Posts tagged Earth Day

“Red, Hot and Green” in Cedar Rapids and how you can win $10,000 by going green!

Nicole Facciuto talks to Glenn Williams of Procter & Gamble Tuesday night at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids.

Nicole Facciuto talks to Glenn Williams of Procter & Gamble Tuesday night at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids.

 OK, so maybe you haven’t gone “green” yet. Procter & Gamble is giving people in the Cedar Rapids area a great incentive to do so. The company is giving away $10,000 to the winner of its Future Friendly Challenge.

Cedar Rapids was chosen as the pilot site for the company’s sustainability initiative, which isn’t a product launch, but an awareness effort to point out energy, waste and water savings involved with P&G products. 

   Nicole Facciuto, host of HGTV’s “Red, Hot & Green” was at Lindale Mall tonight (Tuesday, April 21) to help launch P&G’s effort and will be there from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. She and others who will demonstrate the products can be found under a green tent near the Sears store at Lindale.

   P&G’s Glenn Williams said the contest will continue at other Future Friendly events in the coming weeks, but is for the Cedar Rapids area only.  Anyone who wants to enter the contest can pick up a form at Lindale  or other locations in the next few weeks and write, in 300 words or less, how they have gone green, without sacrifice.

   Nicole, whose show is shot in LA, noted that little things add up to help  move the whole country toward sustainability. “I’m just here to tell people about it because I believe in the small steps,” she told me during a “tour” of the Future Friendly tent. Nicole, 33, said she’s no stranger to Iowa, having spent a summer at Lake Okoboji. She’s into Freecycle, recycling and once made a coffee table out of a pile of old books that a school discarded. 

  Products in the Future Friendly initiative are marked with a green sticker and are already at Hy-Vee supermarkets and will be in more Cedar Rapids stores in the near future. Glenn said Cedar Rapids was chosen because the community shows awareness about sustainability and “our target audience lives here.”  

 

Update: Glenn just sent in more info on how to enter the contest:

The rules are simple: just tell us in 300 words or less about how you’re living a more “future friendly” lifestyle without making any deep sacrifices or trade-offs.  Drop your entry at the FF pop-up or email it, and you could win the 10,000 dollars.  Nicole and other FF experts will determine the winner.

The email address is: futurefriendly@yandlpr.com

Here is more about the pilot:

 

   Procter & Gamble has chosen Cedar Rapids and Earth Day to launch a new sustainability initiative pilot. The new Future Friendly program will include products from P&G’s most recognized brands, including PUR, Charmin and Dawn. Each brand provides specific savings in water, waste or energy, with the resource-saving benefits marked on the packaging.

   To launch the pilot, a Future Friendly demonstration house will be unveiled at Lindale Mall  in Cedar Rapids on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, where visitors can see live product demonstrations and learn how they can take simple steps in their own homes to save energy, water and reduce waste. 

    Nicole Facciuto, host of HGTV’s “Red, Hot and Green” will be at Lindale Mall from  10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday to share environmental home design and lifestyle tips.  Visitors can enter to win a $10,000 grand prize by submitting the best “go green without sacrifice” story in the Future Friendly Challenge. Each household that registers at Lindale Mall on Earth Day will receive a coupon book and a reusable shopping bag.

   Examples of the Future Friendly resource savings include this:  If all Iowa residents who use bottled water switched to a PUR faucet mount system, they would save more than $574 million each year – enough money to send nearly 5,000 students to Coe College for four years.

    Look closely at the wording to see if those savings add up for your family. This example assumes that if one household switched from bottled water to a PUR mounted faucet system, they would be able to eliminate 3,200 plastic bottles and save $600 per year.  If you don’t use bottled water, which has lost favor among the eco-conscious, those savings might not apply to you.

    Other examples include:   If all Cedar Rapids households switched from a regular roll of Charmin to Charmin MegaRoll, it would save more than 77,000 gallons of fuel – enough to fuel 44 school buses in Iowa for an entire year.  And if all Cedar Rapids households cleaned their dishes with Dawn Direct Foam, without filling up the sink with water, they would save more than 600,000 liters of water – enough to irrigate more than six acres of Iowa farmland for one week.

 

   P&G, which has two plants in Iowa City, notes that each Future Friendly product must meet strict, science-based performance criteria, including a reduction of more than ten percent in water use, energy use or waste versus previous or alternative products. In addition, the benefits of the products cannot trigger inefficiencies in other areas of environmental concern. The brands in the pilot program include Tide, Downy, Gain, Cheer, Dreft, Era, Dawn, PUR, Cascade, Charmin, Bounty and Duracell.  Future Friendly has operated as a multi-brand effort in the UK and Canada since 2007.

