Celebrate your favorite local tree by submitting your digital image to our Photo Contest!
Celebrate your favorite local tree by submitting your digital image to our Photo Contest!
Trees are valuable members of our community!
Not only do trees aid in cleaning our air, they provide shade to our homes and sidewalks on a hot summer day, inspire poems and much more.
Recognizing the beauty and value of trees in our community, aFewSteps.org is sponsoring a photo contest, open to all ages.
Between April 26th and June 1st submit a digital image of your favorite tree located in one of the aFewSteps communities. Nether Providence, Rose Valley, Rutledge or Swarthmore. You could be chosen as one of the 10 Finalists!
Twine trash poses a major hazard to animals.
We rely on twine and fishing line to tie everything from packages to hay bales to fishing bait. Turns out these all-purpose strings can also entangle wildlife.
Birds sometimes use twine as nesting material, making them especially prone to these perils. Along with moss and grass, ospreys like to adorn their nests with baling twine. They often snarl themselves in the twine, getting injured or even killed. In 2010, University of Montana researchers reported that baling twine entangles and kills about 10 percent of osprey chicks annually statewide.
Fishing line is typically made of monofilament, a thin and often clear material that can easily ensnare wildlife, resulting in injury, drowning, or starvation. Animals can also ingest fishing line. One rescued sea turtle had consumed nearly 600 feet of fishing twine.
Use twine made from natural materials, such as hemp or jute, rather than plastic, and cut it, especially baling twine, into small pieces before discarding.
Most monofilament does not biodegrade. You can take used monofilament fishing line to recycling bins at your local tackle shop, which will often ship it to the Berkley Recycling Center in Iowa. You can also ship your old line to the Berkley Recycling Center directly. These eco-innovators will use your line to create Fish-Habs, four-foot cube structures that attract fish and promote plant growth, enhancing aquatic habitats, such as the spaces between pier pilings.
–The Sierra Club
Natural dish soaps generally aren’t as effective as the ones that are a startling orange color and full of chemicals that makes your dishes sparkle. The trouble with being tough on grease is that this usually also means tough on the health of whoever uses the stuff–and on the aquatic life of the rivers and streams where it ends up.
Common dish soap ingredients include:
Fragrance. Anything scented probably contains hormone-disrupting phthalates, unless the manufacturers specify that they only use essential oils. Even phthalate-free synthetic fragrances usually are petroleum-derived.
Dyes. Food-grade coloring is implicated in behavioral issues in children.
Antibacterial ingredients. You may see “triclosan” listed on the label, or it may just say “antibacterial agent” or something along those lines. This stuff is totally toxic (carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting) and may be causing the super bugs we are hearing about.
Surfactants. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are common foaming agents. Both SLS and SLES produce lovely bubbles in your dish soap, and are found in lots of “natural” brands. SLS is okay in my opinion (although not ideal), but SLES is not.
How to Make Homemade Dishwashing Liquid
Here is one insanely easy homemade dish soap recipe:
Combine 2 parts castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a good option) with 1 part warm water, plus (optional) a few drops of lemon oil. Shake before using.
Tandi’s Naturals Solid Dish Soap is a bar soap, and I was reluctant to try it at first. But given the dearth of truly safe options, I eventually agreed to test it out, and <Click Here to continue with the article>
Profile in Green: Your Backyard Wildlife Refuge
You may not realize it, but you are the proprietor of a wildlife refuge. Just look out to your back yard and there you will see a habitat of insects, other animals, and plants that depends on you more than you may think. In fact, today the majority of land in this country is in private hands, and official wildlife sanctuaries by themselves cannot adequately support the nation’s wildlife.
A fun way to learn how to manage your wildlife refuge is to take part in the Invasive Plants / Native Planting Workshop and Native Plant Sale on Saturday, April 20 (rain date April 27), from 9 a.m. to noon at the Saul Wildlife Sanctuary, behind the Old Mill in Rose Valley. This is a hands-on learning and volunteer service opportunity where you can learn about nonnative invasive plants, help to eradicate them, and plant native species in an important wildlife sanctuary. <Click here to continue with article>
Come meet some of the aFewSteps.org people exhibiting at the 4th Annual EnviroFair this weekend!
April 13th, 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Penn Wood High School 100 Green Avenue Landsdowne PA
This one day public event promotes environmental awareness and action in Delaware County PA. The EnviroFair offers free activities and workshops in addition the opportunity to meet green-minded vendors and contractors!
