Saturday, January 22, 2011
I have lots of stuff I want to get rid of. Most of us do. We can have a garage sale, sell big items in the paper, give the things to charity or throw them away. Or we can trade them. The goal is to keep usable things out of the landfill, reduce the amount of resources we use to make new things, and keep more money in our own pocket. Sounds like a win-win for most except the consumerist economy.
Swapping with our neighbors would be the best alternative, but you can always try Swap.com. So consider reducing your impact on the environment by recycling your unwanted items for things you can use.
Friday, January 21, 2011
For now, organic is more expensive. Many of the devices that save energy, water and money have a high front-end cost. True, many things we can do to have a more sustainable lifestyle are not out of reach to many, but they are not what are in many of the articles about sustainability talk about. So some food for thought today.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Science Saturday program continues with a program on freshwater fish. Science Saturday programs are targeted to the 5 - 12 year old age group, although anyone can attend. The program begins at 1:00 PM and ends at 2:00. Admission is $3 per participant--accompanying adults for children under 12 (required) are free. There is an art program following at 2:30 PM for those who are interested.
If you are interested in native plants, Paul Dowlearn of Wichita Valley Nursery will be doing a program, "Native Plants in the Conservatory," from 10 AM - noon. Admission is $3 per person; members and children under 2 are free.
Monday, January 17, 2011
The Xerces Society has been a champion of pollinators for years. They have several publications for sale and for free at their website. Their newest publication, Attracting Native Pollinators, is available for presale now on their website. I bought my copy and can't wait for it to get here.
Whether you purchase the book or not, look over some of the other downloads and fact sheets and consider improving your yard habitat to support these important invertebrates.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Today I found out that you can listen to the program on line and if you miss the program, they have the programs archived on the websites. As I write this, I am listening to a program on herbs.
You can also read copies of the magazine there, although I did find many of the links are broken. Hopefully someone will get that fixed.
You do have to sign up as a member of the radio program to access everything, but that is easy.
Check it out.
Many people are interested in the possibilities of wind energy for their homes and businesses, but a windmill just isn't feasible in town. I know of a couple of companies locally providing options--this is the newest. Don't forget federal tax incentives are available to help overcome the financial barrier to wind devices and you should be able to earn back your investment in a few years.
If you're evaluating options, give Steve a call a 940-642-5708.
I am glad to see more companies involved in sustainable products and services in our community. Remember, if you learn about any businesses providing similar items, be sure to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The Texas Master Naturalists do all of these things.
The Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalists will be having their spring training class coming up beginning in late March through early May. Whether you want to become a certified Texas Master Naturalist or just take the class to learn more about the outdoors, consider signing up.
Final plans are being made and more information will be available soon, but plan now to find out more and think about signing up. Mark Howell, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, will be taking applications. Usually the final schedule and applications are available just before the Home and Garden Show at the end of February.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
This is a great way to get the family outside, get some exercise and to enjoy the nature along the trail through Lake Wichita Park and across the dam to the spillway.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
A few of the major points from the talk:
- Plastics are made from petroleum, natural gas and in some cases, renewable plants.
- Plastics are highly prone to contamination with their contents, making plastics relatively difficult. Plastics cannot be recycled into the same plastic, but only to a lower grade of products--frequently the plastic lumber. Incineration of plastic releases a variety of toxic gases.
- The number on the bottom of the plastic container indicates the type of plastic. Some are more easily recycled than others and have different uses and dangers.
- All plastics have bad chemicals that can leach into food and drink contents, especially if the plastic container is reused or heated. Once you have used the plastic container, dispose of it unless it is designed for reuse.
I really work at using as little plastic as possible, but I do end up with plastic drink bottles that I have reused multiple times because I just hate to throw them away after one use. But Terry lectured me (again) during the talk, so I suppose I am going to have to be more careful in the future.
And remember the post on Green resolutions? Another reason NOT to use styrofoam to go containers is that the chemicals in the plastic is known to leach into food, especially when the food is hot or oily. Remember, To-Go Ware (or similar).
So look for products that use as little plastic packaging as possible. Do not reuse plastic containers if not made to be reused. Do not heat food in plastic or put hot food into plastic containers unless the packaging is specifically designed for that purpose.
Thanks, Terry, for an informative program.
Inland Fisheries uses these trees to improve fish habitat in local lakes. Trees have been placed in Lake Arrowhead already and TPWD folks and the Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalists will be placing the remaining trees in Lake Wichita on Friday morning.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
There are a number of feral cat colonies in Wichita Falls and generally the attitude is to leave them be. Recently, the city has moved to licensing feral cat colonies, which involved insuring the cats are captured, spayed/neutered, and given shots. Although this is a humane way to gradually reduce the colony, providing enough cats can be caught and sterilized, there are still a lot of environmental consequences to groups of feral cats, not to mention most of these cats are diseased and don't get enough to eat. For those who feed feral cats, get a pet cat and keep it in instead of encouraging the survival/increase of the feral cat population.
Recently, the University of Nebraska released a report on the impact of feral cats--it's not a pretty picture. Although portions of the report discuss Nebraska laws and regulations, most of the report is applicable to other areas as well. The portion of the report concerning control of feral cats will certainly be disturbing to many of my pet-loving friends, just as euthanasia of unwanted pets is offensive. All I can say is that we need to change the attitude of our society toward pets and animals overall.
I think cats are the perfect pet, but responsible pet ownership is key.