For more information, see:  www.future-friendly.com

 

 

Lindsey Pugh of Grayslake, Ill., demonstrates the absorbency of Bounty paper towel on Tuesday night at Lindale Mall.

Lindsey Pugh of Grayslake, Ill., demonstrates the absorbency of Bounty paper towel on Tuesday night at Lindale Mall.

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Getting back to Earth

To some of us who grew up gardening, the process comes naturally. How can you not know how deep to plant a radish seed or realize you have to wait until the danger of frost has passed to plant your tomatoes? Actually, I’ve heard from people who grew up gardening and despise it now. That includes a couple editors here at The Gazette, who prefer to stay as far away as possible from watering cans, trowels, or anything else that reminds them of the back-breaking labor of their youth. 

   But, as mentioned in  today’s (4/19/09) Gazette article: http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090419/NEWS/704199992/1002/NEWS

more and more people are moving toward gardening, as a way to help the Earth and save money on food budgets in these tough economic times. To that end, Iowa State University Extension has come up with a great beginner’s guide to home gardening, especially tailored for Iowa.

 

Even experienced gardeners will find helpful hints on beets, potatoes, squash and numerous other veggies, along with everyone’s favorite: weed control.

 

You can find the guide here: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2009/4-8/introduction.html

 

 

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Earth Day Every Day

 

Frank Cicela of Cedar Rapids gives daughter Mariana, 8, a lift, with daughter Elea, 13, by his side Saturday, April 11, 2009, during an Earth Month Wildflower Walk at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville.

Frank Cicela of Cedar Rapids gives daughter Mariana, 8, a lift, with daughter Elea, 13, by his side Saturday, April 11, 2009, during an Earth Month Wildflower Walk at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville.

Earth Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 22, but in Eastern Iowa, it’s more than just one day. Corridor Earth Project, a collaboration of about 20 organizations between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, has events scheduled throughout the month. The University of Iowa also has activities slated for the coming week.

 I already attended one Earth Day walk at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville. Despite finding just one flower in bloom — a dainty white bloodroot — it was a gorgeous day to be outdoors.  Conservation education specialist Gail Barels noted that two years ago “everything was up” and plants were blooming before mid-April. That was an early spring, she said, while this year appears to be a normal spring, if Iowa has such a thing.

   The Corridor Earth Project events can be found on its Web site at: www.corridorearthproject.com

 Following are the University of Iowa events:

 

Saturday, April 18

–The UI Green Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room W401 of the Pappajohn Business Building. The Green Summit is an academic conference created to empower student environmental leaders and equip them with practical social, scientific, political and business skills to put their passion into practice.

   The keynote address will be given by Iowa State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, followed by forums featuring the following speakers: environmental planner Mike Berkshire; Alec B. Scranton, UI professor of chemical and biochemical engineering; Mark Kresowik of the Sierra Club; and Craig Just, coordinator of sustainability programs in the UI College of Engineering.

The day will continue with an interactive Expo of community organizations and progressive local projects. The Expo begins at 1 p.m. on the Pentacrest.

The Green Summit and Expo are free and open to the public, but registration for the summit is recommended at http://www.thegreensummit2009.com. For more information contact Abbie Gruwell at agruwell@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 19

–“Take Me to the River” Iowa Riverbank Cleanup, 1 to 4 p.m. Volunteers will clean up flood debris and develop the Iowa River portage trail. Participants should wear old clothes and sturdy shoes (no flip-flops) as work will be dirty and strenuous. Volunteers can park and meet at the Iowa City Peninsula Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park lot, 1790 Canton St. off Foster Road, or on the Coralville side of the Iowa River near the pedestrian walkway adjacent the Iowa River Power Restaurant, 501 1st Ave.

The City of Iowa City, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Johnson County Conservation Board, and UI Civic Engagement Program are sponsoring this event.
For more information call 319-335-7589 or email
civic-engagement@uiowa.edu.

Monday, April 20

–The film “The 11th Hour,” narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Tuesday, April 21

–Pappajohn Business Building waste characterization audit, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Kautz Plaza, between Trowbridge and Calvin Halls. The Tippie College of Business has been a campus leader in sustainable practices. The waste audit will help identify areas for further improvements in recycling and reducing the environmental footprint of the Tippie College of Business.

The audit will be held in cooperation with the UI Office of Sustainability, City of Iowa City, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, City Carton Recycling, East Central Iowa Council of Governments, UI Facilities Management and other public and private agencies. The teams will work together to examine the composition of the college waste stream and provide baseline data needed for planning future reduction efforts. By identifying the amounts of key waste components, the UI can target specific recyclable products and the processes to divert them from the landfill.