The Theme this year is : Your Green Home
Shred up to 3 Boxes of Personal Papers
Drop off Your Personal Computers + Peripherals & Have them Disposed of in an Environmental Friendly Manner
See a Tesla and Watch a Video About the Electric Sports Car’s Trip Across America
Learn About Local Congregations Sustainable Activities
Talk to the Energy Coordinating Agency and Sign Up for a Subsidized Home Energy Audit & Low-Interest Loans for Completing the Work
Purchase Carbon Credits to Offset you Travel to the Fair or the Vacation you Plan to Take This Summer
Watch Videos to Learn About the Story of Stuff, Where you Beef Comes From, Global Climate Change & More
Children’s Activities Including Planting Seeds, Coloring Books & Bookmarks & Scavenger Hunts
Hosted by the Earth Care Council and AFewSteps.org
Go to www.earthcareccouncil.org for more information
Old-time garden wisdom and recent scientific plant research say that milk contains fungicidal properties. Spraying milk on plants will control the growth of bad fungi.
Fungi are microscopic non-green plants; they germinate and grow like other plants. A handful of soil contains thousands and thousands and thousands of fungi. There are good fungi and bad fungi. Good fungi help build the soil by breaking down organic matter into nutrients plants can use. Bad fungi are parasites that feed on plants. Bad fungi include mildews (downy mildew, powdery mildew), rusts, rots (root rot, damping off, fruit rot), canker, scab, spot (black spot and anthracnose), wilts (fusarium and verticillium) and smuts (black sooty molds caused by black sooty fungi spores).
Fungi are spread by spores. They germinate and root just like other plants. When a fungi takes root as a parasite on the tissue of other plants, it feeds and begins to grow. A fungus can be prevented from rooting and can be removed (prune off the infected plant tissue and throw it away in a paper bag so that the fungi spores do not spread). Fungi allowed to grow will spread via spores floating on the wind or swept along in a drop of water.
Fungicides are preventive, not a cure. They cover plant tissue and do not allow fungi to root.
Plant researchers in Brazil and Australia using milk as a fungicide on vegetable crops, grapes, and flower crops found that spraying a dilute mix of 1 part milk and 9 parts water prevented fungi from growing.
The researchers also believe that the potassium phosphate in milk helps boost the plant’s immune system and may also work as an antibiotic.
A note: skim-fat milk works best; the fat in whole milk may clog up your sprayer. Even reconstituted powdered milk will work.
Tomato disease fighter formula: combine 1 part skim milk and 9 parts water. Spray the plant every two to three weeks until mid-summer (most fungal diseases have run their course by mid-summer, except where the weather stays warm and humid).
It is a myth that screen savers reduce energy use.
Screen savers were developed to mitigate a problem called “screen burn-in” that can occur in both cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) computer monitors and TV screens. Burn-in occurs when a given image, such as a logo or a menu bar for a computer program, appears on a monitor for a long period of time. The mechanics are different for CRT and LCD displays, but the result is essentially the same over time, these long-duration images can get “burned” into the screen so that the viewer sees a “ghost” of these images even when they’re not supposed to be there. By using a screen saver, you prevent any specific images from being displayed in the same location when your computer is dormant for a long period of time, thus preventing burn-in. But it takes just as much energy to display a screen saver on your screen as it does to display any other program. To save energy, adjust your computer’s power management settings to automatically shut the monitor down after a specified period of idle time, and simply turn off the monitor if you are not going to be using it for 15 minutes or more.
The idea of planting a tree in honor of a special occasion is not a new one. People have been planting trees in honor of births, deaths, weddings, housewarmings, and other occasions for many years. Still, the concept never seems to have caught on as perhaps it should have. Planting a tree in celebration of a birth is perhaps the most poignant of occasions because this is a gift that will grow alongside the child, year by year maturing and flourishing. Another great idea is to donate to The National Arbor Day Foundation. They will plant a tree in a national forest devastated by fires and other disasters. No matter how you approach it, choosing to plant a tree to welcome a child to the world is a wonderful, unique idea. This is a gift that will benefit not only the baby, but the world as a whole.
A microwave is a lot more efficient for reheating than a stovetop, since it takes 80% less energy to warm up relatively small amounts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Although the microwave needs a lot of electricity, it’s a relatively short burst of power.
While stovetops are less efficient, you can make regular gas or electric cooking more efficient by matching the size of the burner to the size of the pot—a 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner can waste a significant portion of a burner’s heat—and by keeping a lid on unless the recipe forbids.
Though cooking accounts for only 3% of total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions from residences, every bit we can cut is significant because we use so much more than we really need. Per capita, we now consume six times as much electricity and twice as much natural gas as we did in 1950. Whether our overall standard of living has improved correspondingly is open to debate.
Saving energy isn’t just green but also massively cheaper than wasting power the way most households do. At your present utility rates, to heat that soup on the stove would cost you about three times as much as warming it in the microwave.