Eastern Pacific will bring heavy rains to California and the desert southwest, it will likely not relieve drought conditions that have prevailed over the last several years.

In an April 27 email to the college community, President Jonathan Veitch outlined the college’s response to the increasingly severe drought conditions. These efforts include adjusted irrigation schedules, groundwater recharge projects and the hiring of landscape architect Susan Van Atta. Van Atta has been tasked with developing a plan to decrease water use on campus landscaping projects and increase the use of drought-resistant plants in new landscaping projects.

Low, along with others on campus, hopes to increase drought awareness and continue to reduce domestic use.

“It starts with the small things,” Low said. “For example, Admissions will be getting a water bottle filling fountain so people won’t be asking for water bottles.”

From there, she will focus on raising awareness through education and programming that brings these issues to the forefront and in the hope of embodying a change among the students and staff on campus.

But it takes a team. According to Steele, different individuals handle waste from the point of generation, to collection, transportation and compaction before it even moves off campus. This begins, of course, with student awareness and education — and knowing what to recycle, what to compost and where to do so is a good place to start.

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Article source: http://occidentalweekly.com/features/2015/12/02/recycling-great-ideas-best-practices-for-reducing-waste/

Goldstein is new CRI executive director

After three months serving as the new executive director of Culpeper Renaissance Inc., Dan Goldstein said he and the members of organization’s board of directors are in the process of developing a list of new projects to help keep downtown Culpeper a vibrant area.

Golodstein, who became the new executive director in September, said CRI is an independent, non-profit organization which works to attract people to downtown Culpeper and to help keep the area economically healthy.

“We are the Main Street Program for downtown Culpeper,” Goldstein said. “CRI has been here since the mid-1990s; our main guidance comes from from the Virginia Main Street Program offices in Richmond and also the national Main Street Program offices.”

In order to develop new projects and help keep the downtown area thriving, Goldstein said CRI works closely with many local entities, including the Town of Culpeper, the county departments of tourism and economic development, the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce and the State Theatre board of directors.

Among the projects CRI is working on is an effort to secure grant funds to create a small park area with picnic tables, benches and landscaping in the vacant lot on North Main Street where the Levy building was located before the earthquake in August, 2011.

“Another thing we’re working on trying to create an arts space somewhere downtown,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein said there are still some open spaces on the upper floors of buildings along Main and Davis that CRI hopes to see filled. There also are ideas in the works for the areas on Commerce Street around the depot and Waters Place.    

Goldstein, 46, is CRI’s first executive director since Diane Logan left the position about six years ago.

Since that time, Goldstein said the members of CRI’s board have been very active in advancing the organization’s programs and goals.

Goldstein said his background has been in working for museums and other non-profit organizations. 

An archeology graduate from High Point University in North Carolina and William and Mary in Williamsburg, Goldstein has worked at Colonial Williamsburg, the Smithsonian Institute and, most recently, with the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. 

Goldstein lives in Fredericksburg with his wife, Danielle, and their two children, Jacob and Laynie.

For much of its history, Goldstein said CRI has concentrated its efforts on the Main and Davis Street area. Recently that focus was expanded to also include the area of Main Street between Evans and the Burgandine House.

“We’re really about keeping the old town active,” Goldstein said. “We don’t focus as much on recruiting new business as trying to help keep the businesses that are already here, and drawing people to the downtown area.”

Goldstein said the community has been successful in advertising and drawing people into downtown Culpeper for day trips and special events, like last month’s Holiday Open House.

Now it needs to devlop ways to get more people to stay overnight, he said.

Goldstein said CRI’s funding comes mainly from the Town of Culpeper, grants and fund-raising activities, which include the Gnarley Hops festival in the spring and beer sales during the summer Third Thursday Concert Series.

Goldstein said he has been tasked with establishing a local fund-raising campaign for CRI and developing direct fund-raising efforts in the community, such as the sale of CRI’s Culpeper Christmas Ornaments, in which individuals, families, businesses and other organizations can purchase a pair of glass Christmas tree bulbs for $25.

The donor’s name or organization will be printed on the bulbs; the donors will have one ornament to take home, while the second will be displayed on the community Christmas tree located next to the depot, he said.

The ornaments are available at the CRI office at 127 West Davis Street and online at www.culpeperdowntown.com

 

    

         

Article source: http://www.dailyprogress.com/starexponent/goldstein-is-new-cri-executive-director/article_a6b5f624-9890-11e5-b586-63400a6d2034.html

Students and faculty discuss the issue of freedom of speech at universities

The Purdue Graduate Student Government hosted the discussion forum “What is Free Speech?” last night with speakers Azhar Majeed and Geoffrey Stone.

Majeed is the director of the Individual Rights Education Program for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, while Stone is the distinguished service professor of law at the University of Chicago. They spoke about the Chicago principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression, which Purdue adopted in May.

The president of the University of Chicago asked Stone to work with other faculty members to draft a statement of freedom of expression for the University.

There have been many issues regarding freedom of expression on college campuses across the country, and these issues prompted the president to make the University of Chicago’s commitment to freedom of expression publicly known.

“It has statements from past presidents of the University of Chicago about the importance of academic freedom and free speech,” said Stone.

Students, faculty and other audience members were invited to give their input during the discussion. The discussion covered many topics such as the issue of microgressions, students requesting trigger warnings in class descriptions and students joining together to fight derogatory and racist comments like those made at the University of Missouri.

Majeed stated that in addition to wanting freedom of speech, there is also an increasing student population now calling for censorship of speech.

“Freedom from speech is something we’re starting to see more and more,” he said. “Students not only misunderstand what freedom of speech means, but they have this idea that there needs to be freedom from speech in college and in society at large. The idea is that ‘I have a right to be free from certain viewpoints, to not hear anything that upsets me and to not be confronted with ideas that I find disagreeable.’”

These ideas cause Majeed to worry about where society is headed and what free speech rights will look like in the future.

Frank Dooley, the vice provost for teaching and learning at Purdue, was impressed with how full the room was for the discussion. He felt it displayed the importance of the topic of free speech for people of multiple demographics.

“There were faculty, citizens like the bartender, there were lots of students and probably more undergraduates than graduates,” said Dooley. “People are interested in this whole concept about what is free speech and what does it mean to us. I think people are looking for answers. ‘What can I do, what can’t I do?’ People want clarity in their lives.”

“Are there limits of free speech? In the case of harassment, affirmation and threats, it’s very clear to establish that you can’t say anything that you want,” said Dooley. “There are these gray areas, but I think everyone wants to be respected and wants the opportunity to be heard.”

Addison Lange, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, was shocked to learn about the discrepancies between freedom of speech with employees at universities.

“It was surprising to hear about the separation between which employees at the University have freedom of academic speech and which employees are limited,” said Lange. “Professors, for example, have more freedom than employees in landscaping.”

The main takeaway from the conversation was that everyone has their own opinions, and no one has the right to mute others.

“Believing in free speech is not believing that the ideas that others espouse are good; they may in fact be loathsome, ugly, hateful and stupid,” said Stone. “Belief in free speech means telling that person that their ideas are loathsome and stupid and why they should be rejected instead of trying to silence them. There are good ideas and there are bad ideas. All of us don’t agree on what’s good and what’s bad, and no one should make that judgment for us.”

Article source: http://www.purdueexponent.org/campus/article_7c3230d1-2e06-53a9-a5fc-5c322346e114.html