UI geography student Eric Holthaus, a member of UI Environmental Coalition, will coordinate the project. Among the student organizations pledging support for this project are UI Student Government, the UI Environmental Coalition, the UI Public Interest Research Group, Engineers for a Sustainable World, and Future Physicians for the Environment.

–“Careers for Change” lecture, 4 p.m., in 1124 University Capitol Center (UCC) and a public lecture on climate change at 7 p.m. in 1117 (UCC). Both lectures are sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights and will be given by energy and environmental lawyer Carrie La Seur, founder and president of Plains Justice, a Cedar Rapids-based public interest environmental law center that works for environmental justice.

— The film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Wednesday, April 22

–Bike to School Day and ice cream social, 1 to 5 p.m. on the Pentacrest. The UI Environmental Coalition and Office of Sustainability are hosting this event. World of Bikes will offer a free bike tune-up clinic, and Heyn’s Ice Cream and New Pioneer Coop will provide scoops of ice cream to bikers. The UI Touch the Earth program and Bicyclists of Iowa City club will share information on biking and outdoor trips. For more information contact Eric Holthaus at eric-holthaus@uiowa.edu or Katie Fassbinder at katie-fassbinder@uiowa.edu.

–The film “An Inconvenient Truth” narrated by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Thursday, April 23

–At 1:30 p.m., an open house at the UI Environmental Coalition Student Garden will include a visit from President Sally Mason. Students and the Office of Sustainability will showcase the new student demonstration garden, located off of Hawkeye Park Road near the Hawkeye Recreation and Tennis Complex.

–The film “The Future of Food,” will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Friday, April 24

–Arbor Day tree planting by UI Landscape Services, 9 a.m. on the Pentacrest.

The UI is also encouraging students, faculty and staff to take the “Power Down for the Planet” pledge at http://www.powerdownfortheplanet.org. By signing the pledges, computer users agree to use their computer power management tools whenever possible and to look for Energy Star-qualified equipment when making purchases. The deadline to pledge is Friday, April 17. The UI and college campuses across the nation are taking part in this effort. At the end of the campaign, the university with the highest percentage of pledges wins the challenge. At the UI, the results will be announced by President Mason on April 23 during the student garden dedication event.

For a complete calendar of events during Earth Month visit http://energy.uiowa.edu

 

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April events (and two late March additions)

Area events for late March/April 2009. If you know of others in the coming weeks, add a comment below or send an email to cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com

 

Sat. March 28 – 1-3 p.m., Grant Wood Elementary School gym, 1930 Lakeside Dr., Iowa City – Building your home’s curb appeal: free landscaping seminar shows what it takes. Now that spring has arrived, you may have noticed that the nicer the weather gets, the worse your lawn starts to look. A little yard work may help spruce things up. If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve the appearance of your property and the curb appeal of your home, plan to attend a series of informational presentations. There is no charge to attend, and door prizes will be given away each hour. Presentations will include Curb Appeal, Easy-to-Care-For Landscaping, and information on the Iowa City Area Association of Realtors (ICAAR) Tool Shed, a garden tool-loaning program.  This event is sponsored by ICAAR Fair Housing Ambassadors, Iowa City Landscaping, Grant Wood Neighborhood Association and the City of Iowa City Neighborhood Services Division. It was funded in part by a City of Iowa City PIN grant (Program for Improving Neighborhoods) awarded to the Grant Wood Neighborhood Association.
For more information, contact Marcia Bollinger, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, at 356-5237 or e-mail Marcia-bollinger@iowa-city.org.

 

Tues., March 31 – 1-3 p.m., Converting a traditional planter to adapt to no-tilled fields isn’t as costly and difficult as some might think. The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a planter clinic at Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, to demonstrate how to convert to a no-till planter. The clinic will include a presentation by local NRCS staff about the benefits of no-till and residue management, a demonstration by Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension Agricultural Engineer, on how to convert to a conventional planter to a no-till planter and a panel discussion with farmers who practice no-till. The clinic will be held at 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW at the Tippie Beef Education Center arena, located on the southeast side of campus.  The planter is the key for no-tillage as it is likely the only machinery that moves the soil for seed placement. Seed depth and seed-to-soil contact are keys to emergence when planting through residue, says Hanna. The benefits of no-till are numerous. Equipment needs are minimal, labor costs are reduced, and there is less soil compaction when field passes are eliminated. Also organic matter builds in the soil over time. The farmer panel at this clinic may address some of these issues and how they overcame the barriers to no-till. The planter clinic is open to the public and there is no charge for the event. Registration begins at 12:30.  To RSVP or for more information about the clinic, contact Farm Conservation Liaison Erin Harpenau, 515/509-4768, email: erinharp@iastate.edu

Wed. April 1 –  6 p.m.,  Hiawatha Public Library, 150 W. Willman St., Starting Garden Transplants. Linn County Master Gardener Zora Ronan discusses growing vegetable and flower transplants successfully at home. Call (319) 393-1414.

