Posts tagged environmental

Backyard Abundance tour Saturday

Toni and Jake DeRyke home (photo, Backyard Abundance)

Toni and Jake DeRyke home (photo, Backyard Abundance)

Information on the following Backyard Abundance event came from Fred Meyer: 

Decades of steady care by Toni and Jake DeRyke, 2101 Muscatine Ave., Iowa City, have led to a peaceful and orderly yard filled with beautiful flowers, tranquil shade gardens and an abundance of food. The yard will be open to view from 3-5 p.m. Saturday (June 27, 2009.)

 The DeRykes strive to keep their environmental impact low while also saving money:

  • Growing their own food eliminates the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted to transport food to their home.
  • Rain barrels capture free rainwater for their garden, reducing the need for energy-intensive purified tap water.
  • Steady supplies of low-cost reclaimed building materials are frequently acquired from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
  • Trees shade their home, reducing energy bills and providing bird habitat.

 Toni and Jake reflect our growing efforts to think globally and act locally; and it does not get more local than your own backyard.

 Parking for their event is available on 3rd Avenue, on the west side of their home.

 For more information, see: http://www.backyardabundance.org/events.aspx

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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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Potmaking – reprise

This was first posted last March, but because it’s that season, once again, to start seedlings indoors, I thought it was timely.

 The white outside is nearly gone and we’re thinking green: green gardens, saving some green and being environmentally friendly. With help from my production assistants, Brennan and Schyler, we have a project to show that combines all three.

Click the link below to watch a short how-to video.

 

http://www.youtube.com/v/Yh_Szm79VQw

 

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Iowa City Home Show going green, too

   Robb Rood posted a comment in response to “CR Home Show going green” (Feb. 17) to note that the Iowa City Home & Builder’s Show is going green, as well.      Because not everyone looks at the comments, here is the info that Robb provided about that show, coming the weekend of Friday, Feb. 27, to Sunday, March 1, 2009.

The Iowa City Home & Builder’s Show  being held at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center is also going “Green” this year.

The show is Feb. 27-March 1 and will include “green” building educational seminars, Designer Showcase Rooms with Meta Home designers discussing incorporating “green” alternatives in interior design projects, a visit from Alliant Energy’s Powerhouse TV program hosts Pete Seyfer and Megan Turner and Alliant Energy’s Geo-1 traveling exhibit about geothermal heating and cooling technology.

Anyone interested can find more info. in the special section inserting in the Gazette on Sun., Feb. 22 and Wed., Feb. 25 or by logging on to http://www.iowacityhomes.com.

Educational Seminars
Sat, Feb. 28
——————————————————————————–
10 am – 12 pm “Building a Sustainable Iowa”
by Marc Richmond, President of Practica Consulting
1 pm “15 Ways to Green Your Home”
by Kevin Monson, Neumann Monson Architects
2 pm “What’s Green in Interior Design?”
by Leigh Bradford, Meta Home
3 pm “Saving Money and Energy with Shade Trees”
by Mark Vitosh, District Forester, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
4 pm “Continuous Garden with Color”
by Mary Lou Gay- Master Gardener

Sun, March 1
——————————————————————————–
10:15 am “Natural Landscaping – design, low maintenance, environmentally friendly gardens”
by Mary Crooks, Master Gardener
11:15 am “Energy efficiency for the homeowner” (energy audits, rebates through residential program and other resources)
by Alan Dornink, Energy Auditor, MidAmerican Energy Co.
12:15 pm “Green Building – What’s new”
by Bob Lackman, Beisser Lumber Company
1:15 pm “Doing it Right – Saving Money and Energy” (LED, Energy Star, Compact Fluorescents)
by Ralph Palmer, The Ar-Jay Center
2:15 pm “Rain Gardens – Living and Functional Landscapes”
by Kelly Swenson, Engineering Inspector, City of Coralville

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CR Home Show going green

   The 30th Annual Cedar Rapids Home Show (2009) will be at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids from Friday, Feb. 20, through Sunday, Feb. 22.  Cost is $5 for adults and free for kids under 12. The show is sponsored by the Cedar Rapids Area Home Builders Association.

    From the looks of the seminar schedule, the home show is going green. With landscaping ideas, sessions on “green building” and outdoor living spaces, homeowners can make plans for environmentally friendly home improvement projects.

    Show hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

 

   Following is the seminar schedule. You can find a complete list of information in a special section that was in Sunday’s  (Feb. 15) Gazette.