Thurs., April 2 – 7 p.m., Tiny Gardens, Lots of Food. Are you interested in less expensive food that is also fresher and safer? Join Judy Kash at the Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids, for suggestions and encouragement for growing some of your own food—even with limited garden space, time, money, and experience. Explore ideas for combining production and beauty in your new edible landscape. For questions or to register, call 362-0664. Member fee for this program is $5, nonmembers are $8.

 

Fri., April 3- Sat., April 4, The largest All-Iowa horticulture exposition in 100 years will be held in Ottumwa, Iowa at the Bridge View Conference Center.  The exposition, billed as the state fair of horticulture, is sponsored and coordinated by the Iowa State Horticultural Society, and supported by over 20 in-state horticulture associations and Iowa State University Extension. Nearly 100 vendors are expected to exhibit plants, art, garden supplies, and lawn equipment.  A wine village featuring Iowa wineries is also planned.  Additionally, the Expo will feature three concurrent educational seminar tracks featuring experts from around the state and region.  Topics will cover the gamut of horticultural specialties including honey production, growing herbaceous perennials, panel sessions of wine and arboriculture experts, rain gardens, organic lawn care, sustainability in the home garden, children’s gardening, and much more.  The Expo will offer anyone, novice to professional to engage in Iowa’s diverse and vibrant horticulture industry. Elvin McDonald, renowned horticultural author and former editor-at-large for Better Homes & Gardens® will be the keynote speaker for the inaugural All-Iowa Horticulture Exposition on April 3.  His lecture “Why I Love to Garden” will begin at 10:00 AM. Twenty-four breakout sessions on Friday and Saturday will offer attendees a wide variety of topical information that showcases the diversity of Iowa horticulture and gardening.  Top speakers for these sessions include Susan Appleget Hurst, senior associate editor at Better Homes & Gardens® and Kathleen Ziemer, known throughout the area as “the butterfly lady”.  A number of ISU Extension personnel will also be present including Dr. Jeff Iles, Dr. Eldon Everhart, Dr. Cindy Haynes, Dr. Patrick O’Malley, Dr. Nick Christians, Dr. Kathleen Delate, Andy Larson, and Dennis Portz.  Please visit www.iowahort.org for more information about speakers, topics, and times.  Single and two-day registration packages are available.  Visit www.iowahort.org for registration forms or contact your local ISU Extension Office.  For more information call 641-683-6260.

Sun., April 5 – 2 p.m., Chickens in the Yard. Before the advent of industrial agriculture and long distance food shipping, many families kept small flocks of chickens in backyards… even in the city. Join Indian Creek Nature Center Director Rich Patterson to learn how you can do the same. “In this day and age when incomes are stretched thin and costs are high the Nature Center is hosting a series of programs that may help people become more self sufficient in food,” said Patterson. Discover how to convert table scraps and garden weeds into delicious eggs. Learn the ins and outs of keeping a few chickens for fun and food. The member fee for this program is $5, nonmember fee is $8. Please call 362-0664 with any questions or to register for the program.

Tues., April 7 – 6:30-8:30 p.m., Using Prairie Wildflowers and Native Grasses in Iowa Landscapes, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Hall Room 234, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids. Neil Diboll will present the process of establishing prairie gardens and meadows using either plants or seeds, in both small and large venues.  He will highlight the top prairie wildflower and grasses for landscape use, along with specific step by step procedures for achieving success.  Diboll is a Prairie Ecologist for Prairie Nursery and produces native plants and seeds and designs native landscapes.  Since he began in 1982, he as devoted his efforts to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants, in contemporary American landscapes.  The session is free.  See web site: www.extension.iastate.edu/linn

Wed. April 8 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Garden Lighting. Why only enjoy the beauty during the day? You don’t have to be an electrician to be able to enhance your garden in the evening!  Linn County Master Gardener Deb Walser will discuss placement, types of lighting, and transformer options – let there be lite!

 

 

 

Wed. April 8- 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Thurs. April 9, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Mount Vernon. Come get dirty down on the farm while learning from an expert how to construct a hoophouse. Practical Farmers of Iowa is hosting a two day hoophouse training build workshop at Laura Krouse’s Abbe Hills Farm near Mount Vernon. Adam Montri will lead the workshop. Hoophouses are structures that extend the season on fruit and vegetable farms by providing a protected environment. This training build will address hoophouse construction through an actual build of a 35 foot by 96 foot double poly hoophouse. Participants will learn techniques and tips to efficiently and effectively build a hoophouse, and will have opportunities to ask questions related to design and construction of the hoophouse as well as how to grow vegetables 12 months out of the year without supplemental light or heating. Wednesday will start with a light breakfast at 8:00 a.m., and the workshop will begin at 8:30. Participants will break at noon for lunch. Meals and refreshments will be provided, including dinner at 7:00 p.m. when work is done for the day. Thursday will commence at 8:00 a.m. with a light breakfast. The workshop begins at 8:30. Lunch will be served at noon, and the field day will end at 4:30. Adam Montri is the Outreach Coordinator for the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm. He works with farmers around the state on year-round vegetable production in hoophouses through on-farm economic research projects, one-on-one production consultations, and hoophouse training builds in rural and urban sites. He and his wife Dru and daughter Lydia own and operate Ten Hens Farm, a year-round farm, in Bath, MI.  Laura Krouse and her summer workers on Abbe Hills Farm produce vegetables for a 200-family CSA from June through October. She hopes the addition of the hoophouse will extend the garden season until Christmas. Laura also grows seed for an open pollinated variety of corn that has been selected on the 72-acre farm since 1903. A number of soil conservation and water quality practices have been established, including a restored upland wetland surrounded by native prairie. Primarily chemical-free practices are used to manage soil fertility and pests. Directions to Abbe Hills Farm: 825 Abbe Hills Road, Mount Vernon. From Highway 30 and Highway 1 south of Mt. Vernon: Go north at the 4-way stop of Highways 30 and 1. Go uptown to the stoplight. Turn left and go west to 8th Ave/ X20. You will be in front of Cornell College. Turn right and go north a little more than 1 mile out of town. Turn left and go west on Abbe Hills Road a little more than 1 mile. There are two red sheds on the north side of the road (and soon to be a big HOOPHOUSE). The address is 825 Abbe Hills Road. From Highway 1 north of Mt. Vernon: At the stoplight in downtown Mt. Vernon, turn right and go west to 8th Ave/ X20. You will be in front of Cornell College. Turn right and go north a little more than 1 mile out of town. Turn left and go west on Abbe Hills Road a little more than 1 mile. There are two red sheds on the north side of the road (and soon to be a big HOOPHOUSE). The address is 825 Abbe Hills Road. This field day is free, and everybody is welcome. RSVP is required by April 3 to Sally Worley, sally@practicalfarmers.org, (515)232-5661.

Fri., April 10 – 8:30 p.m., Spring Moon Walk, Indian Creek Nature Center. Enjoy the smells, sounds, and sights of a springtime evening on the trails. Walk to a high point of the Nature Center to view the moonlit landscape below. Adults: M: $3, NM: $5. Children: $1.

 

Sat., April 11 – 1:30 p.m., Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Rd., Toddville, Iowa. Earth Month Wildflower Walk. Enjoy a leisurely woodland walk, celebrate spring and learn ways to have less impact on our planet. Cost: $2.50/adult, $1/child 16 and under or $5/family.

319.892.6485

Sat., April 11 and Sun., April 12 – 11 a.m., to 5 p.m., Easter Open House, Noelridge Greenhouse, Cedar Rapids. Features aquarium display by the Eastern Iowa Aquarium Association and Indian Creek Nature Center displays, along with a beekeeper. Free plant for first 500 children under age 12.

 

Tues., April 14 – 6:30-8:30 p.m., Don’t Fence Me In – Creating Garden Rooms Without Walls, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Hall Room 234, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids. With colorful slides that Shirley Remes has taken of garden rooms in historic public gardens as well as delightful homeowner gardens, she will demonstrate how to create easy and affordable garden rooms in your own yard, large or small.  Dividing a landscape into garden rooms not only creates more enjoyable living space but solves practical space problems.  Photographer, journalist, lecturer and treasurer of the national Garden Writers Association, Remes is field editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine and writes for Cottage Living, Organic Gardening and Victoria magazines. The session is free. See web site: www.extension.iastate.edu/linn

Tues., April 14 – 5:30-6:30 p.m., Culver’s Garden Center & Greenhouse, 1682 Dubuque Road (Highway 151 East), Marion. Veggies and Herbs in Pots and Containers. The free seminar will focus on growing vegetables, herbs and more in containers in order to enjoy the benefits of homegrown produce, even in limited space. Participants are asked to RSVP by calling (319) 377-4195.

 

 

Wed. April 15 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Revitalizing Your Garden. For the novice or experienced gardener, this class covers beginning or re-working the soil prep, planting, transplanting, and pruning for your beds. Linn County Master Gardener Lori Klopfenstein will also cover tools, design principals, and “go to” resources for all your garden needs.