 

Seminar Schedule

 

Fri., Feb. 20

6 p.m.  Fabulous Shrubs, Trees & Flowers for the Home Landscape – Bettie Seitzer, professional landscape designer

7 p.m.  Green Building Your New Home – H&H Green Builders, Inc

8 p.m.  Outdoor Living Spaces:  Decks & Patios with an Attitude – Dan Skaff, professional designer

 

Sat., Feb. 21

11 a.m.  Outdoor Living Spaces:  Decks & Patios with an Attitude – Dan Skaff, professional designer

Noon   Green Building: Good for You and the Environment – Ogden & Adams

1 p.m.  Design & Maintenance of Your Landscaping – Bettie Seitzer, professional landscape designer

2 p.m.  Green Building Your New Home – H&H Green Builders, Inc.

3 p.m.  Outdoor Living Spaces: Decks & Patios with an Attitude – Dan Skaff, professional designer

4 p.m.  Gorgeous Flower Gardens for the Do-It-Yourself Gardener – Bettie Seitzer, professional landscape designer

 

Sun. Feb. 22

1 p.m.  Outdoor Living Spaces: Decks & Patios with an Attitude – Dan Skaff, professional designer

2 p.m.  Green Building: Good for You and the Environment – Ogden & Adams

3 p.m.  Fabulous Shrubs, Trees and Flowers for the Home Landscape – Bettie Seitzer, professional landscape designer

 

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Human Dragonfly

2008_winter_games_turtle   Dragonflies are the most awesome insects. Not only are they beautiful, with their large eyes, transparent wings and sometimes jewel-toned bodies, but they consume mass quantities of mosquitoes and other bad bugs. I’ve seen them at lakes, but they also make regular visits to the city plot where I garden. They are fascinating to watch. If you happen to be trekking to western Iowa this weekend, you can actually “be” a dragonfly.

  

   Jen Johnson, executive director of Active Okoboji, said the group is collaborating on The People’s Art Project with Iowa Lakeside Laboratory (a partner with University Hygienic Laboratory and UI Continuing Education), ArtsLIVE and the Friends of Lakeside Lab. Last year, the project used 173 volunteers to create a giant turtle.  This year, they’re making a human dragonfly.

 

   The groups are looking for people to become part of a human puzzle on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009, on the lake ice of Little Miller’s Bay on West Okoboji.  The Art Project will create a gigantic image of a dragonfly to raise environmental awareness.
 

   To participate, dress warmly in primary colors and meet at 12:30 p.m. at Peace Corner, located on the southwest corner of highways 9 and 86 in Spirit Lake. From there, buses will shuttle volunteers to the lake. The event includes a bonfire, warm drinks, snacks and door prizes. Observers are welcome.

 

   Jen said an aerial photo and video will be shot. More “bugs” will be coming this summer, when semi-sized metal sculptures will be displayed throughout the Lakeside Lab area. The bug art display will run July 4-Oct. 14.
 

   For more information, contact Jen Johnson at 712-332-6507 or jen@activeokoboji.org

  

The photo above is last year’s turtle. You can see more photos from last year’s event at: http://www.activeokoboji.org/

 

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Working on flood prevention

   Rain gardens are one of the ways individuals can work together to help reduce flooding. The Indian Creek Nature Center has scheduled the following two programs for Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 to learn more. Only a couple spots are open for the second session, on building a rain barrel. Call the Nature Center today (Friday) at (319) 362-0664 to register. Several spots are available in the first session on creating a rain garden, so you might be OK to just show up.

 

PUBLIC PROGRAM-RAINWATER IS NOT RUNOFF! RAINWATER IS A RESOURCE-1 PM: CREATE A RAIN GARDEN-MEMBER:$8-NONMEMBER:$10-As citizens of the earth we have a responsibility to manage run-off from our property and yard. Learn how to capture water from hard surfaces and roofs in rain gardens. Rain gardens are beautiful and environmental! Native seed and plant sources, planting methods, and care will be discussed.

PUBLIC PROGRAM-RAINWATER IS NOT RUNOFF! RAINWATER IS A RESOURCE-2:30 PM: BUILD A RAIN BARREL-A MATERIALS FEE WILL BE CHARGED FOR THIS PROGRAM-Good ideas keep coming back! Our grandparents had a rain barrel and cistern to capture water from roofs. Water was then used for everyday household needs. Get creative and make your own rain barrel with Master Gardener Deb Walser.

 

The Indian Creek Nature Center is at 6665 Otis Rd. SE, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  

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