Sat., April 18 – 9:30 a.m., Earth Day Tree Planting, Indian Creek Nature Center. Help diversify the woods as part of a wetland restoration. Bring a shovel, wear old clothes, and be prepared to get dirty. Participate in a tree planting ceremony “on behalf of Sacred Mother Earth,” facilitated by Wha’la, a Cree man from Squamish Territory. The ceremony is a Chanupa or Pipe ceremony. He will offer songs and direction to us from his traditional way of life. Trees Forever Field Coordinator Matt Nachtrieb will demonstrate the best way to plant a tree. Free.

Sat., April 18 – 8:30 a.m., Herbert Hoover National Historic Site will kick off National Park Week with a spring restoration project in the 81-acre tallgrass prairie. Volunteers are needed to help remove weeds from a recent planting of native prairie grasses and flowers. Volunteers interested in helping at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site should contact Adam Prato at (319) 643-7855 by Friday, April 17. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable work clothes. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are recommended. Meet at the Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. for an orientation and to get signed up. Work in the prairie will be from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80.

Sat., April 18, Habitat for Humanity Restore Go Green expo., 725 N. Center Point Rd., Hiawatha.

Sat., April 18 – Creative Gardening Hands ON Workshops, Linn County Extension, 3279 7th Avenue, Suite 140, Marion, Iowa. Register and pre-pay materials fee  by April 10th, call: 319-377-9839

9:00am–10:30am • Twig Art

Have fun using garden prunings to create a pot trellis. The project will include the pot, soil and plants.  The participant will supply a hand pruner, wire cutter, needle nose pliers (optional) and scissors. Shelby Foley, Linn County Master Gardener, leads this class. Materials fee: $10 (due at time of registration) Class is limited to 20 participants.

11:00am–12:30pm • Build a Toad House

Parents, delight your child with this fun filled morning. Accompany your child as they enjoy the hands-on experience of making a mosaic toad house with Linn County Master Gardener, Karla McGrail. Materials fee: $10 (due at time of registration) Class is limited to 25 participants, age 7 and up.

1:00pm–3:00pm • Building A Gourd Birdhouse

Members of the Iowa Gourd Society will share their expertise and provide sturdy gourds for this fun project. All materials will be furnished to construct and decorate a unique, functional birdhouse. Won’t it be fun to watch the birds flock to their new home this spring? Materials fee: $30 (due at time of registration) Class is limited to 25 participants.

Sat., April 18 – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency – 1954 County Home Rd.  Marion,  Earth Day Dumpster Dive

 Bring a load of waste to the agency and let the staff show you what can be recycled.  All loads chosen as recycled, will be recycled and disposed of free of charge.   No appointment necessary and Linn County Residents can bring their items from 10am to 2pm.

Sun., April 19 – 3-5 p.m.,

Iowa City Environmental Film Festival, Iowa City Public Library, Room A, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City. Blue Gold:  World Water Wars Host:  FAIR!  Film Overview:  www.bluegold-worldwaterwars.com In today’s world, corporate giants force developing countries to allow privitization of their public water supply.  As water enters the global market place, corporate giants, private investors and corrupt governments vie for control of our fresh water supply.  A line is crossed when water becomes a commodity.  So the stage is set for world water wars, with a new geo-political map and power structure, and the possibility of military involvement.  The film shows numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water.  As Maude Barlow proclaims, “This is our revolution, this is our war.”  Will we survive? Based on the groundbreaking book, “Blue Gold:  The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water” by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. Winner of the Vancouver International Film Festival Film Audience Award.

Wed. April 22 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Container Gardens. Container gardens do not have to be three geranium, asparagus fern and vinca vines. Come see what can be done with the newest annuals for your containers. Linn County Master Gardener Deb Walser’s own containers will be featured along with planting instructions. You will never have a plain container again.

Wed., April 22 – noon-4 p.m., Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, Earth Day Guided Hikes. AmeriCorps Naturalist Sarah Hinzman will lead a 45 minute spring-themed hike every hour on the hour beginning at noon. The last hike of the day is at 4:00 p.m. Meet her at the kiosk area on the lower end of the long sidewalk. Donations accepted.

Wed., April 22 – 4 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library: Kids and Worms: Composting. First-Fourth graders, get you hands dirty and learn how composting with worms can help our Earth. Space is limited to thirty kids 150 West Willman St., Hiawatha, Iowa  319.393.1414

Thurs., April 23 – 6 p.m., Welcome the changing of the seasons by joining the Brucemore gardeners for the Spring Landscape Hike. Brucemore, Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site, is located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 90-minute hike will emphasize the renewal of spring through the sights and sounds found on the Brucemore estate. Experience a sea of budding bluebells, wildflowers sprouting, and the pond awakening after winter’s slumber. Brucemore gardeners take participants off the beaten path into the natural areas of the 26-acre estate. The tour will explore current issues of preservation and public use as well as the seasonal chores spring requires. Hear stories of the spring activities of the Brucemore families, like picking wildflowers for May Day baskets, and much more. Participants will have ample opportunity to ask questions and seek advice about their own gardens. Admission is $10.00 per person and $7.00 per Brucemore member. Space is limited, call (319) 362-7375 to reserve your spot or register online at www.brucemore.org

Sat., April 25 – 6-8 p.m., Mid American AeroSpace – 280 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Recycle in Style. Join area resale shops for a fashion show like no other.  All models will be sporting clothing from consignment, thrift and resale shops.  Get some great money saving ideas at this one of a kind event.  Ticket information available by calling 319-377-5290.

Tues., April 28 – 6 p.m., Natives: Planting, Caring, and Options Workshop. Spring has arrived! Learn easy and effective ways to “go green” in your gardens and landscapes this year by utilizing native Iowa plants. Planting indigenous flora is the most effective way to create sustainable and healthy gardens and landscapes. Join Master Gardener Becki Lynch for a native Iowa plants and prairie history workshop,  in the Brucemore Visitor Center. Brucemore’s own gardens and grounds were originally designed in the 1900s by O.C. Simonds, a founder of the Prairie School landscape movement, who advocated a strong conservation ethic in landscape design. Simonds planted local forbs and grasses to develop the Brucemore grounds into “outdoor rooms.” Using indigenous flora exemplifies environmental stewardship and helps to curb natural resource depletion. Planting with natives is also a great way to preserve Iowa’s unique prairie history. Lynch shares how to identify and incorporate indigenous plants in your own gardens and landscapes. Join the many Iowa gardeners who are preserving our beautiful Iowa heritage. $15 per person and $10 per Brucemore member. Space is limited call (319) 362-7375 or register online now.

Wed. April 29 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Lawns Green With Envy. Linn County Master Gardener Jerry Schmidt will give you advice on how to turn your grass into a lawn.  Find out the best ways to rid your lawn of weeds, mushrooms, bare spots, and all those digging critters.

 

 

 

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Not Earth Day, but Earth Hour

Earth Day isn’t until April 22, but you can get a head start with Earth Hour this weekend.

 

   At 8.30 pm Saturday, March 28, 2009, 2,848 cities in 83 countries will switch off their lights for Earth Hour in a moment of global solidarity.
  According to Earth Hour’s Web site (an initiative of World Wildlife Fund) millions of people from all walks of life and corners of the world will participate in Earth Hour from small island nations of the South Pacific to the densely populated cities of the Americas, casting their vote in the world’s first global election between Earth and global warming. See:
www.earthhour.org/home

 

   Will anyone here be participating?

 

 

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Black & Gold going green

This just came out today – the University of Iowa will begin offering a new Certificate in Sustainability in Fall 2009:

Gone are the days when the environment was solely the purview of biologists, climatologists and engineers. If tomorrow’s world is truly going to be greener, teachers, dental assistants, grassroots advocates, government leaders and even artists must be prepared to contribute to sustainable systems and practices.

To help put students on a path toward becoming effective leaders and agents of change for sustainability in whatever professional setting they choose, the University of Iowa will begin offering a new Certificate in Sustainability in fall 2009. The program will allow students to augment their majors and minors with a certificate that promotes an integrated understanding of human and environmental systems and the complex interactions between them.

To meet the certificate’s requirements, students must complete 24 semester hours of course work that includes three introductory core courses, four electives from a designated list and one project course. Courses already required as part of a student’s major or minor fields of study may count toward the certificate. Students must also maintain at least a 2.00 grade point average.

“The need for sustainable practices, awareness and ingenuity is going to grow exponentially in the coming years as the world manages diminishing resources and humanity learns how to better live within its means,” UI President Sally Mason said. “Energy, society, culture, economics, construction and public policy all will be impacted. That’s why I’m thrilled that the University of Iowa has taken this important step toward providing our students with the tools and academic framework to couple sustainability with whatever fields of study they choose.”

The required courses include “Introduction to Sustainability,” “Introduction to Environmental Science” and “Contemporary Environmental Issues.” For their electives students may select from a wide array of courses offered across the disciplines, from “Glacial and Pleistocene Geology” and “Wetlands: Function, Geography and Management” to “History and Environment in Africa” and “Planning Livable Cities.”

The required projects will address advanced problems in design, sustainability and education, multimedia writing on the topic of a green economy and other relevant issues. One option, for example, is a course offered through the UI College of Engineering’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department that provides students the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams to propose solutions to problems faced by people in the developing world. Students study and develop the appropriate technologies required to improve water and sanitation, energy, housing, and health. 

Barbara Eckstein, an associate provost and professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, chaired a task force of faculty and staff from eight colleges that developed the certificate, which she said is accessible to any undergraduate student.

“Whatever students’ career goals, understanding the ties that bind economic development, environmental protection, and equity is key to their future,” Eckstein said.

An interdisciplinary advisory board will oversee the certificate’s implementation. The board members are Jim Throgmorton, a professor in Urban and Regional Planning; Laura Rigal, an associate professor in the Department of English with a joint appointment in American Studies; Mark Reagan, a professor of igneous petrology and geochemistry in the CLAS Department of Geoscience; Christy Moroye, an assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning; and Craig Just, adjunct assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, associate research scientist at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering and coordinator of sustainability programs in the UI College of Engineering.

The certificate is just one of many ways in which the university is strengthening its commitment to sustainability as outlined by Mason in an Earth Day address last year. Despite the flood of 2008 and the ongoing recovery, as well as the significant budget challenges presented by the downturn in the national economy, the university has made important strides toward developing a greener campus and curriculum.

Soon after her address, Mason established a Sustainability Steering Committee and in November appointed Liz Christiansen the university’s first director of sustainability. Already, the UI diverts about 30 percent of its general waste stream through recycling practices. And the UI is ahead of schedule in its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent by 2010, as required by its membership in the Chicago Climate Exchange, of which the UI was an early member.

In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lauded the UI for reducing carbon emissions at its power plant by using one system to generate both heat and energy, saving the equivalent amount of carbon stored by 11,232 acres of pine forests for one year or the emissions from 8,046 passenger vehicles. The plant burns oat hulls to reduce its reliance on coal by 20 percent and may serve as a model for a new power plant under consideration that could eventually provide 100 percent renewable energy at the Oakdale campus.

UI faculty and students are getting in on the act, too. In February, student leaders and the UI Environmental Coalition presented a series of sustainability panels as part of the National Teach-In on Global Warming 2009. And student members of the UI College of Engineering’s chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, working with faculty advisor Craig Just, recently won a first-place award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for designing a $5, hand-held device to sanitize water and potentially save lives in developing countries.

Greg Carmichael, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the UI College of Engineering, is using a $750,000 NASA grant to examine the atmosphere above the Arctic — a natural receptor of smoke and forest fire pollution from northern Europe, Asia and North America that creates a visible arctic haze. And Larry Weber, director of the UI’s world renowned IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering research unit, is using the flood of 2008 as an opportunity to develop better ways to predict future flooding, and help communities live more sustainably near volatile waterways.

Even economic development should benefit from the UI’s commitment to sustainability. The UI College of Engineering is involved with the newly launched Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development (IAWIND), a partnership among the regents universities, community colleges, industry, and the Iowa Department of Economic Development, designed to support the state’s efforts to attract and nurture wind energy and related industries in order to become the nation’s leader in alternate energy technologies.

For more information on the plan and other UI energy conservation efforts visit http://energy.uiowa.edu/

 

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Earth Day extra

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22.

Here are some of the ways you can help do your part to lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle…

 

A great Web site: www.earth911.org has a “find a recycling center” search engine in which you can type in your zip code to find places to recycle used electronics, compact fluorescent light bulbs, paint, batteries and more.

 

Another cool Web site: http://green.yahoo.com/earth-day has information about Freecycle and other reuse groups. Freecycle, which has members in Linn County, Iowa City and many other areas in Iowa and throughout the world, is an excellent place to find someone who will want your old couch or books and just about anything else, to keep your unwanted items from going to the landfill.

 

Earth Day events planned in Eastern Iowa include:

 

* Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, 11 a.m. Tuesday, Kirkwood’s Energy/Environmental manager, Melissa Jensen, will speak in 234 Cedar Hall about Kirkwood’s “Green Campus” and future plans. A tour of the green campus will follow, including the new Ag Science/Horticulture building, prairie restoration area and new academic building. The tour will end with a local-theme meal in Kirkwood’s new Center for Continuing Education. Register online for the “Earth Day: Green Tour/Locally Grown Meal CGLE-540-SLI01” at www.kirkwood.edu/ce or by phone at (319) 398-1022 or 1-(800) 332-8833.

 * “Earthapalooza,” Iowa City’s Earth Day Extravaganza, 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. The Iowa Global Warming Campaign, Sierra Club and I-Renew are hosting the free event, which includes a 6:45 p.m. showing of the documentary, “Global Warming: the Signs and the Science,” followed by a discussion.

*  Great American Cleanup, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 26. Coordinated by the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, participants will help clean Interstate 380; county roadways, trails and downtown riverfront. Register by Wednesday at www.litterfreelinncounty.org or call Stacie Johnson at (319) 377-5290.

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